The town of Dungog is the principal urban settlement in the Dungog Planning District. Dungog is located 244km north of Sydney, 79km north of Newcastle and 55km north of Maitland. The Gringai tribe resided in the general Dungog area prior to the first white settlement in the early 1800’s.
The first white men in the area were thought to be searching for lost stock. They were followed by timber getters, attracted by the magnificent cedar trees in the area’s hills.
The town of Dungog began as a settlement on the banks of the Williams River and during this period of early settlement was originally called Upper Williams. It was situated 14 miles upstream from Clarence Town, which was the head of navigation.
The first Europeans in Dungog were cedar getters in the 1820’s, followed by settlers.The site was a day’s march from Clarence Town for convicts. In 1834, Captain Thomas Cook JP was made the first magistrate for the area which included Upper Williams. He urged the Colonial Secretary that the village be given a distinctive name, suggesting Dungog.