South African War Memorial
Cobb & Co. coach at the Bathurst Tourist Centre
V8 Supercars racing on Mount Panorama
National Motor Racing Musum, Mount Panorama
Bathurst is a vibrant regional city located just a few hours drive west of Sydney. Locals and visitors alike enjoy the best of country life with all the conveniences and facilities of modern living. Set in a pleasant natural environment with warm summers, clear, crisp winters, occasional snowfalls and beautiful spring and autumn colours, Bathurst is one of the region’s most beautiful cities, offering a diversity of attractions, activities and facilities.
Where is it?: New South Wales: Central & Far West. Bathurst is 209 km west of Sydney, on the Macquarie River and a three hour drive from the New South Wales capital by road. Rail services from Sydney to Bathurst and other towns and cities of the Central West operate on a daily basis.
Lookouts: The top of Mt Panorama has excellent views of Bathurst and the surrounding district. The McPhillamy Park lookout gives great views over the track and the “Esses”.
Events: The Bathurst Motor Festival and Bathurst Harvest Festival are held every April. An eisteddford is held in September/October, around the time of the annual V8 Supercar Bathurst 1000 motor race at Mt Panorama. The district show is held a week after Easter.
Things to see and do:
Being Australia's oldest inland town, Bathurst has many fine historic buildings, many of which were financed by the gold discoveries in the area in the 1850s. Buildings of note >>
Mt Panorama is the site of Australia's most well known road racing circuit. Every years in October, the road around the mountain is closed off and becomes the venue for Australia's most famous car race, the V8 Supercar Bathurst 1000. The mountain is home to the National Motor Racing Museum and Memorial. The racing circuit is probably one of a few race tracks in the world that you can actually drive on, something many visitors to Bathurst do, as the circuit is a public road for most of the year.
The area around Bathurst is goldmining country and was the scene of one of the biggest gold rushes the world has ever seen. Gold was first discovered at Summer Hill Creek, near Orange, in 1851, and soon the whole area was alive with prospectors panning the creeks for gold. Our Gold Country Heritage Drive visits some of the old goldmining ghost towns of the area, including Sofala and Hill End.
Two kilometres on the Bathurst side of Hill End you'll find History Hill Museum, with over 10,000 rare and unusual artefacts from the goldfields of the 1800s as well as 175 metres of underground working to explore, completing the gold rush experience. The museum reflects all that was on the land of the goldfields during the time of a gold rush.
There are many interesting villages in the Bathurst region, many of which had their origins in the gold rush days. Many have relics from the goldmining era such as old mines, equipment, etc. as well as period buildings. They are easy to get to and hold much of interst for the visitor. More >>
The Bathurst to Bourke Cobb & Co Heritage Trail largely follows old coaching routes established by Cobb & Co during the 19th Century. As you travel these roads today, you can imagine yourself back in the past hear the cracking of whips, tramping of hoofs and the churning of wheels along dusty tracks.
A visit to the Abercrombie Caves (70km south via Trunkey Creek) makes for a good day trip from Bathurst. The entrance to the Abercrombie Caves is through the majestic Grand Arch, the largest Natural Limestone Arch in the Southern Hemisphere. Solid masses of marble decorate the walls of the caves highlighted by the soft natural light entering from each end. The main cave was the hideout of bushranger Ben Hall. The caves are open daily for self guided tours, and on weekends for guided tours. Guided Tours - 2pm weekends only. More >>
Australia's oldest inland city, Bathurst is the centre of a long-established pastoral and grain-growing district which also produces fruit and vegetables. Urban secondary industry includes canning and can-manufacturing plants, flour mills, brick, pipe and cement works, and factories for the manufacture of office furniture. Bathurst has been accurately described as a sedate city of red brick and blue granite in a setting of carefully planned and well-maintained plantations, parks and gardens. Many distinctive buildings face King's Parade, it's central square. Bathurst was the birthplace of J. B. Chifley, Prime Minister of Australia from 1945 to 1949. The Chifley Housing Settlement in the city is his memorial.
History: In 1813 the explorers Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson crossed the Blue Mountains and the same year the Surveyor-General, George Evans named the Bathurst Plains after the then Secretary of State for the Colonies, Henry Bathurst, who took an active and intelligent interest in the new colony and encouraged investigation of its potential.
Two years later, in 1815, William Cox built the first road over the mountains and Governor Macquarie, who took nine days to travel over it, followed quickly in his footsteps, choosing the site for the first settlement on the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range and the first inland town in Australia. The initial settlement of Bathurst was on the eastern side of the river in 1816. It is in today's suburb of Kelso. Each of 10 men were granted 50 acres (200,000 m2), five were men new born in the colony and five were immigrants. These men were William Lee, Richard Mills, Thomas Kite, Thomas Swanbrooke, George Cheshire, John Abbott, John Blackman, James Blackman, John Neville and John Godden. In 1818 Governor Lachlan Macquarie stated in his diary: "This morning I inspected 10 new settlers for Bathurst. I have agreed to grant each 50 acres (200,000 m2) of land, a servant, a cow, four bushels (141 L) of wheat, allotment in the new town, and to provide for them for 12 months from the King's stores".
Bathurst developed as an outpost for the colony of NSW and became the base for many expeditions to explore the inland. Famous Australian explorers Evans, Oxley, Cunningham, Mitchell and Sturt all made it their point of departure for journeys into the interior of the continent. The 1820's were turbulent years for the little settlement. The aborigines strongly resisted the infiltration of white men into their tribal lands and in 1824 the position of settlers had become so insecure that the authorities proclaimed martial law in the district and offered a reward of 500 acres of land for the capture of the native ringleader, Saturday. In 1830 violent rioting broke out among convicts in the Bathurst goal and when order was restored, 10 prisoners were hanged for their part in the disorders.
The first coach service between Bathurst and Parramatta began operation in 1824 and in 1833 a new townsite was surveyed to a design by J. B. Richardson, who was later to have a hand in the planning of Melbourne and Adelaide. Progress, however, was still very slow until 1851 when gold was discovered at Summer Hill Creek, near Orange, 48 kilometres north-west, and a nugget weighing 48 kilograms was unearthed. The first gold in Australia had been discovered in the Bathurst district by James McBrien near what is now Tarana in 1823. The first payable gold was found by Lister and the Tom Brothers on the 12th February, 1851, but was not reported at the time. Edward Hargraves, their partner, had the gold weighed on the 7th April and he alone is credited with finding it.
Thousands of prospectors rushed the area - followed by the bushrangers, Gardiner, Gilbert, Hall and others. The largest piece of reef gold on record was found by Bernard Holtermann and Louis Beyer in 1872 near Hill End. Bathurst became the first gold centre, taking in most of the gold from Ophir, Hill End and Sofala. As was the case with many other Australian goldmining towns, the diggers stayed on to become farmers and tradesmen after the mined declined. Bathurst was the national headquarters for Cobb & Co. stagecoach operators. James Rutherford bought the company which started in Victoria with Freeman Cobb. Rutherford established the base at Bathurst in 1862 continuing the mail and passenger service.
Two Melbourne Cup winners were bred and trained in the Bathurst district. They were "The Barb", the winner in 1866, and "Merriwee", who won in 1899. Both horses were owned by George Lee of "Leeholm", O'Connell. "The Barb" was trained in Kelso by Mr. Ingersole.
The first x-ray for medical purposes in Australia was taken by Father James Slattery at St Stanislaus College on the 21st September, 1896. The x-ray showed the location of gunshot in the shattered hand of an ex-student. Father Slattery was also the first man west of Sydney to transmit a radio message. The transmission in 1904, went from the college tower to the tower of the Cathedral of St Michael and John, and then to the Catholic Presbytery in Kelso, a distance of about five miles.
Robert Edgell and his sons were the pioneers of irrigation, cultivation and fertilisation of crops and orchards in Bathurst. Also, the canning, dehydration and freezing of perishable goods. We have the Edgell family to thank for the cultivation of asparagus in Australia.
From the early 1920s, car and motorcycle speed tests were being carried out on Mount Panorama in Bathurst by local enthusiasts. These tests were the beginning of motor racing which has earned Mount Panorama world-wide recognition on the stock car racing circuits.
Buildings of note
Holy Trinity Church
Holy Trinity Church at Kelso was the first church built west of the Nepean River - construction began in 1825 and was completed in 1835. Holy Trinity Church was also the first church in Australia to be consecrated by a Bishop. Among many others the church contains the grave of J. Byrne Richards, the town planner of Bathurst and Melbourne.
All Saints Cathedral
The first peal of bells in Australia from outside any of the colonial capitals, was rung from All Saints Cathedral in 1855.
The Bathurst Court house is one of the finest Victorian Court House buildings in New South Wales. Built as part of a precinct of Victorian public buildings, it is a landmark building prominently sited in the town centre of Bathurst. The current Bathurst Court House replaced three earlier Court House buildings, the last was demolished before 1880 to make way for the forecourt to the new Court House. Designed by the Colonial Architect J Barnet and built by David Jones between 1878 and 1880, the dominant central Court Block was built as part of an overall design which incorporated the former Post and Telegraph Office wings. The clock tower was completed in 1900.
The Court House is constructed of local brick with sandstone detailing. The roofs are clad in copper sheeting. It is a grand and impressive building which comprises a central building flanked on either side by wing buildings. The central building is surmounted by an octagonal domed tower with turrets and has a two storey pediment portico entrance. All of the rooms have external outlets into brick walled courtyards and a clerestory semi circular apse galleries on two sides.
Bathurst station buildings comprise one of the major historical country railway sites in NSW with a substantial first class station, residence and workshop group. The design of Bathurst station building is different to any other building on the NSW railway system and reflects a one off approach not often seen, but respecting the importance of the largest city west of the mountains.
Bathurst District Hospital
Built in 1880 by J. Willett to the design of Sydney architect William Boles, the design was a result of a competition following the 1878 destruction by fire of the original 1824 convict hospital in Bentinck Street. A large late Victorian hospital complex in the second empire style, the two storey hospital is comprised of a central administrative area with a tower, and operating theatre block flanked by long wings, with the men's wards on one side and women's on the other. Constructed in Bathurst bricks; verandahs are decorated with timber posts, arched brackets and cast iron balustrades. The roofs are clad in iron sheeting.
Miss Traill's house
A late Colonial Georgian house built of a combination of bricklaying styles. The c. 1845 main house and the c. 1855 Rev. Thomas Sharpe's study comprise of English bond (now painted), the kitchen and laundry brickwork is a variation of Flemish bond, while the c. 1905 repairs are a pseudo Flemish bond. Corrugated iron dated c. 1905 covers the original timber shingled roof. It is the only substantial house of its period remaining in Bathurst structurally unaltered in any major respect. The garden preserves a typical pattern of geometrically designed flower beds. A special quality of the house is the way in which it has been lived in by Miss Traill and the family collection has been retained.
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