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Carcoar, NSW

Former CBC Bank

The Church of the Immaculate Conception

Post Office

The village of Carcoar in NSW's central west, was founded circa 1836 and remains almost completely intact, untouched by the twentieth century. The third oldest settlement west of the Blue Mountains, Carcoar is nestled in a small valley through which wanders the Belubula River. The town was officially proclaimed on 29th September 1839, with the first allotments being sold in 1840.
In 1850 Carcoar was the second most populous town west of the mountains. It was second in size only to Bathurst. Due to its size and importance as a banking and administrative centre, it also attracted a number of undesirables, including bushrangers. On 13th July 1863, members of Ben Hall's gang held up the Commercial Bank, but their efforts were thwarted and the gang fled without seizing anything. This was significant as Australia's first bank robbery. Hall and his gang had more success in raids on prominent district properties, including Coombing Park and Cliefden.
As a centre for grazing and mining, the town flourished throughout the 19th century, supporting more than seven hotels because of its convenient location equidistant from Bathurst , Orange and Cowra. This made it an important terminus for Cobb & Co. coaches. The railway did not come to Carcoar until 1888 and then it was only a branch line, the main line having been surveyed through Blayney to Orange some ten years earlier. Blayney grew and Carcoar stalled. Its opulent public buildings exuded a confidence in the town's future that proved unfounded.
Mining has always contributed to the town's economy. A cobalt mine operated at Carcoar from 1888 to 1895, extracting 113 tonnes of ore to produce 12.34 tonnes of Cobalt. No further information is known as to the nature of the ore mined. The first signs of uranium were noticed in 1894 and reported in 1896), making it Australia's first documented uranium occurrence. It was apparently considered for development to extract very small quantities of radium, although information is extremely hard to find.
Through the 20th century, Carcoar became a busy little town on the Mid Western Highway. By the 1970s, it had become a hell hole for truck accidents and was constantly polluted by diesel fumes. A bypass removed the traffic from the town and, with the encouragement of Blayney Shire Council, it has now become a picturesque tourist village.
The whole of the central business district is heritage listed. Most of the buildings in the town were constructed between 1860 and 1890, including the Court House (1882), Church of the Immaculate Conception (1870), St James Church (1861), hospital (1861-62), former CBC Bank 91877) and the Police residence.

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