Bathurst and its surrounding areas saw much of the beginnings of Australian colonial settlement - being, Australia's first inland settlement with Bathurst Australia's oldest inland city. Surrounding areas were the home of some of the most illustrious names in Australia's gold history - Hill End, Tambaroora, Sofala, Hargraves & Junction Reefs. Some of these places have virtually vanished (Tambaroora, Hargraves) but others live on quietly, a few are protected as historic sites. There is plenty of early Australian history in the surrounding areas of - Blayney, Carcoar, Sofala & Wattle Flat, Hill End, Rockley, Meadow Flat, Neville & the Abercrombie Caves
Bathurst and its surrounding areas saw much of the beginnings of Australian colonial settlement - being, Australia's first inland settlement with Bathurst Australia's oldest inland city.
Once the explorers had conquered the mountains, Australia's future was ensured and so began the natural route to the west. Bathurst Plains had the best grass of all - "excellent good land", said George Evans. Now properties across the plains support cattle and sheep, and grow wheat, vegetables and fruit.
Surrounding areas were the home of some of the most illustrious names in Australia's gold history - Hill End, Tambaroora, Sofala, Hargraves & Junction Reefs. Some of these places have virtually vanished (Tambaroora, Hargraves) but others live on quietly, a few are protected as historic sites.
Bathurst located on the banks of the Macquarie River was proclaimed a town in 1815, then with the discovery of gold, it experienced rapid growth in the 1850s and '60s. Today one of Australia's fastest-growing modern regional cities it is just two and a half hours drive from Sydney at the junction of the Great Western, Mid Western and Mitchell Highways.
It is accessible by plane, train and automobile.
The finest of several grand buildings is the Victorian Renaissance Court House with an outlook to Kings Square and a statue honouring George Evans who was directed by Governor Macquarie in November 1813 to make an Official Survey of the area.
Of 'special' note is that Ben Chifley was born (1885) and raised in Bathurst. One of Australia’s most respected Prime Ministers he maintained his connections with the city until the end of his life.
From the youngest locomotive driver in the state Chifley entered parliament as the member for Macquarie (the local seat) in 1928. He was Prime Minister of Australia from 1945 to 1949 and from 1949 until his death in 1951 he was leader of the opposition.
He was buried at Bathurst.
As a tribute to him and his wife Elizabeth, Ben Chifley’s home is maintained by the city of Bathurst providing a glimpse of life during the first half of the 20th century.
Also, to commemorate this great man, the Bathurst branch of the Australian Labor Party hold an annual dinner, known as the 'Light on the Hill',
In 1862 the Cobb & Co Coach made Bathurst its headquarters in NSW, providing much needed transport for the area.
A fully restored Cobb & Co.Coach is on permanent display at the Bathurst Visitor Information Centre.
The railway arrived in 1876, an extension of the western railway line from Lithgow to Bathurst opening up the Central West to the Sydney produce markets with a more reliable and faster method of transporting supplies.
However, this meant that the coaching industry declined.
The court house was completed in 1880 and is one of the best examples of 19th century public building architecture - it is still fully functional today.
Also in the square is the 35-bell Carillon dedicated as a war memorial, and the Boer War memorial.
Bathurst has superb examples of early 1800's architecture with an abundance of heritage buildings from the nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Civic structures, mansions, commercial buildings, terrace houses, cottages still remain.
A Brief History of Bathurst & its surrounding areas