Once known as New Sheffield because of the influx of skilled workers imported from the English Midlands to work in Australia’s first pig-iron smelter which opened in the town in 1841, Mittagong stands 110km south of Sydney at the gateway to the NSW Southern Highlands
Heavy industry has long since gone, but the link is reflected in some fine old sandstone buildings which were constructed during the development spurred by the smelter operation. The scenic picnic spots skirting the waterfowl sanctuary of Lake Alexandra - built to supply water for the engines which hauled coal to the smelter - are spin-offs from the pig iron age.
Mittagong becomes a magnet for flower-fanciers in February when the town stages its annual Dahlia Festival. Mittagong boasts a number of high class art galleries, antique and craft stores, live entertainment in two hotels and a reasonable range of cafes and restaurants. Winifred West Park is a riot of massed flower displays in spring and autumn and a number of private gardens are open to the public.
Find out more about the Southern Highlands