City of gold, grain and wool and long-time host of Australia’s most famous motor-race, the 1000 kilometre Classic on Mt Panorama, Bathurst has many claims on history.
The bullion bonanza might have long gone, but the spectre of gold has never taken its final leave of Bathurst and the Central West
. The memory of those days when men became fabulously wealthy with the swing of a pick and others died in abject misery and despair is still alive in the old diggings and in towns such as Ophir, Sofala and, of course, Hill End which gave up the fabled Hawkins Hill Reef.
Gold and attendant wealth have left their mark on Bathurst through such magnificent old buildings as the courthouse with its huge copper dome and classic porch.
Of perhaps more spiritual significance is the Busby Street cottage, now a museum, which was once home to populist Labor Prime Minister and engine driver Ben Chifley. Another significant piece of architecture is Abercrombie House, a 52-room baronial mansion built in the 1870s. Set in 20 hectares of parkland, Abercrombie is owned by the Morgan family, who have spent 30 years restoring the home to its original grandeur and filling its living areas with superb collections of paintings, antiques, ceramics and furniture. There are guided tours on Sunday afternoons.
Festivals: East Coast Classic Rally (March - May), Autumn Heritage Festival (April), V8 Supercars 1000 (October), Bathurst 24 hour (car race) (November)
Self Guided historical tours - both walking and driving tours, including Ben Chifley Home, Georgian and Victorian architecture, gardens and glasshouses . Brochure available from Visitor Information Centre
Regional Art Gallery - Keppel St.
Things to Do:
In the area:
Mt Panorama - Motor Racing Circuit with views over area
Bathurst Goldfields - reconstruction of historic goldmining area
Abercrombie Caves - limestone cave system featuring largest natural limestone bridge in the southern hemisphere.
Sofala - historic gold town
Hill End Historic Site - site of a former goldfield with original buildings. Information here on panning and fossicking equipment for hire. More gold town close by - Wattle Flat, Peel and Trunkey
Bathurst Sheep and Cattle Dome - with demonstrations of sheep shearing, sheepdog trials, milking and shearing
Visitor Information Centre - William Street, Bathurst