The gold that built Bathurst
Of all the old gold mining towns in New South Wales Sofala is one of the most interesting and unusual.
Its cousin down the road, Hill End, has much more to offer but you should tarry awhile here and soad up the genuine village atmosphere and an authentic charm that remains from its days as a gold rush town.
It's basically little more than two streets that have no formal construction, no curbing and guttering and yet which can legitimately claim to be 'Australia's oldest surviving gold town'.
Sofala is situated just over 40kms out of Bathurst in the Turon River valley.
If you drive past the museum the road follows a picturesque part of that stream.
Sofala came into existence as a direct result of the goldrush which had been precipitated when Edward Hargraves discovered gold at Summerhill Creek on 12 February, 1851. There are many who will tell you that Hargraves was the first but, in point of fact, other discoveries preceded his but they were deliberately kept quiet by those in power at the time. Eventually word got out and by June that year a tent city spread across the valley and both the Royal Hotel and a General Store were built in 1851. By 25 June more than 200 ounces of gold taken from the Turon Valley to be sold in Bathurst.
The rush was extraordinary. When the local landowner realised he would never move the miners off his land he became a butcher and started selling mutton.
VISIT ROCKLEY- OBERON -BEN CHIFLEY DAM
We did a round tour from Bathurst to Oberon, had hoped to see “Mayfield Gardens” near Oberon which are one of the best in Australia.
Unfortunately, they were only open on the weekend, so did not get to see them. These gardens are open in October, AND the Admission fee in 2009 was $20.
We did find ROCKLEY, which is another historical village, listed by the National Trust.
It is one of the oldest settlements outside of Bathurst. Copper & Gold were also found in this area, and once again, there are some lovely old buildings. Ben Hall, the bushranger, held up the Bank of New South Wales (b1878)
There is a nice park, which has Public Toilets which is located beside the weir on Pepper's Creek. The water was so clear that I could see quite a few Fish.
The drive to and from Rockley was pretty, altogether this was a scenic & interesting day's outing.
BATHURST HERITAGE DRIVE – 16
“HOLY TRINITY CHURCH”
This church can been sitting on the hill from areas in Bathurst. It dates back from 1835.
The doors were not open, so we were not able to have a look inside.
The church was the 1st Anglican church to be consecrated in Australia.
The Parish hall located at the foot of the hill, is actually older than the Church, and once was used as the 1st School in the district.
Located at the church is a Cemetery which has many old Graves.
LOCATION Follow Gilmour street, when you see the Church, turn into the driveway.
BEAUTIFUL - HISTORIC - BATHURST
Bathurst is a city full of history, gorgeous heritage buildings, about the
goldrush days, bushrangers, beautiful parks and gardens, the Mount
Panorama car racing circuit, and much, much more........
It is located on the Macquarie river, 207kms or approx 2.5hours from Sydney.
If you haven't a car, then you can get here by Air, Coach or Rail.
It is a city that holds many Festivals and Events, every month there is something on........
Some events are............
Wattle Flat Bronze Thong, Rodeos, Royal Bathurst show, Autumn colours, Highland gathering & fete, Begonias in bloom, Motor Festival, Arts festivals, Bathurst 1000 car race, Wine show, and at Christmas time, Carols by candlelight.
Bathurst has 4 distinct seasons, sometimes in one day!
SUMMER is December, January, February..........
a great time for water skiing on Chifley Dam, and the stone fruit that is grown in the area, is in Season, pick up some at a roadside stall.
AUTUMN is March, April, May................
And its getting cooler, the leaves are changing colour, such a pretty time with all the beautiful brightly coloured autumn leaves. The Begonias are in bloom too!
Grapes are being picked, need some extra money, become a Grape picker!
WINTER is June, July, August..........
Bathurst gets cold, the temperature drops and its time for the winter woolies and to snuggle up infront of a wood fire.
SPRING is September, October, November...............
What a pretty time of the year this is, with Roses, trees in blossom, flowers in the gardens, the smell of scent in the air, and lots of open gardens, spring is beautiful.
Of course, it is also the time that they hold the Bathurst 1000 V8 Motor car race, and the cities population swells dramatically.
BATHURST...1851….GOLD IS DISCOVERED…
THE QUIET SETTLEMENT BECOMES A BOOM TOWN
Come and visit and see the colonial buildings with their beautiful lace verandahs.
There is plenty to see and do, the surrounding countryside is pretty, and there are interesting old and new towns nearby.