Compared to the rest of the world, Australia’s European history is quite young but there is still some fascinating historical towns worthy of exploration. Colonial occupation of Australia began in 1788 when the British First Fleet landed on Australian shores loaded with convicts and a penal colony was established.
Over the next century numerous other colonies were established surrounding the lucrative gold fields and agricultural industries and European settlement flourished with the population growing rapidly. In the early 1800s, towns were starting to be established all over the country in regions where farming and agriculture were optimum. Some of the smaller towns in New South Wales have exciting and interesting stories to uncover and stunning period architecture to view.
Located in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, Goulburn call itself Australia’s first inland city and was first opened to European settlement in 1820 when the colonial government made land grants to free settlers. A few years later, land in the area was released to buy and Goulburn was established as a sheep and farming region. The town continued to grow and prosper with the railway arriving in 1869.
Many of the town’s historic buildings were built in the late 1800s and still stand today. The first lock up was built in 1830 and the first Goulburn gaol was proclaimed in 1847. In 1881, new premises were erected and after several renamings and a 20 million dollar extension in 2001, the current Goulburn Correctional Centre was born. The high risk management facility is the most secure prison in Australia and houses the most dangerous and infamous prisoners.
The Kenmore hospital completed in 1894, the Coolavin Hotel in Sloane Street from around 1850 and Goulburn’s first permanent fire station built in 1890 are all grand examples of architecture from their era. Goulburn’s historic buildings and pretty countryside make it an interesting place to visit. Positioned on the train line and only two hours from Sydney by car, Goulburn is the ideal location for an historical weekend away.
Established in 1846, Orange, is a small city in New South Wales central west region that flourished after a nearby gold discovery in 1851 which led to the Australian gold rush era. Orange became a central trading centre for gold along with an agricultural centre due to the excellent conditions for cold climate fruit. There are still a good selection of buildings built in the 19th century displaying the charm and beauty of this era.
You can take the Heritage trail that winds through the streets of Orange past the Holy Trinity Church (1879), Duntryleague Guest House (1876), Orange Court House (1873) and Orange Town Hall. The heritage Robertson Park was established in 1882 and is still flourishing with ancient trees and beautiful gardens.
The birthplace of famous poet Banjo Patterson who wrote the iconic ‘Waltzing Matilda’, Orange has set up a monument recognising Australia’s best known and admired poet. The growth of the wine making industry in the region has seen Orange’s popularity as a holiday destination increase and seen the dramatic expansion of Orange accommodation options.
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Moree is located in northern New South Wales and boasts a slightly chequered past. Originally inhabited by the Kamilaroi indigenous people, Moree was established as a town in 1862 due to its rich, dark soil ideal for farming. The original occupants were largely driven from the area by the European settlers.
In 1965, Moree came to the attention of Australians as a rural town that was involved in racial segregation most notably in the local swimming pool where aborigines were refused entry. After a confrontation with the local council and pool owners, aboriginal children were allowed to swim outside school hours. The historical cemetery in Moree is a must see for genealogists and historians, being the final resting place for Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens, author Charles Dickens’ youngest son.
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There are several historic buildings constructed around the turn of the 19th century, including the courthouse and vicarage worthy of visiting and the surrounding farmland is home to the largest pecan nut farm in the southern hemisphere.The Econo Lodge Moree Spa Motor Inn is a well located, well priced hotel, ideal for exploring the local area.