Bathurst is a regional city in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia. It is approximately 200 kilometres (120 mi) west of Sydney and is the seat of the Bathurst Regional Council. Bathurst is the oldest inland settlement in Australia and had an estimated population of 33,110 people on 2011 Census night.
Bathurst is often referred to as the Gold Country as it was the site of the first gold discovery and where the first gold rush occurred in Australia. Today, the legend of Peter Brock, education, tourism and manufacturing drive the economy. The internationally known racetrack Mt Panorama is a landmark of the city. Bathurst has an historic city centre with many buildings remaining from the gold rush period of the mid to late 1800s.
The median age of the city's population is 34.0 years; which is particularly young for a regional centre (the state average is 36.4), and is related to the large education sector in the community. Population growth has reached 1.6% per annum over the five years until 2010, making Bathurst the seventh fastest growing regional city in NSW. This growth over recent years has resulted in increased urban development including retail precincts, sporting facilities, housing estates and expanding industrial areas.
New South Wales
Bathurst Courthouse on Russell Street, built in 1880
Bathurst is located on the western edge of the Great Dividing Range in the Macquarie River plain; also known as the Bathurst plains. The city is located adjacent to the Macquarie River which is part of the Murray-Darling basin, the largest river system in Australia. The city is protected by a levee bank to protect the city from occasional flood events. Mount Panorama is located 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from the CBD and effectively within the city limits; it is 877 metres (2,877 ft) AMSL and rises 215 metres (705 ft) above the Bathurst CBD.
Bathurst is located adjacent to the Great Western Hwy which begins in the centre of the city of Sydney and finishes at Bathurst. Within the city, two main state highways start: the Mitchell Hwy to Bourke and the Mid Western Hwy to Hay. Bathurst is located approximately mid-way along a regional road route from Canberra and Goulburn to Mudgee and the Hunter Region. Bathurst is also located on the Main Western Railway line that starts at Sydney Central Station and proceeds for 242 kilometres (150 mi) by rail to Bathurst.
The Macquarie River divides Bathurst with the CBD located on the western side of the river. Four road bridges and two rail bridges span the river within the city area. From the upstream side they are: Rail Bridge (built in 1876) closed in 2011 (replaced with a new concrete single track rail bridge structure alongside and brought into use in 2011); the four lane Evans Bridge which opened in 1995; the Denison Bridge opened in 1870 (closed to road traffic and now a pedestrian bridge); the Gordon Edgell Bridge, a low−level bridge located on George Street; and Rankens Bridge at Eglinton.
Bathurst's place in Australia's history is clearly evidenced by the large number of landmark monuments, buildings, and parks. Many landmark buildings are included in the 'Architecture' section of this article.
In the centre of the city is a square known as Kings Parade. Originally a market area from 1849 to 1906, it was redesignated as a public recreation ground and site for a soldiers memorial. Kings Parade now contains three memorials, an open space park and gardens.
Bathurst has retained a mix of main street shopping along with enclosed shopping centres within the CBD, unlike other towns where the CBD focus has split between main street and new shopping centre developments located in the suburbs. Within the CBD lies Kings Parade; this is a park setting with several memorials of people and events in history. It is a popular location for locals to meet. Keppel Street is Bathurst's second commercial shopping area, removed from the CBD by two blocks to the south. This area developed once the railway arrived in 1876. City planners are responsible for conservation of the historical buildings within Bathurst.
The main suburbs of Bathurst are: Kelso, Eglinton, West Bathurst, Llanarth, South Bathurst, Gormans Hill, Windradyne, Windradyne Heights and Abercrombie Estate. One of the newer suburbs is Marsden Estate, in Kelso.
Bathurst is a cathedral city, being the seat for the Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops of Bathurst. The city is dotted with many churches and other religious buildings such as schools and halls. The cathedrals are All Saints' (Anglican), and St Michael and St John's (Catholic); then there are many churches and places of worship including St Stephens Presbyterian Church & Hall, Assumption Church (Catholic), St Barnabas' South Bathurst (Anglican) that was partially fire-destroyed in 2014 and others.
Bathurst was also the home of wartime Labor Prime Minister Ben Chifley, who represented the area in the Federal Parliament and is buried in Bathurst. His legacy is celebrated by the Labor Party each year with a function known as the Light on the Hill speech by a senior Labor figure. The Light on the Hill speech was first delivered to the ALP Conference by Chifley in 1949.
Bathurst is unusual in that it has a collection of house museums representing different periods of its history from first settlement to the 1970s. The house museums include Old Government Cottage built 1837–1860, Abercrombie House a 40 room historic mansion built c. 1870s, Miss Traill's House ( Miss Traill's House & Garden) built in 1845, and Chifley Home which retains the simple furnishings that demonstrated the lifestyle and image of Chifley as a ‘plain man’.
Bathurst is home to several museums including the Bathurst Historical Society Museum located in the left wing of the historic courthouse. This museum includes in its collection a range of Aboriginal artefacts and large collections of documents relating to Bathurst's early history and collection of local items from Australia's early settlement. Central Bathurst is host to the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, which houses the Somerville Collection of fossils and minerals, and features Australia's only complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. The Somerville Collection also consists of one of the largest collections of tourmaline in the Southern Hemisphere. The Fossil and Mineral Museum is located in the historic school building in the CBD.
Organisations that support the various arts are well catered for in Bathurst they include the Mitchell Conservatorium which was the NSW's first regional, community-based, pre-tertiary and non-profit music centre, it was established in May 1978. The Conservatorium provides musical education and performance opportunities to children and adults. The Bathurst Regional Art Gallery focuses on Australian art from 1955 and has a strong representation of local landscapes and particularly local villages and towns. The collection includes several Lloyd Rees paintings. The design of the gallery allows regular exhibitions with an average of 25 exhibitions per year. The gallery is owned by the Bathurst Regional Council and is located in a modern purpose built building incorporating the Regional Library. Another Arts group is the Macquarie Philharmonia, this professional and amateur orchestra annually brings together professional musicians living in western areas of NSW. Known as Australia's Inland Symphony Orchestra, throughout the year the Macquarie Philharmonia invites selected music students from the region's Conservatoriums to perform alongside professionals to audiences throughout the Region. Carillon Theatrical Society is an amateur theatrical society that has been performing musicals for the people of Bathurst since 1959. Recent shows include The Producers and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The NSW Government and Charles Sturt University supports the Arts in the area through Arts OutWest which is the peak arts and cultural body for the Central West area of NSW, operating since 1974. This group promotes and educates arts and cultural development for Bathurst and the region.
The Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre (BMEC) is a new purpose built building completed in 1999 that provides a venue for local and visiting performances. BMEC has an annual season of entertainment encompassing all forms of the performing arts from Australia and around the world.
Entertainment and learning is promoted by the historic Royal Bathurst Show, this Agricultural Show has been operating since 1860 and is one of the largest regional shows in NSW. The show has been operating continuously from the present site since 1878 and attendances now typically reach 20,000 people over a two-day period. In 1994 approval was received from the Queen to name the show the Royal Bathurst Show.
The Central Tablelands region is a location with a growing reputation as a producer of gourmet food and drink. A non-profit volunteer based organisation known as Bre&d was established in 2001 to encourage visitors and residents to experience the regions produce. The organisation operates the monthly Bathurst Farmers Markets held at the Bathurst Showground as well as the Bre&d Under the Stars and Bre&d On the Bridge annual events that showcase the regions chefs and local produce. The events are held on the historic Denison Bridge with the Macquarie River passing below.
This gallery of images illustrates the heritage and architectural styles of various buildings and structures and localities in the City of Bathurst.
Bathurst Railway Yard
Boer War Memorial