Black Gold Motel 121 Main Street, Wallerawang Ph 02 63557305 Email firstname.lastname@example.org www.blackgoldmotel.com.au
Bowen Inn Motel 5 Col Drewe Dr, Lithgow Ph 02 6352 5111 Email email@example.com www.southerncrossmotelgroup.com.au/motels/nsw/lithgow-accommodation/bowen-inn-motel Reception Hours Monday–Friday 7am to 8pm, Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays 8am to 8pm
Bushmans Motor Inn 526 Great Western Highway, Marrangaroo Ph 02 6352 1655 Email firstname.lastname@example.org www.bushmanslithgow.com.au
Heritage Buildings Enjoy driving along Main Street and residential streets to see a range of heritage buildings. Stop in along the Main Street or Valley Plaza shopping areas along the way.
Lookouts and Blast Furnace Park Visit the spectacular Hassans Walls Lookout, Bracey Lookout and Blast Furnace Park.
4 HOUR TOWN AND COUNTRY DRIVES
Heritage Museums Visit Eskbank House Museum, the Small Arms Factory Museum and the State Mine Heritage Park to gain an insight into the social, industrial and manufacturing history of Lithgow. Check for opening times.
Wallerawang and Portland Visit scenic Lake Wallace, Wallerawang shopping centre and the historic St John’s Church before exploring Portland with its recreated advertising signs and heritage shopping centre. If time permits travel to Mt Piper Power Station and visit the Energy Expo (by prior arrangement).
Lake Lyell and Lake Wallace Travel via scenic Magpie Hollow Road to Lake Lyell. Stop for the views at the Lake Wall. Continue to Rydal, back to the Great Western Highway to Wallerawang and Lake Wallace where you can picnic, birdwatch, swim, play or walk.
ONE DAY TOWN AND COUNTRY DRIVES
Wolgan Valley Stop at Lake Wallace and Wallerawang then drive to the Wolgan Gap Lookout before dropping into the valley. It’s a spectacular drive along the valley floor to Newnes. Enjoy bush walks, paddling in the Wolgan River or walk around the old mining ruins (allow 2 hours, moderate). 18km unsealed road (return).
Historic Villages, Churches and Cemeteries Explore the Hartley Historic Site, visit the tea rooms and galleries in Hartley Village, drive along Coxs River Road or Jenolan Caves Road to Hampton. The Rydal/ Hampton Road will take you to Rydal. Back track 5kms and travel to Sodwells and Tarana. Stop at Evans Crown Nature Reserve for a 3km return walk (moderate) to the top of the tors. Visit Tarana before heading over to Meadow Flat and back to Lithgow.
Zig Zag Railway, Newnes Plateau, Glow Worm Tunnel Journey past the world-renowned Zig Zag Railway at Clarence before heading along the Newnes Plateau through native and pine forests to the Wollemi National Park. A 2km return walk (moderate) will take you to the Glow Worm Tunnel. Take a torch. 70km unsealed road (return).
Capertee, Capertee Valley, Rylstone Visit Pearson’s Lookout for an expansive view over the widest enclosed canyon in the world. Stop at the village of Capertee for refreshments. Visit Glen Davis, Glen Alice, Dunville Loop and then Rylstone and Kandos before heading back to Lithgow via Ilford. Scenic rural landscapes, towering escarpments. 30km of unsealed roads (approximate).
DRIVES OF SPECIAL INTEREST
Furnace, Fire and Forge If you are into heritage, spend a day or two following the Furnace, Fire and Forge trail around the Lithgow area.
Wildflowers Wildflowers can be found all year round in the Lithgow area. Hassans Walls Reserve, Newnes Plateau, national parks and just by the side of the road are all good places. Take your time to explore.
Wild and not so wild animals Kangaroos and wallabies can often be seen in paddocks in rural areas. Keep your eye out for them and also for wombats, any time of day, but particularly early morning and late afternoon. A wide variety of cattle, sheep, alpacas, goats and horses can also be seen grazing.
Bird Watching The Lithgow area provides some of the most rewarding birding experiences in Australia. From Hampton in the south to Capertee Valley in the north, you can find many different bird species including raptors soaring overhead, water birds on farm dams, in streams and on lakes and tiny birds in shrubs and bushes. Visit the Lithgow sewage ponds, notable for the rare Blue-billed Duck as well as Lake Wallace where over 110 species have been recorded, particularly water-loving birds. Look for the unusual Musk Duck and Great-crested Grebe. Officially designated as an internationally Important Bird Area, a remarkable 236 species of birds have been recorded in the Capertee Valley. The altitude and soil types result in a diversity of plant species which attract different bird communities – the makings for a truly remarkable bird watching experience.
Exploring further afield
The Lithgow area is part of the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon Tourism Region which when combined provides an extraordinary range of adventure, nature-based, cultural and relaxation experiences. There are a number of drives which you can take in the Region that will enhance your stay in Lithgow. For further details see the following websites or contact the Lithgow Visitor Information Centre.
TABLELANDS WAY The Tablelands Way Experience meanders along the western side of the Blue Mountains connecting Canberra, Goulburn, Oberon, Lithgow, Mudgee and Muswellbrook. It describes some of the nature-based trails to explore around Lithgow. www.tablelandsway.com.au
Lithgow is centrally located in the heart of the Drive with roads leading from the south from Oberon and Goulburn, north from Rylstone and Muswellbrook and east from Sydney and the Blue Mountains. www.GreaterBlueMountainsDrive.com.au
1 DAY BOTANISTS WAY Exploring all things botanical along the Bells Line of Road from Lithgow to Mt Wilson, Mt Irvine, Mount Tomah to Richmond, the Botanists Way is designed to showcase the incredible diversity of plant life of the Blue Mountains and Lithgow areas. Start at either end, spend time around Lithgow exploring plant life on Hassans Walls Reserve and Newnes Plateau, visit the gardens at Mt Wilson and Mt Irvine, stop at the scenic lookouts of Pierces Pass and Mount Banks and spend time at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden where you will find the Blue Mountains World Heritage Interpretative Centre. Contact Lithgow or Hawkesbury Visitor Centres or Blue Mountains Botanic Garden for more information.
1-2 DAYS JENOLAN CAVES, KANANGRA WALLS, OBERON Take a 45-minute drive from Lithgow, along a road that follows high ridge tops with panoramic views. Wind your way through rural pasturelands, native and pine forests and down a scenic mountain to Jenolan Caves, one of the oldest cave systems in the world. There are walking tracks in external caves and along the river and you can choose from any number of cave tours. From Jenolan take the road towards Oberon and turn off to the Kanangra-Boyd National Park to view an 800-metre deep gorge with towering cliffs and rolling blue ridges (40km unsealed road). The town of Oberon is the highest town in the Blue Mountains Region and provides a restful place to stop. Wind your way back to Lithgow after a busy day. If you want more time to explore why not stay over and make sure that you see everything there is to see. Spend another day and make the journey past Mount Werong to the old silver-lead-zinc mining village of Yerranderie (172km unsealed road total). Check road conditions with Oberon Visitor Centre.
1 DAY MT YORK, MT VICTORIA, BLACKHEATH, MEGALONG VALLEY Venture out to Mt York to the site of the original Coxs Road into the Lithgow area and for views of the Hartley Valley. The heritage village of Mt Victoria is worth a stop with tea rooms, a picture theatre and hotels. Visit Blackheath village as well as the National Parks and Wildlife Visitor Centre. There are numerous lookouts overlooking the Grose Valley including Govetts Leap, Evans Lookout and Pulpit Rock. On the other side of the highway, a drive along the Shipley Plateau reveals further lookouts. The road down into the Megalong Valley goes through the rainforests of Blackheath Glen before opening up under the escarpments.
1 DAY KATOOMBA, LEURA, WENTWORTH FALLS Katoomba is the home of the iconic Three Sisters. Take the turn-off to Blue Mountains Drive 5 just west of Katoomba and travel around the escarpments of the Jamison Valley stopping at lookouts along the way. This road takes you to the Three Sisters and then on to Leura and Wentworth Falls where you find more lookouts. Bushwalks and waterfalls are a feature, so take your time. Katoomba, Leura and Wentworth Falls are full of cafes and restaurants, along with speciality shops. You can spend the whole day exploring nature or, if you prefer, spend a relaxing day in the shops and cafes.
1 DAY BATHURST Travel up the Castlereagh Highway to Ilford, across to Sofala (take a side-trip to Hill End if time permits) and then to Bathurst before heading back to Lithgow.
1 DAY MUDGEE With many wineries, Mudgee is a great place to visit. Travel direct via the Castlereagh Highway or take the scenic drive through the Capertee Valley to Rylstone, Lue and then to Mudgee.
From ancient rock art to engineering masterpieces, historic homes and museums Lithgow has fascinating remnants of the past that will surprise and delight you.
In 1869 the railway was completed across the Blue Mountains and this resulted in the rapid development of the Lithgow Valley which was named by in honour of William Lithgow, the first Auditor-General of New South Wales.
Following a period of industrialisation in the late 1860s and 1870s, the town of Lithgow boomed during the 1880s
Lithgow is the centre of a massive coal mining district and this lead to the establishment of Australia’s first commercially viable steel mill. The ruins of this mill are open for inspection at “Blast Furnace Park” which celebrates Lithgow’s important industrial heritage.
The Lithgow area is the traditional home of the Wiradjuri, Gundungurra, Darug nations and there are 406 declared Aboriginal sites.
Maiyingu Marragu Rock Art Gallery (Blackfellows Hand Art Site) is a natural rock art gallery accessed off the Wolgan Road. Stencil artworks include boomerangs, hands, and other symbols. Declared as an ‘Aboriginal Place’ it is protected under the Aboriginal Heritage Act.
Mugii Murum-ban State Conservation Area The Mugii Murum-ban State Conservation Area is named after a highly respected local Aboriginal Elder, Charlie Riley, whose Wiradjuri people have used the area for thousands of years. Mugii is a Wiradjuri name meaning a mopoke owl and Murum-ban means eldest son in Wiradjuri
Shortly after the first crossing of the Blue Mountains from Sydney by Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth in 1813 and the building of the road by William Cox in 1815 the lands around Lithgow became settled and villages established.
Lithgow Valley which was named in honour of William Lithgow, the first Auditor-General of New South Wales.
As early as the 1840s, coal was being extracted and Lithgow was fuelling the new colony.
In 1869 the railway line was completed across the Blue Mountains and this resulted in the even more rapid development of the Lithgow Valley.
In the 1870s a number of ironworks companies were established along with a copper smelter, the first meat freezing works in NSW, the brickworks, and the soon to be famous Lithgow Pottery.
Lithgow became the centre of a massive coal mining district and eventually this lead to the establishment of Australia’s first commercially viable steel mill. The ruins of this mill are open for inspection at “Blast Furnace Park” which celebrates Lithgow’s important industrial heritage.
The first modern blast furnace in Australia was built in 1907 and steel was produced in Lithgow until 1928. The presence of steel was a factor in establishing a national Small Arms Factory in Lithgow which was the first modern manufacturing plant in Australia. This factory, still operating, outlasted the steelworks and has equipped the Australian army with weapons for over ninety years.
Lithgow has an extraordinary industrial heritage and there are still many opportunities to explore and learn.
Lithgow has a diverse collection of heritage sites and those listed on the Register of the National Estate are:
• Former Station Master’s Residence (near the visitor information centre), a sandstone cottage designed by John Clifton and built in 1869 • Zig Zag Railway, designed by John Whitton, built by Patrick Higgins • Ironworks Blast Furnace, Eskbank, 1875 to 1930 • Eskbank House, Bennett Street, built by Thomas Brown in 1842 • Lithgow Valley Pottery Site Kiln, 1875 to 1908 • Lithgow Court House, corner Bridge, and Mort Streets, a brick building in the Arts and Crafts style • De La Salle Cottage (formerly Cooerwull Academy), Rabaul Street, a stone building in the Victorian Gothic Revival style, built circa 1882 • Methven, Lidsdale Road, a sandstone house built by Andrew Brown in the 1870s • Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum
The Zig Zag Railway line was part of the Main Western line and opened in 1869. It was hailed as an engineering masterpiece. The line included several short tunnels and some viaducts and allowed trains to zig-zag backward and forwards to climb into and out of the Lithgow Valley. It was a time consuming and sometimes dangerous operation and was later replaced by a direct tunnel.
Sadly the Zig Zag Heritage Railway which was formed to run on the unused section of the zig-zag track has closed, however, the infrastructure is waiting for reuse and discovery. The heritage railway may open again in the future. We hope it does.
Historic railway stations and viaducts can be found throughout the Lithgow area and the many arched viaducts along the way are fascinating. It’s possible to follow the historic railway lines from Clarence as they wander through ever-changing landscapes to Eskbank and Lithgow and then to Bowenfels and the villages of Wallerawang, Rydal, and Tarana. To the north, Capertee on the Mudgee line is interesting and is worthwhile visiting.
Evidence of Australia’s early colonial history can be found and explored in the Hartley Valley. There is evidence of the first road crossing of the Blue Mountains, you can see convict-built buildings, and walk into the first courthouse west of the Blue Mountains built in 1837.
Hartley is located below the western escarpment of the Blue Mountains. It was once a major administrative centre and now only has a population of about 300. Hartley contains superb examples of 19th-century architecture and is now preserved as a historic site, administered by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of New South Wales. It is open to the public every day (except Christmas Day and Easter Sunday). The Hartley Historic Site is listed on the Register of the National Estate.
The museum’s collection provides an insight into Lithgow’s social and industrial history including that of the Lithgow Pottery, Blast Furnace and Steel Works, Woollen Mills and Coal Mines.
Eskbank House has had several incarnations since its original role as home to Thomas Brown including as offices for the Steel Works and as a boarding school for girls. The furniture adorning the rooms of Eskbank House was donated by local department store owner Eric Bracey in the 1950s when he bought the property and donated it back to the people of Lithgow as a history museum. All furniture dates from the time when Thomas Brown lived in the house. Be sure to look out for the historically significant Sutton quilt.
Eskbank House was Built in 1842 for Thomas Brown, Lithgow’s first industrialist by Alexander Binning and is a fine example of early Georgian Victorian styles and features Australian Cedar and local Ashlar sandstone.
Binning came to Lithgow in 1834 and shortly afterward became a sub-inspector in the Roads Department for the construction of Cox’s Road to the west, and in 1835 became sub-inspector of bridges for the Western Division. He received a land grant at Bowen’s Hollow (Bowenfels) and the hotel he established, once called The Royal and now called the Donnybrook, still stands today. He designed and built houses for fellow Presbyterians Andrew Brown and Thomas Brown and, with Reverend Colin Stewart, joined them in buying the land for South Bowenfels Presbyterian Church.
The poppet head towering above the first State government-owned coal mine signifies the struggle to bring the black diamond (coal) to the surface. The museum’s collection houses fascinating relics and stories of working life in the early coal mines. The Park’s newest attraction is the Spectra Vision presentation Fire in the Mine, a modern-day adaptation of the Peppers Ghost illusion technique. Within the old bathhouse of the State Mine, the Spectra Vision display projects a moving image of Marion Curry, the wife of a miner, who moves through the display and shares her poignant stories of the dangers faced by miners in their everyday work. After exploring the museum be sure to have a look in the restoration shed at the railway locomotives and rolling stock under various stages of repair.
State Mine Heritage Park State Mine Gully Rd Lithgow NSW 2790 Ph 02 6353 1513 Email email@example.com www.statemine.org.au Open 12.00pm-4.00pm Saturday and Sunday. Group tours at any time by appointment.
The towering remains of Australia’s first modern blast furnace provide a fascinating insight into the workings of the furnace and into the social life of Lithgow at the time.
Lithgow was the birthplace of the Australian iron and steel industry. Constructed in 1913, the Lithgow Blast Furnace, at its peak, produced 105,000 tonnes of pig iron produced primarily for use by the Trans-Australia Railway.
The many signs around the site provide information on Lithgow’s earliest industrial heritage. Wander along the path to Lake Pillans and enjoy some birdwatching or a quiet picnic. Lake Pillans Wetlands were built originally to store cooling water for the adjacent Blast Furnace and now provide a charming area full of birdlife, shady trees and boardwalks around the water’s edge.
To celebrate the first smelting of iron, the Lithgow Black Rose was made in 1876 by Joseph Hallam from the first iron produced. More black roses were made as ornaments for coffins in the 1800s and you can see examples of this fine craftsmanship on display at Eskbank House Museum
The Lithgow Valley Pottery started operations in the 1870s and was responsible for a wide range of domestic and industrial ceramic ware from butter dishes and jugs to toilet bowls! A collection of Lithgow Pottery can be seen at Eskbank House Museum. More information Environment NSW
Lithgow History Avenue is a representation of the important milestones in the history of Lithgow captured in sculpture. There are 30 pieces of works along Inch Street, each of which is an opportunity to learn more about the history of Lithgow.
The Lithgow History Avenue Project is the result of a partnership between Lithgow City Council and Glencore Coal Community Social Involvement Program. Local metal artist Phil Spark was engaged in 2012 to develop and implement the public art concept for History Avenue. His works now stretch from the top of Inch Street, past the Eskbank Station and Eskbank House to the entrance of Blast Furnace Park.
‘Industrious Lithgow’ is acknowledged in the sites marked by the sculptures. Some, such as the Blast Furnace and the collieries, link to an energetic industrialism that is now past. Others, such as the Workman’s Club, the Greyhound Racing Track, and Eskbank House, remain part of Lithgow’s social, cultural and sporting present. As walk through Lithgow History Avenue, or browsing a site will bring alive the history of Lithgow for all to enjoy.
Sculptures along History Avenue with the year marked and the event featured:
1813 Crossing of the Blue Mountains 1836 Charles Darwin Visits Wallerowang Homestead 1842 Thomas and Mary Brown Move into Eskbank House 1851 Gold Discovered near Bathurst 1851 The Great Exhibition opens in London 1868 Coal Mined Commercially in Lithgow 1870 Eskbank Station Opens 1875 Iron Making Begins at Thomas Brown’s property “Eskbank” 1875 Lithgow Public School Opens 1878 Rickard J Inch opens the first Brewery in Lithgow 1879 First Pots Made by James Silcock at the Lithgow Pottery 1880 First Chilled Meat sent to England from Lithgow by Thomas Mort 1880 Ned Kelly Hanged 1887 Joseph Cook arrives in Lithgow 1887 Lithgow Workmen’s Club Formed 1891 Lithgow Co-Operative Society Formed 1901 Federation 1901 Queen Victoria Dies 1901 First steel pour in Australia at Eskbank 1907 Railway to Newnes completed 1910 Lithgow Trades Hall Picture Palace opens 1910 Ten Tunnels Deviation of Zig Zag completed 1911 Lithgow Riot 1912 Small Arms Factory Begins Production 1913 Joseph Cook becomes Prime Minister of Australia 1915 Gallipoli Landings 1921 Steel Works Owner George Hoskins buys land at Port Kembla 1928 Lithgow Greyhound Racing Club Founded 1928 Hoskins Church Completed 1929 Demolition of Blast Furnace Begun
The Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum holds the largest collection of small arms in Australia.
In 1912, the Government built the Small Arms Factory in Lithgow to produce weapons and small arms. The factory was the first modern manufacturing facility in Australia. The Museum presents a visual journey into the social and engineering history of this renowned facility.
Sewing machines, mixmaster parts, and golf clubs! It is not well known that the Small Arms Factory not only manufactured a range of weaponry but was also responsible for making other metal components for many household items. This is the first Pinnock sewing machine made at the factory.
The Lithgow anti-aircraft gun stations at South Bowenfels are the only known inland heavy anti-aircraft gun stations of their type in NSW. The gun stations were constructed during World War II to protect the Lithgow Small Arms Factory as well as Lithgow’s important mining, manufacturing, and transport industries. Following the entry of Japan into World War II and improvements in aircraft technology, there were growing concerns about the vulnerability of inland areas.
The heritage listed buildings of the old cement works can be viewed from Williwa Street in the town of Portland which was established around the workings. Travel around the boundary of the works to the north and you will find two bottle kilns. They were built in the early 1890s and were the first cement-making kilns west of the Blue Mountains.
A trip along the Wolgan Valley is a spectacular journey in itself. Closely surrounded by towering escarpments, the road culminates at the former township of Newnes which was once a thriving oil shale works. At its peak, about 2,000 people lived there. Fascinating ruins tell a story of innovation and industry. Explore the coke-making bee-hive kilns. The former Newnes Hotel provides interpretative information.
Situated some 45km from Lithgow on the Newnes Plateau can be found a former railway tunnel which now contains glow worms. Drive through a first tunnel until you come to a carpark. A 2km return walk will take you to the Glow Worm Tunnel. The tunnel can also be accessed from the Wolgan Valley via an 8km return walking track.
A journey through the widest enclosed canyon in the world takes you through rural pastures and forests to the village of Glen Davis which was established around shale oil works which produced gasoline. The operation was an important strategic resource during World War II. Remnants of this history can be seen in the village layout. Tours of the shale oil works are by arrangement. Also worthwhile is a visit to Glen Alice and its church and cemetery.
Lithgow is on the western edge of the world famous Blue Mountains National Park.
The Park forms part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, and it protects an unusually diverse range of vegetation communities. There are many rare and ancient plants and isolated animal populations tucked away in its deep gorges. The Park is a vast and very special place.
When you drive from Sydney to Lithgow you can choose between two spectacular drives through the Blue Mountains National Park. From Richmond take the Bells Line of Road and from Penrith the Great Western Highway via Katoomba and the Three Sisters. Both are two of the most iconic drives in the world. Many people drive to Lithgow one way and take the other road upon return. It’s a wonderful drive.
The rugged beauty of Blue Mountains National Park provides a wealth of recreational opportunities for car-based sightseeing and bushwalking. Special places to visit in the Blue Mountains National Park include The Three Sisters, Euroka Clearing, Evan’s Lookout and Murphy’s Glen. Extensive bushwalking tracks and scenic lookouts are available throughout the park. For the more adventurous rock climbing, abseiling and canyoning are permitted. Access to the park can be made from Mt Victoria, Clarence, the Bells Line of Road and Great Western Highway.
Call into the Lithgow Visitor Information Centre, on the highway on the western side of the city. The friendly staff has great local knowledge about all the things Lithgow has to offer.
You will find that this visitor centre is one of the best and friendliest around. That’s why we visit it whenever we can. Editor
The staff will surprise you on the range of things there are to do in the Lithgow area and the wide choice of places to stay – from six stars with all the frills to camping with all the thrills.
If you are traveling west from Sydney, Lithgow is the gateway to the Central West where you can discover the Bathurst, Orange, and Mudgee regions. And if you are travelling from the country towards Sydney then this is Lithgow is your western gateway to Sydney.
However, before you travel on, stay a few days and explore the Lithgow region. It’s surprisingly close to Sydney, surprisingly interesting and surprisingly spectacular and you will be made most welcome.