The oldest inland settlement in Australia and the first west of the Great Dividing Range, Bathurst with its historic houses and grand public buildings sits directly west of Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
The magnificent Bathurst Court house was built in 1880. Not only a representation of the wealth and prosperity of the town during the gold rush but also of the lawlessness and crime that the gold rush brought with it.
In 1813 the Blue Mountains were first successfully crossed by European explorers and they saw the rich lands of the Bathurst Plain before them. These explorers were motivated by the Sydney colony seemingly always to be limited by the barrier of the Blue Mountains, as part of the Great Dividing Range and the need for grazing lands and food supplies. The reports from the explorers were very favorable and so the movement West began.
A site for what was to be the centre of this expansion into the western plains and what eventually became the city of Bathurst was planned on the banks of the Macquarie River and six months of work by convicts resulted in a road to it in 1814.
This expansion was not without conflict and what was to be known as the Bathurst War ensued, a short lived war in 1824 between the Wiradjuri people who resented the encroachment of the settlers from the Sydney colony.
In 1851 gold was discovered and what was to be an administrative centre for agriculture rapidly expanded into a town of 50 hotels and population of some 5,000 people. The gold rush saw the building of the town’s grand public and commercial buildings which remain as testament to the period.
Today the city remains a hub for the rich agricultural region that surrounds it and with a population of some 35,000.