Bathurst, New South Wales

Coordinates: 33°25′12″S 149°34′40″E / 33.42000°S 149.57778°E / -33.42000; 149.57778
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New South Wales
William Street
Bathurst is located in New South Wales
Coordinates33°25′12″S 149°34′40″E / 33.42000°S 149.57778°E / -33.42000; 149.57778
Population36,230 (UCL 2021)[1]
Elevation650 m (2,133 ft)
LGA(s)Bathurst Regional Council
RegionCentral West
State electorate(s)Bathurst
Federal division(s)Calare
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
20.8 °C
69 °F
6.7 °C
44 °F
647.8 mm
25.5 in

Bathurst (/ˈbæθɜːrst/) is a city in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia. Bathurst is about 200 kilometres (120 mi) west-northwest of Sydney and is the seat of the Bathurst Regional Council. Bathurst is the oldest inland settlement in Australia[2] and had a population of 37,396 in 2021.[3]

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 education, tourism and manufacturing drive the economy. The internationally known racetrack Mount Panorama is a landmark of the city. Bathurst has a historic city centre with many ornate buildings remaining from the New South Wales gold rush in the mid to late 19th century.

The median age of the city's population is 35 years; which is particularly young for a regional centre (the state median is 38), and is related to the large education sector in the community.[3][4] The city has had a moderate population growth of 1.29% year-on-year averaged over the five years until 2019, making Bathurst the tenth fastest-growing urban area in New South Wales outside Sydney.[3] This growth over recent years has resulted in increased urban development, including retail precincts, sporting facilities, housing estates and expanding industrial areas.


Bathurst and its surrounds from Mount Panorama

Bathurst is located on the western edge of the Great Dividing Range in the Macquarie River plain; also known as the Bathurst plains.[5]

The Macquarie River, which is part of the Murray-Darling basin, the largest river system in Australia, runs through the centre of the city. A number of levee banks have been erected in Bathurst to protect the region from occasional flood events.[6]

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.

The Great Western Highway, which begins in the centre of the city of Sydney, ends at Bathurst. Two main state highways start at Bathurst: the Mitchell Highway to Bourke and the Mid-Western Highway to Hay. Bathurst is about mid-way along a regional road route from Canberra and Goulburn to Mudgee and the Hunter Region. Bathurst is also on the Main Western railway line that starts at Sydney Central 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: Macquarie River Railway Bridge (built in 1876[7]) 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.


Two physical components comprise the Bathurst region; the Bathurst Basin and the Tablelands areas. They are drained by the Macquarie, Turon, Fish and Campbells Rivers to the north and Abercrombie and Isabella Rivers to the south. The central basin area of the Bathurst area is mainly granite soils while in the north area sandstone, conglomerates, greywacke, siltstones, limestones and minor volcanos predominate. The south is more complex geology with siltstones, sandstones, greywacke, shales and chert, basalt and granite intrusions and embedded volcanic and limestones. Underlying Bathurst is the dominant feature of Bathurst granite (intruded in the Devonian period) and at Mount Panorama and Mount Stewart basalt occurs.[4]

Topography of the region ranges from slightly undulating to rough and very steep country, about 30 km to the east of Bathurst is the folded and faulted sedimentary and metamorphosed formations of the Great Dividing Range which runs roughly north–south.[8]

Central Business District and suburbs[edit]

William Street; one of the main streets of Bathurst

Bathurst's central business district (CBD) is located on William, George, Howick, Russell, and Durham Streets. The CBD is about 25 hectares (62 acres) in area and covers two city blocks. Banking, government services, shopping centres, retail shops, a park (shown) and monuments are in this area.

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. [citation needed]

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.[9]


Autumn foliage in central Bathurst during May

Due to its elevation, Bathurst has an oceanic climate (Cfb), according to the Köppen climate classification. Bathurst is in Australia's cool temperate climate zone which is defined as having mild to warm summers and cool to cold winters.[10][11] Regular summer thunderstorms are common, resulting from the flat plains country to the west, leading into the mountainous nature of the country around Bathurst and assisting the development of storm cells. These storms rarely strike the city and instead often move either in a south-east or north-east direction away from Bathurst.[12] Bathurst gets 106.9 clear days annually.[13]

In winter, light to moderate snowfalls occur each year on the high country around Bathurst, while snow is relatively rare in the city itself due to its low elevation at a northern latitude. On 5 July 1900, Bathurst received a freak snowfall measuring at 68 centimetres (27 in) in the main street.[14] Bathurst is relatively dry year round, as it lay in a rain shadow on account of its sheltered valley location flanked by hills and ranges on all sides.[15]

On 11 February 2017, Bathurst Ag recorded a new record high temperature of 41.5 °C (106.7 °F),[16] although temperatures of 40 °C (104 °F) are exceedingly rare for Bathurst. There is a reading of 44.7 °C (112.5 °F) on 12 January 1878 at the gaol, however such a reading may have been subject to overexposure. The highest minimum temperatures on record are 28.1 °C (82.6 °F) on 14 January 1939, and 27.8 °C (82.0 °F) on 20 November 1904.

The lowest recorded temperature was −10.6 °C (12.9 °F) on 31 July 1873; and the lowest maximum temperature was an extraordinary −0.8 °C (30.6 °F) on 18 June 1877, which is the only known daily maximum below 0 °C (32 °F) to have occurred in a major Australian city. Bathurst is one of only a handful of Australian towns to have recorded a sub-freezing maximum (others include Guyra and Nimmitabel), while at least one month has remained entirely free of air-frosts, a trait common in broadly-temperate Laurasian (European, Asian, and North American) climates.

Climate data for Bathurst Agricultural Station (1991–2020, extremes 1908–2023); 713 m AMSL; 33.43° S, 149.56° E
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 41.0
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 29.5
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 14.0
Record low °C (°F) 1.8
Average rainfall mm (inches) 66.7
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2mm) 8.1 7.5 7.0 5.3 7.7 10.8 11.4 10.2 9.3 9.1 9.8 8.8 105.0
Average afternoon relative humidity (%) 41 46 45 47 55 64 61 53 50 46 48 40 50
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[13]
Climate data for Bathurst Gaol (1858–1983); 704 m AMSL; 33.42° S, 149.55° E
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 44.7
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 29.3
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 13.2
Record low °C (°F) −2.2
Average rainfall mm (inches) 66.1
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2mm) 6.5 5.9 5.9 5.8 7.1 8.7 8.8 8.7 8.2 8.2 7.0 6.7 87.5
Average afternoon relative humidity (%) 43 46 48 53 58 64 63 57 52 49 45 43 52
Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology; Bathurst Gaol



The area around what is now called Bathurst was originally occupied by the Muurrai clan of the Wiradjuri people. It was known as dalman or place of plenty. Yam fields were cultivated on the fertile floodplain and fire-stick farming was utilised to maintain grassy pasture for wild game. The Wiradjuri were noted by early colonists for their neat mandiyaba or possum-skin cloaks which were decorated with artistic etchings known as burwurr.[17] British colonial settlement into this area began in 1815 and was expanded in 1818 when Governor Lachlan Macquarie removed restrictions that limited colonial settlements. Once these restrictions were removed the Wiradjuri people suffered major dislocation, death and disruption to their way of life.[18]

Early British colonisation (1815–1850)[edit]

George Evans monument

The government surveyor, George Evans, was the first European to sight the Bathurst Plains in 1813, following the first successful British crossing of the Blue Mountains in the same year. In 1814, Governor Lachlan Macquarie approved an offer by William Cox to build a road crossing the Blue Mountains, from Emu Plains to the Bathurst Plains. This road was 3.7 metres (12 ft) wide and 163.3 kilometres (101+12 mi) long, built between 18 July 1814 and 14 January 1815 using 5 freemen, 30 convict labourers and 8 soldiers as guards. Twenty convicts and soldiers remained stationed at terminus of the road at the Bathurst Plains. These were the first non-Indigenous residents of what was to become Bathurst but was simply referred to until May 7 of that year as the Grand Depot. Governor Macquarie surveyed the finished road in April 1815, travelling along it to the Grand Depot with his wife and an entourage of 50 officials, soldiers and servants.[19][17]

John Lewin, The Plains, Bathurst, watercolour drawing, ca. 1815, State Library of New South Wales

On 7 May 1815, Governor Macquarie raised the British flag at the Grand Depot, ordered a ceremonial volley to be fired and named the military outpost as Bathurst after the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Bathurst.[20] Bathurst thereby became the oldest inland British settlement in Australia. William Cox, who was appointed the first Commandant of Bathurst, and William Lawson were promised large grants of land in the area and soon sent herds of their livestock to the region.

The Bathurst region was opened up to wider British settlement in 1818 when Macquarie granted ten men 20 hectares (50 acres) of land each. These men were William Lee, Richard Mills, Thomas Kite, Thomas Swanbrooke, George Cheshire, John Abbott, John and James Blackman, John Neville and John Godden. These grants were located at what is now White Rock and Kelso. In 1818, Governor Macquarie stated in his diary:

This morning I inspected 10 new settlers for Bathurst. I have agreed to grant each 50 acres of land, a servant, a cow, four bushels [141 litres] of wheat, an allotment in the new town, and to receive into the King's Store at Bathurst all the Wheat they can grow for the first 12 months.[21]

Bathurst, painted by Joseph Backler c.1847–1857

In the early years of settlement, Bathurst was a base for many of the early explorers of the NSW inland, including George Evans in 1815, John Oxley in 1817–1818, Allan Cunningham in 1823, and Thomas Mitchell during the 1830s.[22][23]

In 1819, frontier conflicts between local Wiradjuri groups and encroaching settlers began when Aboriginal people were shot and others mauled by the colonists' dogs. When Governor Brisbane opened the Bathurst area to wider colonisation from 1822, the subsequent large influx of graziers led to a more intense conflict over land and resources known as the Bathurst War.[17] The Wiradjuri, led by leaders such as Windradyne, continued to resist settler encroachment until martial law was declared in August 1824, after which settlers conducted several raids against Wiradjuri settlements; colonists such as Theophilus Chamberlain, the superintendent for William Cox, perpetrated several massacres. In response, Major James Thomas Morisset was appointed commandant of Bathurst to restore order, conducting several sweeps across the landscape. Martial law ended in December 1824 as the remaining Wiradjuri were forced to make peace with the colonial authorities.[24][17][25][26]

Gold rush era (1851–1860s)[edit]

Painting of Edward Hammond Hargraves, who is credited with the first discovery of payable gold near Bathurst in 1851

Flecks of gold were first discovered in the Fish River in February 1823, but it was 12 February 1851 in a Bathurst Hotel when Edward Hargraves announced the discovery of payable gold. Soon, gold was found at Ophir (later Sofala) and Hill End in the 1850s.

Hill End, called 'Bald Hills' in 1850, 'Forbes' in 1860 and finally Hill End in 1862 was part of the Tambaroora district. At its peak had a population of 7 000 people. Hill End's fame is the finding of the 'Holtermann Specimen (Correctly the Beyers Holtermann Specimen)' on 20 October 1871 being the largest single mass of gold ever discovered in the world, a record that still stands today. Found in 1872 this single mass of quartz and gold weighed 630 lbs and when crushed produced and est. of 3000 troy oz (205 lbs or 93 kg) of gold, thus processed held more gold than the processed gold from largest nugget ever found, that being the Welcome Stranger from the Victorian Goldfields. Holtermann recognizing the significance of the find attempted to preserve it by buying it from the Company of which he was one of a number of directors. His efforts were in vain. It is reported that a larger mass was discovered a few days later in the same mine but was broken up underground. Absolutely reliant on Gold, the towns decline was dramatic once the Gold ran out before the 1900s. Photo: Hotlermann with the Beyers-Holterman Specimen[27]

In the 1860s, the town of Bathurst began to boom. Bathurst was to become the first gold centre of Australia. The nearby gold localities would transport their gold to Bathurst[22] then to Sydney. The mail and gold transport coaches became an obvious target for bushrangers, which became a major problem for the authorities. The Ribbon Gang and the Bathurst Rebellion occurred in 1830, when a large group of over 80 convicts roamed the Bathurst district. They were eventually captured and charged with murder, bushranging and horse-thieving. On 2 November 1830, ten members of the Ribbon Boys were hanged in Bathurst for their crimes. The site of the first and largest public hanging in Bathurst is still marked by the laneway sign Ribbon Gang Lane in the CBD.[28] Ben Hall, who became a notorious bushranger, was married in St Michael's Church at Bathurst in 1856. In October 1863, a gang of five (including Hall) raided Bathurst, robbing a jeweller's shop, bailed up the Sportsmans Arms Hotel and tried to steal a racehorse. They returned three days later and held up more businesses. John Peisley, another bushranger, was tried and hanged for murder at Bathurst Gaol in 1862.[29]

Abercrombie House; grand estates and residences were built by early settlers in Bathurst, especially during the height of the Gold Rushes

Bathurst's economy was transformed by the discovery of gold in 1851. One illustration of the prosperity gold brought to Bathurst is the growth and status of hotels and inns. The first licensed inn within the township was opened in 1835, the Highland Laddie. At the peak of hotel activity in 1875, coinciding with the gold rush period, there were 61 operating concurrently. A total of 89 hotel locations have been identified in the town of Bathurst, with 112 operating in the immediate district during the course of the history in Bathurst. Initially many pubs were simply a cottage with stables. As prosperity increased during the gold rush, the Hotels became typical of architecture of pubs known today.[30]

Development to Federation (1860s–1910)[edit]

William Street in 1870

The Cobb & Co business was a horse drawn coaching transport business originally established in Victoria but relocated to Bathurst in 1862 to follow the gold rush. The business provided gold escorts, mail services and passenger services to the towns and rural settlements.[31] Cobb & Co. coaches were constructed in the coaching workshops located in Bathurst and the Bathurst Information Centre contains a restored Cobb & Co. coach.[32][33]

Bathurst District Hospital

Bathurst later became the centre of an important coal-mining and manufacturing region. The Main Western railway line from Sydney reached Bathurst in 1876. From that time, the town became an important railway centre with workshops, crew base with locomotive depot and track and signal engineering offices. It remains today as the railway regional engineering headquarters with a large rail component manufacturing facility.

The heritage listed Bathurst Courthouse, a predominant landmark of the city centre, was constructed in 1880 based on designs by the New South Wales Colonial and Government architects, James Barnet and Walter Liberty Vernon.[34][35]

In 1885, Bathurst had a population of about 8,000 and an additional 20,000 people in the district. The town in 1885 was a hub for stores such as E.G. Webb & Co. with supplies and distribution occurring throughout large parts of western NSW and into Queensland and South Australia.[22]

Early 20th century[edit]

Rotunda at Machattie Park

This period is characterised by periods of slow to moderate population growth, with industrial and education industries developing and technology and services delivered to the town. Several major infrastructure developments arrive such as distributed town gas, electricity, town water supplies, and a sewage treatment system. Town gas had arrived in Bathurst courtesy of a private venture in 1872, with the Council providing a competing network from 1888. On 30 June 1914, the Council purchased the Wark Bros gas system and combined the gas networks. The old gasworks plant on Russell Street (now out of use) was built in 1960. In 1987 natural gas arrived via a new 240 km spur pipeline off the Moomba to Sydney pipeline.[36] The early part of the century saw electricity arrive initially for street lighting; the city converted from gas street lighting to electric lighting on 22 December 1924, when 370 electric lights at a cost of £40,000 were switched on.[37] Lighting spread along streets through to 1935, over time to businesses and finally private houses. Sewage treatment was an early infrastructure project funded by the state government and built in 1915.[38]: 59  Water supply started with private wells in backyards. Eventually a waterworks was built to the south of the town on the river with the water pumped through piping laid progressively to the businesses and private dwellings. In 1931, work started on the 1,700 ML Winburndale Dam project to gravity feed water through a wood stave pipe laid to the town. The scheme was opened by the Premier of New South Wales on 7 October 1933. Later, a new larger water supply dam was built on the Campbells River. Originally known as the Campbell River Dam scheme and later renamed the Ben Chifley Dam after the late Prime Minister Ben Chifley of Bathurst. It was opened in November 1956. The Ben Chifley Dam received a major storage upgrade designed to meet the cities needs to 2050; the work was completed in 2001 increasing the capacity by 30% to 30,800 megalitres (6.8×109 imp gal; 8.1×109 US gal).[39]

Bathurst district ambulance station

An ambulance service commenced on 6 June 1925 with a new Hudson ambulance. A new ambulance station was opened 2 March 1929 and is still used by the NSW Ambulance Service. Motor cars were becoming common in the early 20th century and the need for road service patrols commenced in 1927, provided by the NRMA using a motorcycle/sidecar response vehicle. The early electronic media age arrived with the opening of commercial radio station 2BS on 1 January 1937. Bathurst Aerodrome was opened in 1942, initially to benefit the war effort providing parking for aircraft overflowing from Richmond air force base.[40] The first commercial airline service departed for Sydney on 16 December 1946.[41]

A famous Australian brand name of frozen foods began in Bathurst. Robert Gordon Edgell arrived in Bathurst in 1902.[citation needed] By 1906, he was growing pears, apples and asparagus and experimenting with canning and preserving fruit and vegetables, eventually opening a small cannery in 1926.[citation needed] In 1930, he formed the company Gordon Edgell & Sons which became, and still is, a famous Australian food brand, now owned by Simplot.

Many attempts were made to start a university college, the earliest attempts were 1912 through to 1947 when real progress was made with plans for a state teachers college. The first intake of teacher students came at the beginning of 1951 with the official opening on 9 November 1951. The college has transformed over time into the Mitchell College of Advanced Education on 1 January 1970. The college grew and ultimately became the Charles Sturt University on 19 July 1989.[42]

Bathurst was one of the locations to campaign to be the site of the new federal capital. In an essay prepared by a journalist with the Bathurst Times, Price Warung,[43] in 1901 to promote Bathurst's candidacy, he responds to the federal committees key requirements for the capital to have: "centrality and accessibility of situation, salubrity, and capacity for impregnable defence".[44] The proposed site for the capital city would have been slightly north-west of Bathurst, straddling the Macquarie River, at the locality known as Elrington.[45]

World War II and Bathurst Migrant Camp[edit]

Post-war migrants at the Bathurst Migrant Centre, 1949

An Australian Army camp was established at Bathurst in early 1940, intended for the Second Australian Imperial Force's 1st Armoured Division; however, it was later converted to an infantry training centre due to the unsuitability of the closely settled area to armoured training. Following World War II, the camp was converted to a migrant reception and training centre, with the first group of migrants arriving in 1948. At times the centre had up to 10,000 residents at one time,[22] taking in a total of around 100,000 migrants before its closure in 1952, when Villawood Migrant Centre was opened. Officially Bathurst Migrant Reception and Training Centre, it was usually referred to as Bathurst Migrant Camp.[46]

Population growth[edit]

Bathurst's population has had rapid growth periods throughout its history; during the mid to late 19th century gold rush period, then post World War 2 when migrants from the war ravaged countries were settled in the area and returning soldiers were offered farming land, and at the start of this century has been another fast growth period corresponding in part to Sydney's congestion.[citation needed] Other periods have seen a slightly declining population, including the decade around the 1900s and during the 1960s. The following chart illustrates the growth from 1856 to recent times.[47]

Bathurst population growth 1856 to 2005
Bathurst population growth 1856 to 2005

Heritage listings[edit]

Woolstone House
The former Masonic Hall

Bathurst has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:


Bathurst's place in Australia's history is evidenced by the large number of landmark monuments, buildings, and parks.

Kings Parade, Carillon Memorial and Evans Memorial

In the centre of the city is a square known as Kings Parade. Originally a market area from 1849 to 1906 [citation needed], 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.

The Bathurst War Memorial Carillon is a 30.5 metres (100 ft) tall tower structure located in the centre of Kings Parade. The Parade is located in the centre of Bathurst's CBD. The Carillon is a memorial to the soldiers who died in the two World Wars. The bell tower contains 49 bronze bells cast by John Taylor & Co in 1928 that are rung daily at lunchtime, and an eternal flame on the platform level of the structure. The Carillon was officially completed on Armistice Day, 11 November 1933[72] at a cost of £8,000.[73] It was upgraded in 2020 to World Carillon Federation [nl] standards, making it only the third such carillon in Australia. The Evans memorial stands at the northern end of Kings Parade. Completed in 1920, the memorial commemorates the discovery of the Bathurst Plains in 1813 by George Evans, Assistant Surveyor of Lands. The Boer War memorial stands at the southern end of Kings Parade. This memorial was unveiled in 1910 by Lord Kitchener. [citation needed]


Historical population
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics data.[74][75]
St Barnabas Anglican Church

In 2021, there were 37,396 people in Bathurst.[3]

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 7.7% of the population.
  • Males make up 49.7% of the Bathurst population.[76]
  • 84.6% of people were born in Australia. The next most common countries of birth were England 1.8%, New Zealand 1.0%, India 0.9%, the Philippines 0.7% and Nepal 0.5%.
  • 87.4% of people only spoke English at home.
  • 9.2% of the population have been divorced.[77]
  • The most common responses for religion were No Religion 32.6%, Catholic 28.7% and Anglican 15.2%.[77]


Bathurst Courthouse


Local government was trialled in the new Colony with a 'Bathurst and Carcoar District Council' established on 12 August 1843,[38]: 66  Bathurst was proclaimed a town in 1852 and incorporated as a borough in 1862, next a municipality in 1883,[4] then gazetted a city in on 20 March 1885.[22] the same day as Sydney was declared a city.[4] Bathurst Regional Council was formed on 26 May 2004 following the amalgamation of the Bathurst City Council, most of Evans Shire and a small amount of land formerly included in Oberon Shire.[78]


The Electoral district of Bathurst is the state seat in the NSW Parliament. This seat covers the major centres of Bathurst and Lithgow, and all or part of Bathurst, Blayney, Cabonne, Lithgow, Mid-Western and Oberon local government areas.

Since 1859, Bathurst has existed as an electoral district in the NSW Parliament. Prior to 1856, Bathurst was a part of the Electoral district of Western Boroughs. Before the 1920s, Bathurst was a single member constituency, in the 1920s it became a multimember district with proportional representation. During the middle part of the 20th century the seat was marginal between Labor and Country Parties, from 1981 when the strong Labor town of Lithgow moved from Blue Mountains to Bathurst, the seat was dominated by Labor, except for 1988 when it was won by the Liberal Party for one 3-year term,[79] and the 2011 election when Paul Toole of the National Party won the seat.[80]


Bathurst is currently within the federal electoral district of Calare which includes a large part of western NSW from Lithgow in the east to Tullamore in the west. Prior to the 2010 election, Bathurst was within the Macquarie federal electoral district which was more easterly based including the Blue Mountains area with Bathurst as the western boundary of the district.[81]


Retail lining Howick Street

Bathurst's economy is broad based with a manufacturing industry, large education sector (including agricultural) and government service sectors. In 2015, the Gross Regional Product was $1.96 billion representing 0.4% of the Gross State Product of New South Wales.[82]

To capitalise on Bathurst's growth, education facilities and youthful population, in 2011 the Regional Council announced it was progressing plans for a new Australian Centre for Science, Technology and Emerging Industries (ACSTEI), also known as the Technology Park, to be established adjacent to the Charles Sturt University Campus with the centre featuring next generation emerging industries.[83]

Manufacturing and food[edit]

Private sector employers with large workforces in Bathurst (according to statistics published in 2009) include Devro, an international company that produces food casing products and Mars Petcare manufacturing plant are the single largest private employers of labour. Companies such as Telstra's call centre, Simplot Australia's (more recognisable as brands such as Edgells, BirdsEye, Chiko Roll, and I&J Seafood products) food processing and canning plant and Burkes Transport a local trucking and distribution company.[4] In 1982, Clyde Engineering opened a railway component facility in Kelso, initially producing electrical equipment under licence from Hitachi.[84][85] In 1982 it began manufacturing locomotives.[86] It closed in 2013.[87]

Public sector[edit]

Government sector employers with large local workforces include Country Energy with their District Field Office and Corporate Office, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst Regional Council, the NSW Land Registry Services that provide mapping and survey data across NSW, the Western NSW Local Health District – Regional Office, Bathurst Correctional Centre, NSW Department of Education – Regional Office, New South Wales Police Force – Chifley Local Area Command, and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service – Regional Office.[4] In April 1982, the State Rail Authority opened a locomotive and wagon overhaul facility in Bathurst.[88][89]


The Bathurst region's climate of cool winter weather lends itself to stone fruit production and cool variety grapes suitable for wine production. [citation needed]

Bathurst is the location for the Bathurst Primary Industries Centre, a government facility that has been operating since 1895 and originally known as The Experimental Farm. Originally established to study most facets of agriculture in the early growth years of the western inland, work included dairy, pigs, vegetable, cereal plantings, and fruit trees. The site is still one of the most important stone fruit research units in Australia.[90]

Sheep and wool production are the main primary sector industries in the surrounding area with beef cattle a secondary production. Wool has been a significant part of the Bathurst rural scene since the 1850s when the industry was growing rapidly. Lambs for meat production are a common product of the region's farms. Beef cattle breeds are predominantly British, British cross and European cross; the Bos indicus types are present but not common.[91]


Bathurst is the site of a major timber processing facility, which uses timber harvested from the surrounding forests. There are large plantations of softwood timber (pinus radiata) that are harvested for timber products; the main product being sawlogs, and some pulp. Bathurst is the headquarters for the Macquarie Region of Forestry Corporation of NSW (a NSW State Owned Corporation).[92]


The Bathurst 1000

In the 21st century, Bathurst is known for motorsport, being the site of the Mount Panorama motor racing circuit. It hosts the Bathurst 12 Hour motor race each February, the Bathurst Motor Festival every Easter, and the Bathurst 1000 motor race each October. During these times, the population swells with tourists. The circuit is a public road when not being used for racing and is a popular tourist attraction for visitors to the city. Bathurst has a long history of racing, beginning with motorcycle racing from 1911.[93] From 1931 to 1938, motorcycle racing was conducted at the Old Vale Circuit[94] before moving to the newly created Mount Panorama Circuit in 1938. On 16 April 1938, Mount Panorama attracted 20,000 spectators to its first race, The Australian Tourist Trophy and in 2006 the crowd figure reached 194,000 for the 3-day Bathurst 1000 event.[95]

A group known as 'Mount Panorama Second Circuit Action Group' is promoting and lobbying to incorporate additional track and facilities into the existing circuit to capture additional events and increase the use of the facility.[96]

Beside the circuit is the National Motor Racing Museum. This museum was built to encourage visitors to the circuit all year round and includes motor cycles and cars, representing the racing history of Bathurst. Peter Brock, the race car driver, was synonymous with Mount Panorama racing and a memorial sculpture dedicated to him, is located in the museum grounds.


Sports in general are well supported by the Bathurst community. The Bathurst Regional Council and NSW State Government have contributed significant funds over the past decade [which?] to build new facilities, such as a new heated Aquatic Centre, an Indoor Sports Stadium, Hockey Complex and major upgrade of the track, new pit complex and spectator facilities at the Mount Panorama circuit. The Hockey Complex is an advanced facility which includes water and sand based fields as well as numerous grass fields.

The city provides dedicated sports facilities for motor racing, Rugby League (part of Group 10), Rugby Union, Australian Rules, Athletics, Cricket, Netball, Tennis, Football and Touch Football. There are over 70 different sporting groups and organisations in the region from the Academy of Dance, croquet, aero, pony clubs, through to the football, rugby, cricket and cycling. Cycling is increasingly considered a speciality sport of the Bathurst Region with ideal road and community facilities around the city. The Bathurst Cycling Club is one of the oldest sports clubs in Australia founded in 1884.[97]

Sports grounds around Bathurst:[98]

  • Alan Morse Park – cricket and athletics
  • Anne Ashwood Park – rugby union (Bathurst Bulldogs Rugby Union Club)
  • Bathurst Sportsground – turf cricket pitch, rugby league / rugby union field, velodrome, and turf 'track and field' facilities – home of Bathurst Panthers Rugby League Club. From 1928 to 1951, there was a motorcycle speedway track around the pitch.[99] It hosted significant events including the Australian Solo Championship in 1931[100][101] and the New South Wales Individual Speedway Championship in 1951.[99]
  • Bathurst Indoor Sports Stadium – basketball, volleyball, netball, soccer and badminton courts
  • Brooke Moore Oval – 3 synthetic cricket nets, and 1 turf cricket pitch
  • Carrington Park – rugby league, and rugby union
  • Cooke Hockey Complex – 9 grass hockey fields, 3 synthetic hockey fields
  • Cubis Park Facilities – 2 synthetic cricket pitches, and 2 full size rugby league / soccer fields
  • Eglinton Oval
  • George Park – Australian Rules, and cricket
  • John Matthews Complex – 14 all weather netball courts, and tennis
  • Kennerson Park, Upfold Street - Bathurst greyhound racing, opened 30 November 1935.[102][103]
  • Learmonth Park – 4 synthetic cricket pitches, and 9 touch football fields (turf)
  • Marsden Estate – table tennis tournament[104]
  • Proctor Park – 12 turf soccer fields
  • Police Paddock – 2 synthetic cricket pitches, and 4 full sized turf soccer fields
  • Ralph Cameron Oval, Raglan – 2 tennis courts, 3 cricket nets, 2 synthetic cricket wickets
  • Walmer Park
  • Paddy's Hotel Sports Fields – turf cricket pitch, turf cricket nets and synthetic cricket nets

Gliding is a popular activity and there is a large gliding community in Bathurst. Gliding takes place at Pipers Airfield which is about 5 kilometres to the north of the city.[105] Gliding also occurs most school holidays at the Bathurst Regional Airport where Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC) from No.301 Air Training Flight learn to fly.[106]

Bathurst, with its young demographic, has established modern sporting competitions such as the Newtons Nation event. At this event, held at Mount Panorama, young people can participate in modern sports such as BMX Dirt Bikes, Mountain Bikes, Wakeboarding, Parkour, Flatland BMX, Krumping, Skateboarding, and Luge.[107]


Cathedral of St Michael and St John, built in 1861

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[108] 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. Each year, the Labor party celebrates his legacy with a function known as the Light on the Hill speech by a senior Labor figure.[109] Bathurst 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,[110] Abercrombie House a 40-room historic mansion built c. 1870s, Miss Traill's House built in 1845, and Chifley Home which retains the simple furnishings that demonstrated the lifestyle and image of Chifley as a 'plain man'.

The Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum

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.[111] 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.[112] 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.[113] The gallery is owned by the Bathurst Regional Council and is located in a modern purpose built building incorporating the Regional Library.[114] 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.[115] 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.[116] 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.[117]

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.[118]

The pavilion at the Bathurst Showground

The historic Royal Bathurst Show is an Agricultural Show conducted by the Bathurst Agricultural, Horticultural & Pastoral Association since 1860 and promotes excellence in agriculture, industry and rural competition, encourages learning and provides entertainment. It 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 25,000 people over a three-day period. In 1994 approval was received from the Queen to use the title Royal Bathurst Show.[119]

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.[120]


Bathurst Gaol
  • Yerranderie Regional Park
  • Evans Crown Nature Reserve
  • Abercrombie House
  • National Motor Racing Museum
  • Trunkey Creek
  • Abercrombie Caves
  • Bathurst Regional Art Gallery[121]
  • Gold Panner
  • Bathurst Panthers
  • Annie's Old Fashioned Ice Cream


St Stanislaus' College

Education is Bathurst's largest industry with 60 education facilities[122] that represent 7.6% of Bathurst's Gross Regional Product. The education range covers all levels including university, TAFE, secondary, primary both public and private. 12.1% of the local population are employed in the education sector; the NSW state average is 7.0%.[123]

Bathurst is the headquarters for Charles Sturt University which has a major campus in Bathurst, complementing campuses in Wagga Wagga, Albury, Dubbo, Orange, Canberra, and Goulburn. It is a major provider of regional tertiary education. The university is renowned for its reputation in journalism.[124]

Charles Sturt University

The Western Institute of TAFE has two campuses in Bathurst. The college has 12 Industry Training Divisions including arts and media, building and construction, business services, computing and information services, engineering services, rural and mining services and tourism and hospitality.[125] Western Sydney University has a clinical education facility, housed within Bathurst Hospital, open since June 2010 for its fourth year medical students.[126]

Bathurst has numerous primary schools and high schools, both public and private.[127] These include the Scots All Saint's College, Denison College, MacKillop College, St. Stanislaus College


Evans Bridge, crossing the Macquarie River, connecting Kelso and Bathurst.


Bathurst is a regional highway hub. Several roads including the Great Western Highway, Mid-Western Highway, Mitchell Highway, O'Connell Road to Oberon and Bathurst-Ilford Road all start in Bathurst. Other major roads in Bathurst include Durham Street, Eleven Mile Drive, and Bradwardine Road.


Bathurst railway station

Bathurst railway station is located ten minutes' walk from the city centre. It is serviced by daily NSW TrainLink trains and buses east to Lithgow then on to Sydney, north west to Dubbo, west to Parkes and south to Cootamundra.[128] [129]


Local bus services provided by Bathurst Buslines operate in the surrounding suburbs of Bathurst,[130] with a bus interchange in Howick Street, opposite Armada Bathurst.

Interurban bus services are provided between Bathurst and Lithgow, Bathurst and Orange, and Bathurst and Oberon. Long-distance coaches are operate between Bathurst and Sydney by Australia Wide Coaches.

Bathurst region development[edit]

Bathurst's location close to Sydney and on major highways placed it in a desirable position for decentralisation plans by various governments over the years. Several decentralisation plans relating to Bathurst can be identified:

  1. in the late 1940s the Curtin Federal Government encouraged the NSW government to establish regions for regional development purposes. Bathurst and Orange were grouped as the Mitchell Region and established as such in 1945. Later the new Menzies federal government dropped support for the regionalisation scheme however the NSW Government continued, albeit modestly, promoting the regionalisation plan.[131]
  2. on 3 October 1972 the Federal Government and New South Wales Governments agreed on a plan to introduce a decentralisation policy to various regions in NSW. This plan included a pilot growth centre in the Bathurst-Orange area and was known as the Bathurst Orange Development Corporation (BODC). Initially 13 areas were proposed, however only four were established with Bathurst-Orange and Albury-Wodonga the only in rural regional NSW.[131] The project would comprise domestic, commercial and industrial developments and would develop the area economically, raise new capital investment, bring population to the region and create new employment opportunities. A statutory body was established by Act of Parliament to manage the BODC. The Act was effective from 1 July 1974.[132] A key focus for the BODC was the purchase of land and to that end it purchased 209 properties around Bathurst valued at $22 million.[131] A decline in regional trade as a result of changing global trends and the international depression and the oil shock during the mid-70s resulted in a declining interest by developers in new facilities. The BODC progressively received less and less government support and suffered liquidity problems.[133] Several large new employers moved to Bathurst as part of the BODC initiative, including Devro, Uncle Bens (now Mars ), and Omya Minerals.
  3. In 1989, the Greiner government promoted the regional hub strategy that encouraged regional centres that had natural growth potential. Bathurst was one of 12 regional hub locations in NSW that received support funding for development of university expansions, administration, health and general education sectors.[131]
  4. In 2010, a new plan to attract residents and therefore business to regional centres was launched. The marketing name is EVO Cities, a name coming from Energy, Vision and Opportunity (EVO). Seven NSW regional cities including Bathurst have developed the EVO City strategy at a local government level with funding provided by the NSW and Federal governments.[134] The strategy largely relies on advertising in capital city markets to promote residents to relocate to the EVO Cities.

Notable people[edit]

Home of Ben Chifley, now a museum, in Busby Street Bathurst



The local daily newspaper is the Western Advocate, published in Bathurst for 150 years. The publication has a circulation of 5,800 copies.[143]

Radio stations[edit]

Bathurst-licensed stations include:

  • 2BS FM 95.1 (commercial) – transmitted from the broadcaster's own tower in the northern suburb of Eglinton
  • B-Rock FM 99.3 (commercial) – transmitted from the broadcaster's own tower in the Ovens Ranges near Yetholme
  • 2MCE-FM 92.3 (community)
  • Life FM 100.1(Christian community) – transmitted from the Bathurst broadcast site Yetholme

National and other stations

Television stations[edit]

Television in the town area is transmitted from a tower on Mount Panorama 33°27′01″S 149°32′50″E / 33.45028°S 149.54722°E / -33.45028; 149.54722

Of the three main commercial networks:

  • Seven News produces a half-hour local news bulletin for the Central West, airing each weeknight at 6pm. It is produced from local newsrooms in Orange and Dubbo and broadcast from studios in Canberra.
  • WIN Television produces a half-hour local news bulletin for the Central West, airing each weeknight at 5:30pm. It is produced from its local newsroom in Orange and broadcast from studios in Wollongong.
  • Southern Cross 10 produces short news updates of 10 News First throughout the day from its Hobart studios.

Twin cities[edit]

See also[edit]


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  • Bathurst Progress Committee, ed. (1893), Bathurst guide: embracing particulars descriptive of the rise and progress of the city and its public institutions including illustrations of the principal buildings, parks and scenery of the district, John Sands
  • Salisbury, T; Gresser, P J (1971), Windradyne of the Wiradjuri; martial law at Bathurst in 1824, Wentworth Books, ISBN 0-85587-017-6
  • Greaves, Bernard, ed. (1976), The story of Bathurst (3rd ed.), Angus & Robertson, ISBN 0-207-13363-8
  • Barker, Theo (1992), A history of Bathurst: The early settlement to 1862, Crawford House Press, ISBN 1-86333-056-9
  • Raxworthy, Dorothy Sampson (1993), The making of a settlement: Bathurst Kelso NSW, 1813–1833, D.S. Raxworthy, ISBN 0-646-13920-7
  • Barker, Theo (1998), A history of Bathurst: From settlement to city 1862–1914, Crawford House Press in association with Bathurst City Council, ISBN 1-86333-058-5
  • Scaysbrook, Jim (2003), Bikes & Bathurst: a history of racing at Bathurst since 1931, Independent Observations, ISBN 0-9581758-0-2

External links[edit]