New South Wales
Bowral Railway Station
|Population||12,154 (2011 census)|
|Elevation||690 m (2,264 ft)|
Bowral // is the largest town in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, and the main business and entertainment precinct of the Wingecarribee Shire and Highlands. As of 2011[update] the population numbered 12,154.
In a past era, Bowral served as a rural retreat for the elite gentry of Sydney similar to The Hamptons for wealthy New Yorkers, resulting in the establishment of many grand historic estates and manor houses in the district. Today, Bowral is often associated with the cricketer Sir Donald Bradman.
Bowral is close to several other historic towns, being 5 kilometres (3 mi) from Mittagong, 9 kilometres (6 mi) from both Moss Vale and Berrima. The suburb of East Bowral and the village of Burradoo are nearby.
Bowral's history extends back for approximately 200 years. During the pre-colonial era, the land was home to an Aboriginal tribe known as Tharawal. This was not a permanent setting for the Indigenous people, as the climate of the region was considered too cool. The name Bowral is believed to be derived from the Aboriginal word "Bowrel" which loosely translates into the word "high". Ex-convict John Wilson, whose search party was commissioned by Governor Hunter to explore south of the new colony of Sydney.[clarification needed] Other people to traverse the area include John Warby and botanist George Caley (an associate of Joseph Banks), the Hume brothers and later famous pioneer explorers John Oxley and Charles Throsby. Governor Lachlan Macquarie of the New South Wales colony had appointed 2,400 acres (9.7 km2) to John Oxley in a land grant, which was later incorporated as Bowral.
The town grew rapidly between the 1860s and the 1890s, mainly due to the building of the railway line from Sydney to Melbourne. In 1863, a permanent stone building was built for the church. However, the building would be replaced by the first Anglican church of St. Simon and St. Jude. The church and chapel had been designed by Edmund Blacket and was built on the glebe in 1874. The churches would once again be subject to rebuilding in 1887 because the churches had been deemed too small for the growing town. Today, only Blackett's belltower remains on the current Church of St. Simon and St. Jude.
Gardens and European plants flourished from 1887, when citizens of Bowral started planting European and English deciduous trees to make the area look more British. This legacy still lives on throughout Bowral. Notably, the oaks at the start of Bong Bong St are a characteristic that makes Bowral distinct from other rural towns, giving it strong autumn colour. The town became somewhat affluent, as many wealthy Sydney-siders purchased property or land in the town and built grand weatherboard homes, giving it a distinctly New England (USA) feel.
At the 2011 census, Bowral had a population of 12,154. In the 21st century, Bowral has become a haven for retirees and empty nesters, commonly from Sydney: 15% of Bowral's population is aged 55–64 years (compared with the national average of 11.6%) and 29% is aged over 64 years (compared with the national average of 14%). Consequently, the town has a number of retirement villages, some located only minutes' walk from the central business district and hospitals. Also, as measured during the 2011 census, 42.4% of the town's population are under the age of 45, whereas for the nation the figure is 60.7%.
Bowral is about 5 kilometres (3 mi) from the Hume Highway, which goes north to Sydney and south to Canberra, the Snowy Mountains and Melbourne. In the past, Bowral served as an overnight stop-over for travellers.
It has public bus routes to Nowra, Albion Park and Wollongong. A private operator provides a service six days a week from Bowral to Greater Sydney (Campbelltown, Liverpool and Parramatta) and to the Shoalhaven and south coast of New South Wales.
Bowral enjoys warm summers and quite cool to cold winters. Frost is common during winter although temperatures rarely fall below −5 degrees Celsius. Snow falls most winters, but settles less frequently and normally only for a few hours, although falls in excess of 15 cm have been recorded.
|Climate data for Bowral|
|Record high °C (°F)||40.0
|Average high °C (°F)||25.5
|Average low °C (°F)||13.4
|Record low °C (°F)||2.1
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||81.9
|Average precipitation days||13.5||13.4||13.4||11.1||11.2||11.3||10.0||9.4||10.2||11.8||13.6||12.5||141.4|
|Average relative humidity (%)||57||64||61||61||65||68||64||56||54||56||60||56||60|
Bowral is the setting for Tulip Time, a springtime celebration with a profusion of tulips and other flowers planted in the town centre. Held each year in September and October, Tulip Time has become one of Australia's leading floral festivals, alongside which gardening enthusiasts may view some of the nation's most beautiful formal gardens. A comprehensive private not-for-profit botanic garden is being established to include a mix of exotic, native, and endemic species including a shale woodland, the endangered ecological community endemic to the site.
The town has a Vietnam War Memorial and Cherry Tree Walk, constructed along the Mittagong Rivulet that flows through the town. Along a walking/cycle track beside the stream are planted 526 cherry trees, each dedicated to a soldier who died in the service of his country.
Bowral and surrounding region was proclaimed a Booktown in 2000 having numerous bookshops and associations with many literary figures including P. L. Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins novels, Arthur Upfield, and many others.
The Bong Bong Picnic Races, commenced in 1886, attracted crowds of up to 35,000 but were suspended in 1985 and resumed in 1992 as a members-only event. The event still attracts around 5,000 people and is held annually in November, as well as other events during the year.
Bowral is also home to a few vineyards and cellar doors and is close to Mittagong, the winery centre of the Southern Highlands. There are 60 vineyards in the Southern Highlands, which is a recognised cool-climate wine district. Wineries around Bowral are listed in the Southern Highlands Wineries Index.
The town is served by the Bowral and District Hospital, which also serves the entire Southern Highlands region. Founded in 1889, it is the only hospital operated outside the Sydney metropolitan area by the South Western Sydney Local Health District.
Schools in Bowral:
- Bowral High School
- Bowral Public School
- Chevalier College (Burradoo)
- Oxley College (Burradoo)
- Southern Highlands Christian School (East Bowral)
- St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Primary School
Churches in Bowral:
- The Fields Church an Acts 29 Network Church
- St Simon's and St Jude's Anglican Church
- St Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church
- St Andrew's Presbyterian Church
- Bowral Uniting Church of Australia
- Bowral First Church of Christ, Scientist
- Bowral Baptist Church
- Bowral Salvation Army
- Bowral Church of Christ
- Bowral Seventh-day Adventist Church
Past and present notable residents of Bowral
- Jimmy Barnes: singer and band member of Cold Chisel
- Billy Birmingham: comedian, aka "The 12th Man"
- Sir Donald Bradman: Australian cricketer
- Noeline Brown: journalist, radio presenter and socialite
- Ita Buttrose: journalist, businesswoman, and Australian of the year 2013
- Richard Carleton: former 60 Minutes reporter. Born in Bowral
- Bryce Courtenay: South African novelist
- G. F. J. Dart: headmaster of Ballarat Grammar School 1942–1970
- Lorrae Desmond: actor (A Country Practice). Born in Mittagong
- John Fahey: former NSW Premier, federal parliamentarian, president of the (sports) World Anti-Doping Agency
- Peter Garrett: former Gillard Government minister, and band member of Midnight Oil
- Merv Hicks: Rugby league international
- Nathan Hindmarsh: Parramatta Eels captain NRL
- Geoff Jansz: television chef
- James Kemsley: cartoonist (Ginger Meggs)
- Graham Kennedy: "the King" of Australian television
- Elspeth McLachlan: Neuroscientist. Born in Bowral
- Geoff Morrell: artist, actor Blue Heelers
- Paul Ramsay: businessman and philanthropist
- Craig Reucassel: television satirist
- Tim Storrier: artist, winner of the 2012 Archibald Prize.
- P. L. Travers: author of Mary Poppins
- Arthur Upfield: author of the Boney detective novels
- Paul White: "The Jungle Doctor" medical missionary to Tanganyika, author
- Billie Mckay, contestant on Season 7 of Masterchef Australia
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Bowral". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
- Macquarie Dictionary, Fourth Edition (2005). Melbourne, The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-876429-14-3
- okTravel – Bowral Profile
- "Bowral". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
- Retirement villages in Bowral at Villages.com.au directory
- "Climate statistics for Bowral (Parry Drive)". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
- Tulip Time at southern-highlands.com.au
- Gardens at southern-highlands.com.au
- Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens Accessed 5 September 2013
- Cherry Tree Walk Vietnam War Memorial at Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia website
- Australasia's First Book Town launched in NSW Southern Highlands March 2000. Media release at Booktown Australia
- Mary Poppins birthplace
- BOOKtrail Launched in NSW Southern Highlands Media release at Booktown Australia
- Bong Bong Picnic Race Club
- Southern Highlands Wineries Index at highlandsnsw.com.au
- Bowral Hospital
- Elspeth McLachlan
- Wingecaribee Shire Council – Administering and Based in Moss Vale
- Information on Bowral and its History
- BookTown Australia
- "The Southern Highlands News". (local newspaper).