New South Wales
|Population||102 (2016 census)|
|LGA(s)||Bathurst Regional Council|
What is now Hill End was originally a part of the Tambaroora area: Tambaroora town was a few kilometres to the north of present-day Hill End. In the 1850s the Hill End area was known as Bald Hills. In 1860 a village was proclaimed, first as Forbes, then in 1862 it was altered to Hill End. Tambaroora had been the larger centre; in 1865, it had seven public houses to Hill End's two. Following the discovery of rich gold reefs at Hawkins Hill (Hill End), in the early 1870s. Hill End overtook Tambaroora as the main town in the area.
Hill End owes its existence to the New South Wales gold rush of the 1850s, and at its peak in the early 1870s it had a population estimated at 8,000 served by two newspapers, five banks, eight churches and twenty-eight pubs.
The town's decline when the gold gave out was dramatic: by 1945 the population was 700. At the 2006 census, Hill End had a population of 166, which now has dropped to 80 people during the year 2017. The photographer Beaufoy Merlin recorded daily life in the town at its peak; his photographs can be found in the town museum/visitor information centre. The glass plate negatives are held in the State Library of New South Wales.
In October 1862 the Telegraph line reached Hill End (Tambaroora) from Bathurst via Sofala, the Telegraph Office opened for telegraph messages bringing the remote town into instant contact with the rest of the Colony. Prior to this event communications took 12 hours by the mail stagecoach to Bathurst.
After delays due to lack of materials a telephone line was installed into Hill End in 1914; after 60 years of Morse code telegraph messages Hill End could now speak to adjacent towns and even Sydney if necessary.
In 1923 a telephone exchange was installed at the Hill End Post Office; before this calls could only be made from the Post Office to other towns. The exchange allowed new telephones installed in businesses and private homes to connect locally and to other towns.
Hill End artists colony
In the late 1940s Hill End was discovered by artists Russell Drysdale, who painted possibly his best-known work, The cricketers there, and Donald Friend, and it quickly became an artists' colony. Other artists who worked there included Jean Bellette. Today, the Hill End artist-in-residence program aims to ensure the continuity of this connection.
Hill End has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- Hill End Historic Site
- Golden Gully: Golden Gully and Archway
- 10 km North: Quartz Roasting Pits Complex
Hill End and Tambaroora family history research
The Hill End & Tambaroora Gathering Group has been in existence since the 1930s. Their goal is to provide information on the life, the families and events of a bygone era and to connect their worldwide community of descendants who have an affiliation to the district. Their website contains transcriptions of many primary records, listing names of the early miners and pioneers, that may not appear in the more mainstream family history resources.
Hill End today
Hill End is classified as a historical site by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). However, it is still home to a handful of residents operating the local pub, general store, cake store and antique store. The NPWS runs a museum just off the main road which contains many original photos and items of equipment from the busy days of the gold rush. A more extensive museum, the privately owned History Hill, is located a few kilometres from the town on the Bathurst Road.
NPWS has installed signs around the town to give visitors an idea of what was once in place on the now empty lots of land. Currently only a handful of buildings remain in their original form. However, most of those buildings still serve the purpose they did back during the gold rush. Access to the town's lookouts is via gravel roads. A walking track in the town leads to a mine and other ruins.
The most popular tourist activity in Hill End is gold panning with some of the older members of the community running gold panning tours in the same fossicking areas that yielded the gold which brought on the gold rush. Metal detectors or gold panning are not allowed within the historic site; however, there is a fossicking area just past the cemetery off the Mudgee Road.
The Royal Hotel and the local "bed and breakfasts" offer accommodation and there are a number of camping options within the town limits.
The Bridle Track runs from Duramana (north of Bathurst) directly to the town centre of Hill End. Generally the track can be classified as an easy 4WD track. The Bridle Track begins as a narrow tar-covered road; however, it later changes to dirt. Much of the last 20 kilometres (12 mi) is single lane. Part of the Bridle Track is currently[when?] closed, after a rockfall has rendered it impassible at Monaghan's Bluff.
Entrance to the Bridle Track from Hill End
Original Bridle Track Hill End
- From Sofala, New South Wales which is around 38 kilometres (24 mi).
- From Mudgee which is around 75 kilometres (47 mi) and the route passes through Hargraves.
- From Bathurst, New South Wales via Turondale is around 75 kilometres (47 mi).
The National Parks and Wildlife Service provides several camping sites.
- Selina Sarah Elizabeth Anderson (1878–1964), parliamentary candidate.
- Colin Simpson (1908-1983), Australian journalist, author and traveller spent most of his childhood in Hill End where his aunt and uncle ran the Royal Hotel.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Hill End (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
- "Department of Lands". NSW Government Gazette. 82: 883. 6 May 1862.
- "RANDOM NOTES". Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954). 28 September 1865. p. 2. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
- "TAMBAROORA". Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (Melbourne, Vic. : 1867 - 1875). 18 June 1872. p. 128. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
- "TAMBAROORA". The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser. NSW. 7 October 1862. p. 2. Retrieved 30 July 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Hill End Telephone". Mudgee Guardian and North-Western Representative. NSW. 20 April 1914. p. 4. Retrieved 31 July 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
- "TO HILL END". Mudgee Guardian and North-Western Representative. NSW. 21 May 1914. p. 19. Retrieved 31 July 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
- "HILL END TELEPHONE EXCHANGE". Mudgee Guardian and North-Western Representative. NSW. 9 July 1923. p. 12. Retrieved 31 July 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
- Gray, Anne (2010). "Jean Bellette – Chorus without Iphigenia". Collection search (work purchased 1976). National Gallery of Australia. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
- "Hill End Historic Site". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Department of Planning & Environment. H00993. Retrieved 18 May 2018. Text is licensed by State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) under CC-BY 4.0 licence.
- "Golden Gully and Archway". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Department of Planning & Environment. H00614. Retrieved 18 May 2018. Text is licensed by State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) under CC-BY 4.0 licence.
- "Quartz Roasting Pits Complex". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Department of Planning & Environment. H01006. Retrieved 18 May 2018. Text is licensed by State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) under CC-BY 4.0 licence.
- Hill End & Tambaroora Gathering Group, heatgg.org.au. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
- New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service Archived November 1, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
- "Anderson, Selina Sarah (Senie) (1878–1964)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 2005. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- Richard White, Simpson, Edwin Colin (1908–1983), Australian Dictionary of Biography, adb.anu.edu.au. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
Media related to Hill End, New South Wales at Wikimedia Commons