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Historic Quick facts

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Bathurst is Australia's oldest inland settlement. The area was discovered by William Evans in 1813. Governor Lachlan Macquarie selected a site for the town on the 7 May, 1815, with Bathurst being selected as the name after the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Lord Bathurst. Proclaimed a town in 1852 and incorporated as a municipality in 1862, Bathurst became a city in 1885.


The first gold in Australia was discovered in the Bathurst district by James McBrien near what is now Tarana in 1823. The first payable gold was found in Australia by Lister and the Tom Brothers on the 12 February, 1851, but was not reported at the time. Edward Hargraves, their partner, had the gold weighed on the 7 April and he alone is credited with finding it. The largest piece of reef gold on record was found by Bernard Holtermann and Louis Beyer in 1872 near Hill End. Bathurst became the first gold centre, taking in most of the gold from Ophir, Hill End and Sofala.

Holy Trinity Church

Holy Trinity Church at Kelso was the first church built west of the Nepean River - construction began in 1825 and was completed in 1835. Holy Trinity Church was also the first church in Australia to be consecrated by a Bishop. Among many others the church contains the grave of J. Byrne Richards, the Town Planner of Bathurst and Melbourne.

All Saints Cathedral

The first peal of bells in Australia from outside any of the colonial capitals, was rung from All Saints Cathedral in 1855.

Cobb & Co

Bathurst was the national headquarters for Cobb & Co. James Rutherford bought the company which started in Victoria with Freeman Cobb. Rutherford established the base at Bathurst in 1862 continuing the mail and passenger service. Visit the Cobb & Co Heritage Trail Website for further information.

Charles Darwin

This distinguished English biologist and author of The Origin of the Species - (about his work on evolution) made a visit to Bathurst in 1836.

Grapes & Hops

The Bathurst area produced the first grapes and hops in Australia. The wine from the grapes proved too dry for the sweeter English palate. The grape-growing later moved to the Mudgee area. The hops were most successful in the production of beer, which led to the Bathurst Brewery and the beginning of an ongoing development of this popular Australian drink.


Honey from the great yellow box forests that abound in the Bathurst and Mudgee districts set a new standard of quality. The flavour and viscosity of Australian honey shocked the European honey consumers. European honey is insipid by comparison.


Two Melbourne Cup winners were bred and trained in the Bathurst district. They were 'The Barb', the winner in 1866, and 'Merriwee', who won in 1899. Both horses were owned by George Lee of 'Leeholm', O'Connell. 'The Barb' was trained in Kelso by Mr. Ingersole.


The first x-ray for medical purposes in Australia was taken by Father James Slattery at St Stanislaus College on the 21 September, 1896. The x-ray showed the location of gunshot in the shattered hand of an ex-student. Father Slattery was also the first man west of Sydney to transmit a radio message. The transmission in 1904, went from the college tower to the tower of the Cathedral of St Michael and John, and then to the Catholic Presbytery in Kelso, a distance of about five miles.

The Edgell Family

Robert Edgell and his sons were the pioneers of irrigation, cultivation and fertilisation of crops and orchards in Bathurst. Also, the canning, dehydration and freezing of perishable goods. We have the Edgell family to thank for the cultivation of asparagus in Australia.

Mount Panorama

From the early 1920s, car and motorcycle speed tests were being carried out in Bathurst by local enthusiasts. These tests were the beginning of motor racing which has earned Mount Panorama world-wide recognition on the stock car racing circuits.

Ben Chifley

Prime Minister of Australia from 1945 to 1949, Ben Chifley was born in Bathurst on the 22 September, 1885.

Royal Visits

Two visits have been made to Bathurst by Queen Elizabeth II. The first was in 1954, two years after her coronation. The second visit was on the 11 October, 1982.

This extract is from 'Bathurst - Civic Centenary Souvenir', Robert Brown & Associates, 1984, Australia.