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Crookwell is a small town located in the Southern Tablelands of New South…
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HERITAGE WALK OF CROOKWELL
Driving Time: 1hr 30mins
Average Speed: 1 - 5 kmh
HERITAGE WALK OF GUNNING
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Boasting snow dusted winters with warm cosy fires, autumns ablaze with colour, spring blooms galore and mild and sunny summers, Crookwell is nestled high on the Great Dividing Range and has a town population of 2641 (2016) but serves a much wider area of prime farmland. The first inhabitants of this area were people of the Wiradjuri Nation. Crookwell is believed to have been originally named after Crookhall in County Durham, UK. It is said that Crookhall spoken quickly by locals sounded as “Crook’ll” and this was mistakenly written down as “Crookwell” by early surveyors. The name Crookwell was officially adopted for the town in 1885.
Opened in 1871 with great celebration and ceremony. 250 people came to see the newly built flour mill which was operated during the opening to demonstrate the steam engine. Stephenson's Mill functioned as a flour mill until the end of the 19th century.
Edward Stephenson built the hotel, obtained the licence and began trading as the Commercial Hotel in 1871, where the present Court House stands. In 1874 the hotel began trading across the road in its present location. In 1931 the Commercial Hotel was rebuilt by Sam McCloskey. The hotel had a change of name in 1996-1997 to the Horse and Hound.
Troopers were stationed in Binda from the 1840s and the first constable was not appointed in Crookwell until the early 1870s as armed hold ups increased across the district. Crookwell petitioned for a police station in 1869 however it was not until 1878 that a court, watch house and lockup was completed (now the Police Residence). The courtroom proved inadequate by the late 1880s and plans were commenced for the current Court complex which included a new police station in the left hand wing.
The historic Court House and Lands Office was constructed by William Pearman to the designs of Government Architect Walter L. Vernon. Built in the Victorian Free Classical Style, it was opened in 1891. The Court House is still in operation on demand. The original court house located on the corner of Roberts and Goulburn Streets now serves as the Police Residence.
This hotel was first established in 1873 and initially named The Mill House Hotel. In 1884, licensee Charles Harvey completely rebuilt the hotel, adding another floor. In 1890 he changed the name to The Royal Hotel. In 2003, new owners Barry and Denielle Murphy changed the name to Spud Murphy's Inn and although it no longer has a publican's licence, the old hotel still offers accommodation to visitors to Crookwell.
The Kiamma Creek walking track runs from Laggan Road along Kiamma Creek to Saleyards Road. The reserve is maintained by the dedicated volunteers of Kiamma Creek Landcare Group. With a diverse selection of trees, murals, sculptures, abundant aquatic life and wide walkway, the park like reserve is a delight to visitors and locals alike. Platypus, Rakali and rare water birds have been seen here, so keep a look out and you might see something special on your walk through the area!
Crookwell is a significant surviving pioneer terminus station and yard with most elements intact from the date of opening in 1902, including the 60 foot cast iron William Sellars Turntable which was used to turn the steam locomotives. The complex is the best surviving of its type in NSW and is heritage listed. Trains carried both passengers and freight (mostly potatoes, livestock and superphosphate). Local iron ore was also loaded and transported from here in World War 2. The last train ran in March 1984 and the line was decommissioned in 1989, but officially remains as "disused" and not "closed". The site is maintained as a museum by the dedicated volunteers of the Goulburn Crookwell Railway Group.
The Crookwell Community Garden is an initiative of the Crookwell Progress Association and the Crookwell Neighbourhood Centre. With support from local council and community groups, the gardens are being developed to provide a green oasis where residents can meet, grow fresh produce, and share skills and knowledge. The gardens host regular workshops on a range of environmentally friendly gardening, social inclusion and sustainable small scale food production themes, including composting, constructing wicking beds, worm farming, fruit tree grafting, permaculture and gardening for bees.
The Crookwell War Memorial and Memorial Park commemorate members of the local community who have served in armed conflicts. It consists of several structures that have been developed over a period of time. Once a fenced park, the original gate pillars, inscribed with the names of the fallen from the Boer War, WW1 and WW2, were installed in 1925 but have since been relocated to the south eastern boundary. The new shrine with its brass cross was unveiled on 29th March, 2003. The park is host to Anzac Day and Australia Day ceremonies.
The Crookwell CWA was established in 1922 and was the first branch of the CWA to be established in NSW. Initially set up to address the hardships experienced by rural women and families, the CWA provided enormous support to new mothers in the region, raising money to fund a staffed Baby Health Clinic. When war broke out, the CWA put their skills to work, making Anzac biscuits and comfort packs for the troops, camouflage nets from rope, sewed vests, spun wool and knitted socks from the wool of local sheep. The CWA remains active to this day, with the original hall being a key community focal point.
Please note that Montrose is now a private residence. 1n 1922 a licence was approved for an eight bed (Medical, Surgical and Lying-In) private hospital at Montrose. Matron Florence Tulloh was the licensee and opened the hospital in 1923. The hospital dealt with general as well as maternity cases. It closed in 1930 when Matron Tulloh moved to Harley Private Hospital. In her time in Crookwell (1919 to 1946), Matron Tulloh is known to have delivered or been present at the birth of at least 2318 babies.
The local Crookwell Shire Council was formed on 26th February, 1902. The present building was built in 1912 at a cost of 996 pounds. A large cement water trough, now used as a flower bed, stands at the front of the Shire Chambers. Until the end of the Second World War, horses were the main means of transport. With animal welfare their main objective, the Bill family generously donated a large sum of money for the manufacture of these water troughs, which were distributed to many regional towns across NSW.
Originally operating as Pitty's General Store, the Bank of NSW purchased the building in 1876 and established the first bank branch in Crookwell. This facilitated ordinary business transactions, the cashing of cheques for locals and the circulation of silver. The building was rebuilt in 1914 and included a bank manager's residence.
Originally opened as the Tattersall's Hotel in 1877, the name changed to the Star Hotel around 1879-1880 and then later became known as The Hotel Crookwell. During the Second World War (1939 - 1945) there was an observation post built on the roof that was manned 24 hours a day by volunteers to report on all aircraft over the area.
The Baxter brothers Sid and Bert built the Crown Theatre in 1926 after buying the rights to silent moving films in Crookwell in 1915. Seating up to 900 people, pictures were initially screened twice weekly, and in 1948 four pictures were screened each week. The Crown Theatre is now a popular family run restaurant with a large indoor children's play area.
Crookwell District Ambulance Service was inaugurated in 1940 as a branch of the Goulburn Ambulance Service. A group of volunteer officers and drivers operated the service, supported by a strong Ladies Ambulance Auxilliary. Prior to the advent of the Ambulance Service, the sick and injured were conveyed to hospital by sulkies and buggies. Flood waters, heavy rain and snow made road conditions difficult for many call outs. The Ambulance Service operated in the same building as the Fire Station.
Built of stone to seat 120 people, the Primitive Methodist Church was opened in 1871 and was in use until 1901. In 1939 the church was extended and transformed into what was first known as the Crookwell Returned Sailors and Soldiers Club. Note the original building behind the front facade. In 1944 the name of the club was changed to the Crookwell Services Club.
Omagh is now a private residence. Omagh was a Private Maternity Hospital from 1910 to 1915 and the licensee was the much loved and well respected midwife Mary (Minnie Siggs).
This stone church with its fine fretwork was opened in 1882 at a cost of 300 pounds. The church was built on this elevated site overlooking the town of the day. Except for the replacement of the shingles with galvanized iron in the 1920s, St Andrew's Church remains unaltered to this day.
The Sisters of Mercy Catholic School was originally built beside the St Mary's Convent in 1903. In 1912 the St Mary's Model School was opened across the road and the Infants School (St Joseph's) was built in 1929. The current school site was opened in 1948 and has served many generations of families in the area.
St Mary's Church was opened in 1891. The church was completely destroyed by fire in 1958, leaving only the stonework. The church was re-opened in 1959 with its Australian Colonial themed stained glass windows. St Mary's Presbytery was built in 1877. Originally a one storey building, the newer two storey Presbytery was built in 1918.
The original, single storey, cottage hospital to the right, was built in 1906 and opened in 1907, starting initially as a 5 bed hospital. The newer section to the left was completed in 1955. The hospital is an 18 bed community acute care facility with a 2 bed emergency department open 24/7. The hospital offers a variety of allied health and community nursing services as well as a Wellness Centre.
Opening in 1865, the school operated in various privately owned locations. In 1873 the government purchased two acres of land (present location) and in 1874 the first school building was constructed out of stone and rubble. This building was demolished in 1897 and replaced with the current administration building. From 1944 to 1967 secondary students attended the school and it became known during this time as the Crookwell District Rural School. In 2015 Crookwell Public School celebrated 150 years of public education.
The Masonic Temple and Hall were built in 1908, with restoration completed in 1927
An organisation known as the Sons of Temperance was formed in 1878 and held meetings in the old Temperance Hall which was built in 1889. The front entrance to the complex utilises the original building, which has been expanded and modified over the years. Today the building houses the Crookwell Library, Crookwell and District Historical Society, Crookwell and District Art Gallery and the Crookwell Memorial Hall. It is also host to productions by Crookwell Amateur Dramatic Society and the Lambert Karate Dojo, plus sees regular use for major local events.
The first Church of England was situated in this position. Built in 1866, the church became too small and in 1904 a new St Bartholomew's was built. Both of these churches were demolished and replaced by the current church in 1969. The church rectory was designed by E C Manfred. The church is home to the largest digital pipe organ in the Southern Hemisphere.
The original structure (the Methodist Manse) was built in 1881. The new front was added in 1926 and the building became the E.S & A Bank, then later the ANZ Bank. The new brick parsonage was built in Robertson Street behind the church the same year.
Opened in March 1866, this church was built as the Wesleyan Church which later became the Methodist Church and then the Wesleyan Uniting Church as it is today. This was the first church and the first building to be built in the township of Crookwell.
Sitting on land that was once the old cricket ground, the Criterion Hotel was built by Francis Gilmartin in 1890. At that time, the hotel was so far from the centre of town that locals said it would never succeed. As part of their services, hotels in Crookwell provided a horse bus to and from the railway station after this opened, much like today's shuttle service. The Harvey family bought the hotel in 1904 and Mrs Harvey celebrated 50 years of service at the Criterion in 1954.
Crookwell Post Office opened in 1867 in rented premises. George Gordon was the postmaster and Thomas Wade was the contractor for Carriage of Mail once a week. This increased to twice a week in 1870 and in 1875 mail delivery increased to three times a week. In the winter months poor road conditions and weather delayed the arrival of mail. Residents petitioned in 1883 for an official Post Office which was opened on the present site in 1890 at a cost of 1000 pounds.
The earliest people on the land here were the Pajong People “Fish River Tribe”. European settlement began in 1821. Shortly after, in 1824 Hamilton Hume and William Hovell led an exploration party from the area to find new grazing lands and chart river flows to the south. Hume owned a property at Fish River, east of Gunning. The district boasts four distinct seasons and a heritage rich in agriculture. Merino sheep were introduced in the 1820s and Gunning remains a major centre of fine wool production not only in Australia, but worldwide. Gunning’s buildings present a fascinating sequence of architectural styles and subsequent modifications from the 1800s onwards.
Early communication between the outside world and Gunning was by horse and bullock over the Cullerin Range to Gunning's east. The Telegraph reached Gunning in 1858 and the railway in 1875. The first part of the post office and telegraph building was completed in 1881. The front (Yass Street) extension to the building was constructed in 1908 when the public telephone was installed. The telephone exchange opened in 1914 and the trunk line between Gunning and Yass began in 1916.
The facade of the building built in 1920 features fine painted brickwork that celebrates a time when Gunning was a major transport centre. The painted wall of Holden Cars through the years has long been a popular tourist attraction.
The Coronation Theatre was built in 1937 at the time of the coronation of King George VI. It replaced a building known as Victoria House, a big stone and brick building that was a shop with an adjoining residence.
The large brick building with the arched coach entrance built in 1881 is known as London House. The London House department store however pre-dated 1881 and was trading in the grey granite building behind and to the side of the brick archway. For many years London House was the main general store in Gunning, where it was said you could buy anything from a needle to an anchor. In its early history London House was a hotel known as Skelly's Inn. Now it is home to the Merino Cafe and Sophera Audio Equipment. The small building adjoining London House was for many years the home of an auctioneer, a barber and a saddler.
The Telegraph Hotel celebrates the arrival of the telegraph in Gunning in 1858. The ground floor is much older than 1916, which was the date of the construction of its second story. There is a very fine pressed metal ceiling in the public bar. The area behind the Telegraph Hotel had sale yards where cattle and sheep were sold for many years.
The Gunning Motel is on the land where the White Hart Hotel, one of Gunning's most famous hotels, once stood. Gunning's freezing works established during the 1890s for the rabbit trade, was also located in this vicinity.
Barbour Park was named in honour of a doctor who served in the district for 50 years, as well as holding the position of Shire President. Community groups have contributed to the amenities and the plantings have been extended to form a walk on the northern side in recent years.
Between Meadow Creek at Barbour Park and the new Gunning Rural Supplies there were many buildings that are no longer standing, including a blacksmith and a wheelwright, Moore and Baker' Garage, Lawton's Produce Shop and the auctioneers and commission agents Sands and Emery. The Gunning Rural Supplies modern building continues Gunning's tradition of establishing new architecture with each new generation. The building is modern although architecturally compatible with the other double storey buildings on this side of Yass Street, Caxton House and Saxby House.
Caxton House and Caxton Cottage are now a private residence. The first building in this heritage precinct, 81 Yass Street, is the old shop on land originally purchased by William Pursehouse at the first land sales on 13th September, 1838. Caxton House and Caxton Cottage were originally on one property. Caxton House has been a hotel, a bank from 1877 to 1881, a stock and station agent's office, A J Newman's Soft Drink Factory and Caxton House Restaurant from 1985 to 1995. It's large two storey verandah was built in the 1920s to replace the 1860s iron balconies.
Saxby House is now a private residence. Saxby House was originally a single storey triple brick building, constructed in 1860. The second storey was added in the 1920s and the verandah in the 1980s. Gunning's first electricity source, a DC plant, was located on land now occupied by Saxby House's garage.
The Court House was built in two stages, in 1872 as a police station and in 1879 the fine late Victorian government building that faces Yass Street. The latest cases were heard in 1979 and the Court House is now a community centre housing the Gunning District Community and Health Service. The Court Room in the centre front is used for special events and arts events such as chamber music and art exhibitions. the Court Room is open for inspection monthly during the Gunning Lions Markets on the last Sunday of each month.
The two storey art deco building at the western corner of Yass and Warrataw Streets was the bank building built in the 1930s to replace the late Victorian bank (next door along Yass Street). The old single storey late Victorian bank building on Yass Street, next door to the art deco building, was the first purpose built bank in Gunning, opened in 1881.
Pye Cottage was built in Dalton in about 1860. It was given to the Gunning and District Historical Society in 1970 by the Pye Family and moved to the current site in 1974. The Pye Cottage Museum celebrates Gunning's pioneering past and was officially opened on 28th September, 1974 by the Reverend Ray Diver.
The precinct consists of three separate office buildings, built in 1915, 1971 and 1998 and a depot. Gunning Shire Council was established in 1906 and abolished on 11th February, 2004, when Gunning and the northern part of Gunning Shire became part of the Upper Lachlan Shire.
The first school was built in 1871, originally including the teacher's residence. The school rooms were built in approximately 1920. The milestone outside the public school showing the distance in miles to Goulburn and Yass is accurate and reminds us of the days when the Hume Highway from Sydney to Melbourne passed directly through Gunning, until the town was bypassed in 1993.
Originally built as a blacksmith and wheelwright's enterprise, the front of the building was later used as a saddlery and then became Gunning Peerless Printer. Another of the uses was as a branch of the Commonwealth Bank
The Gunning Library was built in 1924 by public subscription, to commemorate Hume and Hovell's momentous journey to Westernport Bay in 1824.
The Station Master's Residence is now a private residence. Following the arrival of the railway in 1875, the town experienced a boom period as Gunning became a terminal for products moving to and from Sydney. The goods were then distributed by dray as far as the Riverina area. The single line required a turntable and pumping station at Fish River to the north of the town.
The proposal for this Cenotaph erected in 1923 was championed by Ernest Plews and it was officially dedicated by Brigadier (later Major-General) Sir Granville Ryrie. People from the Gunning district who served and volunteered during the World Wars have their names recorded. The Vietnam War claimed the life of Private Barry Thompson, who was awarded a military funeral, the first held in Gunning.
Previously these gates formed a nearby entrance to the showgrounds, but their 10 ft (3 m) width was apparently too small for some drivers who were unable to negotiate the space without causing damage. After many repairs they were moved to their current location, with new plaques added to the flanking piers and rededicated on 11th November, 1991.
The trees in Memorial Grove were planted in 1956 and plaques dedicated to the fallen of the district were placed at their bases. In 2001 the Grove was refurbished with roses, rosemary bushes and benches. The remaining plaques were fixed into the plinth near the Gates. Plaques for service personnel originally from the district, who died from war related causes and who were buried or cremated elsewhere are also present.
Originally a 17 pound field artillery gun stood in Barbour Park. In 1996 the 23rd Field Artillery Regiment swapped that gun for the one seen here, which is a 25 pound field artillery gun.
This memorial to Denis Joseph Murray was erected by his friends. Denis died of typhoid in South Africa in 1901 while serving in the Boer War. His family were from nearby Oolong. There is a gravestone in the Catholic Cemetery bearing his name. Other memories of local men and women who served in war can be seen among the gravestones of the Gunning General Cemetery on Wombat Street and the Catholic Cemetery on Collector Road.
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