Barmedman, New South Wales: Travel guide and things to do

Barmedman is a small rural town located 457 km west of Sydney and 30 km north of Temora on the road toWest Wyalong. It is a sign of the district's economic focus that there are two large wheat silos in town, holding 1.4 million bushels.

The area around the town was part of Wiradjuri lands prior to European settlement. It has been claimed that the area was subject to some disagreement between a group from the Lachlan River area and another group from around the Murrumbidgee and one early European settler records a battle between the two groups in which one man was decapitated by a boomerang and two men were killed when the same spear passed through both of their bodies.

John Oxley investigated the district in 1817 and declared that 'these desolate areas would never again be visited by civilised man' although he did observe that the local Aborigines seemed to be strong and healthy. As it was winter time Oxley noted that they wore possum skin coats, bound their hair with nets, had a tooth missing as part of an initiation ceremony and carried stone axes, spears and woomeras.

Surveyor-general Thomas Mitchell visited the area in 1827 naming it 'The Levels' due to its consistently flat quality. The squatters who began to settle the district in 1833 called it 'The Blands', hence the name of Bland Shire.

The first European settlement of the district led to the establishment of the huge Barmedman property which was an area of 35,840 acres which was occupied by John Cartwright. He ran 53 horses and 877 cattle. It is hard to imagine but when the first settlers arrived the whole area was covered by dense bush which consisted of grey and yellow box, belah and bull oak, ironbark, cypress pine, acacias, quandongs, melaleucas and scrubby grasses.

There was a brief flurry of interest in the area when gold was found in 1872. It was never a major deposit but by 1882 there were 150 miners in the area and the town had grown to a population of 365. That year only 3.3 kg of gold was mined. The following year was the best with 144.3 kg being mined. The mines continued with intermittent, but never major, fortunes until the end of the century. By that time batteries and the usual machinery for extracting and crushing the ore had been established.

Things to do

Barmedman Mineral Pool
The popular Barmedman Mineral Swimming Pool has its origins in the flooding of the Barmedman goldmines by an underground stream. It now has a kiosk (open in summer), barbecues and dressing sheds. Located within a four-hectare reserve it is said by some to have healing properties due to the high mineral content. There are two parks in the main street with picnic facilities and a bowling club.

For tourism information, see Visit NSW website.