Hill End - Places to See


Information Centre
The National Parks and Wildlife Service have a visitors' information centre which doubles as a museum and souvenir shop. It is located in the Old Hospital Building on the Bathurst Rd and is open on a daily basis from 9.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. but is closed from 12.30 p.m. to 1.30 p.m. Information can be obtained here on the tours operating in the area, tel: (02) 6337 8206.

The centre contains material relating to the mining era and a 15-minute audio-visual display. One room has been set up as hospital ward c.1870 with contemporary medical equipment. Some of the many photographs taken of Hill End in 1872 by Beaufoy Merlin are also on display. They were commissioned by Bernard Holtermann who made his fortune at Hill End. He displayed the extensive collection internationally with a view to attracting other immigrants to the country which had favoured him. Some of the photographs have been set up around the streets to furnish some insight into how the town looked in its heyday.

Historic Buildings
Many of Hill End's buildings have been demolished over the years and on-site photographs (taken by Merlin) denote what stood on the empty lots. On the other hand, almost all of the buildings which remain date from the early 1870s and many have been carefully restored. A self-guided walking tour pamphlet is available from the information centre.

Surviving buildings include the cottage which belonged to Louis Beyers (late 1860s), the Great Western Store (c.1872), which now sells second-hand arts, crafts and collectables, the hospital (1872), Hosie's Store (1872), Northey's Store (1873), the school (1872), the Methodist (now Anglican) church (1870), the rough dressed sandstone of St Paul's Uniting Church (1872), 'Craigmoor' (1875) and the Royal Hotel (1872) which retains some original fittings and furniture. The police station and post office date from the turn of the century.

Beyers Ave forms a corridor leading into town. The European trees were planted at the behest of one of the town's most successful mining figures, Louis Beyers, in 1877 and the mid-1880s, with extensions made in 1928.

Hill End Museum
The Hill End Museum is a private museum located at 3548 Bathurst Rd. It has a range of items including working models, working and static stamper batteries, steam engines, winches, pumps, interactive displays, a video and a walk-in underground gold mine by request (with an optional climb out). Opening hours are 10.00 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. daily with longer hours at holiday times, tel: (02) 6337 8222.

Bald Hill Walk
The Bald Hill Walk is a 2-km track with interpretive signposting which starts at the post office (cnr Church and Tambaroora Sts) and leads to Bald Hill Mine. The more enthusiastic may wish to expand the walk by taking in Kittys Falls or Bald Hill.

Bald Hill Mine
Located to the west of the town, this subterranean mine has been restored to accurately reflect mining conditions in the 1870s, including contemporary tools and drilling methods and quartz veins. There are regularly conducted tours which depart from the Great Western Store.

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Cemetery
Just north of town, on the Mudgee Rd, is the restored Hill End and Tambaroora cemetery with numerous headstones dating back to the 1870s.

Fossicking
Although no metal detectors or gold panning are allowed within the historic site, there is a fossicking area just past the cemetery, off the Mudgee Rd. Fossicking equipment can be hired in town or you can join a fossicking tour.

Tambaroora
3 km north of Hill End, Tambaroora is a ghost town which was once a busy gold town rivalling Hill End. Now there is little more than a few decrepit shacks, the foundations of the first stamper battery in the country, imported from Cornwall by the Old Company in 1856, along with the roasting pits used to break the gold-bearing quartz up into manageable pieces for the battery.

Lookouts
There are two lookouts which can be reached by car. The Bald Hill Lookout is north-west of town, past the Glendora Camping Ground, and Beaufoy Merlin's Lookout is south-west of town, past the Bald Hill Mine. Both are well worth visiting.

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