The most delightful buildings for me in this little town are its little historical cottages. They come in different shapes and sizes, and some look as if it’s been little changed since the Gold Rush.
As you can probably tell, they’re pretty well maintained and some are even lived in. Although I suppose if you’re a resident you’d have to tolerate tourists like me taking snapshots of (potentially) your washing.
Given that Hill End was home to 8,000 people at its height, there are quite a few buildings of note. They are a good representation of 19th Century Australian country architecture. Many are no longer in use, and the two that are, are predictably, the pub…
And the general store/cafe.
They both seem to do a good trade catering to the needs of the locals and visitors.
Around the village was a full complement of traditional churches that seemed to still be in operation as well.
But there were also a lot of buildings that seemed to have been commercial premises at some stage of their lives but are now either empty or used for residential purposes. I wonder what they were all used for?
At the end of 2021, after nearly 2 years of Covid-19, we took a car holiday in NSW. Not wanting to travel too far from our home in Sydney, in case the state borders, or the city borders, locked down once again (as it had done multiple times in the preceding months), we set our sights rather close to home to Central NSW. It’s a region that we were familiar with, having visited different places at various times, however there was still plenty of pockets left to explore.
Our first stop was the historical village of Hill End. This is a former gold rush town, which hit the area during the 1850s and inflated its local population to 8,000. When the easy gold (originally alluvial, found in local water-ways) ran dry, the population declined. By 1945, the population was 700. In 2016, it was 80. I’m not really sure of the population post-Covid as at 2023. I would think there might be a few people who would want to move to such an historic and scenic spot.
This is the northern approach to the town. It’s not the most accessible town in the Central West, accessible by sealed but quiet and twisting, country roads from either Bathurst or Mudgee. But once you’re there you can visit a heritage town. A shout out to the brave people north of Hill End, who valiantly fought a bushfire a fortnight ago. The fire thankfully did not reach the village.