Hill End, about 4 hours’ drive from Sydney, on the road to Bathurst, was originally designed to cater for some of the 8,000 people who had moved to the area to strike it lucky during the great gold rush of the mid 1800’s. The town, classified as an historical site by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, is still home to a handful of residents operating the hotel, general store and the café – where truly excellent meals can be found. Just off the main road there is a fascinating museum which contains many original photos and items of equipment from those early days whilst a few kilometres away can be found “History Hill”, which is the largest privately owned gold rush collection on display in Australia and is well worth a visit. If you want to “time travel”, stay at the Royal Hotel in Hill End which was built in 1872 and one of 28 pubs built during the gold rush era. It is now the last pub standing in town but you can obtain cheap accommodation which includes breakfast and dinner and enjoy the ambience of this lovely building. The pub bar is an historical collection in itself! Most of the old buildings have now gone but there are many plaques in town which show photographs of the period to give visitors an idea of what was once in place on the now vacant lots of land. Whether standing in front of the old hotel or looking down the main street, you can’t help but feel the nostalgia of the gold rush days long past and I have tried to capture that feeling in these photographs.
Pictures and words by Peter Morton