There is much history to see and enjoy around Wine Country and our environs: from aboriginal art of state significance, to convict trails and early settler’s relics, buildings and townships, to industrial beginnings within our wine, and mining communities.
The following is a brief snapshot of some sites you can visit and is a guide for further research on where to go, how to get there etc. Much is understated, with little interpretative signing to assist the visitor.
Many sites can be seen at no cost.
For visitors, photographers, artists and researchers.
· Local Indigenous sites
A highlight is Baiame Cave at Bulga and rock engravings in Yengo National Park https://www.aroundhermitage.com.au/indigenous-art-in-the-lower-hunter-valley/
· Early settlers – the historic townships of Wollombi and Morpeth
Wollombi was established as the administrative centre of the district in the 1830’s. Remnants of the original, convict built, Great North Road are still visible today along Tourist Drive 33. Many buildings in Wollombi Village and surrounding private homes are well preserved examples of Australia’s convict and colonial history. Take the Historic Wollombi Walk or follow the Convict Trail to experience some of Wollombi’s convict history
Morpeth – On the banks of the Hunter River, Morpeth is home to National Trust-listed colonial buildings and a fascinating heritage walk that includes the famous bakehouse where the Arnott’s family biscuit dynasty began. https://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/hunter/hunter-valley/morpeth
There are many historic hotels throughout the Lower Hunter Valley, and some are being revitalised. Be on the look-out.
Bush Ranger History – there are a few stories to be told! But no visual prompts. http://www.huntervalleyvisitorcentre.com.au/things-do/heritage/bushranger-history/
· Industry – markers in time
Wine: Currently there are new efforts to preserve and focus on the wine growing history of the area – the oldest in Australia. https://www.aroundhermitage.com.au/bobs-blog-heritage-cairn-rothbury/?mc_cid=7e06d46fdd&mc_eid=595abe1fa2
Forestry: Loggers Hut in Werakata National Park – is an example of the extensive area forestry logging throughout the Hunter Valley Region https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/historic-buildings-places/forestry-hut?p=1&pdfprint=true
Mining History – Poppet Head Kitchener Park – a mining shaft tower and dam within a park and reserve with walking/ bike track [dogs on leash] http://www.huntervalleyvisitorcentre.com.au/businesses/detail/kitchener-poppethead-reserve/
Rothbury Riot Memorial – Wine Country Drive, Branxton. The monument acknowledges the wage struggle of 5000 miners who assembled at the colliery gates during a 15 month long stand-off at the Rothbury Colliery in 1929. http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/government/dissent/display/22596-rothbury-riot-memorial
Richmond Vale Railway Museum https://www.richmondvalerailwaymuseum.org/ It is the only operating heritage railway north of the Hawkesbury. Enthusiasts and just the curious will love the events and displays held here throughout the year. It is well worth the visit with some extraordinary displays and enthusiastic volunteers ready to chat.