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Trinity Anglican Church
 

Bundanoon (including Exeter)
Quiet and attractive villages in the southern highlands. They are noted for the European greenness and intimacy of the surrounding countryside.
The Highland Way runs from Mittagong to Marulan passing through Bowral, Moss Vale, Exeter, Bundanoon, Penrose and Wingello before returning to the Hume Highway at Marulan. It is a pleasant road which, beyond Moss Vale, passes through a number of sleepy little towns and villages which have remained largely unchanged since the 1930s when they were popular holiday retreats for people from Sydney.

137 km south-west of Sydney, 17 km south of Moss Vale and 680 m above sea-level, is the charming centre of Bundanoon with its delightful avenues of English trees. At last count its population was 1513. While the other small towns between Moss Vale and Marulan seem to be getting smaller and less populated, Bundanoon, because of its impressive hotel and its excellent bushwalking in the Morton National Park has enjoyed continuing prosperity, although it can hardly be compared to the thriving centres of Bowral, Moss Vale and Mittagong which lie to its north.

In spite of its very Scottish-sounding name, Bundanoon reputedly derives from the word 'bantanoon, used by the Dharawal Aborigines, who were the original inhabitants (though they had, in effect, been driven off or killed off by the 1870s). It is thought to mean 'big deep ravine' or 'place of deep gullies'. Certainly the 'big deep ravine' is one of the central attractions of the town which is only a couple of kilometres from the edge of the Illawarra Plateau.

The first European party to investigate the district was that of ex-convict John Wilson who passed from Mt Gingenbullen to Marulan in March 1798. They had been sent by Governor Hunter with the aim of accumulating data to discourage convicts who were escaping and heading south in the belief that China was but 150 miles away.

Over the next decade there were minor expeditions into the district. The Hume brothers, probably in the company of their uncle John Kennedy, investigated the area in 1814. With pastures around Sydney becoming scarce John Oxley drove some cattle into the area the following year. Charles Throsby, together with surveyor James Meehan, Hamilton Hume and Joseph Wild, were instructed to seek an overland route to Jervis Bay in 1818. In March Throsby passed through an area he called 'Bantanoon' and in 1824 Surveyor Harper was instructed to reserve 1200 acres in the locality. In subsequent years the area was known locally as 'Barren Ground'.

As was the case with Robertson it was the 1861 Land Act which opened this area up for European settlement. Charles Jordan was the first. When the railway arrived it ran through his property. Consequently the station was called Jordan's Crossing. However, the residents petitioned for a name-change in 1880 and the next year it was renamed Bundanoon.

The village began to emerge in the late 1860s or early 1870s. An early post office was established in 1872. Coal mining commenced in 1867. Timber getting became important to the local economy in the 1870s and there were two sawmills operating by 1881, as well as a sandstone quarry, two stores and two churches (Methodist and Anglican) and a butcher's shop.

Because of its proximity to impressive natural scenery, Bundanoon started to attract tourists in the late 1880s, guest houses began to appear and pathways to the scenic sights were constructed. Ultimately Bundanoon became the major holiday resort of the Southern Highlands and a retreat for honeymooners.

Things to see:   

 

Grand Canyon viewpoint in the Morton National Park
 

Morton National Park
At 162 000-ha Morton National Park is one of the NSW's largest parks. Containing a considerable section of the Southern Highlands its features include rugged sandstone cliffs, deep, well-forested valleys, and the Clyde, Shoalhaven, Endrick, and Kangaroo Rivers.

Due to its size the park features sedgeland, woodland, heath and rainforests. The transition from one to another can be quite dramatic.There is a diversity of flora and fauna. There are wildflowers in abundance on the plateaux, giant turpentine trees below the major cliffs, coachwood and black ash in abundance and true rainforest canopy where the soil is richest.

The park has numerous birds of prey, including hawks, wedge-tailed and other eagles, plus parrots, honeyeaters, lorikeets, crimson rosellas, cuckoos, cormorants, grebes, lyrebirds and two threatened species - the swamp parrot and eastern bristle bird. There are also macropods, bandicoots, the dunnart, possums, echidnae and dingoes, plus the marsupial mice, snakes and lizards upon which the predators feed (see Fitzroy Falls for further information on the park).

 

 

Bushwalking in the Morton National Park
 

Bushwalks in the District
There are fourteen suggested walks from Bundanoon or from points within the park to a number of lookouts and other sites. These include Echo Point, Mount Carnarvon, Bonnie View, Beauchamps Cliffs, Grand Canyon, Tooths Lookout, Bundanoon Creek, the Amphitheatre, Fern Glen, Fairy Bower Falls, Glow-Worm Glen, and the disused Erith Coal Mine (operative between the early 1860s and 1872, and then from 1881-1889). Most of these vantage points offer spectacular views across the valley of Bundanoon Creek. The latter four are the most popular.

If you follow William Street east there is a short, easy 25-minute walk to the sandstone grotto known as Glow-Worm Glen although, not surprisingly, the blue luminescence of the larvae can only be seen at dusk and in the evenings. A torch is needed for the return trip. The site is also accessible from Riverview Rd within the park. Fern Tree Gully can also be accessed from Riverview Rd.

Though it is some way out of town, the views from Long Point Lookout are also spectacular. Head south-west from Bundanoon for 25 km, passing Penrose, Wingello and Tallong, then turn left into Long Point Road (2 km beyond Tallong) and drive for another 5.8 km. A trail will take you from the lookout to the Shoalhaven River 500 m below (90 minutes return).

An information sheet is available with the walks situated on a map. It is available from shops in Bundanoon, the visitors' centre of the park at Fitzroy Falls or the Nowra office of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, tel: (02) 4423 2170.

Gambells Rest is a camping area at the south-western edge of town which has hot showers, picnic areas, fireplaces and walking tracks. There are fees and bookings are essential, tel: (02) 4887 7270. Most of the lookouts can be accessed from this point.

 

Other Activities
Bike riding is also popular on the 11 km of road which run through the park. They can be hired in town from Ye Olde Bicycle Shoppe, tel: (02) 4883 6043.

There are a number of antique and art-and-craft shops in Railway Ave. Bundanoon Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden is located in The Old Library, at the corner of Railway Ave and William St and is open daily from 10-4, tel: (02) 4883 6868. The Molonga Gallery is at 24 Erith St, tel: (02) 4883 6930.

Each April, as the autumn mists swirl into the town, Brigadoon at Bundanoon, a 'Highland Gathering' festival is held, featuring Scottish pipe bands and country dancing, Highland games and a street parade.

The local markets are held on the first Sunday of each month in the Bundanoon Memorial Hall in Railway Ave. There is also a Buddhist monastery on Teudts Rd, tel: (02) 4884 4262.

 

Exeter
Exeter, 7 km north of Bundanoon and 720 m above sea-level, is a quiet highlands settlement which is known as 'Little England' because of its trees, private gardens and climate. The first European settler in the area was James Badgery in 1821 and the town was established in 1889. Today it is a pleasant spot for a stroll. St Aidens Church of England (1895, enlarged 1903) has some fine stained-glass windows. There are also a couple of very gracious houses set well back from the road and approached by gravel drives which reach back from handsome entrance gates.

 

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Bundanoon