|The Railway Station
Bungendore (including Bywong)
Small township only thirty minutes drive from Canberra
Bungendore is a small town with a numerous specialty shops
and old stone, brick and timber buildings. It is located in
a beautiful valley near Lake George, 265 km south-west of
Sydney, 26 km north-east of
Queanbeyan and 701 m above sea-level.
Once occupied by the Ngarigu people, the first Europeans
in the vicinity were the exploratory party of Charles
Throsby. Captain Richard Brooks set up a stock station at
Turallo Creek in 1824. That same year, botanist Allan
Cunningham recorded the existence of this outstation in the
area he called 'Bungadow'.
The village began around 1835 and mail started arriving
as part of the Queanbeyan route in 1836. The townsite was
approved and Bungendore proclaimed in 1837. The following
year a lock-up was built and The Harp Inn was established as
the settlement became an important crossroads which linked,
and still links,
'Gidleigh', just south of the present townsite, was
established in 1833 by the son of Governor King. William
Westwood, a convict, escaped from 'Gidleigh' around 1840 and
became a bushranger known as 'Jacky Jacky'. He bailed up a
number of people around the district in 1840-41. In 1841 he
escaped custody several times (once being temporarily locked
up in what is now the Lake George Motel) before being
captured and sentenced to Norfolk Island where he was hanged
for murder in 1846.
The first post office was built in 1840, an Anglican
Church c.1843 and the Bungendore Inn in 1847. The latter
became a Cobb & Co staging post. Annual races were
established in 1848. Nonetheless, by 1851, the population
was a mere 63.
The 1850s saw at least two other hotels established. A
flour mill was built in 1861, St Mary's Roman Catholic
Church and two denominational schools in 1862, the
courthouse in 1864 and a public school in 1868.
The railway arrived in 1885 and the town remained a
railhead until the line reached Queanbeyan in 1887. Partly
because of the coming railway, the 1880s were a boom period
for the town and the population increased from 270 in 1881
to 700 by 1885.
However, because Queanbeyan emerged as the major town in
the area, Bungendore has essentially remained a country
village serving the surrounding graziers. Hence there are
several rural suppliers and related industries in town.
In recent years the social balance in the town has been
somewhat altered and it has acquired a slightly more
metropolitan air due to the presence of commuters from
Queanbeyan and Canberra and of professional people. A number
of tourism-oriented businesses have sprung up in town such
as antique and art-and-craft shops, restaurants and
tearooms. Wineries, hobby farms and turf farming have also
emerged of late.
The Bungendore Show is held in January and the Country
Muster in February. The rodeo is in October.
Things to see:
The nearest information centre is at Queanbeyan, tel: (1800)
026 192 or you can ring The Garden Shed Cafe on (02) 6238
Molonglo St is the through-road that passes through town
between Goulburn and Queanbeyan/Canberra. Start your walk
around the village at the south-western corner of Molonglo
St and Gibraltar St, opposite the BP garage. This building
was erected in the 1870s as the Oriental Bank. The stables
were for the bank manager's horses and the tiny cottage was
built for the boy who tended the horses. This building was
used in the filming of the 1969 movie Ned Kelly which
featured Mick Jagger in the title role.
Opposite the old bank is the former Beehive Hotel (1859).
The old stables to the rear are now a residence.
Walk north along Molonglo St for a short distance. To the
right is Deniston Cottage Antiques, situated in a stone
cottage built in 1860 for Alexander McClung who established
a flour mill around the corner in Gibraltar St. It sells
Victorian and Edwardian furniture, antique prints and old
Gibraltar St West
Return to and turn into Gibraltar St. On the left is the
former cottage known as 'Duart' which was built prior to
1870 when it served as a store. The triple-front shop
building next door dates from the 1920s while the next
building was established in the mid-1850s.
Over the road is 'Strathmore', a High Victorian house
built in 1890. Note the wide verandah with its French doors
and wrought-iron lacework. The house next door was built at
the same time and was originally a residence and saddlery
shop. The stables to the rear were once used for the horses
of the Australian Light Horse Bungendore Division.
Bungendore Cellars is a vendor for wines made at local
At Gibraltar and Ellendon is the Lake George Hotel/Motel.
Although it has been greatly altered the shell of the
building dates back to 1838 when it was the Harp Inn and the
license has been held continuously since that time. The
bushranger known as 'Jacky Jacky' was captured and locked up
here in 1840.
Cross over Ellendon St. To the left, near the Butmaroo St
corner, is the decorative facade of the Royal Hotel. This
hotel was built in 1882 in anticipation of the arrival of
the railway. There is a death mask of John McMahon, the
original owner of the hotel, under the front verandah.
The building at the corner represents a remnant of the
Bungendore Inn (1847) which was a Cobb & Co station. The
stable to the rear is probably the oldest remaining building
in the village.
Turn left into Butmaroo St then left into Turallo Terrace.
Several buildings along, to the left, is the original Royal
Hotel (1855), now a private residence. There is a timber
slab stable to the rear.
Over the road is 'Birchfield' built in 1877 for Father
Birch in his retirement. It is now a herb nursery and
A little further along is St Mary's Catholic Church,
presbytery and church hall. This old stone church dates back
to 1862. The first Catholic school was located in the hall
until a school building was established up the road at the
Majara St corner in 1925.
Return the way you came along Turallo Terrace. Just past
Butmaroo St, to the left, is the former St Joseph's convent
(1886). Across the road is Bungendore Park.
Proceed to Majara St and turn right. To the left, set back
from the road, is the Gothic Revival architecture of the
gatekeeper's house, stationmaster's cottage and
single-storey railway station (1884-85). The railway was a
boon to the town and it remained a railhead until the line
reached Queanbeyan in 1887. The station was closed in 1987.
|The Historic Police
Gibraltar St East
On the corner of Majara and Gibraltar Sts is the old public
school (1879). An Anglican school had existed on this site
Adjacent is Thread Needle Point (closed Sundays), housed
in the old School of Arts building (1890).
The next building is the post office (1882) and adjacent
is the police residence (1902). The renovated rear section
was originally the lock-up and the whole doubled as a police
station until 1980. Next door is the attractive stone
courthouse. Built in 1864 it is now the police station.
On the other side of Butmaroo St is the Gothic Revival St
Philip's Anglican Church (1864). The elms are over a hundred
St John's Presbyterian Church
Walk south along Butmaroo St to the Malbon St corner where
you will see St John's Presbyterian Church (1886). The
original (1875) was demolished to make way for the railway.
Old Bungendore Store
Walk along Malbon St. To the right is the Gum Nut Gallery.
At the corner of Malbon and Ellendon Sts, is the former
Bungendore store (1918) built in the boom years at the end
of World War I. Today it houses Bungendore Leather and a tea
shop. Note the original shelving and shop counter.
Bungendore Village Square
On the other side of Malbon St is Bungendore Village Square,
a collection of colonial-style shops clustered around a
courtyard. This former butcher-shop complex dates from the
1870s. Modern inhabitants include Village Nostalgia and
Collectables, Top Hat Topiary Garden Boutique, Perfect
Posies (floral art, gift and home wares), the Oikos Centre
(crystals and polished stones), The Swagman Tea Rooms,
Bungendore Books and a cafe. The 10-metre well in the square
dates from the turn of the century.
Further east along Ellendon St, to the left, is a
two-room brick cottage (1860) and an old stone cottage.
On the other side of Ellendon St, at the same intersection,
is the Carrington Motel and Restaurant which was built as a
coaching inn (1888-89) from hand-made clay bricks. It was
later a store, a bordello and a private residence before
taking its present form. The fittings (including an early
19th-century mahogany bar from England), fabrics and antique
furnishings are quite exquisite. The central courtyard, into
which wagons and coaches would have driven, remains.
Bungendore Woodworks Gallery
Over the road is the award-winning Bungendore Woodworks
Gallery, situated in a fine exhibition centre which is
intended to mirror the preoccupations of the gallery. Its
construction entailed the usage of 16 tonnes of West
Australian jarrah for the posts and beams, 10 tonnes of
Tasmanian oak for the floors, ebonised Victorian ash for
window and door frames and flooded gum panelling. The
gallery specialises in exhibiting and promoting entirely
Australian-made wood craft from the country's most
distinguished woodworkers. Upstairs is the Octagon Art Space
which exhibits painting and other visual arts.
Walk along Malbon St noting the old cottages, including, to
the left, the weatherboard house (1878) and the adjacent
cement-rendered brick cottage (1890s). The stone house
opposite is earlier but of similar design.
Turn right, back into Molonglo St. To the left is an
impressive two-storey early Colonial style house dating from
There are three wineries in the Bungendore area. The Lark
Hill Winery, established in 1978, is located on the Lake
George escarpment at 281 Gundaroo Rd (north-west of town)
and it is open daily (bookings are required for larger
groups). They produce riesling, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay,
pinot noir, cabernet merlot, riesling and a methode
champenoise, tel: (02) 6238 1393.
Affleck Winery, established in 1975, is on Millynn Rd
which runs off the Gundaroo Rd. It produces chardonnay,
semillon blanc, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz,
merlot, muscat and some riesling. It is open weekends and
public holidays and at other times by appointment, tel: (02)
Madew Wines are located on the old Federal Highway and
are open from Thursday to Sunday, tel: (02) 4848 0026.
12 km north-west along the Gundaroo Rd is historic Bywong
town which has been the subject of a major restoration
project based on original documents, maps, pictures and
first-hand knowledge. The aim has been to recreate the
village as it existed in the goldmining days (c.1885). There
is goldmining, goldpanning, restored machinery, a miners'
makeshift village, blacksmith and wheelwright display,
working whim (a large capstan or vertical drum turned by
horsepower for raising water from a mine) and a unique
geological formation. There is a picnic area and light
refreshments are available.
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