|T.J. Finn's Building
(1874) in the main street
Canowindra (including Cargo)
Attractive and historic town which has become the centre
of hot air ballooning in New South Wales.
Canowindra describes itself as 'The Balloon Capital of
Australia' as more flights are said to take place here
annually than anywhere else in Australia. It is testimony to
the strength of the association that Balloon Aloft have made
the town its headquarters due to the gentle winds and the
open and attractive countryside crisscrossed by roadways for
In spite of this apparent modernity Canowindra is, in
fact, a genuine old-style Australian country town. The main
thoroughfare, Gaskill St, stills follows the crooked route
of the old bullock track, reflecting the informal and
piecemeal early development of the town. The many verandahs
and old buildings contribute to the antiquated air. Indeed
the entire commercial section of Gaskill St has been
classified by as a Heritage Preservation Area by the
The town is located in a natural basin on the Belubula
River, 330 km west of Sydney via Bathurst, 32 km north of
Cowra and 300 m above sea-level. Built on rich river flats
it functions as a service centre to the surrounding district
which produces lucerne, wheat, wool and fat lambs. The
current population is around 1700.
The term 'Canowindra' derives from the language of the
Wiradjuri People who occupied the area prior to white
settlement. It is said to mean 'home' or 'camping place'.
One of the first white settlers was James Collits who was
recorded as occupying land at 'Canoundra' in 1831, though he
may have arrived as early as 1829. Governor Fitzroy crossed
the river here in 1836 or 1846 depending on which source you
believe. The Canowindra Inn was established in 1849 and a
settlement developed in a piecemeal fashion around this
nucleus. The town was surveyed in 1860.
In 1863 Canowindra was twice raided by Ben Hall's
bushranging gang, which then included the notorious Johnny
Gilbert. They robbed two nearby station homesteads then
moved on to the town where they forced the residents, and
the local policeman, into Robinson's Hotel, holding an
impromptu and compulsory party. They returned two weeks
later, after raiding Bathurst, this time holding the
townsfolk at Robinson's for three days of merriment,
reputedly at their own expense. The site is now occupied by
the Royal Hotel. A plaque on the side of the Royal notes the
Lucerne, which became a vital crop in the 1950s, was
first grown in 1863. The first road bridge was built in
1874. The railway arrived in 1888.
Distinguished Australian novelist Kylie Tennant stayed at
the Canowindra Hotel in Gaskill St in the 1930s, writing her
novel Tiburon while her husband taught at the local school.
360-million-year-old fish fossils of world importance
were found 9 km to the south-west of town in 1956. Another
major dig occurred in 1993.
There is a model aircraft championship at Easter and the
Canowindra Country Show on the fourth weekend in September.
Marti's Balloon Fiesta, usually in April, attracts
enthusiasts from around the world.
Brokers specialise in General Businesses for Sale, Caravan Parks for
Sale, Motels for Sale, Management Rights & Resorts for Sale, Farms for
Sale, Hotels for sale, Commercial & Industrial Properties for Sale.
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