|St Columba's Anglican
Small village north of Mudgee
Cassilis is a pleasant little village of a hundred people
which is located just off the Golden Highway on the Munmurra
River. It is 43 km north-west of Merriwa, 86 km north-east
of Mudgee and 358 km north-west of Sydney. The main streets
have been declared an urban conservation area.
Cassilis began in the 1830s as a private village called
Dalkeith which served the Cassilis and Dalkeith stations.
The former property was granted to Alexander Busby in 1835
and the latter to Donald McIntyre, the brother of Peter
McIntyre (see entry on
Aberdeen) in 1834, although it was later acquired by
8 km to the south-east of Cassilis, a government village
called Borambil was laid out (it is now a hamlet of a half
dozen houses on the Golden Highway) but people favoured
Dalkeith as it was located on a stock route and near a good
The settlement later became a stopover for coaches bound
west from Muswellbrook until the railway replaced the coach
service. It was gazetted as a town and named Cassilis in
Aboriginal bushranger Jimmy Governor worked as a police
tracker at Cassilis just prior to taking up a job at
Breelong (see entry on Gilgandra) where he started a three-month rampage which
resulted in the murder of ten people. His story served as
the basis of Thomas Keneally's novel The Chant of Jimmy
Blacksmith which was made into a film. Governor lived behind
the police station.
Things to see:
Merriwa Information Centre, tel: (02) 6548 2607.
|St Columba's Anglican
After you turn off the highway you will see, to the left, St
Columba's Anglican Church which was built of sandstone in
1899. A little further on is the bridge over the Munmurra
As you enter town head down Branksome St. To the right is
the modest courthouse/police station complex, designed by
Alexander Dawson and built of sandstone in 1858. The police
residence, designed by Walter Vernon, dates from 1890. Just
past them is an old store which is thought to have been run
by Chinese residents at the outset of the century.
The road bends to the left, becoming Buccleugh St. To the
right is an attractive timber house dating from the late
19th century when it served as a doctor's residence.
Further along the road, to the left, is the Royal Hotel,
built of sandstone c. 1870. On the other side of the road,
just past the post office, are the school of arts and
library (early 20th century).
Just over Scott St is St Joseph's Catholic Church. Along
Scott St an old hitching post can still be seen.
If you continue along Buccleugh St and follow the road as
it bends left as the Coolah Rd then, on top of the hill,
gazing over the valley below, is the public school (1875)
which is still in use.
Beyond the school turn left into Ancrum St which will
lead you back in the direction of the highway.
Hands on the Rock
10 km south-west of Cassilis, the Ulan/Mudgee Rd heads south
off the Golden Highway. About 20 km along this road take the
signposted right onto the dirt road. After 100 m turn right
into a small clearing and a 400-m walking track starts from
the far side. It leads to overhanging rocks where there are
Aboriginal hand stencils dating back hundreds of years.
If you continue south on the road to Ulan for another 2.3
km, just before you reach the Goulburn River, there is a
signposted turnoff to the left which leads to a car park. A
walking track begins on the northern side of the parking
area and follows a cliff face adjacent the Goulburn River
and over a footbridge. Follow the rock face and you will
cross a small bridge, a tumble of rocks and Curra Creek.
Walk through the ferny glade then you will pass by a large
rock to the right. To the left there are rock orchids and
ferns on the cliff face. The track then proceeds on to the
sandy riverbank and through a hollowed arch rock. A sign
indicates a left turn back to the honeycombed cliff face
which you follow to the end. Cross over the grassy bank and
a sharp left brings you to the Drip where the river flows
over a rock platform.
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