Bathurst

Bathurst (map) is a regional centre approximately 200km west of Sydney (population circa 37,001).  Home of one of the campuses of Charles Sturt University, it is a cathedral city, being the seat for the Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops of Bathurst.  

Known for the Mt Panorama motor racing circuit, venue for the Bathurst 1000 motor race each October, Bathurst is also the home town of wartime Labor Prime Minister Ben Chifley, who represented the area in the Federal Parliament and is buried in Bathurst.  Bathurst is unique in that it has a collection of house museums representing different periods of its history from first settlement to the 1970s. The house museums include Old Government Cottage, Abercrombie House, Miss Traill's House and Chifley Home.

The Bathurst area was originally occupied by the Wiradjuri people.  Government surveyor George William Evans was the first European to sight the Bathurst Plains in 1813.  The town was founded in 1815 on the orders of Governor Lachlan Macquarie; it is the oldest inland town in Australia. The name Bathurst comes from the surname of the British Colonial Secretary Lord Bathurst. It was intended to be the administrative centre of the western plains of New South Wales where orderly colonial settlement was planned.  Local Wiradjuri groups under leaders such as Windradyne resisted the settlers until the Frontier Wars of the early 1820s ended the open conflict.

The initial settlement of Bathurst was on the eastern side of the river in 1816 (in today's suburb of Kelso).  Ten men were each granted 50 acres (200,000 mē); five were new born colonials and five were immigrants. These men were William Lee, Richard Mills, Thomas Kite, Thomas Swanbrooke, George Cheshire, John Abbott, John Blackman, James Blackman, John Neville and John Godden.  

In 1818, Governor Lachlan Macquarie stated in his diary:

"This morning I inspected 10 new settlers for Bathurst. I have agreed to grant each 50 acres (200,000 mē) of land, a servant, a cow, four bushels (141 litres) of wheat, an allotment in the new town, and to provide for them for 12 months from the King's stores."

Bathurst's economy was transformed by the discovery of gold in 1851. It later became the centre of an important coal-mining and manufacturing region. The Sydney railway reached Bathurst in 1876.

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