southern tablelands.
History & Heritage

The Southern Tablelands abounds in historical sites and buildings, national trust properties, examples of industrial archaeology and heritage, and other heritage areas dating back to the earliest years of European settlement in the 1820s. Predating these are archaeological and other sites of cultural and sacred significance to the aboriginal peoples.

Examples of venues which can be visited by tourists are listed here alphabetically. For National Parks and Wilderness areas, see also our Natural Attractions pages.

Bedervale, Braidwood
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Built (1836 - 42) by Capt. John Coghill, one of Braidwood's pioneers, Bedervale is one of the finest colonial homesteads in NSW.

Designed by John Verge (architect of Camden Park and Elizabeth Bay House), the homestead is unique in retaining the furnishings of the family who owned it for over 130 years, and one of the finest collections of outbuildings of a great colonial estate.

The furniture collection within the homestead is part of the National Trust, and reflects the changing tastes and social habits from Victorian to Edwardian times.

Open for guided group tours by arrangement only - bookings must be made in advance. Cost $10 adults; $5 students and National Trust members.

end Monkittee St. Braidwood (PO Box 10), Braidwood NSW 2622
Phone/Fax: (02) 4842 2421 - email:

The Big Merino, GoulburnTHE BIG MERINO, GOULBURN

Goulburn was for a century and a half one of the largest fine wool producing regions in Australia. So naturally, it has the world's biggest merino sheep.

At 15 metres high and 18 metres long, the Big Merino has 3 floors inside with an Australian gift and souvenir shop, an educational display depicting the history of wool growing and the wool industry in Australia, and a platform at the top where you can peer out through the sheep's eyes. A must stop for kids and international travellers.

Open 8.00am to 8.00pm 7 days. Entry free. Coach groups welcome. Restaurant and roadhouse facilities available.

Old Hume Highway, Goulburn NSW 2580
Phone: (02) 4821 8800 - Fax: (02) 4822 1201


Built in 1992, the Binalong Motor Museum is Australia's only purpose-built motor museum and restoration workshop.

The museum offers displays of veteran and vintage cars (in working order) which change regularly, plus inspections of the workshops where rare cars are restored.

Picnic area and BBQ facilities available. Coach tours and car clubs welcome. We can also arrange catering, and the museum is available for functions.

Open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and weekends. 10.00am to 4.00pm. Admission $5 adults; $2 children; $4 coach groups.

Burley Griffin Way, Binalong NSW 2584
Phone: (02) 6227 4406


Braidwood is a heritage listed town with a large number of significant buildings of the early colonial and Victorian boom periods.

Settled in the 1820s, Braidwood was a significant agricultural centre before the gold mining boom of the 1850s to well into the 20th century.

Sensitively restored old public and private buildings, museum, churches, pubs, cafes, restaurants, galleries, craft and antique shops, and a large number of artists and craftspeople. Visits to old goldfields nearby, national parks and bushwalking.

There is something to see and do every day of the week, and there are regular major events and festivals throughout the year. (See our Events and Festivals pages.)

Braidwood is about 80kms from Canberra and Goulburn, and halfway on the Kings Highway to the south coast at Batemans Bay.


Located in the old Royal Hotel (1845), and acquired by the Braidwood Historical Society in 1970, the museum offers the visitor the opportunity to inspect a heritage colonial building, and displays of life in early Braidwood and the surrounding areas (including the goldfields).

A bookshop has publications about the history of the area. Those wishing to search historical and family records can contact our historians, who can provide this service for you.

The Society also holds walking tours of Braidwood, and tours to nearby Araluen and Majors Creek - site of old gold mines.

The museum is open from 10.00am to 4.00pm Fridays to Mondays, and during public and school holidays. School and Coach groups welcome. Cost $4 adults; $1 children. Phone for group bookings and arranged tours.

Wallace St. (PO Box 145), Braidwood NSW 2622
Phone: (02) 4842 2310 - email:


Designed by architect Edmund Blackett, St. Saviour's Cathedral (built 1874-1888) is one of the finest examples of Blackett's work, and one of the last great cathedrals of its style ever built.

The seat of the Anglican Bishop of Canberra Goulburn, its interior is one of the most richly decorated and finely finished churches in Australia.

The tower, with its 8 bells, were completed to Blackett's design in 1988.

The cathedral is open regularly for worship. Guided tours are available during week days. Phone for group bookings and arranged tours:

Diocesan office: (02) 4821 2206

Bourke Street, Goulburn NSW 2580


A single storey colonial home built in 1835, Cooma Cottage was the home of the famed explorer Hamilton hume from 1839 to 1873.

Restored in a conservation program by the National Trust Cooma Cottage houses an exhibition of the life of Hume, plus art exhibitions from time to time.

An educational program for Year 5 - 9 children is also available featuring role plays.

Open Thursday to Sunday from 10.00am to 4.00pm (closed in winter). Admission applies. Coaches welcome - parking available

Yass Valley Way, Yass NSW 2582
Phone: (02) 6226 1470

Click here to visit our website.

Built in 1857, Garroorigang is a truly unique heritage home lived in by the collateral descendants of Explorer Hamilton Hume.

Filled with a rare collection of 150 years of colonial and Australian history, Garroorigang is included in the Register of the National Estate as a site of national significance.

A private home, its history and contents reflect its time as a teamsters Inn on the route to the goldfields, a school for gentlemen's sons and a classic example of a private residence of the Victorian era.

Open 10.00am to 12.30pm and 2.00pm to 4.30pm - closed Sunday mornings and Wednesdays (other times by arrangement). Admission $10 per person, $8 for pensioners. Coach parking available.

Braidwood Road, Goulburn NSW 2582
Phone: (02) 4822 1912 - Fax: (02) 4822 1748 -email:

Goulburn Courthouse
Goulburn Court House (1887)

Goulburn abounds in interesting and historic churches, public and private buildings.

The streets display a number of well-preserved architectural styles - from the 1830s and 40s, the early and late Victorian period, and the early twentieth century.

It is worth taking an hour or so to visit some of these significant sites.

Goulburn Tourism has a Self-guided Heritage Walking Tours brochure which allows you to explore the city at your own pace. A brochure is also available for a longer heritage tour which you can take by car.

Goulburn District Tourism, Sloane Street, Goulburn


Australia's oldest brewery building, and now operated as a boutique brewery, this complex of buildings was designed by famous colonial architect Francis Greenway.

Also the oldest surviving example of an industrial complex, visitors can walk around the brew hall and tower, steam mill and maltings, tobacco curing kiln, cooperage, mews, and workers cottages.

Inside there are tasting rooms, restaurant, bar, theatre restaurant, and an art gallery. The brewery serves real ales brewed to traditional recipes.

Open 7 days from 11.00am onwards. There are guided tours regularly each day (duration 40 minutes). Cost $5; pensioners' discounts; group bookings and meal packages available.

Bungonia Road, (PO Box 258), Goulburn NSW 2580
Phone/Fax: (02) 4821 6071

Goulburn Historic Waterworks
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Located on the banks of the Wollondilly River, and now a museum, the pumphouse was built in the mid 1880's and is the only example left of four similar built in rural NSW.

The museum concentrates on the history of the water works and focuses on Goulburn's original steam driven municipal water supply. It portrays the story of our water supply from the horse and cart bringing barrels of water to town, through the magnificent Appleby Bros. Beam Engine to the massive electric powered pumps. The Waterworks contains the pump house, the boiler room and the original fireman's cottage situated at the rear.

The Appleby Bros Beam Engine, located inside, pumped water from the Wollondilly River to homes in Goulburn. The engine operated from 1886 to 1918 when electric pumps were installed at the same site.

The museum is open every weekend throughout the year. See website for steaming dates. For further information, or to book private tours phone Nick Ryan on (02) 4823 4448 or email

Marsden Weir (off Fitzroy Street), Goulburn NSW 2580


Built by public subscription in 1924 as a memorial to the men of Goulburn and district who served in the First World War, the tower can be seen from miles around, and its lights at night area beacon to the city.

At 20 metres tall on the top of Rocky Hill, a lookout gallery at the top offers panoramic views of Goulburn and the surrounding area.

There is a museum in the basement of the tower with a collection of military artefacts and personal items used by soldiers in the two world wars, and which documents Goulburn's association with and contributions to the wars.

Open Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays from 10.00am to 4.00pm. Admission free.

Phone Goulburn District Tourism - 4823 4492 for further information.

Memorial Drive, Goulburn NSW 2580


Named after the explorer and long time resident of Yass, the museum houses part of the Yass & District Historical Society's collection of photos, artefacts, documents and other relics of early life in the area and of Australia's past.

The "Parallels" exhibition displays models of some of the heritage buildings of Yass and connects their history with the town today. There is also an exhibition celebrating the region's famous connection with the wool industry.

Open Sundays only from 10.00am to 4.00pm. Admission applies.

Phone: (02) 6226 4966, or Yass Visitor Information Centre 6226 2557 for more information.

Comur Street, Yass NSW 2582


Set in acres of gardens, Kenmore Museum has been created in an old ward displaying memorabilia of the psychiatric hospital and its role over a century.

Displays change periodically, and allow visitors to view the gardens, century old buildings and Federation architecture, and artefacts of hospital and medical interest.

Guided tours available from time to time throughout the year, or by appointment only..

Taralga Road, Goulburn 2580
Phone: (02) 4827 3412 (Bus.); 4821 2587 (AH).

Lake Bathurst Museum

At the Lavender Gardens & Tearooms is an interesting museum (or collection of little museums), the centrepiece of which is a small railway museum with photographs, artefacts and memorabilia from the age of steam, including a record of the former Crookwell line and Lake Bathurst station.

There is also a display of memorabilia of life in the early village in the former church hall, and of domestic and grocer store artefacts of the mid 20th century.

Open weekends, public holidays, and by arrangement for groups at other times. Guided group tours of local heritage sites also available. Coaches welcome.

Lake Bathurst Lavender Gardens & Tearooms, Braidwood Road, Lake Bathurst.
Phone: (02) 4849 4475 - email:


Operated by the Young Historical Society and located in the original Public School building (built 1883), the museum contains artefacts and memorabilia from Young's past - over 150 years.

Of important interest is the "Roll Up" banner made by the miners in the anti-Chinese riots on the goldfields in 1861, and a parchment signed by Queen Victoria. Other displays inlcude fashion items dating from 1854, items from the old Young Gaol, war memorabilia, trade and professional artefacts of bygone days and a large collection of household and hardware items from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The museum also has an extensive collection of historical photographs of the Young district.

Open 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4.00pm Saturday & Sunday. Admission: $3 adults; $2 pensioners, and students up to 18; $1 children.

Community Arts Centre, Campbell Street, Young NSW 2594
Phone/Fax: (02) 6382 2248

Riversdale, GoulburnRIVERSDALE, GOULBURN

Built (c.1840) as an inn catering for coaches travelling inland, and later a private residence, Riversdale was acquired by the National Trust in 1967.

Formerly owned by Edward Twynam, one-time Surveyor General of NSW, the descendants of his family had lived in it continuously since 1875.

Located in a garden setting at the end of Maude Street, Riversdale is a fine example of a colonial Georgian residence, and is notable for its collection of Australian colonial furniture and late nineteenth century arts and crafts.

Open Saturdays and Sundays from 10.30am to 4.00pm, or at other times by appointment. Admission charged. Shop with gifts and local crafts available for sale.

Maude Street, Goulburn NSW 2580
Phone: (02) 4821 4741


Adjacent to a colonial homestead (c.1872), now a B&B, the current owners offer tours of the 1880s schoolroom of this old property.

Tours for adults last 1 hour and offer the experience of nostalgia for schooling in the 'good old fashioned way.'

Better still, for today's primary school children there are half-day excursion experiences where they get to dress up in the clothes of the 1880s and live through classes like their ancestors - Latin, old fashioned maths, writing with pen and ink. Includes tour of the old homestead.

Garroorigang Road, Goulburn, 2580.
Phone/Fax: (02) 4821 9591 for more information.


St Clair is an early 18-room colonial townhouse (1845). It features the original cedar panelling and stringy bark floors and a veranda with fluted sandstone columns capped by a Classical stone entablature.

The building is now home to the local historical society which displays museum items and conducts family research.

The museum and archives are open to the public each Saturday and Sunday from 1.00pm - 4.00pm or by appointment. Admission by Gold Coin Donation.

318 Sloane Street, Goulburn, 2580.
Phone/Fax: (02) 4821 1156 or contact Nick Ryan on (02) 4823 4448 for more information.

Slab Hut
Slab hut (c.1890s) at Taralga Museum.

Located on several acres around an old church building, the museum contains artefacts and historical photos of early life in Taralga, archives and family history, examples of early farm machinery, and historical publications

An old dairy building and a restored settler's slab hut can also be found in the grounds.

The museum has an open day on the long weekend every October. Visits at weekends and other times can be arranged by phoning the society (Mary Chalker) - (02) 4840 2084.

St. Luke's Taralga
St. Luke's Anglican Church, Taralga (1906)

Taralga is a unique heritage village 45km north of Goulburn.

The distinctive architectural styles of its historic churches, public and private buildings - from the 1840s to 1890s, mostly built of local stone, is a well preserved example of a pioneering rural town first settled in the earliest days of colonial Australia.

It is worth taking an hour or so to visit some of these significant sites.

A Self-guided Heritage Walking Tour brochure is available from the Taralga Museum or shops in the village for an interesting heritage walk (about two hours).


Housed in the old station (with the shortest platform in Australia) which linked the Yass "tramway" with the main southern line at Yass Junction. The line was in operation from 1892 to 1958 when passenger services ceased, to 1988 when the last goods service ran and the line was closed.

The museum offers a look at the century old staion buildings, an old diesel locomotive, rolling stock, and rail memorabilia.

Souvenirs and refreshments are also available.

Open Sundays only from 10.00am to 4.00pm. Admission applies.

Lead Street, Yass NSW 2582
Phone: (02) 6226 2169

Yass Courthouse
Yass Court House (1880)

Yass has dozens of historic and heritage buildings dating as far back as the 1830s and a modern streetscape which has preserved many of them to be appreciated today.

A free self-guided walking tour brochure is available at the Visitors' Information Centre, and the tour takes about an hour and a half (or longer if you stop off at the museums).

Yass Visitor's Information Centre
Phone: (02) 6226 2557 - Fax: (02) 6226 1509

Last updated 15/7/10