Bathurst in 1875

BATHURST, a city of considerable importance in the police and electoral district and county of Bathurst, is built on the south bank of the river Macquarie, and is 144 miles west of Sydney. Route: By rail to Kelso, thence two miles by Cobb's coaches. Offices : Post, Telegraph, Government Savings Bank, and Money Order. Mails close in Sydney daily, at 4 p.m., and arrive daily (Mondays excepted) at 1.10 a.m.; leave for Sydney daily (Saturdays excepted) at 11.30 p.m., and arrive daily at 7.20 a.m. The city was named in 1815 by Governor Macquarie, in honor of Lord Bathurst, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, and is particularly well laid out, the numerous streets being very wide, and crossing each other at right angles, with a large square in the centre, on which is built a very commodious market-place. The two principal streets are George and William streets, and in them are erected many public and private buildings of a very superior character, among which the places of worship are particularly noticeable. These consist of the Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals, the former (near the Market-square) having recently been considerably enlarged and beautified; it possesses a peal of bells. On the R.C. reserve, and adjoining the cathedral in William-street, is a very fine building, the convent. The Wesleyan, Presbyterian, and Congregational churches are commodious and possess much architectural excellence. The courthouse and gaol are near the market-place on the one side, and both possess the character of not being adequate to the growing necessities of so populous and important a district. The Church of England college is a very suitable edifice, though not nearly as extensive as the R.C. college (St. Stanislaus'), which is built on an imposing site in the west of the city. The next important public building is the school of arts, which possesses an excellent library. To this building has been recently added a large hall capable of seating 1500 persons, and in which is erected a stage, with scenery for theatrical representations; for this addition the public is indebted to the exertions of Mr. Rutherford. Nearly all the metropolitan banking and insurance companies have branches in Bathurst, and their buildings are not the least imposing; but, among all the public edifices, the hospital is least deserving of creditable notice, it being an old and dilapidated building, inadequate for its purpose or the wants of the district, and situated in probably the most unhealthy part of the city. A separate building is devoted to the telegraph department, but the post office business is transacted in temporary rooms rented for the purpose. New buildings for the post and telegraph departments, to cost £9000, are, however, in course of erection on the gaol reserve, on which has recently been placed the town-hall—a building not remarkable for its architectural beauty. There are 104 public-houses in the district—the leading hotels being the Club-house, the Royal, Tattersall's, and the Oxford; the latter being the latest and not least addition. There are several exceedingly fine stores in William and George streets, and though brick is the material used (for the manufacture of which the banks of the Macquarie furnish splendid clay), the buildings are elegant and substantial. The railway terminus will soon be erected in Bathurst, a substantial (though temporary) bridge being already thrown over the Macquarie (for railway traffic only) about a mile above the old Macquarie bridge leading to Kelso and Raglan. The principal industries in Bathurst are the preparation and manufacture of leather, glue, soap, and candles, the trade of the large stores consisting principally in supplying the surrounding settlers; but as Bathurst is the terminus of nearly all the western roads, the through and local traffic is very extensive. The city, which has been lighted with gas since June 1872, is built on a slightly undulating plain dipping to the river, over and beyond which it is level country as far as the mountain range to the eastward, and on the south and west by hilly country—the city boundaries in those directions being on high land; and on the south-west boundary is a fine racing reserve. The pursuits around Bathurst are pastoral and agricultural, the soil being deep, rich, and very productive, mostly of wheat, maize, oats, potatoes, and the vine, mining operations are profitably carried on, though not in the immediate vicinity of the city; but diamonds and other gems have been found in and around Bathurst where the soil in most places is covered by a layer of gravel and pebbles, as though the country (even in the higher parts) had been covered by water at some not distant period. In addition to the Macquarie, by which the city is partly bounded, there are several water-courses in and around Bathurst; some of these—nearly dry except during heavy local rains or rushes from the mountains—in the city are crossed by bridges, but complaints against the appearance and stability of these structures are very numerous. Bathurst was proclaimed a municipality in November, 1862, and the Episcopal see was created on the 4th May, 1870; the Anglican Bishop being Dr. Marsden, and the R. C. Bishop the Right Rev. Dr. Quinn, now in Europe. There are three newspapers published in Bathurst—The "Western Independent" (three times a week), and the "Bathurst Free Press" and "Bathurst Times" (Wednesdays and Saturdays). As an indication of the commercial enterprise of the residents of Bathurst, an individual instance may be quoted. Mr. J. L. Alexander has just erected ice-making machinery at a cost of £3000 (Nicolle's patent), from which he intends to supply the city with ten pounds weight for one shilling—a price much below the metropolitan; this, too, at a distance of 150 miles. Mr. Butler, soda-water manufacturer, has also introduced extensive machinery for his business. As soon as the line is complete to Bathurst, the trade with the metropolis (whose market this district largely supplies), its population, trade, and manufactures will increase, and nothing but bad municipal government will prevent the city from being second only to the metropolis.

Source: Greville's Official Post Office Directory 1875-76