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Gooloogong, NSW

Historic town with important early convict-era cottage.

Googoogong is almost not a town. It has a tiny population and, realistically, is driven by the General Store (which also includes the Post Office and Newsagency) and the Gooloogong Hotel. The town's appeal lies in the genuinely fascinating Gooloogong Memorial Park with its plaques recording the histories of most of the town's well known families and Croote Cottage, an historic pise dwelling built around 1827 by a convict gang.


Gooloogong is located 340 km west of Sydney via Bathurst, Blayney and Canowindra. It lies between Cowra and Forbes


Origin of Name

A cattle station named 'Gool-a-gong' was established in the district in the 1820s by a Dr William Redfern, the personal physician to Governor Macquarie. No one is sure why Redfern named his property Gool-a-gong but it is known that Gooloogong was a Wiradjuri word of unknown meaning.


Things to See and Do

Gooloogong Memorial Park
The Gooloogong Memorial Park is a unique record of the people whose families have lived for generations in this small country town. It is a pleasant place to have a picnic and spend some time. It contains a history of the local railway from 1922-1978 with an interesting collection of historic photos; a plaque recognising the Wiradjuri people as the original owners of the land; and interesting pieces of war memorabilia from both of the twentieth century world wars. The highlight, however, is the plaques which record, in suitable detail, the history of many of the families who live in the town and the surrounding region. Here is a unique opportunity to see how a small Australian country town was formed and how it evolved.


Other Attractions in the Area

Croote Cottage
Head out on the Kangarooby Road (it runs beside the pub and past the General Store) and follow the signs to Croote Cottage. It is well protected by surveillance cameras and has to opened for inspection by the owners. Ask at the General Store or Hotel for times of opening or contact the Cowra or Forbes Visitor Information Centres.

Croote Cottage was built by convicts around 1827 and, as such, is one of the oldest buildings west of the Blue Mountains. It is one of the most important historic pioneer homesteads on the Central Western Slopes having been built of pise bricks and constructed with holes in the walls so the residents could protect themselves against bushrangers and local Aborigines. The original building had shutters and a shingle roof. The walls were 20 cm thick and there was a cellar with a trapdoor where, in case of attack, the women and children could be hidden. Today the cottage is decorated with authentic period furnishings

In 1837 John Dowd and his wife moved into the cottage and it is still owned by his descendants. In the early years it had a particularly colourful history. It is believed that during John Dowd's ownership it was visited by the bushranger Ben Hall and Hall, finding Dowd ill in bed, offered to send for a doctor. Apparently Dowd, according to the legend, refused the money and delivered a lecture to Hall about his need to mend his wicked ways. The bushranger allegedly replied: "Too late now old chap" and rode off.

On another occasion Bishop John Polding, the first Catholic Bishop in Australia, said mass for the local Catholic community at the cottage.



* Prior to European settlement the district was the home to the Wiradjuri Aboriginal people.

* A cattle station named 'Gool-a-gong' was established in the district in the 1820s by a Dr William Redfern, the personal physician to Governor Macquarie.

* In 1827 convicts built Croote Cottage out of pise. It is one of the earliest buildings still standing west of the Blue Mountains.

* In 1869 the settlement acquired its first school.

* By 1880 St Malachy's Catholic Church was completed and holding mass for the local Catholic community.

* In 1904 the distinctive Holman Bridge, a timber truss construction, was completed across the Lachlan River.

* In 1922 the North Goolagong siding was opened with the railway running from Cowra to Eugowra.

* In 1924 a 20 tonne weighbridge and 15 tonne crane were installed at the railway siding.

* In 1924 the town changed its name from Goolagong to Gooloogong.

* In 1927 Hugh Heavener built the town's distinctive Log Cabin Hall.

* By 1931 the town had a two towered wheat silo.

* The railway was closed down and dismantled in 1979.


Visitor Information

Useful information about the town can be had at both the hotel and the general store. The nearest information centres are at Cowra - the Cowra Visitor Information Centre, Olympic Park, Mid Western Highway, Cowra, tel: (02) 6342 4333 and at Forbes - the Forbes Visitor Information Centre, Railway Station, Union Street, Forbes, tel: (02) 6852 4155.


Useful Websites

The Forbes website has good information on the town. Check out http://www.forbes-nsw.com/Gooloogong.html for details.

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32 suggestions
  • Just next to the Memorial Park there is a delightful small caravan park. There are eight sites with power and water for a gold coin or larger donation. There is also an outhouse building with a fire facility which is excellent on a cold night. Minimum 3 night stay but you have to get there early to get one of the powered sites.

    Ron Peterson
  • My ancestors took up land there over a century ago. They used to say Gooloogong meant “meeting place of the waters”.

    Peter Lamb
  • Were there any indigenous people ever living in Gooloogong?

    Yes but like most Aborigines they were on the move and so they would have camped there without actually calling it their long term home. Gooloogong is a Wiradjuri word and the name of a Wiradjuri family.

    Barry Minhinnick
    • Barry, I would like to disagree with you here. Peter Kubaila, archaeologist and historian, has written that the Aboriginal community there existed from 1890 to 1965. He has interviewed people with memories of it. MY own memory is of a settlement by the riverbank on the Forbes Road with maybe twelve corrugated iron houses which was certainly there all through the 1950s. Perhaps the Gooloogong historical Society has some photos.

      Marianne Payten
  • You have not mentioned the Gooloogong Country Club.

    Natalie Haydon
  • I lived in Gooloogong, went to the Catholic School there, and the town still holds a special place in my heart especially The Log Cabin Hall which does not get a mention here but to me is a wonderful building and landmark.

    Marie Middleton née Read
  • When I was growing up in Goolagong in the 50’s/60’s there was an Aboriginal family (the Wedges) who lived down by the riverbank before eventually moving into town. I also was told that the meaning of Goolagong involved water (cant’t remember exactly).

    Pam Cooley
    • Yes I was told by a couple of old timers while growing up there in the ‘60’s and 70’s the gong part of Gooloogong/Goolagong meant water. Also told name changed after major flood 1901 or 02?? As the town was then down in the old common area and then morphed up hill a bit….. have no evidence just what an old timer told me and what I recall

      Katrina O’Donnell (O’Brien)
  • My grandfather was born in Gooloogong on 26 January 1890. His father was the local Police Constable and served with the NSW Mounted Police from 1882 until he retired in 1929. He was stationed in Gooloogong for about six [6] years.

    John Nancarrow
  • Gelato shop and giftware across from the pub. Marvellous on a hot day.

    Mark Hall
  • William Hughes did the milk run with a horse called Polly. He had two daughters – Wilma and Vonnie who lived near the river and attended the local school. Vonnie moved to Sydney and had 2 children. Wilma had 8 children. We believe one brother is buried with Pop William at Gooloogong. There was also children that were taken and put into children’s homes – now classed as part of the stolen generation. Yes, we have been back. Two of Wilma’s children – my sister and brother attended the local school. Yes, quite a few Aboriginal families lived in Gooloogong.

    Janelle burnes
  • My Great-Great-Grandparents had a property called Vera Home. Would anyone know where that would have been? My family name is Ticehurst.

    Julie Barrington
  • We also have fantastic markets on the 2nd Sunday of every even month. We generally have over 40 stalls and excellent crowds. A great day out in Gooloogong, come to the markets, visit the historical rooms (lots of information and photos about Gooloogong) and have a drink at our local hotel or our now famous Country Club (see the Origin ad on television).

    Lynne Dowd
  • Other interesting attractions at Gooloogong are Croote Cottage, Moxey dairy farm (one of the largest dairies in the southern hemisphere and growing), lovely drives and walks in the Conimbla National Park. You can also take a Blind Freddy Bushranger Tour. Come and stay at Gooloogong in our free caravan park or at the hotel. Gooloogong is also only about a 30min drive from Cowra, Canowindra, Grenfell, Forbes, Eugowra and Parkes and you can check out the attractions in those towns too.

    Lynne Dowd
    • My mother’s family of origin were the Mooney family, Adelargo Road Grenfell on a sheep property that was then known as “Mountain View”. I recall two nearby neighbour’s by names of Wood or Woods & also Fisher.
      In recent times I visited the memorial brick wall in Gooloogong to view mention of my Mooney ancestors amongst other mentioned families.

      Patricia Way
      • my mother was born in Gooloogong in June 1901 and then her family moved to TrunkeyCreek as her father was a gold prospector her name was Florence Carter and her father was John Carter does anyone know anything of her or her family?

        Noel Ricketts
  • Hi all, my great-grandfather Denis Haydon was born supposedly in Gooloogong (or Goolagong then) in 1901. Apparently an illegitimate birth. His mother was Mary Haydon (m. Alfred McKenzie).

    I am trying to find who the father may have been. Apparently the story of Denis was well known around the town but cannot seem to locate anyone that may have known?

    Please get in touch if you might have info on my ancestors 🙂


    Heidi Haydon
  • My Marsh ancestors moved from Cobbitty, across the Blue Mountains and settled at Glenleigh Goolagong by the Lachlan River c1872. There were 10 children, the youngest was my grandmother Amy age two. Father James and eldest sons went there first and built one building from timber on the property.. James returned to Cobbitty and took his wife Elizabeth and younger children on the journey to Glenleigh. Five more children were born there. Several more buildings were erected including a school room where a tutor was employed. Only a couple of buildings remain.

    Helen Telford/Reichenbach
  • Is Evonne G related to the town?

    John Andrews
  • Is Katherine Walsh still living just outside Gooloogong. Would love to contact her. Its been over 50 years. WOW! Time flies.

  • Left Gooloogong at age 6. Mum and Dad had the General Store in late 60’s to early 70’s. Dad always said he made lifelong friends, and his last visit was to the 60 year reunion of the cricket club. He is a life member. Such a pity we missed the start of Royce’s walk. One of my most vivid memory is being threatened by Mum to be dragged down to the Butchers because I had been naughty as a child. I still can remember the flood waters at the Log Cabin in 1975 I think. Great place, always tell people I’m from the Gong!

    Thomas O'Brien
  • My 4th GGPs Richard and Mary Payne were some of the early pioneers who settled around Cowra/Gooloogong. Im pretty sure they ran a general store out that way. Their daughter Elizabeth was their first child born in Australia after emigrating in 1849 on the ship Diana with their young sons John and George.

    • Hello Eliza, Richard and Mary Payne are my great grand parents too. I come from Frederick (Patrick) Payne who M Rose Cotter. My father was Oliver Randolph Payne who M, my mum Louisa Kelly.

      Myra Allan
  • I taught at St Thomas Catholic School for the year 1975 .I taught the 3 infant classes .I loved the little town and it still holds special memories .I was 21 years old .

    Barbara King (Bailes)
  • My name is Richard Squire, I went to school in Gooloogong in the 1950s. There were Aboriginal children at the school and a village on the Forbes side of town where they lived. A John Gooloogong worked on our farm. The Aboriginal buildings were mostly built from tin. I don’t know when it closed down as I left the area in 1962. My name is on one of the plaques. I played tennis where the caravan park is located. The shelter and high fence is all that is left.

    Richard Squire
  • We stayed in the park at Gooloogong. It was really lovely. The only negative was the brand new toilet facilities had no locks on the doors!! Couldn’t use the showers because of this.

    Peter Monshing