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Lockhart, NSW

Historic veranda town servicing the surrounding sheep and wheat farms.

Lockhart is a charming Riverina town noted for its remarkable main street (Green Street) with its shady verandas, decorative iron work and beautifully restored facades. It is recognised and classified by the National Trust as an important repository of turn-of-the-century architecture. Plaques on the shops provide historic details. A wander along the town's main street reveals the history of the district etched in pavers. Lockhart is now a commercial and business service centre for the surrounding rural community where wheat, sheep, wool, cattle and poultry dominate the economy.

Location

Lockhart is located 521 km south-west of Sydney via the Hume and Sturt Highways.

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Origin of Name

Lockhart was originally known as Green's Gunyah after a roadside inn run by a Mr. Green. It changed its name to Ferriers when a man named Ferrier took over the inn but was finally, and formally, named Lockhart after the Commissioner for Crown Lands in the area in the 1850s, a Mr C.G.N. Lockhart.

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Things to See and Do

Lockhart's Hotels and Bank
The Commercial Bank at 90 Green Street is an elegant brick building characterised by its attractive first-floor arches. It was built in 1912. It has changed usage over the years but still retains its original wooden counters and brass fittings. The town has two old hotels both of which have a certain rustic charm. The Railway Hotel at 33 Brookong Street was erected in 1908 and the Commercial Hotel (1906), at 111 Green Street, is a charming Federation pub with a balcony of iron lacework and carved woodwork.

The Pioneer Memorial Gates
The Pioneer Memorial Gates, which were erected in 1962, are a tribute to the pioneers and early settlers in the district. Twenty two replica wool bales form the entrance to the Lockhart Showground and are located on the road to Urana. The replica wool bales have the names of the area's original homesteads stencilled on them and the gates are silhouettes of the bullock carts which were used to carry the bales. The Showground Grandstand, built of local Murray pine, and the nearby bar pavilion date back to the late 19th century. For more information check out http://visitlockhartshire.com.au/attractions/pioneers-memorial-gateway.aspx.

Greens Gunyah Museum
Located on the corner of Green and Urana Streets near Brookong Creek is the Greens Gunyah Museum which is run by the Lockhart & District Historical Society. The museum houses an extensive collection of historical artefacts and photographs. It also includes the Doris Golder Gallery of layered wool art which consists of portraits and landscapes constructed in natural coloured fleece wool. As well there are artefacts from Brookong Station and information relating to the history of the Shearers Strike on the property in 1888. The museum also operates as the local Visitor Information Centre, tel: (02) 6920 5674. It is open from 9.30 am - 4.30 pm  from Wednesday to Sunday. For more information check out http://mgnsw.org.au/organisations/greens-gunyah-museum.

Pastoral Shadows of Brookong
The Pastoral Shadows of Brookong trail is a pleasant and easy circular walk which recalls the pastoral history of Lockhart with sculptures of drovers, horses and sheep, a couple of swaggies, brolgas, bullockies and carts and drays, all made from corrugated iron, offcuts from farm machinery, and rusted metal. The trail, which starts over the road from the Lockhart Motel at 1 Green Street, has detailed signage. It was constructed by the local community with the help of a farm art sculptor, Stuart Spragg. For a range of images of the art works along the way, check out http://www.spiritofthelandlockhart.com.au/?page_id=814.

Spirit of the Land Festival
Held each year on the second weekend in October, the Lockhart Spirit of the Land Festival showcases the kind of Farm Art featured on the Pastoral Shadows of Brooking trail. These are sculptures made from farm materials, recycled metal and other elements. One year a prancing horse made from parts of motor vehicles was featured jumping over a bale of hay and entire horse and carriage ensembles, complete with passengers, have been made from miscellaneous pieces of metal. Check out http://www.spiritofthelandlockhart.com.au/ for more details.

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Other Attractions in the Area

Searching for Mad Dog Morgan
Henty is an important chapter in the career of the infamous career of bushranger Dan 'Mad Dog' Morgan who terrorised the district from 1862-65. The son of convict parents Morgan was probably a man named Jack Fuller who had been born in Appin around 1830. He was sentenced to twelve years hard labour for highway robbery in 1854. At the time he called himself John Smith, gave his occupation as jockey, and served six years before being released on a ticket-of-leave. It is claimed that he emerged from gaol a bitter, resentful, brooding and vengeful man. A skilled horse thief he moved on to highway robbery and acts of violence, committing the first of four murders in 1863. At the time he went by the name of "Billy the Native". Morgan earned some sympathy from the poor for his attention to their welfare and his focus on the property of the landed gentry.

A description of his physical appearance has been left by one of his pursuers, a Detective Manwaring: "He was distinguished by his immense black beard flowing to his breast. His hair hung over his shoulders in gipsy ringlets. His height was nearly six feet. He was stout and muscular but weak in the knees and walked awkwardly. When mounted on horseback he was unsurpassed as a rider. His head had no crown. The forehead was small and angular. The nose was .. massive and straight but terminating in a peculiar hook which curved over the upper lip. This, with small clear blue eyes gave him the appearance of a ferocious bird of prey."

In June, 1864 newspapers around the country publicised Morgan's violent behaviour at Round Hill station near Culcairn. Morgan rounded everybody at the station up, forced them to drink alcohol (except himself), was about to depart and, according to one account, fell into a rage when the manager, Sam Watson, claimed that his (Morgan's) stirrups were stolen. Another version suggests that Morgan, thinking he'd been fired upon, shot and wounded Watson, when his own gun accidentally went off. Morgan shot and wounded Watson, ran around firing indiscriminately, shot John Heriott, the son of a neighbouring grazier, chased another individual and then returned to Heriott, placing a gun to his temple. When Watson said "For God's sake, Morgan, don't kill anyone", he became compassionate, swore he would kill everyone who did not come to Heriott's assistance, carried him to a bed and agreed that overseer John McLean should go to Walla Walla to fetch a doctor. He insisted that McLean could go if he promised not to head in the opposite direction towards Ten Mile Creek and the police. When Heriott's condition improved Morgan headed for Ten Mile Creek, found McLean and shot him and then returned him to Round Hill. He left just before the police arrived. McLean died three days later. The reward money for Morgan quickly escalated. When he bailed up Henry Baylis near Urana the money was £200. After killing McLean and Sergeant David Maginnity near Tumbarumba it rose to £1000. By September, 1863 he had also killed a Sergeant Smyth. The Australian Dictionary of Biography points out that "Between January and March 1865 Morgan seemed ubiquitous. He was credited with no less than six major robberies of coaches and pastoral stations and the attempted murder of a stock-keeper at Wallandbool. In March the government of New South Wales introduced the Felons Apprehension Act, which made him an outlaw. Next month Morgan crossed the Murray to settle his old score with Evans and Bond. Reaching Whitfield on 7 April, he bailed up the head station. Evan Evans was not there. Morgan headed north and held up traffic on the Sydney Road between Benalla and Glenrowan. On the evening of 8 April he bailed up the Macpherson homestead at Peechelba, north of Wangaratta, unaware that the station's co-owner George Rutherford lived less than a quarter of a mile (0.4 km) away. Alice Keenan, the Macphersons' nurse, carried news to Rutherford, who rounded up his workforce, selected and armed five trustworthy men and sent them to watch at Peechelba homestead. Police and armed vigilantes augmented the party. Next morning, as the bushranger walked towards the stockyards to select a horse to continue his flight, he was shot from behind by John Wendlan. Morgan died at about 1.45 p.m. on 9 April 1865. Locks were cut from his hair, his body was publicly displayed at Wangaratta, his beard was flayed from his face as a souvenir and his head severed, to be forwarded to the professor of anatomy at the University of Melbourne. He was buried on 14 April in Wangaratta cemetery."

Galore Hill Nature Reserve
Galore Hill is located 13 km north of Lockhart on the Lockhart-Narrandera Road, this 510 ha rnature reserve rises 215 m from an almost flat plain. It has grey kangaroos, echidna and lizards, 140 species of birds, and 850 types of native flora including flowering native plants in spring. There are several walking tracks and a road leads to the summit where there are picnic, toilet and barbecue facilities and panoramic views from the lookout tower. It is claimed that the bushranger 'Mad Dog' Morgan used the caves on the northern side of Galore Hill as a refuge when he was being hunted down. For more information check out http://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/country-nsw/wagga-wagga-area/lockhart/attractions/galore-hill-nature-reserve.

Pleasant Hills
Located 25 km west of Henty is the small village of Pleasant Hills which was officially proclaimed in 1892. The small township is notable for the Pleasant Hills Community Hotel, the first community owned hotel in New South Wales which was erected in 1917-18. The hotel licence was sold in 1999 and the hotel closed.  However the community rallied and established the first Community Licence in NSW. The hotel reopened on 23 March 2000, and has been a great success and is the focal point for all the community being the hotel, the post office and a general store. The township was settled by German immigrants in the late 19th century and consequently it has a distinct German ambience. The Lutheran Cemetery has headstones in German; there is a wattle-and-daub Lutheran Church built in 1888 and still in use today; and the street names include Terlich, Eulenstein, Schiller, Quast, Pertzel, Lieschke, Knobel, Haberecht, Zucker, Pumpa and Scheuner - families who migrated to the town. The flora on the Esplanade in the centre of the village is particularly attractive and the Public Hall (1912) is made of local pine and features a mural and local memorabilia.  Check out http://visitlockhartshire.com.au/our-towns/pleasant-hills.aspx for greater details and for a downloadable map of the small township.

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History

* Prior to European occupation the area around Lockhart had been Wiradjuri country for over 20,000 years.

*The first property in the area was 'Brookong' taken up by Henry Osborne in the 1840s .

* The town site that evolved beside the Brookong Creek was known as Green's Gunya in the 1850s. It was named after a hut owned by a Mr Green which was located where the road crossed Brookong Creek.

* The Brookong property was managed by Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh in the 1860s. His memoir After Many Days (1917) is a rare first hand account of the growth of the pastoral industry in the Riverina.

* By 1865 Green had turned his hut into a roadside inn and a store and blacksmith's shop soon emerged as Green's inn became a changing post for horses working the coach routes.

* By 1883 there was a Post Office in the village which was known as Ferriers after the local landlord.

* Brookong property was the scene of a major shearer's strike in 1888. The station owner, William Halliday, persuaded Police Magistrate Henry Baylis and thirty policemen to break up the strike. They read the shearers the Riot Act, then arrested ten of their number. Nine were found guilty and sentenced to prison with hard labour. Shearing continued with non-union labour under police protection.

* The bush poet Barcroft Boake worked as a surveyor in the area in 1891.

* The village was proclaimed in 1896 and named Lockhart after C.G.N. Lockhart, the Commissioner of Crown Lands.

* The railway reached the town in 1901.

* The local railway closed down to passenger trains in 1974 but is still used to cart grain from the local silos.

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Visitor Information

Greens Gunyah Museum on the corner of Green and Urana Streets operates as the local Visitor Information Centre, tel: (02) 6920 5674. It is open from 9.30 am - 4.30 pm  from Wednesday to Sunday.

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Useful Websites

There is a useful local website - http://visitlockhartshire.com.au - with information about local attractions and accommodation.

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Got something to add?

Have we missed something or got a top tip for this town? Have your say below.

3 suggestions
  • I was a teacher at French Park from 1969-72. I was very interested in local history and did quite a bit of exploring ( with permission) around Brookong Station.
    As you drive west, on the main road from the gate and run parallel with a billabong or dam, contained on the property, high on a large tree, in very big letters are the initials WH and * H, which I always presumed belonged to William Halliday and his wife. Maybe this feature is well known, maybe the trees have disappeared. Good luck.

    Terry Moore
  • Hi all,
    I am looking for information with regards to my Granddad, Mr Sidney(Sydney) Edward SMITH, (Paternal), he and his brother Louis George Smith(Great Uncle) ran Smith Bros Bakery, in Lockhart. Early in 1895 to 1900 approximately.

    They parted before 1900 Louis to go home to Beechworth, Victoria and pass away from kidney complications. Sidney went to Western Australia and joined the Kalgoorlie Water pipeline construction (CY O’Connor) and worked as the cook/baker, along side of his mate who was the butcher.

    Can anyone help me with more information on the lives of both my paternal Grandfather and my Great Uncle Louis whilst they lived and worked in Lockhart NSW.

    Janis Tutisai (Paternal Smith) Maternal is (Lane)
  • What about a story or acknowledgement of that wonderful cafe at the end of the main street.
    My parents Monica known as Peggy O’Neill and John “Jack” Turner from nearby Boree Creek were married at the Lockhart Catholic church and then had their wedding reception at that cafe after dad returned from active service in World War 11. My mum who turned 90 on 16/8/18 speaks fondly of that cafe

    How about a feature on the wonderfu Blue Bird Cafe in Green Street Lockhart. My parents,Monica,known as Peggy O’Neill and John”Jack: Turner both from Boree Creek, were married at the Lockhart Catholic Church and then had their wedding reception at the Blue Bird Cafe in Lockhart. This was when my dad returned from service in WWII. My dad is now deceased but my Mum who turned 90 on 16/8/18 speaks fondly of her wedding reception at the Blur Bird Cafe a far cry from the lavish expensive receptions of today but after all these years, still fondly remembered.
    I took my mum back there a few years ago and we had afternoon tea there. I have a feeling that it closed down ? What wonderful memories and so much history within the walls of the lovely little cafe.
    My great grandfather was Maurice Caroll from Long Park and many others. I return to Lochart -Boree Creek from SA, each year to visit my cousins in Lockhart Joy Hooper and her sister Lynn.
    Thank you for keeping Lockhart on the net

    0413 818 715

    Ruth Palachicky formerly Turner