Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been travelling the Greater Blue Mountains Heritage Trail. Today we come to the end of that journey, finishing off the trail in Lithgow, Bells Line Road and the Hawkesbury Valley. Come along for the journey and discover the heritage listed Blue Mountains.
Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum
Today we’re going to start at Lithgow; the first stop is the Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum. Open Tuesday – Thursday, as well as weekends and public holidays this is the perfect spot to learn about those who worked in the first high-precision mass production plant in Australia. You’ll discover their aspirations and achievements and the disappointments, as well as the economic and social hardships that were faced.
The museum is located on the original site of the Small Arms Factory and has a significant and fascinating collection of items that showcase our industrial heritage, as well as one of the finest firearms displays in the Southern Hemisphere. The collection also includes photographs and memorabilia which display early to modern day production processes and the social, sporting and cultural events in Lithgow from 1912.
The museum is an amazing place to stop and take in some of the history of the Blue Mountains. Pop into the Museum Shop and pick up an array of unique gifts for family and friends.
Eskbank House & Museum
Next on the list, and still in Lithgow is Eskbank House & Museum. Built in 1842 by Thomas Brown, the man who first established the coal industry in Lithgow, the historic home features a display of Lithgow Pottery and other period pieces, furniture, a blacksmith’s forge and a coach house. The four front rooms of the house have been preserved as they were back in 1842 and contain some amazing early Victorian and regency furniture.
At the back of the house you’ll find a covered courtyard which it used a museum with exhibits including a Hansom cab and a Pennyfarthing bicycle. You’ll also find the locomotive “Possum” that was used at the Lithgow Blast Furnace.
Eskbank House is another great stop on the Heritage Trail for all things historic.
Lithgow State Mine Heritage Park & Railway
Last on the list in Lithgow is the State Mine Heritage Park and Railway. Open weekends, public holidays and school holidays, learn the history behind Lithgow’s coalminers and their families. The mine is a great opportunity to see the industrial history of the local coalfields, as well as gain an understanding of the heritage and history of Lithgow.
This is certainly an interesting stop on the Heritage Trail and will give you great insight into the region.
Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens
Next on the trail is a stop at the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens in Mount Tomah. This is a great place to stop for lunch, and a lovely place to spend a few house. With a collection of cool climate plants spread over 28 hectares, the Botanic Gardens will have you discovering new things every step of the way.
With more than 40,000 native, rare and exotic plants to discover, there is plenty to see. Some of the unmissable gardens include the Southern Hemisphere Woodland, the Remnant Rainforest and the Residence Garden. Join one of the many free guided walks or hire an iPod Touch in the visitor centre and go on a self-guided audio tour.
Pack a picnic lunch or enjoy lunch with views of Wollemi National Park at the Tomah Gardens Restaurant. Before leaving take a look at the Botanists Way Discovery Centre where you’ll find plenty of information of the history of the northern Blue Mountains, including the stories of the early botanists who explored the region looking for rare plants and a crossing to the west.
Once you’ve finished exploring the Botanic Gardens, its off to the Hawkesbury Valley.
Hawkesbury Regional Museum
Open Wednesday to Monday, the Hawkesbury Regional Museum houses an interesting collection of pieces from the Hawkesbury region. The Museum also houses some great pieces that you won’t see elsewhere including the celestial globe belonging to local internationally-renowned astronomer John Tebbutt, a personal diary from a member of the HMAS Hawkesbury during WW II recording the Japanese surrender, and the unique Hawkesbury creation, the flabbit.
The museum grounds are also home to Howe House, a historic home that has been fitted out with furnishings and displays reflecting its use over more than 200 years. With some great exhibitions throughout the year, the Hawkesbury museum is a social history museum and a great place to learn more about the region.
We’ve come to the end of the Greater Blue Mountains Heritage Trail, and as you travel around there are plenty of places to stop and take some time to explore the area.
Book your stay at Mountain Whispers, and enjoy the historical towns of the Blue Mountains.
Main photo: Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens.