Hartley Historic Site

Exploring cultural heritage in the park

Cultural sites

Hartley Courthouse

Wheelchair access: medium

Assistance may be required to access this area. There is a portable wheelchair ramp.

Hartley Courthouse, designed by Colonial Architect Mortimer Lewis and built in 1837, Hartley Historic Site (Image: Kristie Cooke/DECCW)Hartley Courthouse was designed by colonial architect Mortimer Lewis in the Grecian Revival style. Still largely intact and constructed solidly of locally quarried sandstone, it is an imposing building, as it was designed to be.

The three doorways provided entrances for prisoners, the public and magistrates and visitors can examine the cellblock that housed prisoners and convicts. Many notorious bushrangers and cattle thieves were kept here and inside the cells, with their bars and bolts still in position, you can imagine the thoughts of men used to roaming the country locked up tight in this remote prison.

As the convict system faded into history, and Hartley was bypassed by the new railway, the need for a courthouse here diminished. Benefits were held in this grand old building during World War II, and nowadays visitors can wander through, reading the interpretive signs and imagining the building’s vivid colonial past.

Activities: walking, dog walking, picnics and barbecues, sightseeing, exploring historic heritage

Getting there: On entering Hartley Historic Site:

  • Hartley Courthouse is located on the right as you enter the village

Road access: Sealed road - 2WD vehicles.

Opening hours: Hartley Courthouse is:

  • Open for guided tours (for groups of 4 minimum) from Tuesday to Sunday at 10am, 11am, 12am, 2pm and 3pm.
  • Please book in advance for large group or school groups on:

    Phone: (02) 6355 2117
    Fax: (02) 6355 2118
    Email: hartley@environment.nsw.gov.au

Facilities: picnic tables, carpark, flush toilets

Venue hire: See details

Contact: Hartley Historic Site, Phone: (02) 6355 2117

Hartley Historic Site Visitor Centre

Wheelchair access: medium

Assistance may be required to access this area. Wheelchair-users can enter via back door with assistance.

Drop into Hartley Historic Site Visitor Centre before you tour the village. As well as providing all the information you will need about Hartley’s buildings and history, it stocks a range of Australian souvenirs, snacks and drinks. Changing historical and art exhibitions give fascinating insights into the story of Hartley – spend some time checking out the old photographs and imagining the bustle of this little town in its heyday.

Hartley Historic Site Visitor Centre is itself housed in a colonial building: the Farmers Inn. The central portion of this single-storey building, corresponding with the verandah, was the original part of the house. At either end of the building are added rooms, which were probably built when the building became an inn in about 1865. Some original iron roof survives today, as well as the chimneys.

Activities: sightseeing, exploring historic heritage

Getting there: On entering Hartley Historic Site:

  • Hartley Historic Site Visitor Centre is on Old Bathurst Road, opposite Hartley Courthouse and next to St Bernard’s Church.

Road access: Sealed road - 2WD vehicles.

Opening hours: Hartley Historic Site Visitor Centre is:

  • Open from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4.20pm from Tuesday to Sunday (closed Public Holidays, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)
  • Phone: (02) 6355 2117
  • Fax: (02) 6355 2118
  • Email: hartley@environment.nsw.gov.au

Facilities: picnic tables, carpark, flush toilets, visitor centre

Contact: Hartley Historic Site, Phone: (02) 6355 2117

St Bernards Church

Wheelchair access: medium

Assistance may be required to access this area. There is a portable wheelchair ramp.

The beautiful pale sandstone St Bernards Church was built by local stonemason Alexander Binning, probably from a Gothic prototype. Before it was built, services had to be held in Hartley Courthouse, with the first priest arriving from Ireland in 1838. The stonework was completed in 1846, but the windows and altar came later.

The church was used continuously until 1963 and is still consecrated and in fine condition. Occasional services such as weddings and funerals are still held in the lovely old building and the Catholic Church retains the rights for its use. You can take a tour when it isn't in use for a service.

St Bernard’s is a well-preserved and very pretty church, and well worth a look around. You can also take great photographs in the grounds for any occasion, even just a day trip.

Getting there: On entering Hartley Historic Site:

  • St Bernards Church is opposite Hartley Courthouse and next to Hartley Historic Site Visitor Centre

Road access: Sealed road - 2WD vehicles.

Opening hours: St Bernards Church is:

Facilities: venue, flush toilets, picnic tables

Venue hire: See details

Contact: Hartley Historic Site, Phone: (02) 6355 2117