Culture and heritage

Heritage of NSW

Mining heritage

Australia has a rich mining history. It goes back much further than 1791, the year when the great coal industry of the Hunter region began on the 'Nobbys Tuff' coal seam. Aboriginal toolmakers had been mining Nobbys Tuff for generations before this.

Gemstones, gold, shale, coal - these have all been mined in NSW. You'll find evidence of this varied mining heritage in and around the state's national parks and reserves, including:

  • Hill End Historic Site, an old gold rush town
  • Newnes in Wollemi National Park, where there are impressive shale mining remains
  • Kiandra, a gold rush town in Kosciuszko National Park
  • the Albert Goldfields, near Tibooburra, which hold an important place in Australian mining heritage. They were the first of the arid country mineral fields, and marked the beginning of mineral exploration in the Australian interior. 

What people have said

Fancy a deep gully, into which it is necessary to descend with considerable caution, unless you have the feet of a goat or a Hill End miner, blocked up a way now and then with gigantic boulders, washed from above, and the passage further complicated by a thick shrubby undergrowth…

Then imagine an outcrop of quartz occurring in the midst of the most serious of these complications and the sight of golden specks shown on breaking the stone, and then think of how you would look if asked to drive in upon that outcropping vein, with no foothold beyond that which you can only maintain by the exercise of no small amount of balancing skill.

Random Notes by a Wandering Reporter, The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 January 1872: 117, in Harry Hodge, The Hill End Story Book 2: 117

Book: Hill End - an historic Australian goldfields landscape

The historic gold rush town of Hill End is perched high on the NSW Central Tablelands, some 300 km north-west of Sydney. Hill End Historic Site, established in 1967, is one of the first cultural heritage sites to be reserved in Australia.

This book, commissioned by the NPWS, integrates Hill End's landscape and architecture, its artefacts and relics and the personal histories of its current occupants and those long departed. The book digs past Hill End's gold rush facade into the lives of the people who lived through its history.

The 232-page book is a new approach to landscape conservation and management. It represents the NPWS commitment to understanding our relationship with landscape, its imprint on the place itself and the people that inhibit it.

More information


Page last updated: 14 September 2015