History on show at the Bathurst Heritage Trades Trail

The City of Bathurst will celebrate over 200 years of history next month when it celebrates the Bathurst Heritage Trades Trail.

To be held in May on Saturday, 12 and Sunday 13, the event will pay homage to the trades and traditions that have helped shape the region.

Rare and lost trades and crafts will be showcased over one weekend at Australia’s oldest inland European settlement.

Blacksmithing, saddlery, dry stone walling, whip cracking and making, glass artistry, lace making, tapestry, embroidery, carpentry and joinery, cigar box guitar making and violin making are among many unique talents to be demonstrated by local and guest artisans.

The Bathurst Trades Trail will also bring together two attractions not commonly seen in the country - the biggest display of Cobb & Co coaches in NSW and Australia’s oldest wedding dress.

Mayor of Bathurst, Graeme Hangar OAM, said the Bathurst Heritage Trades Trail offers visitors from near and far a cultural and educational experience.

“Bathurst Heritage Trades Trail showcases the destination’s heritage along with the old trades and crafts which literally built Bathurst and which we are helping keep alive today. Six of Bathurst’s most historic venues will be activated and used to host more than 60 artisans practicing their rare trades, including a focus on restoration and conservation,” Mayor Hangar said.

“This is a real celebration of the town’s heritage and is an incredible once-a-year opportunity to discover and learn about historic trades and crafts and their contribution to our modern world.”

Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said the Bathurst Heritage Trades Trail is proudly supported by the NSW Government via its Incubator Event Fund.

“The Incubator Event Fund, which is managed by the State’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, assists regional events in their infancy to grow attendance and boost the local visitor economy,” Mr Toole said.

“We know that events play a key role in attracting both new and returning visitors to the Bathurst region, bringing with them additional business to our restaurants and cafes, local tourism operators, attractions and accommodation providers.”

With additional assistance from the NSW Government’s Heritage Near me program, the two-day event will allow the community to visit sites that are not always open to the public, including:

· Chifley Home – built in the 1880s, this was the residence of former Prime Minister Ben Chifley and his wife Elizabeth from 1914 until Ben’s death in 1951. The Victorian home will present a history of food preparation and production from the perspective of women from the Depression and War periods. On display are kitchen items including tea cosies, aprons and cookbooks, plus a selection of quirky items not often in use today. Enjoy a ‘Twisted Tea’ experience with interesting treats using recipes that stretched the creativity of cooks dealing with hardships and shortages. 

· Tremain’s Mill – this iconic industrial building is a surviving example of a mid 19th century flour mill and today is a true icon of Bathurst. During Bathurst Heritage Trades Trail, Tremain’s Mill will be home to restoration and trades demonstrations, including a Heritage Conservation Roadshow led by the University of Melbourne’s Grimwade Centre, who will show event visitors how to preserve family heirlooms and exclusive antique pieces. Musicians will play among the many artisans working in wood.

· Agricultural Research Station – formerly the ‘Bathurst Experiment Farm’ of the late 1800s, this hidden gem holds 11 National Trust listed buildings and will showcase a diverse line up of activity. Learn about agricultural and farm trades, be entertained by musicians, heavy horses and kelpie dogs. See demonstrations of blacksmithing, stone walling, whip cracking and more.

· Uniting Church Hall – built in 1837, one of the oldest buildings in Bathurst will showcase soft trades and feature demonstrations of gem polishing, basket making workshops, embroidery, bead and wire craft and lace making.

· Country Women’s Association (CWA) Hall – Originally the site of the first technical school in Bathurst, the CWA Hall will feature artisans and demonstrations such as knitting, crocheting, felting workshops and candle wicking.

· Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre – used for the staging of live performances and the arts, this historic venue will be a mecca for fashionistas interested in the history of women’s fashion and wedding dresses. See one of the oldest wedding dresses in Australia along with 46 others from Bathurst covering 200 years.

Bathurst Heritage Trades Trail is an important program for the Bathurst community and is part of a strategic marketing effort to boost tourism into the region.

“It’s amazing to see how many people are intrigued by the history of the Bathurst region and community,” Mayor Hangar said.

“In the last year alone, Bathurst has seen a surge in local tourism with more than 895,000 visitors bringing $213 million in to the local Bathurst economy. We’re excited to build on these numbers as we continue to bring to life the tradition and historical tales of the region through events such as this.”

The Bathurst Heritage Trades Trail tickets cost $10 per person for two days. Children under 16 years are free. To purchase tickets or for more information visit www.bathursthtt.com.au