A One-Night-Stand in Lockhart and Gunning, NSW Australia

A One-Night-Stand in Lockhart and Gunning, NSW Australia

… no, no, no, no, … it was a one-night-stopover in both of these places.

Lockhart NSW

Lockhart is a small town in the Riverina region of NSW, 45 minutes drive (approx) south-west of the nearest large town, Wagga Wagga. It’s the Local Government centre of the Shire of Lockhart and home to 3119 people (2016 Aust. Census).

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The main “drag” through town is called Green Street. In fact, the site of the town was originally known as Green’s Gunya, because a Mr Green had a “Gunya” (Aboriginal hut), or more accurately, a grog shop there. The town that grew around the “Gunya” was renamed Lockhart in 1897, after a government official from the area.

And, since we’re mentioning government officials, Tim Fischer, the leader of the National Party 1990 -1999 and Deputy Prime Minister of Australia 1996-1999, was born in Lockhart.

With a drive-through, level site for a one-night stay, the van remained hitched. The Lockhart caravan park is neat and tidy, quiet and easy to get into. Has good facilities, relaxing vistas and a short walk to shops and pub.

We arrived in Lockhart around lunch time on Sunday 15th April and after a bite to eat took a stroll down the main street.

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Lockhart is known as “The Verandah Town”, with most of the main street buildings constructed in the early 1900s.

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Constructed in 1912 as the Commercial Bank, at the corner of Green and Mathews Streets, this building has been used more recently by the local NAB branch and as a B&B
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The roads in and out of Lockhart are sealed, but can be a little rough and uneven. Don’t let that stop you going there. Just drive a little slower, especially if towing a van.

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A closer look at the Commercial Hotel

Monday Night Cards, Tuesday Night Pool Comp, Friday Night Karate, Saturday Night “Recreational Rock Stars”, Sunday Arvo “Open Mic”. So nothing happens Wednesday and Thursday nights?

Other attractions in town are Green’s Gunya Museum (includes the Doris Golder Gallery), the Pioneer Memorial Gates and the Spirit of the Land Festival held here in October each year.

Below are some of the metal (and part wooden) sculptures from past Spirit of the Land Festivals, strategically placed around town.

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Near the entrance to the caravan park
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On the external wall of the Doris Golder Gallery
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In Urana Street, near the corner of Green Street
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At the corner of Green and Urana Streets

We were so pleased to have an opportunity to spend a night in Lockhart. But for a deadline further north, we would have stayed longer.

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A view from the Lockhart Caravan Park


Gunning NSW

Our plan these days is to travel no more than three to four hours a day when towing the caravan. So we needed another place to stay for one night on our way north (from Lockhart) to Wombeyan Caves.


Gunning is indeed a small place, with only 659 residence (2016 Aust. Census), but it has a large showground with plenty of free, shorterm camping space available (however a donation is requested to help with maintenance of the grounds). We had read positive reviews on various websites and friends had also provided pleasing feedback about it, so we decided to check it out (Monday 15th April).

View of a small section from within showground – Entry/exit gate to right, amenities in centre, a few small show pavilions to left of that. (Out of view to left is a large, well grassed oval for footy and show events)
All set up next to a town-water tap, but still hitched for an early exit next day

It was time to explore the township.

Pye Cottage Museum – banner in front showing text from January 1838 Sydney Gazette, announcing the opening up of Gunning (and two other towns), with land available for sale at the minimum price of £2 Sterling per acre
Public School established in 1871, although I’m certain this building is more recent
Old Court House
Shops on the main street

The Hume highway (Highway 31 – Sydney to Melbourne) ran through the main street of Gunning (Yass Street) until the town was bypassed in April 1993.

We couldn’t by-pass the Telegraph Hotel, despite its allegiance to Queensland

Just the other side of the hotel (to the northeast) is the “servo” and convenience store.  You can leave a donation there for showground camping.

Gunning Uniting Church, built in 1876 for the then Methodist congregation
Gunning Railway Station

While many country towns in NSW have lost their passenger train service, Gunning has a daily NSW TrainLink XPT service in both directions between Sydney and Melbourne, plus one weekly Xplorer service operating between Sydney and Griffith.

The Station was opened in 1875, although this platform was not built until the line was duplicated in 1913
The original 1875 station building and one hell of a long, empty(?) freight train powered by four diesel-electric locomotives
A long line of empty rail cars, continuing around the distant bend. Not sure what are they designed to carry? Shipping containers perhaps? Or are the “modules” on top of the cars the actual freight (perhaps some sort of mining devices)?

I feel privileged to have the time and the means to visit and photograph various aspects of these country towns.

Old style duplex – Looks like only one duplex has a wood fire

Thanks for reading this far. If you have any suggestions to help make these blogs more interesting for you, please leave a comment below.

Well, its off to Wombeyan Caves for the next episode. Hope you’ll stay in touch.

  • Kevin @ Bev G.
    Posted at 16:58h, 22 May Reply

    A wonderful episode, Alister. The village radiates dignity and tranquility. It seems to me to be a perfect epilogue to the retirement rewards Maggie and you have enjoyed. Home and the future!
    Love K’n”B.

    • alistairstravel
      Posted at 19:41h, 22 May Reply

      Thank you Kevin. I’m pleased that our enjoyment of these places come through in the blog.

  • Peter Gordon Stanton
    Posted at 09:47h, 25 May Reply

    Love the real Oz look…makes my little village of Elmore look very ordinary…but I love it.

    • alistairstravel
      Posted at 16:55h, 25 May Reply

      I am very fond of Elmore as well and I wouldn’t consider it ordinary. Next time we visit I would like to spend time making photos of the wonderful houses (including yours), churches and public buildings there.

  • L2
    Posted at 11:16h, 26 July Reply

    The train that you saw at Gunning was a steel train, travelling to Port Kembla from either Melbourne or Whyalla. Those wagons are designed to carry steel coils – here is one that is loaded: https://railgallery.wongm.com/pacific-national-interstate-steel-trains/F118_9330.jpg.html

    I’m surprised that you didn’t take a look at Lockhart’s railway station, which is well maintained for a facility that is only rarely used.

    • alistairstravel
      Posted at 17:39h, 26 July Reply

      Thanks for your response Marcus. Prior to writing this blog I spent a lot of time searching online for photos and information to solve the mystery of the wagons I saw at Gunning. Obviously I didn’t find what I wanted. So am grateful to you for providing the information and a photo.

      As for the station at Lockhart, I am surprised and disappointed I didn’t see it. However, our stop at Lockhart was a “last minute” decision. so I had not done any prior research on the town. I remember being very tired after a long drive, but walked from the caravan park around the main street then back. At the time I felt quite rewarded for my effort, having seen so many attractive buildings and metal sculptures. Again I do appreciate your comment and will make certain I visit the Lockhart Station when we are next in that region.

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