Cobar, some seven hundred kilometres west from Sydney, located south of Bourke NSW and north west of Dubbo is an Outback mining town that played an important part in New South Wales’ mining and pastoral wealth. Its name is even derived from the Aboriginal word for copper, and the town has earned the nickname of ’Copper Town’.
Today, mining is still very important to the region. Mining today includes precious metals such as zinc, lead, silver, gold and copper at Cobar and the surrounding region, as well as cadmium and antimony. There is still more to be discovered here, and ongoing prospecting is believed to be able to find more.
European settlers began to live and work here in the 1860s, not much later, Copper and Gold were discovered in this diverse bio-region. Consequently, there is a lot of heritage at Cobar to explore, including the Cobar Heritage Walk where there are buildings dating back to its early mining days.
Along the walk there are stone cottages that housed workers, as well as including distinctive Victorian and Edwardian buildings, built from the wealth found in the mines. Another place to visit is the Cobar Miner’s Heritage Park where there are artefacts from the mines.
At the Great Cobar Heritage Centre, located on the Barrier Highway, there is a museum with displays, exhibits and artefacts from as early as 1869 to today of the people that came to live and work here. There are also exhibits relating to the mining and agricultural industries, as well as the region’s Aboriginal history. Phone: +061 2 6836 2448 for more information.
This working mine was originally begun in 1896. This mine, has been worked off and on till the 1950s. Diamond drilling tests revealed substantial gold reserves much deeper than the old mine in the 70s. In the 90s, a deep open cut mine was begun and is now still operating.
There is a viewing platform there that allows you to see the big machines in operation. There is also ’The Golden Walk’ which takes you past the original mine shaft and an 1890s gold bearing ore crusher.
At the Gundabooka National Park, north of Cobar there is the Mulgowan Aboriginal Heritage site with rock art that is extremely old and the Valley of the Eagles Walk, an accessible walk that is regarded as easy, yet has wonderful views. The walk ends at the Mt. Gunderbooka, a 500 metre mountain that rises above the plains. There is plenty of birdlife in the park, one of its main attractions. Another place to visit here is the Bennets Gorge picnic area, great for either a picnic or BBQ.
At the Mount Grenfell Historic Site, located to the north west of Cobar, there are three significant Aborginal Rock Art Sites of the Wongaibon people. With its bright colours, made from natural earth pigments of red, ochre and yellows, there are layered human and animal figures, as well as hand paintings from long ago.
On warmer days, you will be able to spot an abundance of reptile life, getting a chance to sun themselves. There are also Emus and Kangaroos to see.
If you have the time, hike up to the top of Mount Grenfell, the location of the Choy trig station. The trail there is marked by strange rock formations, while at the top, stunning views of the surrounds.
It is important to inform Local Information Centres (including automotive clubs) of your plans to explore remote areas. Inform them of where you plan to go, when you leave and when you plan to arrive. Take any advice they give you about the local conditions. Learn as much as possible about surviving in the Outback as possible before setting out. These are only handy hints, aquiring as much knowledge as possible can save your life.
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