An historically significant town in the heart of Weddin Shire, Grenfell is steeped in colonial history with much of its old world character and charm maintained. Known throughout Australia as the birthplace of Henry Lawson, Grenfell’s heritage is rich in poetry, heritage landscapes, gold and bushrangers.
Grenfell is a charming, historically significant town situated in the heart of Weddin Shire in central New South Wales.
Surrounded by canola fields, cattle and sheep farms and the nearby Weddin Mountains National Park, Grenfell’s heritage is rich in poetry, heritage landscapes, nature walks, gold and bushrangers.
Iandra Castle, located within the Weddin Shire, is of outstanding significance as arguably the largest and most progressive wheat property and wheat farming enterprise of its time in Australia. Originally established on 32,000 acres by George Henry Greene from 1878-1911, share-farming was pioneered in 1893, revolutionising wheat growing in Australia.
Grenfell is the birthplace of Henry Lawson – Australia’s most famous poet and short story writer. His life is celebrated at the Henry Lawson Festival of Arts is held in Grenfell each June long weekend, which attracts artists, writers, poets and singers.
There is a wonderful, bronze statue of Henry Lawson sitting on a park bench on Main Street – it’s a selfie spot for visitors and locals alike.
Many of Grenfell’s heritage buildings can be found in the historically important Main Street, which houses the town center, and George Street, immediately behind. As you wander these two gently curving historic thoroughfares, be sure to see the Oddfellows Hall (1888) with its beautiful façade, the archway in the Tattersalls Turf Hotel (1888) used by horse-drawn coaches, the Bank of NSW (1890), the old Salvation Army Citadel (1883) and The Railway Hotel (1879) and stables.
Go bush-walking along the signposted trail in nearby Weddin Mountains National Park, where native animals and birds thrive. Visit Seaton’s Farm to see firsthand what farming life was like during the Depression years.
In 1833 John Wood became the first European to settle in the Grenfell district, but it was 33 years later in 1866 that a shepherd working for Wood discovered rich gold deposits on Wood’s property.
Miners flocked to the area when gold was discovered at the location originally called Emu Creek and later renamed to Grenfell.
Today, you can visit O’Brien’s Hill gold mining site to see remnant gold mining machinery including a horse works, stamper, air shafts and poppet head. Interpretive signage explains the gold production which took place in the late 1860’s.
With the gold came bushrangers. They were particularly attracted to the rugged Weddin Mountains where famous bushrangers, including Ben Hall, Johnny Gilbert and Frank Gardiner, spent much of their time.