Founded in the glory days of the New South Wales Government Railways and now home to some of the state’s most fitting tributes to those grand old locos, Junee happily combines old world charm with its modern lifestyle and culture. Visit Junee to explore a rich history in rail, gold and bushrangers.
Junee is a pretty railway town set between rolling hills and the Murrumbidgee River south-west of Sydney. The town has many fine features including wide streets (notably Broadway) and eccentric old-style architecture old-style buildings starting with the Renaissance-style railway station built in 1883.
If it had not been for the construction of The Great Southern Railway, linking Sydney and Melbourne, Junee Shire may never have become the thriving town that it is today.
As line usage increased, the steep grade over the Bethungra Range, proved a severe handicap and the Bethungra rail spiral was developed, allowing the new D57 class steam trains to access Junee. This saw the town become the most important rail centre south of Goulburn.
Initially an outpost in NSW gold mining, Junee came to public prominence in 1868 when gold was discovered in Junee Reefs. A small settlement developed at Junee Reefs and by 1869 there were about 100 residents, a hotel (whose first license also ran the butcher shop) and a post office.
Food and wine are irresistible drawcards for Junee. Visit Houlaghan Valley Wines and Bethungra Old School T-House to get a taste of local delights, and wander through the Junee Farmers Market on the first Sunday of each month.
Other activities in this Country NSW town include fishing, swimming or sailing at Bethungra Dam and birdwatching at the Junee wetlands.
After the discovery of gold in the late 1860s, a small settlement developed at Junee Reefs. By 1869 there were about 100 residents, a hotel (whose first license also ran the butcher shop) and a post office.
Junee was an outpost in NSW goldmining when it first came to public prominence in 1868. At that time the block of country north of Gundagai and east of Young was blank on the gold map of NSW. This was an error as the were very significant gold reserves across this region waiting to be discovered.
Junee proved that the gold bearing region of NSW actually extended further westwards than previously imagined.
The full significance of this discovery would take some time to realise. While the Junee field was not without its own heyday around 1870, the spectacular finds at Gulgong drew many miners away from their work on the field and its development slowed.
The real significance of the Junee breakthough really only came to be appreciated in the 1880s and 90s, when the riches of the fields in a line to the north – Temora and Wyalong – helped revive the ailing fortunes of the NSW gold industry.
Throughout this time, operations at Junee continued, without however ever really commanding much attention outside of the region.