Gold in the sky, Hill End

Hill End || cityhippyfarmgirl

The clocked slowed down, I’m sure of it. Somewhere over the Blue Mountains it gained time, (or lost depending on which way you looked at it.) There’s no other explanation for it. How else could you combine climbing through an old gold mine, historical street wanders, bush walks, long hot coffees, games of cricket, museums, river explorations, meandering meal times and copious amounts of rock scrutiny? This is what happens when you spend a long weekend in Hill End, you gain time, by going back in time.

If you hadn’t heard of Hill End, you probably wouldn’t be the first. It’s a tiny old gold rush town that used to boast 10,000 people living within it’s gold encrusted hills. Not now though, now it has a whittled down community of about 120 permanent people apparently.

Along with gold, Hill End has also been a draw card for many artists. Peter Adams did an incredible photographic series (and stories) of all the long term locals that had lived in the area. (This book is absolutely divine, and I’m kicking myself for not getting it when I was there.)

Russell Drysdale and Donald Friend were also regulars going back a bit further, with the iconic Australian painting- The Cricketers (R. Drysdale) set there.

The tiny township has (and is) being preserved for its historical past as a part of National Parks and Wildlife. What this means is that, you can walk down the street, and really imagine how it all used to be. Signs and photos help bring this old gold town to life again. You can imagine the muddy streets, the noise of the mine work and the smell of the days that once were. Amazing stuff.

Hill End || cityhippyfarmgirl

Another thing that makes this town a bit special is that I have family buried here. For someone who thinks quite a lot, my brain got quite a work out imaging the lives of some of these people while wandering through the old graveyard.

Hill End || cityhippyfarmgirl

Hill End || cityhippyfarmgirl

Orange, reds, brown and blue. There were many trees still with their autumnal colours in the tiny town. A most vivid of blue sky, and stars, so many stars.

You can easily forget just how magnificent the stars truly are when you live in a big city. Sitting out in the pub’s beer garden on one of the cold nights, all rugged up and eating our food, I quietly wondered whether the gold seekers over the years had ever looked up.

I hope so. Looking up at the sky on our last night, it looked like the night was littered with all the gold specks that the miners themselves had been so desperately seeking. It seems it was there in the sky all along.


Hill End

A wonderful place to visit if you want a tiny snapshot of Australia’s gold rush history. 


30 thoughts on “Gold in the sky, Hill End

  1. Good morning Brydie. How wonderful to be with you on this Sunday morning. Hill End looks like a fascinating place, that you have captured beautifully. The autumn colour is just glorious! The stars are amazing aren’t they? It doesn’t matter how many times you look at them x


  2. Gorgeous finish Brydie! Indeed the treasure was in the sky 🙂 it sounds like a wonderful weekend away, and thanks for taking me along with your pictures xo


  3. Isn’t it wonderful? We used to spend oodles of time out there in our college days and Tony did a week’s art residency out there a few years ago. I’m so glad you found the magic.


    • Rose that would have been rather magnificent. Both the college days and the art residency. I can definitely see how creatives would get inspired by the area. There was so much to take in. Whether it’s the light, the colours, the history…the stories both untold and told. A lot to take in!


  4. Hill End is a treasure!! We camp there often (we only live an hour away) and it always feels like we are visiting another world. Next time you might like to experience the ‘Ghost Tour’ and explore some of the old buildings by torch light and look for ‘orbs’……an incredibly spooky and fun experience!! Your photos are beautiful Brydie.


    • Ooooh, ghost tours and I don’t work particularly well. My imagination grows legs, fangs, a mood of it’s own and then some…and that’s just my imagination!
      And thank you for the kind words about the photos. I’d love to go back some time.


  5. Another lovely post Ms Cityhippyfarmgirl. Also, a good reminder to take our “gold” where we find it and not to lust after something that ultimately does us no good. My penniless hippy man and I were walking with the dogs in the frigid early morning Sidmouth air in the dark the other day and the sky was lit up like (I would imagine) Las Vegas. Nature does a magnificent job doesn’t she? 🙂


  6. I found a poem the other day. It’s a beaut :)…

    “The Orange
    At lunchtime I bought a huge orange—
    The size of it made us all laugh.
    I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
    They got quarters and I got a half.
    And that orange, it made me so happy,
    As ordinary things often do
    Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
    This is peace and contentment. It’s new.
    The rest of the day was quite easy.
    I did all the jobs on my list
    And enjoyed them and had some time over.
    I love you. I’m glad I exist.
    –Wendy Cope, from Serious Concerns”


  7. Magnificent panoramic views. I can imagine your children wide eyed when they are learning the history of the place and you add that you have family ties there. I have those regrets all the time when we go on adventures. However, I’ve made a mental note to make sure that from now on when we visit a place, to set a side a little money to buy something of significance from that place to take home. We are exploring Kiandra and Mount Selwyn this winter, you’ve got me excited.


    • There’s lots to explore everywhere Zena, and your beautiful cold area as well. To look at things with kid eyes is completely different. To slow down, go at their pace and really step into the world that see is quite lovely.


  8. Pingback: loving…clear thought and raw stories | cityhippyfarmgirl

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