Day Trip To Tuena NSW Via Bigga Then Neville To Cootamundra
Tuena NSW is a cool little former gold mining town in the Upper Lachlan Shire. We went on a day trip via Bigga after leaving home in Cootamundra. We came home though Neville, another small town 60km south-west of Bathurst.
We left home at around 10.00am and headed off to check out Tuena NSW. Amanda has just bought herself a gold detector and was looking up places near us where we could potentially do a bit of prospecting. Tuena sounded like a great place to try so we pointed the car in a general north-west direction from Cootamundra and headed out of town.
After rolling through the outskirts of Boorowa the first interesting place we drove through was Frogmore. We’ve been this way before and we really should get out and have a better look around Frogmore. Frogmore NSW was originally a copper mining town and later on they mined tungsten and silver nearby. Back around the 1850s gold was discovered in the area however it wasn’t in any significant quantity so mining took place.
Reids Flat NSW
The next place of any size we drove through was Reids Flat. We’ve been through Reids Flat before quite a few times on our way to other places.
There is a rich bushranger history at Reids Flat and Amanda and I love our early bushranger history. Early 1860s bushrangers in the area included Jack Peisley and Frank Gardiner who often sought refuge at the farm of William Fogg. There was a legend that girlfriends and wives would hang white washing on the lines in the valley when the coast was clear in the caves within the surrounding rocky mountains that provided excellent hideouts for bushrangers.
Wool production has for a long time been the typical mainstay in the Reids Flat area. Merino sheep wool produced locally is among the best in the world, with the majority of fleece pre-sold to the Italian fashion industry. The prices they receive per bale regularly reach world records and these wool producers have been farming in the district for over a century.
Reids Flat Road between Reids Flat and Bigga is mostly well graded dirt. It has a few steep sections and a few creek crossing that would make it fairly difficult to navigate after rain. Even a decent storm would have you waiting a while to get across some of them. It’s in generally good condition with a few mildly corrugated sections. It’s more of a well maintained logging trail than a main road. It’s good enough to tow a medium sized caravan along if you are confident and well set up.
Bigga is a fantastic village with a population that hovers around 250. It has a pub and a well stocked general store. The store looks like it hasn’t changed at all since the 1960s. It smells of old wood fires in the stove, it was cool enough when we were there for the fire to be going. The store is meticulously clean and everything is stacked on the many shelves to absolute perfection. Everything is lined up perfectly. We bought some pies and sausage rolls for lunch from the general store.
We spent about 30 minutes talking to the lady who owns and runs the store. She’s been running the store for a long long time. I forgot to ask how long. She is certainly a wealth of knowledge when it came to the town of Bigga. Amanda and I really enjoyed our talk with her and are looking forward to meeting up with her again some time.
Camping At Bigga NSW
Bigga allows camping at the recreation grounds. The camping at the recreation grounds is by donation so don’t forget to chip in to help keep this place active. There are hot showers and toilets as well as drinking water available.
Tuena NSW is an historic gold mining village located 60km north of Crookwell and 88km south of Bathurst. It was built during the NSW Gold Rush after gold was discovered at Tuena in 1851. Shortly thereafter in 1852 the first post office was established and many stores and hotels sprung up shortly thereafter as the population rapidly increased. In 1859 Tuena was officially named a town.
We really enjoyed Tuena. We’ve made plans to go back and camp there so we can spend a good few days at least having a good look around the local. we had a coffee at the craft shop and a good talk with the ladies who were on duty. They all love Tuena and were very happy to share a little bit of it’s history with us.
There are some fantastic old buildings in Tuena NSW. Most of them are really good order and still being used. Some of the buildings still standing are listed below.
- 1861 Bookkeepers Cottage
- 1866 The Goldfields Inn
- 1866 St Marks Anglican Church
- 1886 Parsons General Store
- 1888 The Bank Of NSW
- 1889 Tuena Public School
- 1890 St Margarets Presbyterian Church
- 1894 Suspension Bridge
- 1900 Police Station
- 1934 St Marys Catholic Church
- 1936 Bush Nursing Sisters Cottage
Camping At Tuena
Free camping is available at Tuena Campgrounds. $10 per night powered and $5 per night unpowered payable at the general store. Showers, toilets, drinking water and fires are all available. It’s quite a large area. The ladies in the craft store said it’s usually pretty quiet. We were there on an Easter Monday and there was loads of room available. This one is definitely on our list of places to camp.
Gold Fossicking At Tuena NSW
Tuena Creek is open to fossickers withing the village area. Gold is also regularly found at Mt Costigan, Junction Point, Abercrombie River and Grove Creek.
After leaving Tuena we headed across the suspension bridge just north of town. It reminded me of the Victoria Bridge in Picton NSW near where we used to live. The original Tuena suspension bridge was built in 1894 and then raised higher after being washed away in 1916. It was washed away again in 1996 and rebuilt in 1999. This one didn’t last long before being damaged in the floods of 2010. It was replaced by another longer version in 2013. Hopefully this one lasts a while!
The road north out of Tuena is pretty tight and has a lot of bends, some of them are really tight. It’s a good road but you need to take care. We travelled north as far as Trunkey Creek where we turned off on to Hobbys Yards Road. We followed Hobbys Yards Road until we turned on to Trunkey Road and that took us through to the village of Neville. Hobbys Yard Road and Trunkey Road are both fairly tight well made gravel roads. They both have a few dips were you cross crekks that would be difficult to pass after wet weather.
Europeans began settling in the area shortly after Bathurst was founded in 1815 but the exact date is unknown. The village was known by different names before it was finally called Neville in 1888. It has also been called No-one swamp or Number one swamp. It was also known as Macquarie after Lachlan Macquarie, an early governor of New South Wales. Also Mount Macquarie after the nearby Mount Macquarie.
It is also possible that Neville was a stagecoach stop on the direct route from Rockley to Cowra. The modern city of Cowra was built in a region previously called “The Lachlan”. The road joining Rockley to “The Lachlan” was called “The Old Lachlan Road”. Fragments of the “Old Lachlan Road” still exist near Rockley north of Hobbys Yards south of Woodstock and in Neville.
Some of the old buildings were erected during the period while Neville was called Mount Macquarie including the school built in 1858 which is still in use today. A few churches were built during the late 19th century. The Uniting church still conducts several services once a year and the tiny Presbyterian church is available to be used for special occasions. The third remaining church the former Church of England church has been converted into a house. A public hall built in 1890 is still used for public and private functions. A hotel which was built in 1929 still exists after the original Neville Hotel was lost in a fire. The hotel was closed when we visited and appeared to have been so for quite a while. Loads of the homes within the town date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
What a great day out. We did spend a fair bit of it in the car however we found a few great places that we hadn’t been to before and plan on going back to and exploring over the course of a few days.