History lovers delight in the hidden gems of the Wollondilly area.
Picton is one of the earliest European settlements. It was discovered when a number of cattle went missing in the early days of the colony and were found in 1795 by a convict near the Nepean River. The valuable herd, which had increased in number, were allowed to remain and breed in a sealed-off area stretching from the Nepean to the Bargo River.
This became known as Cowpastures and then Stonequarry until 1841. The name Picton is believed to have been chosen to honor Sir Thomas Picton, an old soldier friend of Governor Brisbane.
In the 1860's the railway system came to Picton and created a building explosion. The area was proclaimed a municipality in 1895, and in 1939 Wollondilly Shire Council (then centered in The Oaks) and Picton Municipality amalgamated to create the Shire that we have today.
Visitors are encouraged to discover Picton and Appin Villages through the self-guided history walk brochures available from the Visitor Centre. Many of the historic buildings are now converted for commercial and residential usage.
The Wollondilly Heritage Centre at The Oaks has a broad display of heritage information and memorabilia. Here you will see documentation and inter active exhibitions on the Wollondilly Shire, Burragorang Valley, Warragamba Dam development, Yerranderie, the coal mining and agricultural industries of this area plus periodic feature exhibitions.
The Rail Transport Museum at Thirlmere provides a peep into the past with a huge collection of steam, diesel and electric locomotives on permanent display. Heritage train rides are offered on Sundays and travel between Thirlmere and Picton Villages.
Redbank Range Tunnel (locally known as the Mushroom Tunnel) in Picton is a hard to find site and best visited with Picton Ghost Hunts. These tours visit many sites that are not open to the general public and historian Liz Vincent is a font of knowledge on Wollondilly history. Dinner and Supper Hunts are available. More info call the Wollondilly Visitor Centre on 02 46773962
Yerranderie Village located in the Catchment lands west of Lake Burragorang is a fascinating peep into the past. Isolated by the damming of the Wollondilly River to form the Warragamba Dam and the resumption of the private lands in the Burragorang and Nattai Valleys, Yerranderie has developed into a wildlife sanctuary with a heritage twist. Bushwalkers, nature and wildlife enthusiasts and campers delight in the tranquility of the World Heritage Listed Blue Mountains National Park. Access to Yerranderie is through Oberon via Wombeyan Caves or the Blue Mountains. Accommodation available includes bunk style, Bed & Breakfast or camping. For more information Contact the Wollondilly Visitor Centre.
Wollondilly is home to the 5th and 7th townships of the colony being Appin and Picton. The entire Shire prides itself on preserving history even the newer townships are dedicated to highlighting where they have been and where they are heading.
The Visitor Centre can provide you with Historic walking and driving tour guides and maps, please contact us and we will send you a full kit to ensure you don’t miss any of the hidden treasures such as: