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Lithgow History Avenue

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by Deborah McGrath (subscribe)
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Published November 27th 2013
Explore our past, explore your past before your passed it
Linking Lithgow's Main Street to the historic Blast Furnace Ruins, the newly established Lithgow History Avenue Walk provides an interesting and informative insight into the proud industrial heritage of this mining town.

Pioneers Wall, Lithgow History Avenue, Pioneers Heritage Park, Lithgow
Pioneers Heritage Park, Lithgow. Copyright Deborah McGrath Photography 2013

Although the head of the walk commences at the Corner of Inch & Tank Streets, I would encourage everyone to start on the other side of the railway line, in Pioneers Heritage Park at the top of the Main Street. There you will find the Pioneers Wall, "a memorial to the pre-1856 pioneers of Lithgow." (source Pioneers Wall dedication plaque).

Pioneers Wall, Lithgow History Avenue, Pioneers Heritage Park, Lithgow
Pioneers Wall, Pioneer Heritage Park, Lithgow. Copyright Deborah McGrath Photography 2013

The history walk is a series of sculptural markers along Inch Street in chronological order starting in 1813 with the crossing of the Blue Mountains and finishing in 1929 with the Demolition of the Blast Furnace at the entrance to this historic ruin.

Blast Furnace Park, Lithgow, Historic Ruins, Lithgow History Walk
The Entrance to Blast Furnace Park, Lithgow. Copyright Deborah McGrath Photography 2013

This walk is interactive, enabling you to use your mobile device (smart phone or tablet) to learn about the history each piece represents and the artist's inspiration for its creation. This brings the sculptures to life and clears up any misinterpretations of what the pieces represent.

A useful resource for school groups, the Lithgow History Avenue and supporting website also depicts national and world events of the time such as in 1880; the hanging of Ned Kelly or 1901; Federation and the death of Queen Victoria.

The Black Rose, Blacksmiths Rose, Lithgow's Black Rose, Lithgow Blast Furnace, Iron Rose
The Black Rose by Steven Cunningham. Copyright Deborah McGrath Photography 2013.

My favourite sculpture is the 'Black Rose' by Steven Cunningham representing the tapping of the first steel at the Steelworks. This piece is a replica of the roses made by the blacksmiths at the steel works.

It's said that the blacksmith apprentices would have to demonstrate their skills by crafting a rose. These would then be given to their sweethearts, or placed on the coffins of killed workers. You can view the fine craftsmanship of these blacksmith artisans at Eskbank House & Museum located on the Corner of Inch & Bennett Streets, Lithgow.

Black Rose, Iron Rose, Steel Rose, Artisan Blacksmith, Lithgow,
The Lithgow Black Rose, one of three held in the collection at Eskbank House & Museum. - Copyright Deborah McGrath Photography 2008

Eskbank House & Museum was the home of Thomas Brown, Lithgow's first industrialist. This beautiful old Georgian Victorian Home was built in 1842 from local sandstone and is furnished with a wonderful collection of fine antiques. The Museum depicts the social and industrial history of Lithgow.

Continuing along Inch Street from under the old railway bridge you will get your first glimpse of Lithgow's Blast Furnace Ruins; the remains of the Ironworks which operated from 1875 to 1929. Take the time to explore the ruins and the self-guided tour provided by the interpretive signage.

The true end of the journey lies just below the ruins, Lake Pillans Wetland; once an industrial wasteland, remnants of the settling ponds from the Ironworks on the hill above. Here you can sit and watch waterbirds in the centre of town and while away the afternoon or enjoy a picnic lunch.

Lake Pillans Wetland, Blast Furnace Park, Historic Ruins, Wetlands, Lithgow
This historic blast furnace ruins overlook Lake Pillans Wetland. Copyright Deborah McGrath Photography 2013
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Why? Its a great way to explore the industrial history of a town which has strong links to metal trades shown through sculpture.
When: Anytime
Where: Inch Street, Lithgow
Cost: Free
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