Barrington Tops – Historic Towns

Around the Barrington Tops there has been European settlement since the early 1800s, starting with the cedar cutters, then the clearers of the land, the gold prospectors and the early townsfolk. The Aboriginal populace found few supporters in these years and the last of the Worimi – Gringal people in the Dungog area died in 1901. Far too little has been written on the history of Aboriginal communities through this time.

Other history is well preserved in small museums. Those at Gloucester, Paterson, Dungog and Clarence Town are open at advertised hours at weekends or by appointment, and are staffed by local experts. Paterson, Dungog and Gloucester offer Heritage Walks with a written guide to steer the visitor around the towns’ most interesting treasures.

By far the largest land owner in the district was the Australian Agricultural Company which established the town of Stroud in 1826 and developed the grazing country around Gloucester. Relics of this period including a remarkable underground silo can still be seen in Stroud.

For towns like Clarence Town and Paterson, river transport played an important role in the early development. Clarence Town became important as a centre for ship-building, with the first Australian-built steamship William IV launched here in 1831. Supply boats also plied as far as Paterson and the town retains many buildings of that era including a fine courthouse and two hotels more than a hundred years old.

Copeland Mountain Maid Gold Mine

The township of Gloucester was established in 1855, and boosted by discovery of gold at nearby Copeland in 1876. The main period of growth however was between the wars and Gloucester today retains intact many fine buildings of this era. Businesses dating from this time are Hebblewhite’s Bakery and Garner’s General Store, still in the same family hands.

Dungog has its origins earlier, initially as a military post to rid the area of bushrangers such as Captain Thunderbolt, then developing through timber and agriculture. Like Gloucester, Dungog presents many attributes of a classic country town – railway station, showground, timber-truss bridge over the river, CWA Hall, the hotel with the wide verandah. Dungog even retains its old picture theatre, still operating at times for special events and screenings. See James Theatre Dungog

More Information?

Please see the Barrington Coast website. Click Here