Arts & Culture
Bathurst has a lot going on when it comes to arts and culture. For a small city, it has more world-class museums and galleries than many big cities. The Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum houses the lifetime work of Warren Somerville as well as a complete T-Rex fossil, while Bathurst Regional Art Gallery is a phenomenal place for anyone interested in modern, local and international art, with changing exhibitions throughout the year.
The Turon Technology Museum will take you back to where it all started, the industrial revolution and development of the steam engine in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Other stories of Australia's early settlement can be discovered at the History Hill Museum in Hill End with an extraordinary collection of gold rush artifacts and a walk-through mine, along with Chifley Home, the residence of former Prime Minister Ben Chifley and his wife Elizabeth. And for a detailed history of motor racing, complete with racing memorabilia and race cars, the National Motor Racing Museum at the bottom of Mount Panorama is the place for you.
The region is also home to a number of annual signature events which celebrate and pay homage to the town past and present, including the Bathurst Winter Festival, Bathurst Heritage Trades Trail and the Royal Bathurst Show.
Explore amazing collections of work by both local and international artists, including works from well-known Australian artists such as John Olsen and Fred Williams. Wander through the gallery and take in the cutting-edge exhibitions or sit in the reading room with a book and soak up the atmosphere.
t.arts is well worth a visit to find out what some of Bathurst’s local artists are up to. With new work being hung frequently, exhibitions are everchanging. It’s also a great spot to pick up a local artisan treasure or have a chat to one of the local artists.
The first weekend of each month, local galleries and studios throw open their doors so visitors can explore the Bathurst Arts Trail for free. Start the day with a hearty breakfast and a strong coffee, then make a day of visiting the talented artists of Bathurst and its surrounding regions.
Housed in a refurbished Dairy Farmers building, Atelier D’Airy Creative offers a range of life drawing classes by local and invited master tutors including artist Tim Miller who has artworks in major collections in Parliament House and the National Museum.
Bathurst Art Retreat
106 McIntosh Road, Freemantle
02 9977 8801
Bathurst Art Retreat is 30 minutes from Bathurst at Platypus Burra on 250 acres of breath-taking native flora and fauna. They offer single or multi day classes for beginners and experts.
Home of the internationally renowned Somerville Collection, the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum features some of the world’s rarest mineral crystals and fossils, not to mention a gigantic T-Rex. The museum itself was formerly Bathurst Public School with restored high ceilings and open beam rafters.
Whether you are a motor racing fanatic or not, no visit to Bathurst is complete without driving a lap of the world-famous racing circuit, Mount Panorama, also known as Wahluu to the indigenous Wiradjuri people. At the foot of the mountain is the National Motor Racing Museum which houses a variety of motor racing memorabilia from the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 events and touring cars, as well as speedway, solar, drag, rallying, open wheeler, sports car and motorbike racing. Among the cars on display in the permanent display is the winning 1984 Holden VK Commodore driven by Peter Brock and Larry Perkins.
This Victorian era bungalow will take you back to 1845 and the lives of some of the original settlers to the area. Take in the collection of furniture, ceramics, horse racing memorabilia and art, or wander through the garden. On a spring day it’s also a lovely spot for a high tea.
Bathurst District Historical Society
162 Russell Street, Bathurst
02 6330 8455
History buffs need to look no further than the Bathurst District Historical Society to uncover stories of Bathurst’s rich heritage. Among the museum treasures are journals, newspapers dating back to the 1840s as well as town plans and photographs that tell the stories of the town and those who lived here.
One of the quirkier museums in Bathurst can be found tucked away in a huge warehouse just west of the city centre. Ash’s Speedway Museum is dedicated to the history of speedway racing and claims to be the largest museum of its type in the southern hemisphere. Owner, Ash Suttor, makes an eager guide through the museum – make sure you ask him about Bluey Wilkinson, Bathurst’s home-grown champion of the sport.
When Bathurst pioneer William Stewart came to Australia as part of the first settlers to the country, he built Abercrombie House for his family. Today, Abercrombie House has become a symbol of the city’s heritage and has opened its doors to many famous visitors including the Royal family. You can take a self guided tour of this heritage treasure on Wednesdays and Sundays, indulge in high tea and also participate in a program of guided tours created for the general public.
Home of former Prime Minister Ben Chifley and his wife Elizabeth, this modest cottage encapsulates the simple lifestyle and manner of Chifley that made him so appealing to the public. The home is open for guided tours on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.
Learn about the Australians who dug for their fortune during the country’s Gold Rush era at History Hill, the largest privately-owned gold rush collection on display in Australia. Learn about how they lived, try your hand at gold panning, or if you're brave, walk through the underground mine.
As we are preparing for a future of driver-less cars, the Turon Technology Museum will take you back to where it all started - the industrial revolution and the development the steam engine in the 19th and early 20th century.
The Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre is one of the best performing arts centres in regional Australia. You won’t be disappointed with the great range of music, theatre, and dance performances on offer, including some big acts from Australian Opera, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Ballet.