► Cobar Heritage Walk
The Cobar Heritage Walk starts at the Great Cobar Heritage Centre. Walkers should allow about an hour for the Heritage Walk, which takes in most of Cobar's points of interests and many of its old buildings. Traverse all the points of interest in Cobar, from the grand old buildings of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, to the accommodation used by the miners and the managers residences.
A detailed map, showing the things you will see along the way is contained in the Cobar Seasonal Visitors booklet, or as a single flyer. Both are available from the great Cobar Heritage Information Centre.
For more information phone (02) 6836 2448 or Fax (02) 6836 1818.
Just over the road from the Great Cobar Heritage Centre, the park was completed in August 2002 to commemorate the miners who lost their lives in Cobar mines.
Some of the objects which can be viewed at the park are: a two metre bronze sculpture of a miner, a restored stamper battery from the Mount Boppy Mine, a fifteen metre high poppet-head from the New Cobar Mine, a loader from the CSA Mine and the headframe and winder from the Old Chesney Mine.
The recently sealed walk starts at the Great Cobar Heritage Centre and moves south along Lewis Street and the edge of the Open Cut, past the Slag Dump and around the back of the Golf Course in front of the Rugby Union Oval. The track winds over the bank of a small ground tank past the Rugby Union Oval and through scrub and bush before reaching the "Newey" or New Tank. It does a loop on the bank of the New Tank and continues around the New Tank and drops off into Tindera Street and Woodiwiss Avenue and back into the CBD. Alternatevely, the walk continues south behind Jones Drive and links up with a bicycle/walking path that leads about 2km south. The walker than returns north into town. The walk can be completed comfortably in approximately 2 hours.
Maps of the Centenary of Federation Walk can be obtained at the Great Cobar Heritage Centre.
One of the most up-to-date weather stations in Australia, the Cobar facility is situated on the Louth Road approximately one kilometre north-west of the CBD. Visitors are welcome for tour from 8.45am Monday to Thursday only to view a live weather observation with a full description from staff of the procedures and instruments, followed by the release of the daily weather balloon at 9.15am (est). (Please note tours and balloon releases are one hour later during daylight savings, ie. tour 9.45am, balloon release 10.15am).
Enquiries: Phone (02) 6836 2149.
Just minutes from town. Take a sealed road up to Fort Bourke Lookout and view Cobar and its surroundings. See the open pit and entrance to the underground mine from a well constructed viewing platform.
The rich Cobar mineral belt is clearly visible in a straight line from North to South (line up the head-frames). Cobar's water comes from Burrendong Dam 400 km away and is pumped from Nyngan via a 135 km pipeline into storage tanks on top of Fort Bourke hill.
Fort Bourke Hill stands to the east of the Cobar township and rising to 300 metres above sea level, it affords the visitor a wonderful vista of the Cobar landscape. To get to Fort Bourke Hill, turn off the Kidman Way, 2kms south of Cobar. Drive up past the water tanks to the radio towers for one of the best views of Cobar, particularly at sunset.
Fort Bourke Hill is the historical site of Cobar's first gold Mine, the New Cobar Gold Mine. Peak Gold Mines operates an underground mine at Fort Bourke and the visitor can gain a spectacular view of the pit from the viewing platform.
Limited access to the lookout is possible by contacting the Cobar Heritage Centre on (02) 6836 2448.
Founded as the Great Cobar Copper Mining Co in 1870, it was one of the largest mining and processing operations in the world at the time. The Great Cobar Mine situated on a slight ridge and facing West over the Cobar township, would have been a magnificent sight. Huge smelters, a 64 metre chimney stack and electric generators supplied lighting for the whole town. Over 2000 employees were engaged in mining, wood carting and smelting at the height of the activity. The main mine shafts of the Great Cobar, located south of the Museum building and now fenced off, have deep shafts running down to 430 metres. Remains of the smelter foundations are visible from the top of the hill, east of the Heritage Centre.
The open-cut has seen many Cobar locals take a dip there on a sweltering Summer's day and many children, in decades past, have learned to swim in it's blue-green waters. The open-cut has been a place of discovery for many generations of Cobar children. Kids collected pigeon eggs from the old mine shafts, and herds of goats lived there at one time.
The open-cut was created by men who were employed over 100 years ago to undertake the back-breaking job of digging the huge hole. Using picks and shovels and horse and cart, the men removed rock from this quarry to be used as backfill for the underground mine stopes in the "cut and fill" method. Gravel was used to build up the floor level after mining to gain access to higher ore bodies. The depth of the main hole is 150 metres, but at its deepest the open cut extends down to a depth similar to that of the Great Cobar Mine.
At the turn of the century the thriving gold mining township of Mount Drysdale reached a population of over 5,000 people, rivalling Cobar as one of the fastest growing settlements in the area. Mt Drysdale was named after it's discoverer, David Drysdale who was a successful prospector in the district. Mount Drysdale, a private property, is located 34 kilometres North of Cobar on the Kidman Way and tourists are welcome to visit.
Visitors to Mt Drysdale can walk around the old mine shafts and view the remains of this amazing bygone community. The township once boasted four hotels, a bakery, and many dwellings, including the mine manager's residence. Mt Drysdale was even serviced by a daily coach run from Cobar. The property is rich in Aboriginal sites and features some of the best examples in Australia of original rock wells used by the indigenous people of the area. Permission for access to Mt Drysdale is required. Phone: 02 68 363462 Michael and Shirley Mitchell.
The Mt Grenfell Historic Site is located 67 kilometres north-west of Cobar on the Barrier Highway. The site, managed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, is accessed by turning off the highway at the 40 kilometres turn-off. The road is un-sealed for the next 27 kilometres. This road is good, but access by caravans or buses is not recommended.
Mt Grenfell features wonderful examples of ancient Aboriginal rock art by the local Wongaibon people. Visitors will also find scarred trees, ochre pits and a waterhole, testimony to the region's Aboriginal heritage. Three art sites, featuring interpretive signage and within easy walking distance to the main parking area make this site accessible for every visitor.
At the main entry carpark area, picnic and barbecue facilities with tank water are provided. Camping is not permitted. If you are feeling energetic, the 5km walking track leads to a lookout offering superb views across the Cobar pedi plain.
Visitors to the site do not require permission to enter.
Eight kilometres South of Cobar, on the Kidman Way, is the site of Peak Gold Mines. The original Peak Gold Mine was opened in 1896 and in 1906 was purchased by the Great Cobar Copper Mining Co. At this time, underground mining only proceeded to a depth of approximately 90 metres.
Following the closure in 1920 of the Great Cobar Copper Mining Co., small operators worked the Peak mines on and off until the early 1950's. In the 1970's Cobar Mines Pty Ltd diamond drilling exploration program located high grade gold in the deeper mineral zones of the Peak. Continued exploration and development led to the current operation, managed by Peak Gold Limited, opening in 1993. Further exploration since 1993 has extended the life of the Peak mining operations. This has included the development of the New Occidental Gold Mine, which is situated adjacent to the Peak Mines operations and previously closed down in the early 1950's.
At the Peak a viewing platform enables visitors a closer view of a modern-day working mine site. Peak Mines has also developed the "Golden Walk" which takes the visitor past the "Conqueror" mine shaft and the remains of an old stamper battery, Circa 1890's. The stamper, used to crush gold bearing ore by the original operators, is located at the present Peak Gold Mine site. A working model of a similar battery stamper is on the first floor of the Cobar Heritage centre in the gold room.
Close by from an observation platform the visitor can view The Peak Gold Mine in action only 100 metres away.
Erected in 1969 to commemorate the discovery of copper by Hartman, Campbell and Gibb, a stele monument stands at the front of the Museum. The script on the stele commemorates the "Balgal", Sidwell Kruge, the woman who identified the first copper samples in the Cobar area in 1869.
"Balgal" was the traditional name for women employed in Cornish (UK) copper mines. These women sorted the mined ore looking for the best pieces to be smelted. A "Balgal's" job was hard and unrewarding with the women required to shovel and carry heavy loads of ore. Sidwell Kruge's expertise in identifying the "Kubbar" waterhole samples precipitated the development of the Cobar mining industry.
Built in 1910 as the Administration Building for the Great Cobar Copper Mine, this imposing structure now houses the town's Heritage Museum which focuses on mining, agricultural and Aboriginal history.
Open from 8.30am - 5pm weekdays and 9am - 5pm weekends and public holidays.
For many decades Cobar had no permanent water supply, although an area approximately 3 kilometres north of Cobar and called the "Old Res", was Cobar's first water supply. Due to the sporadic nature of rain, lack of water was a big problem for Cobar residents for many years. Water was delivered to Cobar residents by train up until the 1960's when the pipeline from Nyngan was completed. Today the "Old Res" is used for recreation and water sports.
Located near the "Old Res", Devil's Rock is an ancient rock formation which features strongly in Aboriginal legend. It was here that the Ngemba people carried out their ceremonial rites. Access to Devil's Rock is via a 1 kilometre walking track from the "Old Res". A large variety or bird-life and wild-life can be observed in this area.
Cobar's earliest smelters were located in the area of Lewis Street. In the early 1870's, Lewis Street used to be the main road to Wrightville, an early "suburb" on the southern side of Cobar township. Lewis Street ran along the west side of the Open-cut and around the slag dump, behind the Shire depot to near where the present Rugby Union Oval is located. The slag dump is the end product of some fifty years of copper smelting at the Great Cobar Copper Mine. Samples taken from the slag dump contain about 2% copper but because of the difficult process of extraction, the slag is crushed and used as road base on Shire roads.