WallaciaLocation: Wollondilly District
Though deemed to be a suburb of Sydney these days, Wallacia was formerly a rural village 68 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD. Growth in the area in the past few years has mainly occurred with the development of hobby farms by people seeking a retreat from city life, so it has managed to keep its relaxrd, slow-paces rural feel.
Wallacia sits beside the Nepean River, its landmarks include the Weir, Wallacia Bridge, Little Bondi and Wallacia Hotel - of mock Tudor design by the Fowler family. Wallacia was the first place in Australia to introduce a fish ladder next to a weir. Wallacia's tourism is centred on the day-tripper trade with the Wallacia Hotel and the Wallacia Golf Course, the chief attractions. Warragamba Dam is a short drive away.
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One of outer Sydney's lesser known gems, Nortons Basin is a swimming hole just upstream from the Warragamba River. The pathway to it can be found beyond the end of Nortons Basin Road in Warragamba Park. The basin is at the confluence of the Nepean and Warragamba Rivers. There is a little waterfall on the river where you can play and relax in or just go for a swim in the still waters of the water hole.
This deep waterhole is situated at the end of the Gulger Gorge on the Nepean River, between Camden and Penrith. The basin is a natural geological feature on the junction of the Cumberland Plain and the Blue Mountains escarpment. It is popular among residents of western Sydney who here come to and participate in activities such as walking, fishing, swimming and canoeing.
A great family camping spot in Sydney, Bents Basin campground offers sites for tents, trailer and caravans in a scenic location by the water go fishing and kayaking. Bents Basin offers a camping experience that is within easy reach of urban Sydney suburbs. It s an open, grassy campground bordered by trees on one side and featuring Bents Basin on the other. Take your pick of campsites, pitch your tent or bring your caravan or trailer along. It s a great choice whether you are going family camping or camping with a larger group. Campgrounds have excellent facilities, including a camp kitchen ideal for group bookings and hot showers a welcome luxury after a day exploring this park.
Apart from Norton's Basin Gorge, there are no rapids on the section of the Nepean River between Wallacia and Penrith, making it ideal for kayaking. Below Norton's Basin, the gorge slowly widens out into a deep valley as the river passes through Erskine Creek State Forest and the Blue Mountains National Park. The National Park finishes where Glenbrook Creek comes in on the left 2.5km upstream of the Freeway Bridge. The river is very wide in the lower stretch.
Blaxland Crossing Reserve is named after the site John Blaxland used to cross the Nepean River to reach his property on the western bank where his cattle grazed on the fertile river flats. In 1813, Governor Macquarie granted land to John, the brother of explorer Gregory, which encompassed much of present day Luddenham and Wallacia. John named his property Luddenham and built a homestead where Wallacia is today. He built a flour mill which operated from the 1830s and a brewery which was one of the first in the colony. Location: Silverdale Road, Wallacia Phone: 02 4773 8077. Open: 8am to 5pm seven days a week Charges apply.
Warragamba Dam (1946 - 1960) provided Sydney's first, genuinely secure, water supply after previous developments proved inadequate. Its completion also made possible virtually the complete sewering of the whole of the Sydney area. Technically, the dam is a major engineering work of its time. It is becoming increasingly rare as earth and rock fill dams are now usually preferred for economy and ease of construction. When constructed, it was the highest concrete gravity dam in the world on sandstone foundations and it is still one of the world s largest storage dams built specifically for metropolitan water supply.
Bullens Animal World
Originally the region was called Riverview, but later became known locally as Wallace after Robert Wallace who grazed cattle on the 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) that he rented from Sir Charles Nicholson. His house became the unofficial Post Office from November 1885, situated at the rear of what is now the Wallacia Store and Newsagents. By 1897, a school built in the area was known as Wallace School. When the Post Office became official in November 1905, the GPO named the area Boondah, as the name Wallace was already in use elsewhere in New South Wales. However, local people objected and to retain the link with Wallace, they suggested that the area be called Wallacia. This name was officially approved on 1 June 1906.
Wallace Post Office opened on 16 January 1891 and was renamed Boondah in 1905 and Wallacia in 1906.
John Blaxland had built an original wooden weir at "Grove Farm" for a sandstone flour mill and additional brewery. When rust got into the English soft wheat, the flour mill failed and George Edward Cox of Winbourne (now Christian Brothers[disambiguation needed] Retreat Mt Zion) at Mulgoa across the Nepean River, a teetotaller, bought Grove Farm to stop further brewing. Grove Farm was subsequently purchased by William "Billy" Baines hence Baines Hill on Silverdale Road over the Blue Mountains monosinclinal foothills. In 1873 the highest recorded Nepean River flood was marked by Billy Baines with a brass plaque on a sandstone block at Grove Farm near the barn which still has a water mark on a wood trunk pillar.
The region was chiefly one of dairying and grazing during the 19th century, but in the early 20th century - because of its rural atmosphere and proximity to Sydney - tourism developed as people opened their homes as guest houses. After the Second World War however, the increase in car ownership and the availability of air travel saw a decline in the local tourist trade. Wallacia was once home to Bullen's Animal World, a theme park and circus, for several decades.
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How to get there: by train via Campbelltown.