Lyell Dam, Bathurst Region, Central Tablelands, NSW, Australia
Bathurst is a regional city in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia. It is about 200 kilometres (120 mi) north-west of Sydney and is the seat of the Bathurst Regional Council. Bathurst is the oldest inland settlement in Australia and had an a population of approximately 35,000 as at the 2016 Census.
The government surveyor, George Evans, was the first European to sight the Bathurst Plains in 1813, following the first successful European crossing of the Blue Mountains in the same year. In 1814, Governor Lachlan Macquarie approved an offer by William Cox to build a road crossing the Blue Mountains, from Emu Plains, the existing road terminus west of Sydney, to the Bathurst Plains. The first road to cross the Blue Mountains was 3.7 metres (12 ft) wide and 163.3 kilometres (101 1⁄2 mi) long, built between 18 July 1814 and 14 January 1815 using 5 freemen, 30 convict labourers and 8 soldiers as guards. Governor Macquarie surveyed the finished road in April 1815 by driving his carriage across it from Sydney to Bathurst. The Governor commended Cox and stated that the project would have taken three years if it had been done under a contract. As a reward Cox was awarded 810 hectares (2,000 acres) of land near what is now Bathurst.
On 7 May 1815, Governor Macquarie at the terminus of Cox's Road raised the flag, ordered a ceremonial volley to be fired and proclaimed and named the future town of Bathurst after the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Bathurst.
Bathurst is the oldest inland town in Australia. It was intended to be the administrative centre of the western plains of New South Wales, where orderly colonial settlement was planned.
Bathurst is often referred to as the Gold Country as it was the site of the first gold discovery and where the first gold rush occurred in Australia. Today education, tourism and manufacturing drive the economy. The internationally known racetrack Mount Panorama is a landmark of the city. Bathurst has an historic city centre with many buildings remaining from the gold rush period of the mid to late 1800s.
The median age of the city's population is 34.0 years; which is particularly young for a regional centre (the state average is 36.4), and is related to the large education sector in the community. Population growth has reached 1.6% per annum over the five years until 2010, making Bathurst the seventh fastest growing regional city in NSW. This growth over recent years has resulted in increased urban development including retail precincts, sporting facilities, housing estates and expanding industrial areas.