The Hill End Open Day is back on the calendar again in 2019 - after a year off - giving the public the opportunity to look inside some beautiful cottages and buildings in the historic gold mining town.
Two important events helped shape the Hill End of today.
The first was at 2am on October 19, 1872, when a blast of dynamite unearthed the largest gold reef specimen in the Southern Hemisphere, measuring 4 foot 9 inches tall and 2 feet 2 inches wide.
It prompted one of the owners of the mine - the entrepreneurial Bernard Otto Holtermann - to commission two photographers, Beafoy Merlin and Charles Bayliss, to go out onto the goldfields and capture this extraordinary time.
And thanks to Holtermann this priceless body of work, now housed at the State Library of NSW, called the Holtermann Collection of over 3,500 wet plate negatives depicting how life was in the 1870s.
The other event occurred 75 years later, on October 22, 1947, the artists Russell Drysdale and Donald Friend took a road trip out west for a spin in Russell's new car and discovered Hill End - leading to the town becoming an artists' Mecca.
A steady stream would follow and would find inspiration in the town and landscape - Margaret Olley, Jeffrey Smart, David Strahan, Jean Bellette, John Olsen, Brett Whitely, Michael Johnson, and more.
The open day is a rare chance to meet the people who live in these buildings and also a chance to get to see inside the wonderful Artist in Residences of Bathurst Regional Art Gallery of both Haefliger and Murray's cottage. Ever since Drysdale and Friend took that car trip out west and and fell in love with Hill End it has become a beacon to artists.
In 1991, after her death, the artist Jean Belllette - who owned Haefliger cottage with her husband Paul Haefliger - bequeathed Haefliger's to the National Parks and Wildlife Service on the proviso that it be run as an artist in residence.
Now alongside Murray's cottage - previously owned by Donald Friend now owned by NPWS - this artist in residence program of world renown, has been running for 26 years in partnership with NPWS.
The other extraordinary house open is Craigmoor, bequeathed to NPWS by the Marshall family and listed by Historic Houses Trust as one of the most significant buildings in NSW, it has been left as if the family still live there.
Then there is the Presbyterian Church, the only existing functioning church in Hill End, as well as the former Sacred Heart Catholic Church that's now substantially restored by the Hill End Arts Council as a performance venue and gallery.
Add to this four residential miner's cottages, the courthouse and the Royal Hall - all buildings as diverse and enchanting as the town itself.
- Registration starts at 9.30 am Sunday, October 20, in the Royal Hall; cost is $30, concession $25 [cash only]; buildings open 10am-3.30pm; enquiries and bookings - 0432 397 465.