Mudgee is an attractive and sophisticated country town of fine old buildings. It is located in the broad, picturesque and fertile Cudgegong River Valley.
Mudgee is surrounded by gently undulating hills it is noted primarily for more than 40 superb vineyards. There are also outstanding providores, cafes and restaurants which accompany the vineyards and cellar doors.
The area is also known for for its fine wool, beef, fat lambs, cereal crops, lucerne, vegetables and honey. It is the third largest grape growing region in New South Wales.
The village of Mudgee was gazetted in 1838. By 1841, there were 36 dwellings, mostly of slab construction. These included three hotels, a hospital, a post office, two stores and the first Anglican church.
The first school (Anglican) was established in a slab hut in the 1840s. The police station was moved from Menah to Mudgee in the mid-1840s. The population had only reached about 200 by 1851.
However, a goldrush began when a huge nugget was found at Hargraves in 1851. Mudgee became a centre for the local goldfields, benefiting considerably from the consequent through-traffic. This traffic peaked with the finds at Gulgong and Hill End at the beginning of the 1870s.
It is a sign of Mudgee’s early success that the population increased to 1500 by 1861. Declared a municipality in 1860, it is the second-oldest town west of the Great Dividing Range.
Methodist and Presbyterian churches, the present Catholic and Anglican churches, and the first National school were built in the 1850s. A police station, courthouse, post office, mechanics institute, the Uniting Church and town hall were added from 1860 to 1865. There were four coach factories operating in the 1860s to cater for the overwhelming transport demands.
Fortunately, Mudgee was not just dependent on gold. The immediate area became noted for its quality wool and merino studs, its vineyards (introduced in 1858 by German immigrant, Adam Roth) and its agricultural production. The gold began to peter out late in the 19th century, it was these staples which sustained the town. When the railway arrived in 1884, it further boosted agricultural sales.
One of Australia’s most famous poets and short-story writers, Henry Lawson (1867-1922), had very strong ties to Mudgee. His parents were married here in 1866. But for a brief stay at Gulgong, he was raised from the age of six months to 15 years, in a cottage 8 km north at Eurunderee which was established after a gold find in 1863.
Lawson was educated at Eurunderee and Mudgee and many of his stories are inspired by his memories of the area.
There is so much to see and do in the town of Mudgee and it’s surrounding areas. A great place to start your visit is with the Mudgee Visitor Information Centre, 84 Market Street, tel: (02) 6372 1020. It is open from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.