- One of the finest collections of historic buildings in Australia
- In the foothills of the Blue Mountains
- 135 km west of Sydney, population 75
Why go there
Hartley, Little Hartley and Hartley Vale have melded together into a perfectly preserved township known as Hartley Historic Village on the western side of the Blue Mountains.
The small villages are made up of a number of colonial buildings that seem to be frozen in time – somewhere in the middle of the 19th century.
The village, which includes several historic inns, a courthouse, church and post office, provides a fascinating look into colonial architecture.
Originally designated by the government as a future regional centre, Hartley was later passed by when the railway line across the mountains was routed through Lithgow in 1869.
The town supported a substantial community, including a court house, police station and police barracks in the 1860s and, when mining commenced in the area for kerosene shale in the 1860s, the town continued to grow.
What is left today of the time when Hartley was a thriving community – a gold rush in 1856 saw the town double in size – is a remarkable remnant of the original town, hardly changed since the 19th century.
Things to do
- Enjoy the B&B hospitality of local inns. The Comet Inn, built in 1879, has a good restaurant, lovely gardens, an orchard and a walking track.
- Take a self-guided walk through the village, past the Hartley Court House (where convicts have scratched their names, sentences and crimes into the walls); Saint Bernard’s Church and Presbytery; and the Shamrock Inn, built in 1856, notable for its large numbers of chimneys and the prominent sagging of the roof.
- Relax in country cafés around Hartley Village – savour a wood-fired pizza at Talisman Galleries or a light lunch at the Hartley Vale Teahouse or the Farm House Café.
- Stop in at the galleries such as, Talisman Gallery, The Aldgate Gallery and The Artists Shed Gallery.
- Collits Inn, Hartley Vale for its fine food and accommodation.
- The historic highway inns of the area