Hartley is a tranquil settlement east of Lithgow, located below the Western escarpment of the Blue Mountains. The area is rich in Aboriginal and European history.
Here, the River Lett flows into the Cox’s River, which in turn feeds Sydney’s main water supply, Warragamba Dam.
When Governor Macquarie passed through in 1815, he referred to the area as “the beautiful, extensive Vale of Five Miles” …shortly after, the area became known as Hartley.
With the western road to Bathurst becoming well travelled, this strategic location ensured the settlement of Hartley grew rapidly.
Here you will find Hartley Historic Site – this site offers one of the finest collections of historic buildings in Australia. The heritage listed village adjacent to the Great Western Highway, was constructed between 1837 and 1850.
With large numbers of convicts working in the area, and settlers choosing to farm the fertile valley, the need for a Courthouse and a detention centre was important. In 1837, The Greek Revival style Hartley Courthouse was built, and the following year the town plan was gazetted.
Today, the Hartley Historic Site remains as a rare and wonderful snapshot of life in the early 19th Century.
Walk around 17 buildings of historic significance, including the Shamrock Inn, and St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, both built c.1842. The Shamrock Inn was originally built as a residence, but by 1856 was catering to people travelling to the Turon Goldfields.
The Royal Hotel, initially known as Hartley Hotel was built in c.1846. This hotel saw many uses- it served as a Cobb and Co staging post for coaches travelling between Sydney, Bathurst and Mudgee, and at one time also functioned as a school and an Anglican Rectory.
Old Tralee, Ivy Cottage, the Farmers Inn and The Old Post Office, to name a few, retain their charm and historical significance.
Take time out to wander along the Sculpture walk, visit the Galleries, and walk up to Kew-Y-Ahn – this granite tor, or large cluster of rocks has kept watch over the area for many centuries.
For the nature lovers, there are some great walks and picnic areas including Hartley Reserve and Hyde Park Reserve.
The River Lett in Hartley was recorded as a Rivulett by Surveyor G.W.Evans in 1815, but by 1834 due to a spelling error on a map, it became known as the River Lett.
The Rowson’s River walk follows beside the River Lett for 200 metres on a raised boardwalk that leads to a small picnic area- see if you can spot a Platypus or a Water Dragon along the banks of the river!
With so much to explore, there are plenty of camping options and accommodation available in the Hartley area.
Why not bring your fishing rod, take a step back in time and relax by the Cox’s River in scenic Hartley?