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A Gander at Goulburn, New South Wales

submitted on 26 May 2023 by

A Brief Foray into Goulburn's History

Goulburn, a modest metropolis nestled within the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia, harbours an intriguing and oft-overlooked past. The city originally served as a waypoint for drovers herding livestock from Sydney to the Australian Alps. In 1863, Goulburn metamorphosed into a rail hub, spearheading the region's agricultural and pastoral growth. The city's strategic significance eventually waned, but its charm perseveres to this day.

Cultural Significance: The First Inland City

Goulburn enjoys the esteemed moniker of "Australia's First Inland City" an accolade which, while not as glamorous as Sydney's glittering harbour, warrants a modicum of acknowledgement. The city's inland status symbolises its resilience against coastal ravages (pirates, be gone!), as well as its role as a bastion against incursions by both fauna and flora of the untamed Australian bush.

Architectural Splendour: A Heritage Trove Awaits

One must simply admire the architectural prowess of a city that houses a magnificent, giant concrete sheep. "The Big Merino," as it is affectionately known, stands as an ovine tribute to Goulburn's pastoral heritage, and it behooves us to pay homage to this majestic beast. While one might think that nothing could surpass the grandeur of a gargantuan concrete sheep, Goulburn's bevy of historic buildings begs to differ. Explore the city's treasured trove, starting with St. Saviour's Cathedral, a splendid example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture. For the aficionado of all things ecclesiastical, St. Peter and St. Paul's Old Cathedral beckons. Behold its intricate design a confluence of the Gothic and Classical styles of the Georgian era. Peek within its walls and uncover a meticulously restored 1776 Holbrook organ, a testament to the craftsmanship of yesteryear. And if ancient-yet-functional machinery tickles your fancy, Goulburn's Historic Waterworks provides an opportunity to witness a rare, working steam engine in its natural habitat a steam-powered waterworks. It's not every day that one can observe such a marvel of engineering in action, so don't miss the chance to gawk at this magnificent machine.

Outdoor Escapades: Connect with Nature

Speaking of natural habitats, Goulburn's surroundings provide ample opportunity to immerse oneself in the great outdoors. Delight in the verdant expanse of Belmore Park, a centrally situated oasis offering respite from urban clamour. Stroll through the Victorian-style gardens, or indulge in a quaint picnic in the park's gazebo. The park also hosts the Goulburn Lilac City Festival, a time-honoured celebration of Goulburn's floral bounty and an opportunity to indulge in lilac-inspired whimsy. Further afield, immerse yourself in the rugged allure of the Wollondilly River Walk. For the avid adventurer, brace yourself for a wild expedition, navigating the river's murky depths, trudging through its dense undergrowth, and braving its inhabitants the notorious platypus. A word of caution: Though these creatures may appear docile, be wary of their venomous spurs, lest you become an unfortunate victim of platypus-induced agony. Should the rigours of river exploration prove too daunting, opt for the serenity of Goulburn's wetlands. Armed with binoculars and a keen eye, embark on a birdwatching expedition, seeking out feathered inhabitants such as the elusive Latham's Snipe.

Delights for the Palate: A Culinary Cornucopia

After such exertions, it is natural that one's appetite should awaken. Sate your hunger with Goulburn's diverse culinary offerings, ranging from the nostalgic simplicity of a "meat and three veg" at the Paragon Cafe, to the refined elegance of contemporary Australian cuisine at The Astor Hotel. And what better way to conclude a day of exploration than with a libation at Goulburn's own microbrewery? At the Goulburn Brewery, quench your thirst with a delectable array of craft beers might I recommend the Goulburn Lager? and toast to the delights of this most fascinating of cities.

And so, we bid Goulburn adieu...

As we leave behind the city's enigmatic blend of history, culture, and nature, we take with us a newfound appreciation for Australia's First Inland City. Goulburn may not be as garish as Sydney, nor as wild as the Outback, but it holds a unique charm all its own and, my friends, that is an adventure worth savouring.

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