"Tambaroora was a Town
When Hill End was just a Pup
Tambaroora will still be a Town
When Hill End is all Buggered up"
(It did not end up that way)
History and Historians have not been kind to Tambaroura/Tambaroora when reporting on the Gold district. The prominent name now associated with the district is sadly the village of Hill End. The village has been credited with nearly all the history and gold acquistion in the area, nothing could be further from the truth, the area name Tambaroura and town name Tambaroora were the prominent places associated with the gold mining district located in the
Central Tablelands of New South Wales, this name association had its origin an interminable time before the discovery of gold. The local aboriginal community had known the area as The "TAMBAROURA" long before, a newspaper article of 1852 described an area which according to a reporter of the day and who quote - "was given to understand by those who profess to have some knowledge of aboriginal philology gave its meaning as
"sweet grass". A description given by a reporter earlier in February 1852
describes an area which is supportive of the term "sweet grass".
A pastoralist by the name of William Cummings of Peel, who was later to become a member of the NSW legislative Assembly from 1859 to 1872 was using the area 25 years prior to the discovery of gold. An account given by James Collison in 1919 of his days as a youth and as a bullock driver (which is an astounding account in itself) carting materials into the newly discovered Goldfield gives credence that the area was being used for pastoral purposes. The area was known as
The Stockyard locationto those who travelled the stock routes through the area, this Stockyard shared the area with at least one other Stockyard managed by Mr. Oakes. An early pastoral map has also been annotated with the name Samuels Field in this area, this was Saul Samuel and his brother Lewis who were diverse in their pursuits, pastoralists, miners and various commercial interests were just some of their quests of note extending from Sydney to Bathurst and beyond, their pastoral interests extending to Wellington and Narromine. Saul Samuel was later to become a member of the NSW Legislative Assembly, the Colonial Treasurer and later Sir Saul Samuel, although little is mentioned about his early undertakings.
The Town name was selected as a necessity to identify the very fast growing settlement which had become the judicial, administrative and commercial centre for the other satellite mining settlements established on the Goldfields in the district. One of which included Bald Hills, later on briefly known as Forbes until the error was realised and finally as Hill End and could possibly explain why Tambaroora was gazetted as a Town and Hill End only ever a Village. For a short period of time the Town was referred to as Tambaroora Proper to distinguish it from the area name.
As mentioned earlier Hill End has been recorded as being the focus of all things gold in the district, nothing is further from the truth. Hill End only made up a very small part of the overall area throughout its history, although its story is spectacular it was brief, the only reason Hill End has survived is due to the type of building construction undertaken at the height of its active life, otherwise it would have found its way back into the ground like the township of Tambaroora. Each and everyone one of the other satellite Goldfields has a unique history of its own to tell, maybe not as spectacular as Hill End but just as important, each provides an insight to the development of gold recovery over time. Influenced by knowledge brought to the fields by the numerous nationalities seeking the riches, the landscape changed forever, to this day some of the methodology still cannot be explained, simply lost in time. Techniques and understanding are possibly lost but the Chinese influence still remains, identified in the stone structures, dams and water races dispersed throughout the entire Goldfield.
Again what has been lost in time and rarely mentioned in the history books is the fact that both the area and town names were significant places in their own right up until the early to mid 1870s. "Tambaroura" was the districts name and encompassed an area from approximately Green Valley in the north to the Lower Turon in the south, there being no set boundary, and when referring to events or places in the area "Tambaroura" was always used to identify the locality ie., Bald Hill Tambaroora, Hill End Tambaroora or Hawkins Mount/Hill/Ridge Tambaroora, or a more distant recognition was Boiga Station Tambaroora when Harriet Beard advertised her sheep station for sale in 1871 approximately 20 kilometres north east of Tambaroora township. Other examples are the location given at the time of death of persons, i.e, Washing Gully Tambaroora, Bald Hills Road Tambaroora etc.,
A gradual change in geographical identification can be seen in the prospectus's issued for the numerous companies being established from 1871 to 1872. The early advertising for potential shareholders listed a great many of the locations for the mining companies as being either in Tambaroora or Hawkins Hill Tambaroora, Hill End Tambaroora, Golden Gully Tambaroora, Red Hill Tambaroora or Dirt Hole Creek Tambaroora, even Green Valley had been referred to as being under the umbrella of the Tambaroura. This gradually changed with promoters of shares promoting the inclusion of "Hill End" in prospectus's being issued, until "Tambaroora" was omitted altogether. In 1876 the Mining Warden for the District in a report referred to the district as being the Tambaroora and Turon Goldfield, Hill End had had its day.
Both names became less significant as the small village of Hill End became a share holders dream due only to the incredible amount of gold in matrix lying latent and being rediscovered at Hawkins Hill, which by the way was not part of Hill End, up until 1871/72 it was referred to as being Hawkins Mount, Hawkins Spur and finally as Hawkins Hill, Tambaroora. Tambaroura/Tambaroora were well known for twenty years previous for its incredible alluvial and limited gold in matrix discoveries, as opposed to Hill End, previously known as Bald Hill from the early 1850s and its alluvial gold deposits. Unknown to many, gold in matrix had been found in the early 1850s at Hawkins Spur/Mount, but laid dormant until promoters were convinced that the economics would produce profit. A Reporter on one of his journeys to the Goldfield filed this report on the "The Bald Hills" on its rapid expansion.
History does not make money, and with so many thinking that Tambaroura/Tambaroora had reached its pinnacle promoters realised a new more highly profitable return would be made if the focus moved from Tambaroura/Tambaroora to a less known location, the village of Hill End having only limited exposure in the past would make an appearance as a new Goldfield to potential investors and seemed to be the appropriate choice. The incentive to contribute towards shares in the rapidly expanding companies would have been irresistible...little did they know the villages rise to importance by 1872 would see it matched by its downfall starting from 1874. The newly appointed Mining Warden for the Tambaroora and Turon River Mining District in 1874 noted the rapid decline in mining operations.
Money and Shares have no friends! Both mining and commercial interests left in droves, machinery was quickly removed and relocated to new goldfields throughout the State.
It is akin to a cycle, Tambaroura/Tambaroora was the focus of attention to all things gold in the period 1850's to late 1860's, the emergence of the matrix in gold on Hawkins Hill saw a game changer and the focus moved to Hill End. It must also be remembered in the period of first discovery in the early 1850's the rapid building expansion used materials available locally, in the early development of the township of Tambaroora only a few buildings were constructed of either brick or stone, the later development of Hill End in the early 1870's saw immense changes already made in building construction, technology had eased the burden of construction and saw a rise in trades who specialised in construction, Hill End managed to ride this wave of development and was lucky many buildings were constructed of materials that were of a more permanent nature. Those that stood the test of time survived, a great many were not so lucky and as the world grew so did Occupational Health and Safety, many had to be demolished circa the late 1960's early 1970's when National Parks and Wildlife Services took on responsibility for the first Heritage listed village in Australia. Tambaroora was not so lucky and for some unknown reason the remnants of those buildings that did survive in the township were dozed into obscurity, well almost, the demolished materials are still to be seen to the keen eye.
This web site is based on newspaper reports, government gazettes and other government documents particularly mining orientated documentation relating to the extended period that Tambaroura/Tambaroora functioned as a mining community.
It will allow you to revisit how reporters and correspondents of the 1850s and later disseminated what most people were eagerly awaiting for in the major cities regarding the discovery of gold in the unsettled districts. In our case the Tambaroura area as was recorded through newspapers and government gazettes and those who thought they knew about the Tambaroura, inclusive in every respect where known is the locale of the original occupants from whom the name originated, the pastoralisation of the area by pioneer graziers and most importantly their shepherds, later the discovery of gold and its resultant economic growth and expansion and sadly to its eventual demise.