History and Heritage

Explore the fascinating history of NSW. From ancient Aboriginal heritage to European settlement and the gold rush years, there are incredible stories to be discovered across the state at sacred sites, heritage-listed buildings and more.

Aboriginal heritage and culture

Dating back more than 50,000 years, Aboriginal Australians are the world's oldest civilization. NSW is home to the largest population of Australia’s First Nations People, and you can learn about their culture, history and heritage on tours and at museums and galleries.

Find out more about Aboriginal Culture.

Males from the Barkindji nation dancing besides the Darling River, Wilcannia, Outback NSW

European settlement

The convict-built, World Heritage-listed Old Great North Road links Sydney to the Hunter Valley, Australia's oldest wine region. Up to 720 convicts worked on the road, which was finished in 1836. It’s remarkably well-preserved, follow it and take in a heritage walk in Dharug National Park.

You can visit old prisons that have been turned into museums, such as Old Dubbo Gaol in Dubbo and the Maitland Gaol and discover what life was like for the inmates that spent time there.

The entrance to the heritage-listed Old Dubbo Gaol, Dubbo

In Outback NSW, tales of Australia's explorers, poets, bushrangers and graziers are uncovered at the Back O' Bourke Exhibition Centre. Interactive displays bring the evocative history of the outback to life in the northwest town of Bourke, once a major river port on the Darling River.

Near Mudgee, in Country NSW, is Gulgong, a 19th century gold-mining town. Henry Lawson is Gulgong's most famous son and a museum commemorates the writer and poet with an impressive collection of original manuscripts and memorabilia. Check out the annual Henry Lawson Festival on the June long weekend.

There are historic gold mining towns and trails across NSW, such as Hill End near Bathurst, where you can explore heritage buildings and mine relics. You can go fossicking for gold and precious gems in Inverell, Young and White Cliffs.

The Temora Aviation Museum, Temora

Military

In the Riverina region, you’ll find the Temora Aviation Museum, which has one of the world’s best flying collections of historical military aircraft, including the only two flying Spitfires in Australia. In Singleton, in the Hunter Valley is The Australian Army Infantry Museum (AAIM), with a collection ranging from Australia's pre federation state colonial armies through to today’s infantry.