|Towns and villages of:|
Population: 1742 (2006 census)
Shopping Centre - Appin
Appin, closer to Campbelltown than Picton, is at the north eastern corner of the Wollondilly Region.
Appin (settlement 1810) is the oldest town in the Wollondilly, and one of the first villages in NSW.
Some of the first land grants here can still be seen in the names of the farms on the right hand side of the road from Campbelltown. This land has been farmed continually for almost 190 years - for wheat, barley, and vegetables for the Sydney market in the earliest days, and later dairying and fodder for horses.
Luckily the land at Appin was suitable for agriculture, as grants were conditional on farmers making a success of their enterprises. By 1825 the population had increased to 562, and Appin was the staging post for many journeys of exploration and settlement inland when the interior of the continent was opened up
In fact one of Australia's most famous explorers -Hamilton Hume - spent his boyhood here, and an obelisk stands near his former home on Appin Road at the place where he set off with Captain Hovell on their voyage of discovery to the inland and Port Phillip Bay in Victoria.
Throughout the nineteenth century Appin remained mostly a farming community, civic life being centred on nearby Campbelltown, which explains the lack of the village square common in Georgian towns. Similarly there are few early buildings still standing.
Of note are the Catholic and Anglican churches (both c.1841). The stone building (1868, since added to) at the front of the Primary School was the first state school in NSW under Sir Henry Parkes' free public education act.
St. Marks Church (1841)
Opposite St. Bede's in the main street is a neglected building - the stone corner section of which was part of the first hotel (Appin Inn, 1826); the Appin Hotel of today was built in 1930, not far from the site of another early inn.
Two blocks south is another stone building, formerly the Police Station (1814 - closed and moved to Campbelltown 1933), now a private residence.
The fortunes of farming so close to the city gradually declined in the 20th century - an intensive chicken farm being the latest inhabitant (50 years) of the earliest farmlands.
Appin's fortunes received a boost at the end of the 19th century with the building of the Cataract Dam: a large influx of workers and their families increased the population of the town (there were even two extra schools for a while).
In more recent times, the opening of a colliery (1960s) brought a new industry and prosperity to the town, and the development of the Macarthur growth area around Campbelltown has seen Appin grow as a dormitory suburb.
Appin today has a small shopping area, rows of well-kept houses, parks and playing fields.
It is the last township on the route through Campbelltown down the escarpment to Wollongong, and if you go straight ahead at the intersection after town, you can still follow the old route inland - down Broughton Pass over the Cataract River, through Wilton - to old Stonequarry (Picton), and to the Highlands and beyond, just as Hamilton Hume did 180 years ago.
Appin is still sufficiently 'in the country' to retain its rural charm, and the presence nearby of thousands of hectares of national parklands, bushwalking trails, and the Cataract Dam make it a worthwhile stopover for the traveller.
The Hamilton Hume Memorial