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Population: 1742 (2006 census)

Shopping Centre - Appin
Brief History

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 Appin
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.

Hamilton Hume Memorial
The Hamilton Hume Memorial

Appin QuickGuide

Cataract Dam

St Bedes Church Appin
St. Bedes Church (1841)

What to See and Do
For Visitors.
A stop in Appin is worth a pause on the journey to Wollongong - or a diversion off the main freeway.

See the spot where Hume & Hovell set off on their great explorations (about 5 minutes on the road to Campbelltown.)

A discount petrol outlet, food and shops available, plus one of the best and most famous bakeries in or out of Sydney (closed February).

There is an hotel and restaurant; picnic area in the park near the centre of town.

If you are interested in history park the car and take a half hour stroll through town - the old schoolhouse, churches, original inn, old police station, and around the corner early church school (now much renovated as a home).

A few blocks to the west of town are playing fields, and a memorial to 14 colliers who died in a local mine tragedy in 1979.

The Cataract Dam (on the road towards Wollongong) has first class picnic facilities, beautiful bushland and spectacular views of the dam: a great place for a family outing, BBQs and entrance free.

A bushwalk is also to be found in a reserve on the left of the Wollongong Road, just a few minutes from town.

Going straight ahead at the intersection, after a few minutes you cross the Cataract River at Broughton's Pass - spectacular scenery, but no place to park and see it.

Accommodation is available at the motel; entertainment in the big city at Campelltown nearby.

Appin also has regular greyhound meets most weekends at the local track which attract visitors from all over the city.

Old Appin Inn
Old Appin Inn (c.1826)

For Kids.

If you are visiting Appin chances are you are there to see friends. They might take you to explore the bush nearby.

If you are passing through, go to the great cake shop. Parks for you to play in if you stop for a picnic.

Have a peek at the old stone churches and try to imagine how impressive they must have looked almost 200 years ago when there was nothing else around for miles.

Hopefully you are going to stop for a picnic at Cataract Dam - parks, playground, heaps of bush to explore. Dare to walk over the dam wall!

Appin School
Public School, Appin (1868)

Last updated 15/5/08