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Population: 1680 (2006 census)

School of Arts - Buxton
Brief History

Buxton is a small village about 30 kilometres south of Picton on the 'Old Loop Line' Railway.

Named after a town in Derbyshire, England (to which, of course it bears no resemblance), Buxton owes its existence to the railway.

In 1867 the Great Southern Railway was extended from Picton to Mittagong along a steep incline atop the ridge on which Buxton today sits.

For the next 50 years this single line was the main track south, until a two track deviation was built through Tahmoor and Bargo in 1919, after which it was known as 'the loop line'.

The steepness of the track (up to 1 in 33 between Buxton and Hill Top) meant that extra steam engines were required to haul the trains up from Picton, and to slow them on the return journey.

Buxton's origins then, like several other villages along the line, was as a railway siding. Most other stations had crossing loops and sidings to allow trains to pass on the line, or to store the extra engines, although Buxton did not acquire one until 1912.

The village itself dates from 1883 and had grown sufficiently by 1893 for its own platform on the line.

However, the population was never large - the earliest settlers mostly farmers who grew orchards on the temperate hills and slopes nearby, or railway workers who commuted to the railway yards at Picton.

After the main deviation through Tahmoor, traffic on the line dwindled to almost nothing - being used occasionally for overflow from the main line, and a local service between Picton and Mittagong - soon reduced to a rail motor car which ran until the 1970s.

During this period the population of Buxton fell away, and the village's sleepy quietness was only broken by the train on Sundays taking day-trippers to Mittagong and then back to the city.

Today, even that train no longer runs, the track having deteriorated so much as to be of no use past Buxton.

Buxton has a small shopping centre (the largest between Thirlmere and Mittagong), and a large population tucked away in country streets and lanes in many modern houses whose occupants commute to work as far away as the city.

Dense native bushland still surrounds the village today, giving it a timeless and even often foreboding appearance.

Boldrewood ('Robbery Under Arms') had his fictitious bushranger Captain Starlight hiding in the area in the mid nineteenth century after breaking out of Berrima gaol - his character partly based on the many bushrangers who infested the 'Bargo Brush', of which Buxton was a part.

There are plenty of walking trails in nearby Thirlmere Lakes National Park where you can today enjoy the unspoilt beauty, and extended trails lead into Nattai Wilderness ('Starlight's Trail') just west of Hilltop.

Buxton QuickGuide

Steam Train Museum - Thirlmere
Thirlmere Lakes

Buxton Station
Buxton Station (1893)

What to See and Do
For Visitors.
If you are travelling between the Wollondilly and the Highlands, the road between Thirlmere and Colo Vale offers an interesting route through dense native bushland.

Between Colo Vale and Hilltop the road actually passes over the old permanent way - turned into a road after the old line was detoured to lower the gradient - which explains why it soars over tall embankments and through steep cuttings.

About 3 kilometres past Hilltop stop to peer down at the line at the bottom of a cutting, the steepest in N.S.W.

Refreshments are available at Buxton shops. There are some interesting old buildings which hint at rural life in earlier times.

There is a picnic area in the park on the eastern side of the railway with BBQ and toilets.

About 4 kilometres north of Buxton, through Couridjah, is a turnoff to the left. A few kilometres of dirt road (suitable for ordinary cars) takes you to Thirlmere Lakes, and miles of walking trails through a National Park.

Buxton Station
Buxton Station (1893)

Last updated 15/5/08