Wollombi New South Wales is a very small but picturesque and historic rural village in Australia's lower Hunter Valley - 29 km south-west of Cessnock and 142 km north of Sydney. To the south is the village of Laguna, to the east, the village of Millfield and to the north, the village of Broke.
The valley is bordered to the west by the World Heritage Listed Yengo National Park (and Yengo State Forest) and the main road, the convict-built Great North Road forms one of the major legs of the Greater Blue Mountains Drive. To the east lie Watagans National Park along with Corrabare and Olney State Forests.
Wollombi's modest modern size is offset by its 19th-century sandstone buildings and an abundance of timber slab constructed cottages and sheds in an idyllic location within a narrow valley junction containing Wollombi Brook and Congewai Creek. Narone and Yango Creeks also join these waterways near the village.
The area is home to an abundance of native birds, reptiles and other animals including kangaroos, wallabies, wallaroos and wombats and is surrounded by imposing tree-lined mountains.
The original inhabitants of the locality are believed to be the Darkinjung people, though the Awabakal and Wanaruah nations are also mentioned.
The town's name is an Aboriginal term said to mean 'meeting place of the waters' or simply 'meeting place'. It was apparently pronounced 'Wu-lum-bee', though today it is pronounced Wo (as in wok) - lum (as in thumb) - bi (as in buy).
There are a vast number of historic Aboriginal sites in the surrounding countryside which is thought to have been used as a ceremonial meeting place as people from hundreds of kilometres visited the area and made their way to Mount Yengo - a place of great significance throughout the ancient nations of eastern Australia.
There are rock engravings, sharpening grooves, hand stencils, tribal markings and other images in caves and outcrops, frequent evidence of camping sites along the Brook and it's tributary creeks, and two major mapping sites containing many engravings.
The establishment, development and significance of the township of Wollombi was directly connected with the construction and importance of the Great Northern Road in the early 19th century. The Howes Valley Rd (Putty Road) was completed in 1823, but travel along it was thought to be too difficult to be a success commercially.
Major Thomas Mitchell - Surveyor-General - formulated the idea of an inland route to open up transport to regions in northern NSW. Heneage Finch, who later settled in Laguna, surveyed the route for the Great Northern Road via Castle Hill, Wiseman's Ferry, St Albans, Laguna and Wollombi.
At Wollombi, the road diverged toward Singleton and Muswellbrook to the north, and Cessnock and Maitland to the north east.
Road construction commenced in 1826 carried out by nine chain gangs - up to 700 convicts -and was completed in 1831. Remnants such as stone culverts, bridges and retaining walls remain, particularly in the area between Wollombi and Wisemans Ferry, and are catalogued and cared for by the Convict Trail project.
During the years before the GNR was commenced, only a few large land grants (1,000 or 2,000 acres) were allocated along Cockfighter's Creek or the lower Wollombi Brook, to John Blaxland and - Rodd at Fordwich, Heneage Finch at Laguna and Thomas Crawford at Congewai. Richard Wiseman received 640 acres near Wollombi. After 1830 the holdings in the
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- Finchley Aboriginal Area, Yango Tk, Wollombi, NSW, Australia
- Great Northern Road - Extension, Great Northern Rd, Wollombi, NSW, Australia
- Laguna House and Outbuildings, Old North Rd, Laguna, NSW, Australia
- MacDonald Valley / Wollombi Valley Area, St Albans, NSW, Australia
- Milbrodale Estate Original Homestead, Putty Rd, Milbrodale via Bulga, NSW, Australia
- Murinbin House Group, Broke Rd, Broke, NSW, Australia
- Public School, Maitland Rd, Wollombi, NSW, Australia
- St Andrews Anglican Church, Wollombi St, Broke, NSW, Australia
- St John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Maitland Rd, Wollombi, NSW, Australia
- St Michaels Catholic Church, Maitland Rd, Wollombi, NSW, Australia
- Stanford Main No 2 Colliery, Millfield Rd, Paxton, NSW, Australia
- Wollemi National Park (1980 boundary), The Putty Rd, Singleton, NSW, Australia
- Wollombi Courthouse (former), Maitland Rd, Wollombi, NSW, Australia
- Wollombi Post Office (former), Maitland Rd, Wollombi, NSW, Australia
- Blaxland House, Broke
- Bulga Bridge over Wollombi Brook
- Charlton, Bulga
- Convict Drinking Trough
- Courthouse & Police Station, Former
- General Cemetery, Broke
- Laguna House Group
- Laguna Public School
- Maria Immaculate Roman Catholic Church
- Milbrodale Estate
- Mount Leonard
- Mount Leonards Public School now Scout Hall
- Mulla Villa
- Rising Sun Inn, Millfield
- St John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Wollombi
- St Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church, Wollombi
- War Memorial Gates, Bulga
- War Memorial, Broke
- Wollombi Conservation Area
- Wollombi General Cemetery
- Wollombi Post Office
- Wollombi Public School
- Millfield General Cemetery - Australian Cemeteries Index
- Wollombi Cemetery on Interment.net
- Wollombi General Cemetary - Australian Cemeteries Index
- Yengo Country - a source of cultural & spiritual awakening
Garry Jones 1993 / 2009 Dip. Art (Educ.), First Class Hons.; M.A. (Studio Art), New York Univ. Acknowledging the input of Peter Crousen, fieldwork partner from 1978 onwards, along with that of Paul Gordon, our Aboriginal brother (Nyampah language group, Wongaipuon dialect, Galugeilu 'stone people' clan), 1989 onwards. (2.12MB pdf file)
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