Enjoy the Wentworth Walk. You can also enjoy the Wentworth Trail (Drive).
Courtesy of the Wentworth Branch of National Trust
Commence your walk from the Wentworth Visitor Information Centre.
The present Post Office was rebuilt in 1899. The architectural features utilised were unusual for this area and make the Post Office one of the most prominent structures in Wentworth. More importantly, it complements the surrounding heritage items of Darling Street and with its picket fences, it is a fine example of Wentworth’s prosperous history.
The Wentworth Court House was opened on 13 April 1880. It took the place of a smaller brick building further up Darling Street, but in the same town block. Made from the local clay bricks it is a magnificent building that has stood the test of time and provides an excellent example of pioneer architecture and design. The Court House has been restored and the original picket fence replaced. It is still used for local court sessions. The National Trust has listed this building as one to be preserved because of its unique history.
Beside the school tennis court the galleried classroom built in 1881, is an extension of the first National School opened in 1860. The Wentworth Public School is proactive in the ‘Stephanie Alexander Garden” program. Learning to grow fresh fruit & vegetables to prepare and cook meals.
The Anglican clergy were the first to visit the Wentworth District. At that time Anglicans attended regular services in the dining room of the now demolished Wentworth Hotel. The Parish of Wentworth was formed in 1871 and Reverend William Cocks organised the building of the church which is believed to be based on an English structure. The materials were brought to the site by barge although locally made bricks were also used in the construction. St John’s was the first church erected on the banks of the Darling River and is one of the most notable features in Wentworth. It is Heritage listed by the National Trust.
In 1873, after the completion of St John the Evangelist Church, Reverend William Cocks commissioned the neighbouring Rectory to be built. When completed it was reported to be the largest dwelling in the district. The house is one of only a few early brick residences left in Wentworth and is now utilised as a private residence.
The wharf was originally built in 1879 using local timber. It was a major landmark of the town and a hive of industry. Throughout the riverboat era Wentworth was the busiest inland port within NSW (third busiest port after Sydney and Newcastle). During one week a record 31 steamers were docked at the wharf. The original wharf deteriorated and was demolished in 1983. A similar replica of the wharf, including the little customs office, now stands in its place.
The Royal Hotel was built by the Felgate family in 1866 and was immediately classed as the best hotel in the district. The single storey structure has a newish brick facade. However, structures at the rear exhibit the original form of the hotel. An outdoor area now overlooks the Darling River. The unused brick building on the wharf frontage was the residential part of the hotel, named The Cottage. This was also at one time The Wentworth Telegraph newspaper office.
The Customs Office was constructed in c1884, replacing the first Customs building (constructed in c1864 and situated on the west side of the Darling River, near the bridge). This building remained an integral part of the busy Port of Wentworth up until the decline of the river trade in the 1890s. A Custom Officer was still operating from this site in 1912. It is now a private residence and during 2001, a commemorative plaque was placed on the house by the Australian Customs Authority.
The first Rate Book in 1879 listed Mr WJ Holding as the owner of this property. In 1881 he developed it by building an iron shed, offices and two shops. Over the years the buildings had many uses. Mr Holding used the office in his capacity as Mayor, Coroner, Deputy Sheriff, J.P., Government Appraiser and as director of River Darling Navigation Co. The Gem Navigation Co was conducted here. Later Murray Shipping Ltd and the Shell Oil Co agencies operated from this corner. Various traders used the premises for a wide variety of purposes. Music lessons took place here and Wentworth’s first picture theatre, The Lyric, operated in the main buildings. Adelaide Street has been enhanced by the high heritage value of this property. The building has been refurbished and is now operating as Artback Australia Gallery & Cafe.
The first tractor monument in the world was established by the people of Wentworth in honour of the TEA20 Harry Ferguson tractors’ involvement in the building of the massive levee banks that protected Wentworth against the devastating 1956 floods. The cairn of stones where the monument sits is set at the height which water would have inundated the town if the clay levee banks had not been constructed. “By God and by Fergie we beat the Flood!”
This is the first Roman Catholic Church built along the Darling River and the second church built in Wentworth. The foundation stone for Saint Francis Xavier Church was laid on June 18, 1871, in a ceremony held in pouring rain. The first mass was held in the unfinished Church in the early part of November 1872, by Rev. Matthew Ryan.
Blessed and opened in 1925 (a Jubilee Year) by Bishop Fox. After 115 years of Catholic education in Wentworth, the school closed in December 2006 due to a lack of pupils.
The first house to be called Rendelsham was built by William Gunn, who was the first Mayor of Wentworth. He lived here until he built the second residence in the centre of the town, again called Rendelsham House. The first Rendelsham House then became Catholic Church property and was used by the local Priest as the Presbytery. In 1892, it became the Convent, home of the Sisters of Mercy, who established and taught at the neighbouring St Ignatius School.
Catholic schooling began at Wentworth on February 8, 1892, when the Sisters of Mercy answered the Bishop’s call to come to the town at the junction of the Darling and Murray Rivers. St Ignatius, a wooden structure located in the convent grounds, was built in 1911 and was the first Catholic High School in the area. The building was used in the 1940’s as the infant section of the St Francis Xavier School in Short St. and was eventually closed to the public at the end of 1950. The little school-house was restored by the National Trust and in February 2002, the school building was listed as a local historic building on the State Heritage register.
The first Presbyterian property was in Cadell Street and extended back to Murray Street. One of the earliest brick buildings, the Manse, was built in 1859. When this Manse was destroyed by fire, the original chimney-stack was converted to a sundial here in the grounds of St Andrew’s Uniting Church. The Alex & Betsy Armstrong Memorial Manse, (the adjacent building), was erected in 1929. In 1977 the Methodist and Presbyterian churches merged to form the Uniting Church. The Wesley Hall was then moved here from Sandwych Street. Sadly the picturesque 1881 Methodist Church was demolished, although the parsonage built in 1935 still stands.
The Wentworth Town Hall began life as a Mechanics Institute Hall, built in late 1884. Later it included a library and facilities for films to be shown. The Town Hall has recently undergone restoration and refurbishment and is available for use by the Community. Magnificent hand-carved Honour Rolls that once adorned the walls are now displayed in the foyer area of the Wentworth Services Club.
Rendelsham House was built in 1882, by and for William Gunn, the first Mayor of Wentworth (the second of his houses named Rendelsham). The dwelling is one of the largest and most impressive in Wentworth. It is also significant for the fact that it has housed some of the town’s most important and memorable pioneers. The house has had many uses over the years, including a bed and breakfast, a restaurant, tearooms and is once again a private residence.
The Wentworth Military Collection is a must see for the avid military history buff, servicemen and women past and present or anyone who has a connection to the Australian armed forces. This unique collection displays relics, artefacts and militaria from all over the world, with an emphasis on Australian service to our nation. From the 1890 Boer War to Operation Slipper 2012, the collection also displays past and current service issue uniforms and equipment. Visit www.wentworthmilitarycollection.com for more information.
Built in 1879-1881, the small single storey brick gaol with bluestone trim was designed by colonial architect, James Barnett. It was the first of the Australian designed gaols (Hay and Dubbo gaols followed this one). The bricks were made on site from local clay, by Joseph Fritz and the bluestone from Wales was transported from Malmsbury, Victoria. The new gaol replaced over-crowded lock-ups and was utilised until its closure in 1927. After its closure as a gaol, the building was utilised as extra classrooms for the Wentworth Central School until 1963 and today, due to its remarkable condition, is a major tourist attraction. Visitors now enter the building through the Warden’s residence. There is a site map available for self-guided tours plus a well stocked gift shop.
You can also enjoy the Wentworth Trail (Drive) >