Historical Buildings of Bourke


Take a leisurely walk or drive around Bourke, and admire the historical buildings. Opened in 1874, the St Ignatius Catholic Church, is the oldest documented building in Bourke.

1. ARDSILLA was built in the 1890s by the first owner of the Central Australian Hotel, Mr Gale.

2. POLICE INSPECTORS QUARTERS was built in 1901. This fine, old wooden house now belongs to the Department of Planning and Environment.

3. THE WESTERN HERALD was first known as 'The Central Australian' which was established in 1868. Bourke's first paper was established in 1887, when the business was bought by the Carmichael family. Originally the Methodist Church, the undated building, is considered to be the oldest standing building in Bourke. The Western Herald is now published at the 2WEB building in Oxley St.

4. THE LONDON BANK is now the Gidgee Guesthouse, and was built in 1888. It is the last surviving example of Victorian commercial architecture in Bourke. The bank closed in the 1890s depression, and the building was restored, to some degree, in 1992.

5. THE BOURKE POST OFFICE is a heritage-listed post office. It was designed by the Colonial Architect's Office, under James Barnet, and built in 1880 by E. Heseler. It is also known as the Bourke Post, or the Telegraph Office.

6. WONDERLAND THEATRE was opened in 1927 by brothers, Arthur Randall and Thomas Randall. In 1933, Sylvia Randall took over the running of the picture show, and in 1935, it was rebuilt and modernised with a new art deco style front. Today, it's part of the Bourke Furniture One store.

7. POST OFFICE HOTEL was built in 1888, and was owned by Paddy Fitzgerald, and family, from 1890 to 1957. Today, it is the offices for the NSW Outback Division of General Practice.

8. THE POLICE STATION is of the 1889 vintage, and is the site of the first court house of 1865. Bourke's first court case was held in open air, and concerned a bushranging charge.

9. THE COURT HOUSE was built in 1900 in the colonial architectural style, at a cost of £9,500. The crown on the building indicates that it is a Maritime Court, and it is still the furthest inland Maritime Court in Australia. The building next door, towards the Post Office, was also used as a courthouse, prior to the existing one. Visitors are welcome during non-court periods. Enquire at the office.

10. BOURKE SOLDERS MEMORIAL 1914-1918 is a reminder of Bourke's contribution to WW1 and WW2, as well as the wars in Korea and Vietnam. The avenue of trees was planted in Oxley Street in 1995, as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations to mark the end of WW2.

11. BOURKE TAFE COLLEGE once the Bourke Primary School, was built in 1876.

12. OUTBACK RADIO STATION (2WEB band 585AM) began in 1978 in the Bourke High School sports room, and was moved to its present location in 1988, as a Bicentennial project.

13, POETS CORNER was opened in stages to commemorate the great poets of the past. Henry Lawson in 1993, Will Ogilvie in 1996, and Harry "Breaker" Morant in 1977. Henry Lawson wrote some of his most memorable poetry and short stories, from his outback experiences in this area during 1891-1892.

14. SHAKESPEARE HOTEL on the corner of Mitchell and Glen Streets, is where the second amalgamated Shearer's Union Branch was established, in 1887.

15. CARRIERS ARMS HOTEL began trading in 1876, and was often frequented by Henry Lawson, who lived nearby. It features in several of his short stories as the Shearer's Arms. It was also one of the Cobb & Co agencies.

16. OLD TOWERS DRUG CO BUILDING was erected in 1889-90 as a second medical centre. Successive doctors used it until about 1920. The building is now used as offices, and the Bourke Apartments accommodation upstairs.

17. WOOD BROS has a boot belonging to a sheep, the rarity of which can be explained by Lorraine Wood. Pay her a visit and learn about some of the oddities that occur out west when it rains.

18. ANGLICAN CHURCH OF HOLY INNOCENTS was built in 1939-40, and is on the site of the earlier St Stephens, which burned down in 1895.

19. LANDS DEPARTMENT BUILDING OF 1898 (Western Lands Commission) is a fine example of arid zone architecture of the times before electrical power.

20. THE BOURKE WHARF is a replica of the original wharf built in 1898, to load wool and other goods.

21. TELEGRAPH HOTEL as it was once known, was built in 1876, and is now the Riverside Motel. It has the distinction of being the site for the first electric car recharging facility in outback NSW.

22. ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH OF ST IGNATIUS is our oldest documented building, and was opened on the first Sunday of Easter in 1874. The Sisters of St Joseph arrived in 1881, and the convent opened in 1897. The convent is presently closed for renovations.


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