Resources for Sofala research:
Cobb & Co Heritage Trail Bathurst to Bourke by Diane de St. Hilaire Simmonds available from: (click)
The Village of Hill End
Hill End was proclaimed an historic site in 1967, almost all the buildings in Hill End date back to the 1872 gold boom years. Hill End is now managed by National Parks and Wildlife. There are many camping grounds, picnic facilities and walking tracks. The NPW runs an excellent museum, where you will find a Cobb & Co coach beautifully restored, among many other wonderfully kept historic relics.
Hill End had reef gold and alluvial gold. Reef gold is trapped within a rock casing - usually quartz. It needs to be crushed by a stamper to get it out. Alluvial gold is loose gold in the river sediments and can be panned.
The town boundaries were set out in 1860, and the mining areas set around it, allowed no room for expansion for urban dwellings. So the scene was a very crowded and untidy town. Cobb & Co coaches picked the people up at Tambaroora, where there was a changing station. Travellers walked from the town centre out to Tambaroora. The big boom only lasted two years, but 143,420 ounces of gold were mined. By late 1872, Hill End's population was 8,000. It had a 'mile of shops and 27 pubs'. It was a thriving, booming town, but by 1874, the gold decreased, the town was in a depression and men had to go elsewhere for work.
The Royal Hotel was established in 1872. The Royal is still the favourite meeting place for locals and travellers at Hill End. If you want to discover more history, sit in the pub and talk to the locals.
From the Memoirs of Mr Lowe:
'I saw one accident with a coach that went over the Turon Hill. The driver, Martin Murphy, was badly hurt. The horses bolted down the Turon Hill. The passengers climbed onto the rack and stepped off the back. Some of them got their knees badly hurt when they fell.'