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New South Wales, Australia

Goulburn from War Memorial 004.JPG
Gouburn seen from Rocky Hill

Goulburn is located in New South Wales
Population: 21,484 [1]
Established: 1833
Postcode: 2580
Elevation: 702 m (2,303 ft)
LGA: Goulburn Mulwaree Council
County: Argyle
State District: Goulburn
Federal Division: Hume
Mean Max Temp Mean Min Temp Annual Rainfall
19.6 °C
67 °F
6.1 °C
43 °F
529.6 mm
20.9 in

Goulburn /ɡlbərn/ is a regional city in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia approximately 195 kilometres (121 mi) south-west of Sydney, Australia, and 90 kilometres (56 mi) north-east of Canberra. Goulburn is Australia's first inland city. At the 2011 Census, Goulburn had a population of 21,484 people.[1] Goulburn is the seat of Goulburn Mulwaree Council.

Goulburn is a railhead on the Main Southern line and service centre for the surrounding pastoral industry and a stopover for those travelling on the Hume Highway. It has a central park and many historic buildings. It is also home to the Big Merino, the world's largest concrete sheep.


Goulburn was named by surveyor James Meehan after Henry Goulburn, Under-Secretary for War and the Colonies, and the name was ratified by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. The Aboriginal name for Goulburn is Burbong,[2] a Murring/Wiradjuri word indicating a special Indigenous cultural area.


The colonial government made land grants to free settlers such as Hamilton Hume in the Goulburn area from the opening of the area to settlement in about 1820. Land was later sold to settlers within the Nineteen Counties, including Argyle County (the Goulburn area). The process displaced the local indigenous Gandangara population and the introduction of exotic livestock drove out a large part of the Aborigines' food supply. The reduction of the food supply and the accidental introduction of exotic diseases, substantially reduced the local indigenous population. Some local Aborigines survived at the Tawonga Billabong Aboriginal Settlement established under the supervision of the Tarago police. In the 1930s the local billabong dried up and the Aboriginal people moved away although some have, over time, made their way back.

The first recorded settler in Goulburn established 'Strathallan' in 1825 (on the site of the present Police Academy) and a town was originally surveyed in 1828, although moved to the present site of the city in 1833 when the surveyor Robert Hoddle laid it out.

George Johnson purchased the first land in the area between 1839 and 1842 and became a central figure in the town's development. He established a branch store with a liquor licence in 1848. By 1841 Goulburn had a population of some 1,200 - a courthouse, police barracks, churches, hospital and post office and was the centre of a great sheep and farming area.

A telegraph station opened in 1862, by which time there were about 1,500 residents, a blacksmith's shop, two hotels, two stores, the telegraph office and a few cottages. The town was a change station (where coach horses were changed) for Cobb & Co by 1855. A police station opened the following year and a school in 1858. Goulburn was proclaimed a municipal government in 1859 and was made a city in 1863.[3]

Goulburn holds the unique distinction of being proclaimed a City on two occasions. The first, unofficial, proclamation was claimed by virtue of Royal Letters Patent issued by Queen Victoria on 14 March 1863 to establish the Diocese of Goulburn. It was a claim made for ecclesiastical purposes, as it was required by the traditions of the Church of England. The Letters Patent also established St Saviour’s Church as the Cathedral Church of the diocese. This was the last instance in which Letters Patent were used in this manner in the British Empire, as they had been significantly discredited for use in the colonies, and were soon to be declared formally invalid and unenforceable in this context.[4] Several legal cases[5] over the preceding decade in particular had already established that the monarch had no ecclesiastical jurisdiction in colonies possessing responsible government. This had been granted to NSW in 1856, seven years earlier. The Letters Patent held authority only over those who submitted to it voluntarily, and then only within the context of the Church – it had no legal civil authority or implications. An absolute and retrospective declaration to this effect was made in 1865 in the Colenso Case,[4] by the Judiciary Committee of the Privy Council. However, under the authority of the Crown Lands Act 1884[6] (48. Vict. No. 18), Goulburn was officially proclaimed a City on 20 March 1885[7] removing any lingering doubts as to its status. This often unrecognised controversy has in no way hindered the development of Goulburn as a regional centre, with an impressive court house (completed in 1887) and other public buildings, as a centre for wool selling, and as an industrial town.

The arrival of the railway in 1869, which was opened on 27 May by the Governor Lord Belmore (an event commemorated by Belmore Park in the centre of the city), along with the completion of the line from Sydney to Albury in 1883, was a boon to the city.[8] Later branchlines were constructed to Cooma (opened in 1889) and later extended further to Nimmitabel and then to Bombala, and to Crookwell and Taralga. Goulburn became a major railway centre with a roundhouse[9] and engine servicing facilities and a factory which made pre-fabricated concrete components for signal boxes and station buildings. The roundhouse is now a railway museum with steam,diesel and rolling stock exhibits.

St Saviour's Cathedral, designed by Edmund Thomas Blacket, was completed in 1884 with the tower being added in 1988 to commemorate the Bicentenary of Australia. Though completed in 1884, some earlier burials are in the graveyard adjacent to the Cathedral. St Saviour's is the seat of the Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn. The Church of SS Peter and Paul is the former cathedral for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn.

St Brigid's School, Goulburn, now closed; the scene of an education strike in 1962.


The Goulburn Viaduct was built in 1915 replacing an earlier structure. This brick arch railway viaduct spanning the Mulwaree Ponds is the longest on the Main Southern Railway Line and consists of 13 arches each spanning 13.1 m (43 ft).[10]

In 1962, Goulburn was the focus of the fight for state aid to non-government schools. An education strike was called in response to a demand for installation of three extra toilets at a local Catholic primary school, St Brigid's. The local Catholic archdiocese closed down all local Catholic primary schools and sent the children to the government schools. The Catholic authorities declared that they had no money to install the extra toilets. Nearly 1,000 children turned up to be enrolled locally and the state schools were unable to accommodate them. The strike lasted only a week but generated national debate. In 1963 the prime minister, Robert Menzies, made state aid for science blocks part of his party's platform.[11]


Goulburn is located a small distance east of the peak ridge of the Great Dividing Range and is 690 metres (2,264 ft) above sea-level. It is intersected by the Wollondilly River and the Mulwaree River, and the confluence of these two rivers is also located here, which then flows north east, into Lake Burragorang (Warragamba Dam) and eventually into the ocean via the Hawkesbury River.


Goulburn has a variable, though generally dry climate with maximum temperatures averaging from 11.6 °C (52.9 °F) in July to 27.8 °C (82.0 °F) in January. Rainfall is distributed evenly throughout the year, with an annual average of 536.2 mm (21.1 in). Extremes have ranged from 40.4 °C (104.7 °F) to −10.9 °C (12 °F).

Climate data for Golburn Airport (1988–2013)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 40.4
Average high °C (°F) 27.8
Average low °C (°F) 12.6
Record low °C (°F) 1.4
Rainfall mm (inches) 47.1
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2mm) 7.4 8.5 8.8 8.6 11.5 13.9 14.4 11.2 11.0 9.6 9.7 8.0 122.6
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[12]

Water Supply[]

With a history of water shortages, an 84km underground water supply pipeline was constructed to pump water from the Wingecarribee Reservoir in the Southern Highlands to Goulburn. This pipeline has a capacity of 7.5ML per day.[13]

The $54 million water supply pipeline is largest construction project in the history of Goulburn.[14]

Buildings in Goulburn[]

As a major settlement of southern New South Wales, Goulburn was the administrative centre for the region and was the location for important buildings of the district. The first lock-up in the town was built in 1830. In 1832 a postal service commenced in Goulburn, four years after the service was adopted in New South Wales. The first town plan had been drawn up by Assistant Surveyor Dixon in 1828, but the site was moved, as it was subject to flooding. The new town plan was drawn up by Surveyor Hoddle and was gazetted in 1833.

GoulburnCourtHouse.JPG GoulburnRailwayStation.jpg GoulburnGaol.jpg GoulburnPostOffice.jpg GoulburnOldPoliceStation.jpg GoulburnOldFireStation.jpg
Courthouse 1847 Railway station 1869 Gaol 1884 Post office 1881 Police station 1885 Fire station 1890

Goulburn Post Office designed by James Barnet 1880-81. Goulburn Gaol - main buildings designed by James Barnet 1884. Former police station on Sloane Street, designed by Barnet and opened 1885. The court house; Italianate style designed by Barnet; opened 1887. Goulburn's second court house was built in 1847. It was designed by Mortimer Lewis, the Colonial Architect. James Barnet, the colonial architect from 1862-90 built a number of buildings in Goulburn. These included Goulburn Gaol opened 1884, a replacement court house opened in 1887, and a post office in 1881. Barnet's successor, Walter Liberty Vernon, was responsible for the first buildings of Kenmore Hospital completed in 1894. St Saviour's Anglican Cathedral and Hall were designed by Edmund Blacket. Building started in 1874 and it was dedicated in 1884. It was finally consecrated in 1916. A tower was added in 1988 as part of a Bicentennial project but Blacket's plans included a spire which is yet to be added.

E.C. Manfred was a prominent local architect responsible for many of the buildings in the city, including the first public swimming baths opened in 1892; the old Town Hall constructed in 1888; the Goulburn Base Hospital designed in 1886; the old Fire Station built in 1890; the Masonic Temple built in 1928; he also designed the earlier building of 1890 it replaced. Goulburn's first permanent fire station built 1890 and designed by local architect E.C. Manfred

The city was home to Kenmore Hospital, a psychiatric hospital which was finally closed in 2003. Goulburn remains a hub for mental health with facilities now located at the Goulburn Base Hospital.

New South Wales Police Academy[]

The New South Wales Police Academy is situated at McDermott Drive, Goulburn.

The Police Academy relocated to Goulburn from Sydney in 1984. At this time it was known as the New South Wales Police Academy however the name has subsequently changed.

The Academy has relocated to the former campus of the Goulburn College of Advanced Education located on the banks of the Wollondilly River. The New South Wales Police Academy is now the largest education institution for law enforcement officers in the southern hemisphere.

Since its relocation there has been significant expansion of the facilities including a new site on the Taralga Road which houses the New South Wales Police School of Traffic and Mobile Policing.

Goulburn Medical Clinic[]

Entry to the Goulburn Medical Clinic from McKell Place

The Goulburn Medical Clinic was established in 1946 making it the most longstanding medical practice in the city. Historically, it was the first group practice of any size established in New South Wales and probably only the third in Australia.[15] The clinic has a mixture of general practitioners and specialists that provide comprehensive healthcare.[15]

Goulburn Gaol[]

Goulburn is home to Goulburn Correctional Centre, more generically known as Goulburn Gaol. It is a maximum-security male prison, the highest security prison in Australia and is home to some of the most dangerous, and infamous, prisoners.

Goulburn Roundhouse Museum[]

The roundhouse at Goulburn was a significant locomotive depot both in the steam and early diesel eras. After closure it became a railway museum with preserved steam and diesel locomotives as well as many interesting examples of rolling stock. Some minor rail operators such as RailPower have used the site to restore diesel locomotives to working order for main line use.


Goulburn is the seat of the Goulburn Mulwaree Shire local government area (LGA) of New South Wales, Australia, formed in 2004. The most recent elections for Council were held on 13 September 2008. Two of the elected Councillors, Max Hadlow and Keith Woodman resigned due to ill health in 2009. A by-election to fill the vacancies was held in June 2009 and resulted in the election of Councillors Geoffrey Kettle and Geoffrey Peterson. Councillor Geoffrey Kettle was elected Mayor, replacing Councillor Carol James, in September 2010.


Goulburn is approximately two hours drive from Sydney via the Hume Highway, or a one hour drive from Canberra via the Federal and Hume Highways. Goulburn was bypassed in 1992 due to increasing traffic on the Hume Highway.

Goulburn railway station is the terminus of the Southern Highlands Line which is part of the public transport network of Greater Sydney. Most services on the line terminate at Moss Vale, meaning Goulburn only sees limited services. The station is also served by the long distance Southern XPT and Xplorer trains between Sydney and Melbourne, Canberra and Griffith. All services are operated by NSW TrainLink.

Goulburn Airport is located approximately 7 km (4.3 mi) south of Goulburn and services light aircraft.

Public transport within Goulburn consists of the local taxi and bus service.


Radio stations[]

Radio stations with transmitters located in or nearby to Goulburn include-


  • Radio National (2RN) 1098 AM
  • 2GN 1368 AM (commercial)


  • Raw FM 87.6 (narrowcast)
  • Triple J (2JJJ) 88.7 FM
  • ABC Classic FM (2ABCFM) 89.5 FM
  • ABC Local Radio (2ABCRR) 90.3 FM
  • Eagle FM 93.5 (2SNO) (commercial)
  • SKY Sports Radio 94.3 FM (2KY) (narrowcast)
  • ABC NewsRadio (2PNN) 99.9 FM
  • Hot Country Radio 100.7 FM (narrowcast)
  • 2GCR 103.3 FM (community)

Depending on location some Illawarra and/or Canberra based radio stations can also heard.


Goulburn receives five free-to-air television networks relayed from Canberra, and broadcast from nearby Mt Gray:

  • ABC
  • SBS
  • Prime7
  • WIN
  • Southern Cross Ten

A much smaller retransmission site also exists to cover residences in the suburb of Eastgrove.

Notable residents[]

  • Michael Diamond, Target Shooter and Olympic Gold Medalist
  • George Lazenby, (born 1939), the only Australian actor to play James Bond, in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.[16][17]
  • Ursula Stephens, Australian ALP Senator serving 2002-2014
  • William Hovell, a famous Australian explorer is buried in one of the many cemeteries.
  • Kate Ritchie, actress and former radio host
  • Bruce Devlin, former professional golfer who won 8 tournaments on the US PGA Tour
  • Todd Carney, Australian NRL player for the Cronulla Sharks
  • Glen Turner, Australian Kookaburras hockey player
  • Miles Franklin, writer

See also[]

  • Goulburn Airport
  • Goulburn Rugby Union
  • Pejar Dam
  • Railway station
  • Wakefield Park


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Goulburn (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "Goulburn". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 30 April 2006. 
  3. ^ "Goulburn". Goulburn was declared a municipality in 1859 and was made a city in 1863.. Heritage Australia Publishing. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Judiciary Committee of the Privy Council (1865-03-21). "Case of the Bishop of Natal". The Times. pp. 14. 
  5. ^ Queen v. the Provost of the College of Eton, 1857; Ex parte, the Rev George King, 1861; Long v. the Bishop of Cape Town, 1863; re the Bishop of Natal, 1865. 
  6. ^ NSW Government Gazette 1884, vol. IV. NSW Government. 1884-10-17. pp. 7107ff. 
  7. ^ NSW Government Gazette 1885, vol. I. NSW Government. 1885-03-20. 
  8. ^ "OPENING OF THE GREAT SOUTHERN RAILWAY TO GOULBURN.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia): p. 7. 16 June 1869. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  9. ^ McLeod, A.R. Goulburn Locomotive Depot, February 1947 Australian Railway History, December 2005 pp483-489
  10. ^ "Goulburn Viaduct Heritage Listing". NSW Office of Environment & Heritage. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  11. ^ "The Battle for State Aid". Timeframe. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 1997. Retrieved 2006-04-02. 
  12. ^ "GOULBURN AIRPORT AWS". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  13. ^ "Goulburn Water Supply Pipeline". The project involved the design and construction of a pipeline and pump station from the Wingecarribee Reservoir near Moss Vale in New South Wales to the Goulburn treatment plant. The pipeline is 84 kilometres long and is capable of supplying the Goulburn community with up to 7.5 million litres of water per day.. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  14. ^ "June start for Goulburn pipelin". ABC news. 29 July 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  15. ^ a b Coombes, B. (1996) A History of the Goulburn Medical Clinic. Australia: Argyle Press ISBN 0-646-29851-8
  16. ^ Gordon, Chris. "Lazenby’s Goulburn bond" Goulburn Post, 3 November 2010
  17. ^ Australian National Portrait Gallery. "Australians in Hollywood". National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 2010-11-02. 

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