The Hartley Valley, found on the edges of the Blue Mountains Escarpment just 15 minutes east of Lithgow along the Great Western Highway has a strong aboriginal origin, serving as a meeting place for the surrounding aboriginal tribes, Gundungarra, Wiradjuri and Dharug. Hartley is a peaceful and scenic landscape where early colonial history can still be explored.
Meads Farm built in 1866, as the Keroscene hotel associated with the Hartley Valley Oil Shale Works, a popular place for weary workers to congregate after a hard day of work in the mines
Ambermere Inn, originally named the Rose Inn built by Pierce Colliets was popular as by 1860 it held its value with a Cobb and Co contract running a coach between Sydney to Bathurst 2 times a week. The 1920s saw this become a guest house known as the Ambermere Inn.
The Harp of Erin and Rosedale built in 1839 was originally known as the Coach and Horse Inn, it was later renamed the Mount Victoria Inn, an imposing two storey sandstone building built with a Grecian influence with its walls 2 feet thick. The Inn has a rich history, including a ghost tale. The licensee Joseph Jaggers of the Inn was the last person to see the wife of William Colliets, 16 year old Caroline, alive. The sad tale of murder in 1842 evolved into a ghost story of a relentless spirit known as the woman in black haunting the Victoria pass.
Here, the River Lett is connected to Cox’s River, which then supplies Sydney’s main water source, Warragamba Dam.
This valley represents the first place where you feel you have truly reached ‘the bush’ and where one can achieve a feeling of rural solitude with an interesting Aboriginal and European history.
The Hartley Historical Villiage site, located just off the Great Western Highway is one of the best examples of 19th Century Australian Architecture in perfect condition almost frozen in time. Built between 1837 and 1850, with a large number of convicts working in the area and settlers choosing to farm the fertile unclaimed valley, tensions were raised and so the need for a courthouse and detention Centre were of great importance. In 1837, The Greek Revival style Hartley Courthouse was built, and the following year the town plan was announced.
Today we are able to explore 17 historic buildings that retain their charm and historical importance.
This fertile valley has seen generations of people settle and work this land, such as miners, orchardists and breeders of cattle and other livestock. More recently it has attracted families, for a more rural lifestyle on small acreage.
Hartley is well known for being the longest-lived oil shale mining and refining site in New South Wales. There are mementos to the industry all around the area, with names like Kerosene Creek and the abandoned mine shafts in the surrounding hills a reminder of this industrial era.
Experience a day of history by visiting the Hartley Village, which offers tours and galleries of the history of the Hartley Valley. Check out the Hartley Court House, built in 1837, and designed by Colonial Architect Mortimer Lewis in the Grecian Revival style. Another reminder of the area’s history is the Church of St John the Evangelist, located on the hill above the present village. This beautiful church was completed in 1859, and believed to be designed by Edmund Blacket, the architect responsible for the elegant quadrangle at Sydney University.
Hartley Valley Paintball offers the ultimate paintball experience for its customers.
Take part in a full-day of action at this family-owned business. Prices are reasonable for a family outing, bucks/hens party, birthday or company team building.
Enjoy a farm experience, titled “Raising Baby Moos,” is also at Hartley. It’s an excellent trip that you’ll get to hand-feed calves and adult cows, hugging them and feeding apples and carrots to the resident horse. The hen house also offers you an opportunity to collect fresh eggs. Once all the ‘hard’ work has been done, enjoy a cup of tea and biscuits watching the goats play. During a late afternoon visit, you can put everyone to bed, rug up the calves, and enjoy some hot chocolate and marshmallows. It is a unique experience that everyone will love.
Blue Mountains Lavender is an artisanal producer of organic lavender flowers, distiller of lavender essential oil, and designer of body care and lifestyle products that exemplify the tranquility and beauty of our mountain landscape. Visitors are welcome only during the lavender flowering season in November, December, and early January of every year. Online ordering and retail outlets nearby provide customers with convenient access to products.
Along with a fabulous range of silver jewellery, Talisman Gallery is unlike anything you have seen before. Artisan and Blacksmith Ron Fitzpatrick operates the Talisman Gallery, owned and operated in the idyllic Hartley Valley. His metal works, including mirrors, clocks, candle holders, and sculpture, have been awe inspiring people for years.
Maple Springs Nursery offers over 250 varieties of Japanese maples, conifers and shrubs that are specialised for cold climates, as well as thousands of other varieties. A stroll through their Japanese Garden is a must-see because of its maple varieties and the variety of gardens on display in Japan including ponds, waterfalls, rockeries, stones, gravels, and handmade bridges.
There are several camping options in the Hartley area, so why not bring your fishing rod, relax by the Cox’s River, and explore all that Hartley has to offer?
Mitchell’s Bridge, built by convicts in the 19th century, still carries traffic today as the road drops steeply into the Hartley Valley from Mt Victoria. It is a monument to the construction skills of the road builders in colonial times. In the early 1900’s, motor vehicles couldn’t handle the steep grades of Mitchell’s Pass, which was constructed for horse and cart.