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Wellington town centre
Wellington town centre

Wellington Angora Farm

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Wellington is a rural centre and is the second oldest town west of the Blue Mountains. It's in the Wellington Valley at the junction of the Macquarie and Bell Rivers and at the foot of Mt Arthur.

It's a typical Australian country town — the main street is wide, the park has shady trees and quiet gardens, there are lots of monuments to local people and the shopping centre is a mixture of the 1950s and the 1990s.

Wellington is a service centre for the surrounding district. The main income of the area comes from beef, sheep, wheat, vineyards, the production of agricultural machinery and tourism.

Hermitage Hill Country Retreat served as the Wellington District Hospital for 85 years. Buildings are listed with the National Trust and it was one of the most substantial building complexes built in the town.

The red brick Main Ward was built in 1903 on a hill overlooking the town and valley. Queen Ann period elements are evident in varied roof shapes, Marseilles patterned roof tiles, terracotta ridge ornamentation, tower, timbered effect in the gable and substantial iron filigree. High ceilings are pressed metal with ornate ceiling roses, floors are timber and doors and lattice infill are built into the arched entrances.

The Isolation Block was built in 1908 of locally quarried bluestone with random coursing rendered quoins and parapets. The Old Nurses Quarters, built at the same time, is a federation brick building with low pitched roof and corrugated iron A north-facing verandah is supported by slender posts with brackets with timber lattice half-screen infill.

The 1908 red brick Operating Theatre has a pitched corrugated iron roof and the main feature is a large, south-facing window with an etched bottom-half. The X-ray room was built in 1938.

There are so many interesting buildings for guests to investigate, and three types of accommodation are offered at Hermitage Hill.

The Guest House, formerly the nurses quarters, has 13 rooms with varying facilities, a large living area and heated pool.

The Stone Cottage, built of local bluestone, has king deluxe spa suites and a small meeting room, which can be used for intimate dinners. The Old Morgue has two double rooms.

Red Rosellas Restaurant serves lunch and dinner and Café Hermitage Hill is the place to go for a casual coffee or tea. Paintings by local artists are displayed throughout Hermitage Hill.

A 20-minute drive away is Australia's only Angora Tourist Farm. Gamboola is an 800-hectare sheep, cattle and wheat property. The owners, Virginia and Lyle Wykes, have guided tours of their mini-zoo farm of kangaroos, ostriches, koalas, emus, camels, water buffalo, red deer, alpacas and angora rabbits.

Visitors see the rabbits being shorn and Virginia then spins the angora on her wheel, washes the thread, treats it with eucalyptus oil and hangs it out to dry. There is a display of garments made from the angora, as well as sheep and alpaca wool, then everyone goes to the Rabbit Trap Restaurant in the old shearing shed for Devonshire tea and barbecue lunch.

Location

Five hours north-west of Sydney.

Cost

Hermitage Hill Country Retreat rooms start at $89 a night. Red Rosellas Restaurant opens from 9:30am-4:30pm and 6:30pm til late.

Angora Tourist Farm tours are $11 per person.

Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.

More information

Hermitage Hill Country Retreat
135 Maxwell Street
Wellington 2820
Ph: (02) 6845 4469
Fax: (02) 6845 3102
Website: www.hermitagehill.com.au
E-mail: events@hermitagehill.com.au

Gamboola
Yeoval 2868
Ph: (02) 6846 4039
Fax: (02) 6846 4310

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