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Thursday, October 22, 2009
The quaint little town of Nundle has a population of 270. Ten years ago it was on the brink of disappearing as businesses and services closed and jobs went to Tamworth, 60km north. It's now been given a new life and we asked Natalie to go there to see just what has happened with the town. She found a friendly place with a distinct holiday feel.

The area was struck by gold fever in 1860 and miners flocked there hoping to strike it rich. They've long gone, but there is still some of the valuable metal to be found.

Peel Inn

During the rush there were around 30 pubs in Nundle, but today Peel Inn is the only one remaining. Nathan Schofield, the third generation publican, tells the unlucky story of the previous owner who lost it in a card game to his great-great-great-grandfather! Those very cards are in a glass case in the main bar.

The Peel Inn has been a fixture in the town for over 140 years. Gold diggers, bushrangers, farm workers and travellers have all slept, eaten and drunk at the pub.

There is an elegant light-filled dining room opening to a grapevine covered deck, a courtyard and beer garden, as well as an open fireplace. The front of the pub has a wide veranda where locals sit and meet with friends and neighbours. The restaurant uses only local produce which includes succulent steaks, roast dinners and trout.

Nundle Woollen Mill

One of the last working mills in Australia, Nundle Woollen Mill opened on Australia Day, 2001 with 14 truck loads of spinning and weaving machinery bring brought in, some from as far as England and Germany. It is now a very important part of Nundle's tourism, as well as exporting wool to 48 countries.

The shop opens onto an observation deck where visitors can join a tour to view the mill operating. You will see the opening and picking bales of wool, spinning, twisting or dyeing yarn. You can watch wool transformed from fleece to fashion on vintage machinery.

Display cabinets filled with brilliant balls and hanks of wool in a rainbow of colours are tempting for knitters. Hand-knitted garments sold there are made by a team of local knitters and are a real hit.

Mount Misery Goldmine & Gold Museum

You may not want to search for gold, but a visit to the recreated 1850s mine is fascinating. It's dug into a hill behind the old coffin-making shop which is now a café and museum displaying artefacts and pictures from the rush days.

Everything there such as equipment, old shaft and tools, have come from original goldmines now too dangerous to explore. They have been placed in the 120m tunnel and it looks scarily real. Be on the lookout for the ghost of Cranky Jack — it's said he struck it rich but was killed in the mine before he could enjoy his wealth.

Historian and gold guru Geoff Cummins told Natalie around eight tonnes of gold were taken from the real mine and he thinks there could still be plenty around. He takes tours through the mine, as well as on gold panning trips to the local creek next to the museum. On a recent tour a boy found a nugget the size of a 20 cent piece worth around $250.

Memorabilia, books, arts, crafts and antiques are for sale in the museum.


Nundle, 60 kilometres south of Tamworth in New South Wales.


Mount Misery Goldmine tours are $6 for adults and $4 for children. They hire out panning equipment for $25 per group a day. There is a $50 deposit. Open every day between 10am and 4pm.

Prices correct on 22 October, 2009.

For more information:

The Peel Inn
Jenkins Street
Nundle 2340
Ph: (02) 6769 3377

Nundle Woollen Mill
1 Oakenville Street
Nundle 2340
Ph: 1800 686 353

Mount Misery Goldmine
Oakenville and Gill Streets
Nundle 2340
Ph: (02) 6769 3459

Mount Misery Gold Mine Café
88 Gill Street
Nundle 2340
Ph: (02) 6769 3459

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