Inspired by Oxley's glowing report on the area's agricultural potential, a convict settlement was established in 1823. It was situated about 3 km south of where Wellington now stands, on the high ground above the Bell River, and the hard-worked convicts built a number of buildings including a commandant's house, a brick office, a military barracks and a log and weatherboard jail. For a short time, it was the only settlement beyond Bathurst but even though wheat was successfully grown, the settlement was abandoned in 1830.
In 1831 the abandoned government buildings were given to the Church Missionary Society for the opening of a mission for the local Aborigines. When a town was later proposed, the society objected on the grounds that this would interfere with its work and its mission. The society's view prevailed and the government approved a settlement at Newrea instead. It was not, therefore, until after the mission closed in the 1840s that a township developed on the site and was proclaimed as the town of Wellington in 1846.
John Oxley was the first European visitor to the Wellington area during his exploration of the Lachlan River. He climbed Mt Arthur and, from there, gazed down upon what he named the Wellington Valley. Named after the Duke of Wellington.
He went on to name the small river at the base of Mt Arthur - The Bell River - after Brevet Major Bell.
In what must now be the township of Wellington he recorded in his journal that he had 'scarcely rode a mile' along the course of the Bell before he came across its junction with the Macquarie River.
This discovery of gold plus the coming of the railway in 1880 brought growth, though not a sudden boom, to Wellington and it was during this period that many of the older buildings in the town such as the Bank of New South Wales (1883 and now the museum) and the Church of St John the Baptist (1867) were built.
The first train, forced to run on rails laid under the shallow water, was hauled across the Macquarie River by horses in 1880.
Stuart Town, a small rural service centre in Central NSW, is an old Gold Mining town 34kms south of Wellington on Burrendong Way.
Cobb & Co established a service through Wellington in 1865, with the first bridge over the Macquarie River as well as the first courthouse being built in 1871.
In 1840 J. B. Montefiore subdivided the western section of his estate and the village known as Montefiores was established.
Montefiores was a community before Wellington was established. The town was strategically placed at the point where all traffic and provisions had to cross the river.
Apart from the Lion of Waterloo only a few of the original buildings remain.
Gold was discovered about 34 km south-east of Wellington in the 1870s.
In its gold mining days, beginning in the 1870s, Stuart Town and nearby Mookerawa were thriving communities of miners and gold seekers. An unconfirmed report states that at the peak of the mining, the population reached 6,000 persons with a mixed population of European and Chinese.
A pictorial tour of Wellington - its Parks, Historic Buildings, beautiful Churches and tranquil Rivers.
The explorer Hamilton Hume gave the first written description of the caves in 1828. He commented that "The inside of the cave is beautifully formed, some parts of it are supported by pillars 50 feet high and beautifully carved by nature".
After being vandalised, the caves became a reserve area in 1884, with James Sibbald appointed as the first caretaker. Cathedral Cave has been open to the public since 1870 and Gaden Cave was opened to the public in 1908. It is said that by the year 1888 over 1500 people were visiting the caves each year. Since then visitors from all over Australia and overseas have marveled at nature's handiwork.