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Tahmoor

Population: 4235 (Council statistics, 2002)

Tahmoor
Town Centre - Tahmoor
Brief History


Tahmoor was originally traversed by European settlers as early as 1798 - a party led by John Wilson, although it is probable that he had been here before.

Wilson was a colourful character, ex-convict, who went 'wild' and travelled with the aborigines for some years in the bush, only to return to the colony at Sydney and act as guide for early explorations south of 'The Cowpastures'.

There is no doubt he passed through Tahmoor, on to Bargo and near to the present Mittagong in the Highlands.

It is also probable he knew the (Gundagarra) aboriginal peoples who originally lived in this area, and from whom the town's name today is derived.

The word 'tahmoor' is said to be either the name for the ceremonial mound the aborigines used for some of their ceremonies, or the aboriginal name for the 'bronzewing pigeon' found in these parts.

When a track was cut through the area in the 1820s (the 'great south road'), some land grants were made to settlers to establish farms, but the most prominent feature was a tavern for wayfarers at Myrtle Creek (a few kilometres south of Stonequarry - Picton) known as Lupton's Inn.

The most important landholding was 'Tahmoor Farm', the homestead of which remains to this day - although in private hands.

A village never really grew at Tahmoor. Although a school was established in the 1860s for the children of local farmers, Tahmoor was bypassed when the southern railway was built in 1862 -3 from Picton through Thirlmere to Mittagong, when traffic south mostly ceased.

In the late 19th century it was a farming area producing cattle, horses, poultry, pigs, orchard fruits, and even grapes from vineyards. Timber getting was also an important activity, the timber being taken to Redbank Siding (later Thirlmere) for shipment on the trains.

Known variously as Myrtle Creek, Bargo West, and Cordeaux in the early days of the construction of that dam, Tahmoor really became established when the southern railway deviation passed through it from Picton to Bargo on a new route south.

By 1917 the village was known as Tahmoor, and speculators following the railway offered the first subdivisions for sale in the new town.

Tahmoor grew slowly, and in the 1950s through 1970s as a country town thrived as a stopover for motorists on the main highway south.

When bypassed again in the 1970s by the new freeway to the east, Tahmoor did not go into decline as did other towns.

Instead the opening of a major coal mine just south of the town brought a new industry and prosperity.

Tahmoor today has the largest population, and second largest retail area in the Wollondilly.

Access to rapid transport - the railway and the freeway - means that many of its residents can enjoy the benefits of living in a large country town, yet work in the western suburbs or the city itself.

Tahmoor is well served shops and service industries, has excellent recreation areas, and is a good place for the traveller to rest and refresh on their way to the many sights and attractions of the surrounding area.

Tahmoor Public School
Tahmoor Public School (c.1902)


Cordeaux Dam
Cordeaux Dam - during its construction Tahmoor
was for a time known as Cordeaux.



Tahmoor QuickGuide

Avon Dam
Cordeaux Dam
Nepean Dam
Wirrimbirra Sanctuary

Denfield Villa
Denfield Villa (c.1860s)


What to See and Do
For Visitors.
Tahmoor has a major shopping centre, supermarket, banks. Many shops are open on weekends. Plenty of cafes and take-away food bars.

There is a large hotel (with entertainment) just south of town, with a bistro (children's meals available) and a comfortable budget-priced motel much favoured by travellers and those enjoying a stay in this delightful part of the Wollondilly.

Of interest to heritage buffs is Denfield Villa in the middle of town, Travellers Inn (oldest house in the Wollondilly - privately owned), and Stratford House.

Cordeaux Dam is about 15 minutes away (back through Picton head across freeway past Wilton); the Avon and Nepean Dams 15 - 20 minutes through Bargo. Thirlmere is about 10 minutes west.

The Wirrimbirra Sanctuary - well worth a visit (camping and cabin accommodation also) - is about half way to Bargo with lots to see, picnic area etc. (Entrance free.)

There is a park, playground, picnic area and toilets at Emmet Park - two blocks west of town centre just south of the post office, and picnic tables in the reserve near the centre of town.

For Kids.

If you are passing through Tahmoor there are lots of good take-aways if you get an attack of the munchies and a good kids menu at the bistro.

Wander down the main street and find some interesting shops to poke around in.

Great playing fields west of town (Thirlmere Way) and a roller area if you brought your board or skates. A squash court just south of town (look for the martial artists kicking through the wall!)

Hopefully your family brought their bikes because there is a great cycleway all the way to Thirlmere where the famous steam train museum is.

Alternatively, direct your guides to take you to one of the great dams nearby - picnic areas, bushwalks, playgrounds, and lots to see.

Better still, travel a few minutes further south to Wirrimbirra Sanctuary and get up close and personal with a kangaroo.

Holy Trinity
Holy Trinity Church, Tahmoor


Last updated 15/5/08