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Wilton

Population: 1279 (2006 census)

St. Lukes, Wilton
St. Lukes, Wilton (1902)
Brief History


Wilton lies across the Cataract River from Appin, and was originally part of the tribal territory of the Dharawal peoples.

Although close to Macarthur's settlement at Camden, it was excluded from European settlement for over thirty years by the earliest governors.

When the 'Cowpastures', Bargo, and areas further inland were opened up for settlement after 1815, a number of small land grants were surveyed in the Wilton area - then known as East Bargo, but only a few taken up.

In its earliest days the Wilton area was best known for the main roadway which went from Appin, over Broughton Pass, then on to Lupton's Inn (Bargo).

When the Great South Road to Sutton Forest and Argyle County (Goulburn area) was planned in the late 1820s, Major Mitchell - the famed explorer - took up a land grant previously promised to him - in the Wilton area, in the expectation the road would pass by it.

Although a shorter route, other interests prevailed, and the road was constructed from Camden over the Razorback range to Stonequarry (Picton), then on to Bargo.

By adding to his grant by purchase Mitchell put together a property of over 4500 acres, which lay to the west of the present town and which he called 'Park Hall'.

On this estate he erected, in 1842, a grand residence based on the design of the building in which he was brought up in Scotland. On the death of his son, it passed out of the family, and was purchased by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in 1904 and was modified for use as a monastery and known as St Mary's Towers. It was also an "apostolic school" where young Catholic boys who wanted to become a priest completed their secondary schooling and a year in the Novitiate before commencing their priesthood studies

When he built Park Hall Mitchell also applied for, and was granted, permission to erect a private village on the proposed new line of road. This was the village of Wilton.

Unfortunately for Mitchell, the road was not built and he was not successful in selling many lots.

Mitchell, like many other early landowners, also saw himself as a lord of the manor in the English tradition, and leased out part of his estate to tenant farmers (1846).

A public school was built at Wilton in 1871 and a small Roman Catholic denominational school nearby, which closed for lack of numbers a few years later. Other schools were also operated temporarily during the boom period which saw the construction of the Cordeaux Dam. The last remaining, Wilton Public School closed in 1948 and children are bussed to Picton.

Wilton also received a Post Office in 1872 which also served Douglas Park and the first telephone came to the area in 1917.

St. Luke's Anglican Church was built in 1902 by descendants of James Tyson, one of Australia's early 'cattle kings', who was born and brought up in the area, with funds derived from his estate.

Wilton had sufficient population in 1885 to be declared a town, due to the influx of workers on the Upper Nepean water supply scheme.

Cordeaux Dam
Cordeaux Dam (1926)

One of the first of these engineering feats was the construction of a tunnel about 8 kilometres long which passes underneath Wilton and joins weirs at Pheasant's Nest and Broughton Pass, from where the water is carried through another tunnel eventually linking up to Prospect Reservoir.

A number of sandstone air vents at Wilton are the only indicators of its existence.

From 1918 to 1926 Wilton was also home to many of the workers on the construction of the Cordeaux Dam. During this time a light railway from Douglas Park to the Nepean River passed through Wilton carrying supplies.

For much of the 20th century Wilton reverted to being a quiet rural village.

Today Wilton is growing again, with a large new residential area on the northern side of the shopping area, home to many who commute to Campbelltown and the city to work.

Apart from its farming activities, Wilton is known as a recreational destination, with many visitors to the nearby dams and to the skydiving facility (to the west of the freeway).



Wilton QuickGuide

Cordeaux Dam


What to See and Do
For Visitors.

Wilton is the only town on the main road from Picton to the freeway north of Wollongong, and between Appin and Picton.

To find the shopping centre turn off the freeway towards Wollongong, then left about 5 minutes down the road into the village.

The road from Appin passes through it if you are coming from that direction. This road offers some spectacular scenery as it winds through Broughton's Pass, but there are no places to stop for sightseeing.

There is a service station and takeaway food bar and store at Wilton. If you are travelling to the dam, you can get supplies here.

There is also a picnic area at the Wilton Recreation Area (drive north through the shopping area, follow the signs). Oval, tennis courts, and children's playground. There are also 6 tables and benches, shelter shed, and 4 wood barbecues (take your own wood).

The Cordeaux Dam is about 5 minutes down the road towards Wollongong. There is a large picnic area, nature trail, lookouts, and the spectacular views of the dam.

Wilton is famous for the Sydney Skydiving Centre and you can often see parachutists coming in to land while you are driving down the freeway. Training courses are available and there is a canteen, kiosk and picnic area at the Centre (open 7 days).

Recreation area, Wilton
Wilton Recreation Area

For Kids.

A good children's playground in the Recreation Area , and excellent sports complex with playing fields.

Takeaway food in the village.

Heaps of things to see and do at Cordeaux Dam nearby.

If you're driving past on the freeway, turn off towards Picton spend some time at the Skydiving Centre watching the parachutists. Canteen and picnic area available.

Sydney Skydiving Centre
Skydiving


Last updated 15/5/08