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Lithgow, New South Wales facts for kids

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New South Wales
Lithgow NSW 1.jpg
Lithgow City
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Population 12,973 (2018)
Established 1870s
Postcode(s) 2790
Elevation 950 m (3,117 ft)
LGA(s) City of Lithgow
County Cook
Parish Lett
State electorate(s) Bathurst
Federal Division(s) Calare
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
18.2 °C
65 °F
6.4 °C
44 °F
860.1 mm
33.9 in

Lithgow is a town in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia and is the administrative center of the City of Lithgow local government area. It is located in a mountain valley named Lithgow's Valley by John Oxley in honour of William Lithgow, the first Auditor-General of New South Wales.

Lithgow is on the Great Western Highway, about 150 km (95 mi) west of Sydney, or via the old mountain route, Bells Line of Road, from Windsor. At June 2018 Lithgow had an estimated urban population of 12,973. Lithgow is surrounded by a varied landscape characterised by seven valleys which include national parks, one of which, the Blue Mountains National Park, is a World Heritage Area. The Wollemi National Park is home to the Jurassic-age tree the Wollemi Pine, which was found growing in a remote canyon in the park.


The city sits on the western edge of the sandstone country of the Blue Mountains and is usually considered away.

Lithgow is in the NSW State electorate of Bathurst, while federally it is part of electorate of Calare. Lithgow benefits from being the western terminus for the electric section of the Main Western railway line from Sydney, and of NSW TrainLink's Blue Mountains Line electric services. Lithgow is home to the iconic zig-zag railway.


The mountainous terrain of the Blue Mountains and the expense of building long tunnels required the construction of The Great Zig Zag railway between 1866 and 1869. The line was opened as far as Bowenfels, just to the west, in 1869, but Lithgow station was not opened until 1877. Although it was superseded in 1910 by more modern engineering methods, including ten tunnels, parts of the Zig Zag have been developed into a popular tourist attraction. Following a period of industrialisation in the late 1860s and 1870s, the town of Lithgow boomed during the 1880s, and it was incorporated as a borough in 1889.

The town is the centre of a coal mining district and there are two coal-powered power stations nearby. It is the site of Australia's first commercially viable steel mill, the ruins of which are open for inspection at "Blast Furnace Park". Due to the abundance of coal and relative proximity to Sydney, in the areas surrounding Lithgow are two of the largest power stations in NSW, the Mount Piper and Wallerawang power stations. Both are operated by Energy Australia NSW. The (now demolished) Lithgow Power Station was in use from 1928 to 1964.

Lithgow has many heritage sites. The following are listed on the Register of the National Estate:

  • Former Station Master's Residence (now Caddie's Restaurant), a sandstone cottage designed by John Clifton and built in 1869
  • Zig Zag Railway, designed by John Whitton, built by Patrick Higgins
  • Ironworks Blast Furnace, Eskbank, 1875 to 1930
  • Eskbank House, Bennett Street, built by Thomas Brown in 1842
  • Lithgow Valley Pottery Site Kiln, 1875 to 1908
  • Lithgow Court House, corner Bridge and Mort Streets, a brick building in the Arts and Crafts style
  • De La Salle Cottage (formerly Cooerwull Academy), Rabaul Street, a stone building in the Victorian Gothic Revival style, built circa 1882
  • Methven, Lidsdale Road, a sandstone house built by Andrew Brown in the 1870s
  • Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum

Lithgow was also the location of an alleged assassination attempt on the life of Queen Elizabeth II in 1970.


Lithgow features a subtropical highland climate (Köppen climate classification Cwb) with warm summers, cool to cold winters and generally steady precipitation year-round. Despite its location on highlands, Lithgow manages to have 90.3 clear days annually. Lithgow is one of the few Australian cities to see snow. One major event was the late season snowfall in October 2014, where 20 centimetres of snow fell.

Climate data for Lithgow (Birdwood St)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 37.8
Average high °C (°F) 25.5
Average low °C (°F) 11.9
Record low °C (°F) 2.8
Precipitation mm (inches) 94.3
Humidity 54 58 60 59 66 67 66 56 54 51 53 50 58
Avg. rainy days 8.3 7.6 8.4 7.0 7.6 8.8 8.4 8.3 7.9 8.2 7.7 7.6 95.8

Iron and steel industry

In 1848, iron smelting began in Mittagong, Australia. It proved unprofitable for the remainder of the 19th century. This situation remained until the early 20th century when no iron ore was being smelted. The only iron being cast was by William Sandford in Lithgow. His works were bought by G. & C. Hoskins in 1907, who had previously been making iron pipes in Sydney. The Lithgow works acquired a reputation for industrial disputes.

Tourist attractions

Lithgow is adjacent to a number of national parks and other attractions. Places to visit include the Zig Zag Railway, Glow Worm Tunnel, Newnes in the Wolgan Valley and Glen Davis in the Capertee Valley, the second largest canyon in the world.

Other attractions include the Hartley Historic Site, Small Arms Factory Museum, State Mine Heritage Park and the Eskbank House Museum. Lithgow is also close to Jenolan Caves, which are a World Heritage Area and lie to the south of Lithgow.

Ironfest hosts the annual St George's Day Jousting Tournament which involves contestants from all around the world. The festival also features a colonial battle re-enactment, called the 'Battle of Lithgow' which involves over 120 participants, kitted out in fully authentic 19th century apparel, and involving cavalry, infantry and artillery. As well as these two historical re-enactment events Ironfest includes historical & auto displays, blacksmith demonstrations, art exhibitions, workshops and demonstrations, as well as live music and performances.

with the Lithgow Workers Club sponsoring the Lithgow Golden Muzzle every summer.


Notable residents

  • Craig Bellamy - rugby league coach for the Melbourne Storm.
  • Andrew Brown - the first European settler of the Lithgow Valley and a prominent industrialist and philanthropist.
  • Albert Burdus - Australian rugby league player
  • Cardinal Edward Clancy AC (1923-2014) - the seventh Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Australia (1983 to 2001) was born in Lithgow.
  • Joseph Cook (1860-1947) - English Australian politician, resident of Lithgow and member for Hartley, and Parramatta. Sixth Prime Minister of Australia.
  • John Doyle AM – a comedian of the duo Roy and HG, was born in Lithgow.
  • Wayde Egan - rugby league player for the Penrith Panthers and the New Zealand Warriors.
  • Ean Griffiths - rapper that goes by the name of Top Dawg and is known for his hit song 'Cripwalk on you haterz"
  • Roy Heffernan - Professional Wrestler, Tag Team Champions The Fabulous Kangaroos, Mr Australia was born in Lithgow 1925.
  • Nancy Hill - Australian basketball player
  • Charles Hoskins - an industrialist significant in the development of the iron and steel industry, lived at the former home of William Sandford, from 1908 to 1912.
  • Marjorie Jackson-Nelson AC CVO MBE DStJ - a former athlete and Olympic gold medalist ("The Lithgow Flash") and later, Governor of South Australia, was raised in Lithgow.
  • Nina Eva Vida Jones (1882–1966) - a socialite and motor racing driver, married to John Alexander Stammers Jones (1870-1933), brewer of Lithgow.
  • Leon Morris (1914-2006) - Theologian and New Testament Scholar.
  • Laurie Oakes - journalist, was educated at Lithgow High School, being dux in 1961.
  • David Palmer – a champion squash player, was born in Lithgow.
  • Ben Reynolds - Australian rugby league player
  • Marty Roebuck – a former Australian rugby union Wallabies fullback, was born in Lithgow.
  • William Sandford (1841–1932) - industrialist and pioneer of the iron and steel industry, lived at 'Eskroy Park', now part of the clubhouse of the Lithgow Golf Club, from 1890 to 1908.
  • William John Truscott (1886-1966) - Footballer for the East Fremantle Football Club from 1913 to 1927.
  • Jordan Shanks – Australian comedian/YouTuber

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