Exploring the streetscapes of Orange

October 2022

During the October Long Weekend, members and friends enjoyed a series of walks around Orange.

This beautiful town is located in the Central Tablelands region of New South Wales.

We delved into its civic and social history, led by heritage architect Dr Roy Lumby. (Don’t miss highlights in the picture gallery at the bottom of this page.)

Day 1 – Robertson Park and surrounds

Our first walk was on Saturday, with the shady trees and lawns of historic Robertson Park providing a retreat from the bustle of central Orange.

Roy led us on an exploration of the area’s bountiful heritage, and provided some insights into the history and personalities associated with the growth and development of the town.

The park is a significant place of community remembrance, containing memorials, civic adornments and the premises of a historic community organisation.

Located on the site of the city’s early water supply, it’s surrounded by a rich collection of important institutional and cultural buildings, along with two of regional NSW’s finest pubs of the 1930s.

We appreciated many significant  heritage items in and around the park including the CWA Hall, Boer War Memorial, Strand Theatre, Orange Regional Gallery, Hotel Canobolas and the Royal Hotel. 

In the evening, we took a trip out of town for dinner and wine tasting at Orange Mountain Wines.

Day 2 – Institutions, commerce, dwellings

On Sunday, our architectural tour explored a rich and diverse collection of buildings associated with state and local government, education, recreation, commerce and religion.

These included the former Canobolas Shire Council Chambers, King George V Baby Health Centre, the Lands Office and Orange Presbyterian Church. 

The walk also sampled some wonderful houses made distinctive by elegant and imaginative architectural detailing.

At lunchtime we gathered to enjoy the fine fare at Sister’s Rock Restaurant and winery on Mount Canobolas.

Day 3 – Cook Park and Summer Street

On Monday morning, Roy introduced us to the history and beauty of Cook Park.

The park is sufficiently important to be listed in the Heritage Register as an item of State significance.

It’s an outstanding example of a Victorian era park, and notable for its fine collection of mature trees and numerous items of historic and aesthetic interest from the 19th and 20th centuries. A highlight was the Blowes Conservatory, replete with begonias in bloom.

We were privileged also to hear also from Stuart Read and Matthew Taylor, both specialists in garden history and design.

Stuart and Matthew explained some of the thinking behind the original design of the park in the late 19th century. For example, certain tree species had been planted to represent different countries in the British Empire.

The tour of the park was followed by a look at the commercial, civic and domestic architecture lining Summer Street, and byways leading off it.

Along the way we took in private residences, the inter-war Dudley Private Hospital, the Fire Station, various banks and other commercial buildings.

In the afternoon, we headed for home.

A semblance of normality

For those three days, it was certainly wonderful to be out and about – after the Covid lockdowns and other challenges we’ve faced during the last couple of years.

We received great support from the Orange Visitor Information Centre. If you’re heading that way, visit the Centre’s website to find out what’s on.

Coming up: Newcastle 2024

In 2023, we continued to discover the region around Orange. Roy Lumby led us around the delightful towns of Cowra and Canowindra.

And next we’ll be exploring Newcastle, with its many fine streetscapes. Make sure you mark your diary for the 2024 October Long Weekend.

 Photos by Matt Stone

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