Explore the exciting town of Goulburn on foot.
Goulburn is home to something more than 20,000 people and some of Australia’s oldest and most beautiful buildings. The bulk of these grand structures are public buildings constructed in the mid-to-late 1800s.
St Saviour’s Cathedral is without doubt the grandest of all, and it earned Goulburn its status as Australia’s first inland city.
“In those days, people thought Goulburn was going to be Australia’s capital,” Reverend Theresa Angert-Quilter, the assistant priest at the St Saviour’s explains. “That’s why we have such splendid buildings.”
The self-guided walking tour planned by Goulburn’s tourist information office is the best way to see and learn about these historic edifices, and will take tourists from one to four hours to complete, depending how much time you wish to spend at each stop.
Doing the walk at dusk is truly spectacular, as the setting sun turns the sky to vivid shades of pink, purple and blue.
The tour starts at an orange corner building – Mandelson’s of Goulburn – a luxury hotel today just as it was when it was built over 175 years ago.
Walking up Sloane St, you pass the 1868 railway station on your right, while further up on the left is the Argyle Emporium, which used to be the police station. More recently it has housed the local radio station, then an art gallery, and now possibly Australia’s biggest bookshop – definitely worth an extended browse.
Turn up Montague St and you’ll find the lovely Belmore Park on your right, which is a great spot for a picnic, and the courthouse on your left. The magnificent James Barnet-designed courthouse is still in use today and at night is lit up like a Christmas tree.
Take a left onto Auburn St and you’ll discover a succession of lovely public buildings, including the old library, the post office and the town hall. My personal favourite, however, would have to be the grand and stately court house, which was originally built in 1887.
A right turn on to Verner St brings you to the imposing dark-stoned Catholic Church of Saints Peter and Paul. Another right turn delivers you to the highlight of the tour, St Saviour’s Anglican Cathedral.
This is surely one of the most spectacular churches in Australia, even the rival of many in Europe. Every object within was made with the finest skills, right down to the pillows for the pews “made by hand by the ladies of the church,” Theresa says. “Each of them has an individual serial number and is heritage listed.”
The church also houses a pipe organ with 2253 pipes and the only 12-bell country peal in the southern hemisphere.
“The bell-ringers are generally the larrikins of the church but it is amazing – each of them knows exactly when to ring their bell.”
The church was designed by noted ecclesiastical architect Edmund Blacket and he worked on it for the final nine years of his life. He aligned the windows so that at sunset the dying rays light up Jesus’ face in the bas-relief carving at the front of the church.
After leaving the cathedral, a succession of handsome buildings lead you to a drink at the Goulburn Club to satisfy the thirst worked up on the walk (open Thursday, Friday and Sunday).
A pamphlet detailing the walking tour is available from the Goulburn Visitor Information Centre, located at 201 Sloane St, Goulburn, NSW.