Rylstone Heritage Walk

Rylstone is noted for its lovely stone buildings. Not only are the administrative buildings along Louee Street and the four churches made from local sandstone, but also private homes and businesses. Most were constructed between 1865 and 1895.

1. The School of Arts & Memorial Hall   Now known as the Small Hall, the School of Arts (c1910) was originally a library and centre for meetings. It later functioned as a supper room, for card tournaments, as a Red Cross Centre and Scout Hall. The 1926 Memorial Hall next door was once used as the town’s cinema theatre and is now used as a multifunction Community Hall.

2. Jackson’s Corner Built by John Wesley Jackson  These shops were originally constructed in stone. A disastrous fire in 1927 destroyed the buildings but new ones were erected on the foundations. The stone barn, by the Showground gate, and Jackson’s original house with slab walls tucked behind the shops on the north side, remain intact in their appearance.

3. The Globe Hotel & Sample Room   In 1880 Mr Holland, an ex-saddler, and his father-inlaw
Mr Thomas Owen, an ex-policeman, built a sandstone hotel of 12 rooms. It was soon extended to accommodate the increased business brought by the railway in 1884. The entrances and façade were altered in the 1930’s due to changes in the street level. The Sample Room next door was constructed to provide a space for commercial travellers to display their wares to local storekeepers.

4. St. Malachy’s Church   This graceful 1875 Catholic church replaced a small timber slab church built in the 1850’s. The style is Victorian Gothic, with an Italianate belltower. An addition to the front was made in 1960 with stone from a private chapel on Monivae, a property near Rylstone.

5. Rylstone Garage   Cars came to Rylstone in the 1920’s, and this building was Rylstone’s first garage. Removing the cars made a great space for dancing, and the Sample Room opposite was near enough for a supper room. The garage was also the first venue for silent movies before the cinema operated at the Memorial Hall.

6. Flour Mill   This building was originally a three storey flour mill built in 1872 by John Purvis. In 1893 the boiler blew up and rocketed through the wall and into the building next door, killing two people. This event, and a fire in 1922, resulted in major changes to the look of the building. It has operated as a milk bar and café since the 1960’s.

7. Purvis’ Store   The building on the right side was built by Purvis as a shop and residence. Subsequent owner Edward Nash doubled the downstairs area, adding to the verandah and creating the illusion that the upper storey extends over the whole building. It has served as an ironmongery, haberdashery and grocery store.

8. The Bridge Hotel   This fine building, built for publican Goodwin Spires Hall, opened in 1872. In 1895 it became a bank and manager’s residence and was used as such until 1957. It was acquired by the Historical Society in the 1960’s and now hosts a variety of boutique businesses and accommodation. The building is protected by a permanent conservation order and is on the NSW State Heritage Register.

9. James Nash House   Built for James Nash, blacksmith, this home was originally located near the Showground. The building now houses the Cottage Museum and the family history archives of Rylstone and District Historical Society. It is open Sundays 10am-3pm or by appointment.

10. Hall’s Corner   These two early cottages were erected by Goodwin Spires Hall to house his extended family. In later years they were converted to a number of businesses including a newsagency, bootmakers, garage, solicitor’s office and bank.

11. The Dry Goods Store   This substantial building was erected for John W Hardwick to house his dry goods and general store. It operated as such until the 1900’s. For a number of years it served the community as the local Masonic Hall.

12. Hedingly   The home of John W Hardwick, commenced in 1859. It was later owned for many years by local general practitioner Dr. Howe. His daughter and her husband still reside here. They have undertaken restoration in keeping with the original design.

13. Highfield Cottage  This is one of the very early slab cottages of Rylstone still standing, built by Robert T Highfield.

14. St James’ Church of England   The church was consecrated in 1864 and features splendid stained glass windows. It was one of the earliest Anglican churches west of the Blue Mountains. At the rear is a small slab building that functioned as both church and Rylstone’s first schoolhouse in the 1850’s.

15. Wesleyan Church   The Wesleyan Church, serving a growing Methodist congregation, was built in 1884. It now serves the Uniting Church congregation. The building replaced the smaller sandstock brick Zion Chapel (1852, now demolished) that stood next to St. Andrews Church. A Temperance Hall (1874) once stood in the present roadway. The Federation period church manse, on the opposite corner, is of brick.

16. St. Andrews Church   This small church was opened in 1902 free of debt to serve local Scottish Presbyterian families. It is no longer in use following the formation of the Uniting Church and is now in private hands.

17. The Police Complex   These buildings date from 1875 to 1895, and consist of the Court House; the Constable’s House (with sandstone lock up and cells – no longer in use), the Sergeant’s House, and the slab stable at the rear. The rear of the Constable’s House houses the current Police Station, and the Court House is still in use.

18. The Post Office   Postal deliveries to Rylstone commenced in 1850. The Post Office and the Telegraph Office were originally separate, but combined in this building built in 1880, along with a residence on the right side. It operated as the town’s post office until 2007.

19. The Shire Chambers   Rylstone Shire was formed in 1906 and functioned for 98 years until parts of Rylstone, Mudgee and Merriwa Councils were merged to form Mid- Western Regional Council. The building was erected in 1913 and extended in the 1970’s.