Did you know that in 1875, long before BHP built its Newcastle Iron and Steel Works, the first Australian iron ore was smelted at the Eskbank Ironworks in Lithgow? The first steel was produced in Lithgow too in 1901 and, in 1911 Lithgow steel was used in the construction of the TransAustralian Railway from Port Augusta in South Australia to Kalgoorlie in the gold fields of Western Australia.
To celebrate these and other remarkable aspects of Lithgow’s history, a number of organisations including the Lithgow City Council, the Lithgow Regional Branch of the National Trust and the Gang Gang Gallery staged a weekend of entertainment around a Fire and Lights Display in May of 2018. It coincided with the re-opening and restoration of the Blast Furnace Heritage Park on Inch Street, Lithgow. Attractions included a light, flame and sound show, hula illuminations by Tahmour, performances by Circus Surreal of Kelso High School and music by Celtic Heart of Lithgow and Strings on Fire from Katoomba. Visitors were also invited to join a ghost tour and a walking tour of the town’s history, stopping off at a number of historic sites including the Lithgow Museum, one of the earliest historic house museums in the country.
If you missed it, don’t worry, it will be on again on Saturday 13 May this year from 5-8pm.
In the meantime, you can visit the refurbished Blast Furnace Heritage Park and dwell on its noisy industrial history in a quiet meander through its ruins by means of the new wheelchair-friendly boardwalk which weaves its way around the site, providing historical interpretation boards along the way.
The Blast Furnace Heritage Park can be reached by train and is easily accessible from Lithgow station by a shuttle leaving every twenty minutes and stopping off at a number of historic sites along the way. The station is serviced with a lift and the shuttle and the site itself are fully wheelchair accessible. For more information call Lithgow Tourist Information Centre on 1300 760 276