Mittagong, New South Wales

Mittagong, New South Wales
New South Wales
Mittagong is located in New South Wales
Population: 7,460 (2006 Census)[1]
Postcode: 2575
  • 130 km (81 mi) from Sydney
  • 6 km (4 mi) from Bowral
LGA: Wingecarribee
Region: Southern Highlands
Parish: Mittagong
State District: Goulburn
Federal Division: Throsby
Localities around Mittagong:
Northern Villages
Welby Mittagong Lower Mittagong

Mittagong is a town located in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, in Wingecarribee Shire. At the 2006 census, Mittagong had a population of 7,460 people.[1] The town can be seen as the gateway to the Southern Highlands when coming from Sydney. The town is close to Bowral, Berrima, Moss Vale and the Northern Villages such as Yerrinbool and Colo Vale. Moreover, Mittagong is home to many wineries of the Southern Highlands which has been a recent growing wine and cellar door region.

Mittagong is colloquially known as Mitta.

Mittagong as a town also includes the small surrounding villages of Welby, Balaclava, Braemar and Willow Vale.



The town lies between two small mountains, Mount Alexander and Mount Gibraltar, and a small lake, Lake Alexandra that feeds into the nearby Nattai River. Mount Gibraltar overlooks the town. Lookouts are available upon the mountain for viewing. Mount Gibraltar can also be seen closely when travelling to Bowral from Mittagong on Bowral Road.


The name "Mittagong" is said to come from an Aboriginal word meaning "little mountain".[2] Other suggested meanings are "a companion" and "plenty of native dogs", as the Mittagong range was home to many dingos at one time.[3]


Today, the town offers visitors to explore its history, scenery, small waterfalls, bushwalks and its famed "Waratah" flowering in November. A chamber music festival is held each Easter. Tourists can visit Mount Gibraltar, Lake Alexandra and various wineries located around and in Mittagong. It also features one of the first iron mining sites in Australia, close to Lake Alexandra. The main street boasts a wide array of retailers and many antique shops.

Notably, Mittagong is home and close to many of the Southern Highland's wineries and cellar doors which are famous locally, nationally and internationally. The wineries have established themselves in the region since the 1980s due to the soil and climate of Mittagong which is believed to be perfect for viticulture.

Mittagong is home to an abandoned historical building complex known as the "Maltings". The Maltings in the past served as malthouses for the old major beer company of New South Wales, Tooth and Co. One of the malthouse buildings can be seen when entering Mittagong on the Old Hume Highway from Braemar. This building is one of the original buildings and is over 100 years old. This complex is abandoned and in decay. However, a few years ago it had been subject to an attempted renovation which was stopped shortly after.

One of two major buildings that make up the Maltings


Mittagong is on the Old Hume Highway, which linked Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, but the highway was diverted in 1992. The opening of the bypass was expected by some to negatively affect business in Mittagong, but instead the location has become a rest stop for drivers and a daytripper destination from Sydney, only around one hour away. However, Mittagong can be accessed from the Hume Highway in the north via the Aylmerton/Braemar ramp and in the south via the Welby ramp.

The town is home to the Mittagong railway station on CityRail's Southern Highlands line with regular services to and from Central Station in Sydney, Goulburn as well as CountryLink services to Canberra and Melbourne.

The town is also home to the historic bus company Berrima Coaches depot. Berrima Coaches services the entire Wingecarribee Shire.

A number of long distance coach operators service Mittagong for Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide. Priors Scenic Express operates a service six days a week to Greater Sydney (Campelltown, Liverpool and Parramatta) and to the Shoalhaven and South Coasts of New South Wales.


World War I memorial in Mittagong

The first permanent settler in the Mittagong district was William Chalker (1775–1823) (also known as Charker), a former convict transported from England, who arrived in the area on 10 May 1821. He became the Principal Overseer of Government Stock, and Chief Constable and Poundkeeper in the Cowpastures. A memorial plaque to Chalker was unveiled in May 1988 as a Bicentennial project; the plaque overlooks an area once known as Chalker's Flat now known as Lower Mittagong. It is widely known that some of his descendants still live in the Mittagong/Bowral area. Previously, the original name of Mittagong was New Sheffield, and the lower portion of Mittagong toward Welby was named Nattai.

Mittagong has been home to many industries including the multi billion dollar corporation, Dane and Andrew, with iron being first smelted in the area. The Box Vale Coal Mine[4], Joadja Kerosene Shale, and the first supply of fresh milk and butter to Sydney by the Fresh Food & Ice Company all operated out of Mittagong in years gone by.

The transport of iron ore and smelted iron was made by steam train[5]. Lake Alexandra was originally a water supply dam for railway engines hauling coal from the back of Mount Alexandra to the iron mines. It was drained in the 1890s when the land around it was given to Council by the Mittagong Land Company.[6]

The presence of the ironstone was discovered when the deviation of the road south was being made through Mittagong in the early 1830s. Fifteen years elapsed before any attempt was made to work the iron deposit. In 1848 land was taken up and smelting commenced, the iron ore in a small blast furnace that had been erected. The Sydney Morning Herald of 12 December 1848 said the public had already witnessed the success of the mine by the specimens of manufactured articles exhibited in Sydney. On 2 February 1849 it was stated that a quarry had been opened and stone prepared for buildings in course of erection. A brickfield had also commenced operations. Smelting was being carried on by means of a Cataline furnace and two shafts had been sunk. The party engaged in operating the mine was living in tents until buildings were erected. The mine was referred to at this time as the Fitz Roy iron mine, doubtless in honour of Sir Charles A. Fitz Roy, the Governor-General.[7]

Until the 1990s the town was dominated by trucks and in winter it was also busy with skiers' traffic on the way to the Australian Alps. Today the Hume Highway bypasses Mittagong and all the towns and villages of the Southern Highlands.The highway bypass was first evaluated as having a slightly negative impact on Mittagong's economy for about a year after its opening, due to the loss of traffic-serving business. Expectations were re-evaluated as mildly positive in 1994 taking into account hard-to-quantify benefits such as the increased appeal of the town as a place to live.[8]

Mittagong is also home to prestigious private boarding girls high school, Frensham that was opened by Winifred Mary West in 1913. The school is notable for its alumnae which include Dr Catherine Hamlin and former Lord Mayor of Sydney, Lucy Turnbull. ( For more information, see Frensham School. ) Another famous resident of Mittagong is Sir Donald Bradman, who moved there in 1962.

In March 2007, the Highlands Marketplace was opened. The complex is located on the Old Hume Highway towards Welby. The building has retail franchises such as Big W, Woolworths and many others. It is built upon the original iron mines site dating back to the 1800s. There is a display of some of the original remains of this historical site in the carpark, interpretive signs recording the history. In November 2008, a new shopping complex was opened alongside the Highlands Marketplace known as the Highlands Homemaker Centre. It has franchises such as Dick Smith Electronics, The Good Guys, and Fantastic Furniture.


  • St Stephen's Anglican Church- Main Street
  • St Michael's Catholic Church
  • Highlands Baptist Church (Welby)
  • Mittagong Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
  • Highlands Christian Church
  • Southern Highlands Foursquare Church (Pentecostalism)
  • Mittagong Uniting Church
  • Mittagong Presbyterian Church


Schools in Mittagong:

  • Frensham School
  • Gib Gate
  • Mittagong Public School
  • St Michael's Catholic Primary School
  • Tangara School (Special Education)


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Mittagong (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  2. ^ "PLACE NAMES.". The Australian Women's Weekly (1932-1982) (1932-1982: National Library of Australia): p. 61. 13 May 1964. Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  3. ^ "Mittagong". Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  4. ^ The Mittagong Coal Mining Company Railway Simpson, J Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, March, 1954 pp25-28
  5. ^ The Old Ironworks Colliery Tramways of Mittagong Simpson, J Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, August, 1952, pp51-54
  6. ^ History of the Berrima District Jarvis, James, p91
  7. ^ History of the Berrima District Jarvis, James, p153
  8. ^ Australia. Bureau of Transport and Communications Economics (BTCE) Working Paper, 11, 1994, pp 22p, AGPS, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia, 1036-739X, 0-642-20440-3. PY: 1994


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