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Whereis > NSW > Sofala

Map of Sofala, NSW 2795

Sofala is a village in New South Wales, Australia, 255 kilometres (158 mi) north-west of Sydney, within Bathurst Regional Council. It is located beside the Turon River. Sofala is just off the Bathurst-Ilford Road, with only local traffic through the town itself. At the 2006 census, Sofala had a population of 208.



Sofala came about as a direct result of the gold rush which had been spurred on when Edward Hargraves discovered gold at Summerhill Creek on 12 February 1851. By June of that year, thousands of people had set up mining operations in the valley, and both the Royal Hotel and a general store were built in 1851 to handle the increased demand. Initially, gold was found in the area known as Gold Point on the Turon River. When the alluvial gold ran out, mining turned to quartz reef mining. The town was a centre of opposition of the gold licensing system in New South Wales at the time. A considerable proportion of the miners were Chinese.

Sofala Public School was established in 1878. There was an Anglican church and a Catholic convent.

Attractions today include the gold-rush-era Sofala Royal Hotel and the old gaol. Small-scale gold workings are still active in the town. Sofala has been reported to be the oldest surviving gold-rush town in Australia. There are still gold prospectors who pass the time using metal detectors, gold pans, and sluice boxes to recover small quantities of gold dust.

Russell Drysdale's painting Sofala, a depiction of the main street of the town, won the Wynne Prize for 1947.
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