Founded in 1815 on the banks of the Macquarie River, in the Central Tablelands, Bathurst is officially recognised as Australia's oldest inland town. Throughout its almost 200 year history the city has flourished as an important centre of commerce, supporting a region rich in resources. Bathurst's boom town status began with the first discovery of gold at Fish River in 1823. By the mid 1860s Bathurst township had become the colony's major regional centre for the gold mining industry. In 1862 Cobb and Co, from Victoria, set up the first organised transport service in the region. Based in Bathurst, Cobb and Co provided a mixture of gold freight, mail and passenger transport to and from outlying towns and rural settlements. Following the gold rushes, Bathurst found new impetus in coal mining and later in the agricultural industry as it became the production and packaging centre of Robert Edgell's famous Australian food brand. More recently, Bathurst has become major centre of education as the headquarters for Charles Sturt University and an important regional location for TAFE and a range of highly regarded primary and secondary, public and private schools. It is also home of the Mount Panorama circuit which has hosted the nationally and internationally renowned Bathurst 1000 motor race since 1938. Today, Bathurst continues to enjoy strong growth due to its on-going importance as a commercial and educational centre and its appealing lifestyle which combines the very best aspects of a vibrant city and relaxed country living.
Public transport for Bathurst’s permanent population of 35,000 and its large number of visitors is served by Bathurst Buslines. Formerly known as Jones Bros Bus Company, the service was established in Lithgow in 1922 and purchased the Bathurst operations in 2004. The services operate extensively throughout the Bathurst area, including intertown links to Wallerawang, Portland and Lithgow. The company also offers a comprehensive school bus service as well as group and school excursion charter.