The first explorers to reach the Lithgow region were Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson in the year 1813. The colony at Sydney Cove was growing rapidly and there was a desperate need to find suitable grazing land until Wentworth brought news of a ‘boundless countryside ideal for such endeavour’. The region soon became accessible with construction of Cox’s Road and this was further enhanced by the more substantial Victoria Pass Road opened in 1832. Rail access added to the area’s transport infrastructure with the advent of the Zig Zag Railway in 1869 and although superseded by the realignment of the Main Western railway line in 1910, the heritage listed Zig Zag still operates today as one of the regions most important tourist attractions.
Lithgow‘s vast coal reserves and its proximity to Sydney gave the town special significance during the twentieth century. It was the site of Australia’s first commercially viable steel mill at Blast Furnace Park and it is home to two of the state’s largest coal powered power stations. However, with the natural beauty of the area Lithgow has become more than an industrial centre. Its serene landscape overlooked by the beautiful Blue Mountains escarpment and its abundance of world heritage listed national parklands has made the Lithgow region an important leisure destination for Sydney residents and a desirable residential location.
Public transport for Lithgow’s permanent population of about 20,000 and its visitors is served by Lithgow Buslines. Formerly known as Jones Bros Bus Company, the service was established in 1922 and extended to include Bathurst’s operations in 2004. The services operate extensively throughout the Lithgow area, including intertown links to Portland, Wallerawang and Bathurst. The company also offers a comprehensive school bus service as well as group and school excursion charter.