an historic township located near Cowra in the central west of New
South Wales, Australia in Cabonne Shire. Canowindra is on the
Belubula River. The curving main street, Gaskill Street, is partly
an urban conservation area. At the 2006 census, Canowindra had a
population of 1,499. The name of the town is derived from an
Aboriginal word meaning 'a home'.
post office opened at Canowindra in 1847 with mail coming from
Carcoar, but the village was handicapped as part of a main route to
the lower Lachlan, first by the lack of a bridge and later by the
construction of the railway to Orange. Today the main street has an
old-world air, with its kerbside verandah posts lining the dog-leg
course of what was once a bullock team track.
In October 1863, Ben Hall's gang took over the village for three
days and entertained the whole population, as well as some stray
travellers, all herded into the inn. An account of the incident was
reported in the Bathurst Times, also quoted in the Maitland Mercury.
A monument to Ben Hall, on the site of Robinson's inn, the
Travellers' Rest, was erected in 1951, but evidently further
research has indicated that the events recorded here happened at the
inn on the other side of the river.
The Royal Hotel is on the site of another inn owned by Robinson and
the plaque on the wall indicates present day understanding that this
was the inn where Ben Hall's gang had their spree. Other notable
buildings include the nursing home, the Junction Hotel, Finn's
Building, the Victoria Hotel, the former Bank of NSW and the former
CBC Bank. The Trading Post, a homewares shop, won the inland tourism
award for 2006.
Canowindra is also popularly known as the Balloon Capital of
Australia. One of the largest ballooning festivals in Australia used
to take place here every April. This was called Marti's Fiesta,
which brought together people from local, national and international
locations in a celebration of Central West hospitality and goodwill.
In 2010, the Canowindra Challenge brought together a contingent of
balloonist enthusiasts from around the globe to build upon the
principles of Marti's Fiesta, bringing businesses together to
support a week long event of ballooning competitions and skill based
The use of
location enabled (GPS), point-of-view camera technologies was
combined with live-to-web broadcasts via an online streaming
platform for viewers to share in the spectacle and to join in the
event virtually and for free. This event coincides with food
and wine events which bring in the greater Cabonne and surrounding
districts during the April period each year.
Canowindra is the site of one of the world's great fossil
discoveries from the late Devonian epoch. A chance discovery by a
road worker in 1956 uncovered a rich find of 360 million year old
fish fossils, dating from the Devonian period in the Paleozoic era.
The "Canowindra slab" was removed to the Australian Museum, Sydney.
The fish had been buried when trapped in a pool of water that dried
up, stranding two armoured antiarch placoderms, Remigolepis walkeri
and Bothriolepis yeungae, and Canowindra grossi, a lobe-finned
crossopterygian fish, with two rare juvenile arthrodire placoderms,
No further fossils had been recovered until January 1993, when a
trial dig on the site using an excavator rediscovered the fossil
stratum, where the mass mortality of fishes was preserved in detail.
Specimens can be viewed in the specially established Age of Fishes
Museum, with scientific support and funding from the Australian
Museum. The Canowindra site has now been listed as part of
Australia's National Heritage because of its international
The Bendy Street
One of Canowindra's unique features is the curving nature of Gaskill
Street - the main street of town. It is from this feature that the
Bendy Street Group has derived its name. Originally formed by local
businesses as a type of "Chamber of Commerce", the Bendy Street
Group has developed to encompass a whole of town approach. To date
the group has developed successful submissions for funding for the
upgrade of Memorial Park, veranda post replacement, Historic Town
Centre signage, interpretive signage for Historically significant
sites, and has facilitated funding for sporting and cemetery
The group has
also a further two submissions in the assessment phase seeking a
further $500,000 in funding for the community through the federal
government and is also seeking a further $75,000 through Cabonne
Shire Council. The Group has regular public meetings at The Royal
Hotel to ensure its direction is guided by the popular vote. Small
working parties also conduct frequent meetings in a disused bakery
within the village, developing submissions and formulating work
plans for the communities desired projects. Outside of the funding
arena, the Bendy Street Group has organised the Bendy Street Bazaar,
- a community event to raise the profile of Canowindra, has met
regularly with council to discuss town planning and economic
development issues and has organised and chaired the Canowindra
Community Consultation with Cabonne Shire Council.
Rhyan Grant - Footballer currently playing for Sydney FC in the
Mitchell Sargent - Rugby League currently playing for Castleford
Tigers in the Super League