Well it is a wonderful heritage city and the most visited place in the world (perhaps a clue here for the importance of Bathurst’s heritage to our visitor economy?).
My mate Mick, the Sage of Wiseman’s Creek, informs me it was in a spirit of urban renewal, and urban consolidation, that Baron Haussmann razed old Paris to the ground in the mid 1800’s under the orders of Emperor Napoleon III. He replaced just about everything to create the atmospheric heritage city we see today. That’s because the joint basically was one colossal squalid slum. Funny what Mick knows.
Not really the same circumstance we face here in heritage Bathurst though – our heritage buildings, commercial and residential, are not slums, and most can be restored or at least reinstated. And we need to make sure that in any rush for our own urban renewal or higher densities, we don’t throw the babies out with the bathwater. Our heritage streetscapes are of greatest value to us and our visitor economy if they are intact. Urban planners, we are relying on you.
Our local version of Paris is just past Gemalla (aboriginal for waterhole) on the Tarana Road. In its own atmospheric valley beside the Fish River still sits this modest circa 1870 settlers or fettlers cottage called “Paris” along with its modern cousin. And it looks idyllic whether it’s spring, summer or any time of year. Take a drive one day and do the O’Connell/Gemalla/Tarana/Flat Rock circuit. Try the two terrific heritage pubs, or on a weekend the two excellent cafes – or picnic beside the river at Flat Rock or O’Connell.
Thought of the week …“Spring is in the air, why not take a day trip to Paris”
by a humble heritage advocate – November 2023