1.5 km (2 hrs )
The town of Hay was formerly known as Lang’s Crossing, named after the Lang family who held the pastoral run of Mungadal and marked the site of the crossing of the Murrumbidgee River. In 1858 Surveyor Edward Twynam was instructed to survey a site for a town. The town was named Hay, after John Hay who was Member of Parliament for the district in 1859. The Wharf Reserve to the south soon developed as the focal point of the town due to the river trade and by 1866, eighteen buildings including stores, residences, blacksmith’s shop, stables, warehouse and inns were clustered around this point.
Although I have passed through Hay many times in the past, this was my first opportunity to spend some time in the town and explore the locality. A walk along Lachlan Street / Cobb Highway is a great introduction to the history of this town, and features many historic buildings and a restored Cobb & Co coach. I also visited the nearby Victorian era Hay Gaol, now a museum. The museum was quite different to the big city museums I am used to, and felt a little like a collection of ephemera. The highlight for me was the gaol itself and its history as a gaol, a prisoner-of-war camp during World War II, and finally a juvenile facility.