Improved amenities and access in Blackguard Gully master plan

Upgraded toilet facilities, parking and picnic areas, upgraded pedestrian access, interpretative pathways, lighting, landscaping and signage are key ideas in the development of Blackguard Gully reserve.

Under the draft master plan, endorsed by Hilltops council at its February meeting in Young, the former gold mining site, about 2.3kms south-east of Young, will be preserved and celebrated as a site of national significance. 

The main goals of the Blackguard Gully master plan are to acknowledge, celebrate and promote the heritage significance of the site to locals and visitors and to ensure that there is safe access and improved amenities.

“Bringing Blackguard Gully to life will focus on sharing and acknowledging the Wiradjuri, European and Chinese heritage significance of the site whilst highlighting the site’s natural beauty and conserving its archaeological value,” Hilltops council mayor Brian Ingram said.

The site's historical significance is connected with the discovery of gold in the region in the early 1860s.

According to the plan, the site today is used as an unauthorised recreation ground for dirt bikes and four-wheel drives.

It says much of the site has been damaged by heavy erosion, and the carving of the ground plane, due to use as sluicing races, dams and puddling mills, makes sections of the site unsafe to traverse by foot.

Council has invested $500,000 into unlocking the sites potential as a destination for both locals and visitors with a further application recently submitted for grant funding of $150,000 through the Office of Environment and Heritage.

"Over the years there has been intermittent investment and use of Blackguard Gully, however, it is largely under-utilised because it is unsafe and offers no amenities," Mr Ingram said.

Work on the development of Blackguard Gully is set to be delivered in stages beginning with stage one in 2019.

The plan can be viewed via the council website and hard copies are also available to view at the Hilltops Council, Young office.

Feedback submissions are to be sent to mail@hilltops.nsw.gov.au.

"Council would like to thank those members of the working group and community who have contributed to the development of this master plan to date," Mr Ingram said.

"This is an incredibly exciting project for Hilltops and I look forward to seeing Blackguard Gully become a destination for all to enjoy."

It is one of three sites in Young that are state heritage listed.