Learn about a rare 20th century town
is a rare 20th century town
just waiting to be discovered!
A haven for twitchers, cyclists, stargazers, artists,
tree-changers and E-changers
Offering a stimulating and serene lifestyle
Kandos is a small town in a striking locality, just seven kilometres from the neighbouring town of Rylstone. Both are tucked into the south-east corner of Mid-Western Region. These two small towns, with a combined population of around 2000 people, are only three hours from Sydney and less than an hour from three large regional centres: Mudgee, Lithgow and Bathurst.
Kandos and Rylstone sit securely on the western edge of the Great Dividing Range where the Cudgegong River begins its meandering course north-west, the Dabee Hills spread their geometric shapes along the horizon and the Coomber Melon Range broods above the landscape.
A Town with the imprint of industry
that began as a private village
A group of industrialists recognised that natural deposits of limestone, shale and coal near a railway line could grow a cement industry. And a hill covered in dense scrub could grow into a town.
In 1913 under chairman James Angus, they floated a company, NSW Cement Lime and Coal, with a capital of £200,000 in £1 shares. After purchasing 100 acres from local farmer John Lloyd for £2000, they contracted resident surveyor James Dawson to subdivide the land into quarter acre blocks. Then they named the town and streets after themselves and held their first land auction on 14 August 1915
Kandos was a town of great expectations. It ceased to be a private village in 1918 when it was proclaimed an urban area within Rylstone Shire Council. By then cement was in production, the first businesses in operation, and housing construction feverish. Most of the public buildings, infrastructure and subdivisions were completed in the first two decades. Cement production continued for more than nine decades with the cement works closing in 2011.
No traffic lights or roundabouts
Hardly two houses the same
Today Kandos is a town of idiosyncratic delights
A display of mining skips greets you at the entrance. On your right is the refurbished Railway Hotel, the charming stationmaster’s cottage and railway station. Ahead the mountain range looms above the town. The cement rotunda on your left yearns for a Sunday afternoon brass band. The town clock ahead, donated by appreciative migrants, is a reminder of the multicultural, labour-voting
makeup of the town.
Come for a walk around Kandos
Brochures by that name will introduce you to its unique architectural history through 18 diverse buildings. Kandos is small enough to traverse on foot and quiet enough to use the middle of the road.
Note the variety of housing, for example, ash brick, fibro, timber, brick and hardiplank. Also the original fences. Peak over the garden gate to see popular plantings, quirky garden ornaments, mail boxes, and eccentric house names like Duz-us, It-l-do and No More Gaps.
Visit Kandos Museum in Buchanan Street, formerly a Methodist Church, built of concrete in the Californian mission style, and listed on the Register of the National Estate.
The former Good Samaritan Convent is another architectural gem, tucked away in Fleming Street. Built in the Spanish mission style it has handsome arches, gothic pillars and wide verandahs and is occasionally opened for inspection.
Listen! Kandos is alive with the sounds of human endeavour
They are discrete sounds very different from the indistinct drone of the city: a door slamming, a vacuum humming, a car revving, a garage door opening, a magpie warbling. Not just one magpie. They strut imperiously in parks and on verges. Sparrows hop and dart across lawn and into banksia rosebushes. White cockatoos send up a communal screech. Brilliant red and blue parrots cavort on bare grey branches.
Plenty to Do in a Small Town
Thanks to the cement companies Kandos has fine assets
Henbury, an 18-hole championship golf course is arguably Kandos’s finest asset. Designed by two eminent golf architects in the 1930s, Rupert S Black and Arthur East, it was, at the time, declared the best outside Sydney. Golfers can play at their leisure – no hold-ups, no pressure, no-one overtaking. And ridiculously low fees. There are tennis courts as well.
(Photo Karon Grant)
Clean and pristine
Built with the help of the cement companies, employees and community, the heated Olympic swimming pool is a hidden gem. Clean, private and largely unpeopled it sits above the main road, prepared to unlock its splendour only to those who visit.
Folks into motor bikes must visit the Harley Davidson Museum which houses the best privately owned collection of Harley Davidson bikes in the southern hemisphere with bikes from 1911 to 1970. Many have been restored by passionate collector Ken Hopkins. The museum is housed in one of the earliest buildings in Kandos, the Angus Memorial Hall (see top of page). It was erected in 1917 to honour the chairman of the cement company, James Angus. He also constructed the rail line from Wallerawang to Mudgee and was, implausibly, knocked down by a train in 1916.
For the more energetic there are skate parks and a cycle/walking track between Kandos and Rylstone.
Everything You Need
An opportunity for exclusive purchases
Award-winning milliner, Willy Hoffman of Shady Lady Hats, will outfit you with a distinctive creation for racecourse or wedding. Brett Nutting of Ad Hoc furniture creates individual pieces, hand-crafted from recycled timber. Kandos Crafters has unique items at tiny prices and Wattle It Be Giftware sources distinctive gifts. The Charity Shop is a must-browse. You will leave with a gleeful grin and an arm-full of bargains. You can’t go past the family owned IGA for groceries, deli, fruit and veg, and liquor.
For a small town Kandos has a great range of retail outlets and facilities: post office, chemist, newsagency, supermarket, liquor outlet, library, credit union, hairdresser, dress and gift shop, mechanical and fuel outlets, bakery, café, pub, clubs, parks and playgrounds. There’s a High School as well as a Primary School, plus Rylstone Primary School and Rylstone Kandos Pre-School. In terms of health the area has two to three doctors, visiting professionals and a hospital at Rylstone. For seniors there are two aged care facilities, ADA Cottage at Kandos and Rylstone Multi Purpose Service.
There’s plenty to do nearby
Kandos is a perfect base-camp for exploring our stunning locality
In not much more than half an hour’s drive, locals and visitors can savour local wines and oil; kayak on the calm waters of Dunns Swamp/Ganguddy; drive through the mythical, agricultural landscape of Bylong Valley; walk the cool glades of Ferntree Gully; be awed and amazed at the beauty of Capertee Valley; recapture the history of former shale town, now ghost town, Glen Davis; and browse the quaint shopping strip at Rylstone. Park your van or set up tent in Rylstone Caravan Park
Come for a quiet weekend or
Join the influx of visitors for a special event
Four popular events at Kandos Rylstone
Every Australia Day weekend, chrome, colour and choking billows of smoke welcome visitors to the Kandos Street Machine and Hot Rod Show.
Cementa is an exciting contemporary arts festival held every two years in Kandos. Over four days more than 40 emerging and established artists exhibit, install and perform their art for locals and visitors in venues throughout the town.
Kandos Gardens Fair is a celebration of gardening and an open garden event with a difference. Held biennially it includes garden celebrities, workshops and stalls, refreshments and lunches, poetry, art, sculpture, music and dancing.
On the first Saturday in November around 350 people sit down in Louee Street Rylstone for a long lunch. StreetFeast involves all the commercial premises in Rylstone as well as an all-day market and a range of entertainment.
Kandos is a
Tourist, Artist and Tree-changer Habitat
on the Brink of Reinvention
Come and See for Yourself
Photos by Colleen O’Sullivan unless noted otherwise.
Website Header photo Lyn White.