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Located on the Turon River just north of Bathurst, Sofala was established as a township following the discovery of gold in 1851 and is reportedly the oldest surviving gold rush town in Australia. With gold discoveries outlasting those in many of the surrounding gold rush towns, Sofala was one of the most successful gold rush towns in the region.
At its peak the population of Sofala grew to approximately 40 000 and a township quickly grew to support the needs of the community. Incorporating a number of private and denominational schools, churches, hotels, general stores and even a hospital, the town of Sofala extended 16 km down the banks of the Turon River. Although deposits would slowly become less profitable requiring miners to spread out further away from the township itself, gold mining remained the primary industry for Sofala right up until the 1940s.
Today the legacy of Sofala’s past prosperity is found in the grand heritage buildings along the town’s two main roads and continues to attract visitors to the township, making tourism one of the more lucrative local industries. With gold dust still to be found in the Turon River, recreational prospectors still visit Sofala.