RoadTrip2021: Gulgong

May 3, 2021 | 9 Comments

Today’s article will focus on just one small town – Gulgong – which I visited for a few hours after my time in Mudgee. I think this is the most interesting town I’ve visited this trip so far and I managed to fill 5 double-page spreads in a morning. 

The unique thing about this town is the main street – called Mayne St – which is curved and narrow!


Two cars can’t really pass in places!


Lots of typical Australian historic buildings too. I walked around a little initially to work out what I wanted to sketch and where I could sit.


I decided to do a quick line drawing from the main intersection first ! These are definitely great warmup type sketches as I have to think about perspective lines and relationships between edges.


Next, I walked down to the Gulgong Pioneers Museum but it didn’t have good lighting. However the building across the road did…


So I sketched it instead.

Ah! a typical Aussie building with verandahs and rusty roofs! That was fun!


Here is a photo showing where I was sitting and a screen shot of a great app which I use often when I’m out sketching.

It’s called Sun Seeker and it helps me work out when to visit a building. I have a really good general feel for what the sun is doing (thanks to all my years doing shadow diagrams as an architect) but this app really helps at times.

On this occasion, when I checked the app at 11:43 (when this screen shot was taken) I knew that the sun had moved enough so that I could make my way back to the museum (in the centre of the screen).


Here is the full spread with my first two Guglong sketches and a map of my route that day.


I then found an old mill…


… I really enjoyed this sketch as the building had lovely big shapes! As a bonus I was able to do this from the comfort of my car as there was a carpark opposite.


Next up was the Gulgong Gold Experience. Sadly it didn’t open until 1pm and I wasn’t going to wait around until then.


But I was able to see this exhibit (behind wire gates) which included a dray! (As discussed a few articles ago!)


There was a cute original miner’s cottage… but it wasn’t interesting enough to tempt me to sketch it.


Instead I did a very loose one of a stamper battery – alternating between line and colour.


And here is the finished spread with a sketch of the Gulgong Gold Experience building.


Back on Mayne St… a water tank on the back of a truck.


Lots of sketchable buildings here!


I ended up having a yummy brunch at the Butchers Cafe and sketching the corner building. Just for the record: I added the food sketch to the page at the end of the day as it was too awkward to sketch it at the time on a small table on a sloping narrow footpath (sidewalk). I normally don’t add sketches from photos to my pages like this… but on very rare occasions I do!


Back at the Pioneer Museum – the lighting was great but my energy levels were low… so I just did a line drawing.


And oh! somewhere between the Goldr Experience and the Butcher’s Cafe I did two quick small sketches of other buildings in Gulgong!

Note: I’ve made a conscious decision not to bother going into any museums. A big reason for this trip is to ‘case the joint’ – to find places that I want to return to. So leaving museums for a return trip is part of my plan!

Anyway, I hope that you enjoyed seeing part of Gulgong – an amazing town!


  • Gay McFatridge says:

    Enjoying your paintings and your photos very much.
    Such and adventure. Also learning about your Country.
    Laughing and enjoying the “rusty roofs”.

  • Maria Schnabel says:

    Love following your travel adventure and seeing how you handle the challenges. Thanks for the Sun Seeker tip. Also enjoy the views of your country beyond the familiar Sydney.

  • Jennifer Jones says:

    Hi Liz, loving your road trip! Just wondering if you knew Gulgong was the town pictured on the old, paper $10 note?
    Safe travels

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Jennifer – of course – how did I miss that info at the time – and the Ten Dollar Hotel!!! Too focused on sketching 🙂

  • Jamie C says:

    Loving your trip and sketches so much! I’m loving seeing what these frontier towns built! You are really inspiring me tour my own old frontier towns in my state. But maybe waiting for autumn is a good plan! I’m in Arizona, US, and it’s getting hot now. Lol!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Jamie – yes I can imagine the similarities especially as I guess they are from the same time period. Autumn timing has been the best decision of this trip 🙂 I was only thinking about missing the hot summers but didn’t really think about the autumn colours!

  • Bob Cochran says:

    Your road trip is quite interesting! The “rusted roof” landscape is a common sight in rural America, too. Or at least in rural Maryland and Virginia, where tobacco farming was once a very common livelihood and the barns built to dry and store the cut plants were all in reddish and rust-ish tones. I like your photo of the miner’s cottage. I’ll have to search for the interior layout. On another subject, do you have any homes or buildings in New South Wales which are mostly buried under the earth? I suppose constructed of concrete and then buried under topsoil?

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