Grenfell is the birthplace of Henry Lawson, one of Australia’s most famous poets born on Grenfell’s gold fields in 1867. To commemorate his birth and his contribution to the arts, Grenfell hosts the annual Henry Lawson Festival on the June long weekend.

The Old Exchange Hotel Grenfell
The Old Exchange Hotel Grenfell

Born in Grenfell and having spent part of his childhood in Gulgong, Lawson’s legacy is commemorated through a festival that stands as one of NSW’s longest-running events. Marking its 60th anniversary in 2017 alongside Lawson’s 150th birthday, the festival showcases poetry, art, and talent through various activities including exhibitions, school events, plays, a parade, street performers, a very decent car show- guinea pig races have been staged! There is always a bit of music and a chance to boogie at some point.

Competitions in verse, short story, painting, and photography encourage artistic expression, while Iandra Castle opens its doors to the public for a glimpse of history. The festival has been graced by notable guests like Dick Smith and Alan Jones, and in recent years has invited individuals named “Henry” to participate in a unique group photo.

Henry Lawson Festival Grenfell WebsiteHenry Lawson Festival Facebook

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Grenfell, NSW

Grenfell is a town located in Weddin Shire in the Central West of New South Wales, Australia. It is approximately 370 km west of Sydney and is close to Forbes, Cowra, and Young. At the 2011 census, Grenfell had a population of 1,996. The town is served daily by connecting NSW TrainLink services from Sydney via Bathurst and Lithgow.

Grenfell is located 364 km west of Sydney via the Blue Mountains and Cowra. It is also 211 km north of Canberra via Boorowa and Young. The town sits at an elevation of 384 meters above sea level.

The area offers visitors a range of attractions blending history, nature, and culture:

  1. Hill End Historic Site: Explore the remnants of a 19th-century gold mining town, including gold panning experiences, located 35km from Grenfell.
  2. Kanangra-Boyd National Park: This vast national park southwest of Grenfell is ideal for bushwalking, camping, and scenic drives, offering spectacular views of the Kanangra Walls.
  3. Grenfell District Museum: Discover Grenfell’s historical significance as a wool and grain center through photographs and artifacts housed in this local museum.
  4. Royal Theatre Grenfell: Experience live performances, movies, and community events in this historic 1920s theatre building located in the heart of Grenfell.
  5. Grenfell Art Gallery: Enjoy art exhibitions featuring local and regional artists, and participate in art classes offered at the gallery.
  6. O’Briens Lookout: Offers panoramic views of Grenfell and its gold mining heritage, complete with interpretive signage.
  7. Ben Hall’s Cave: A trail leading to Ben Hall’s Cave provides a blend of natural beauty and historical intrigue, with clean amenities and well-maintained tracks for camping.
  8. Grenfell Visitor Information Centre: A great starting point for visitors looking for friendly advice, directions, and lunch suggestions.
  9. Seton’s Farm: Enjoy walking tracks around this property, which is close to Ben Hall’s Cave, offering a glimpse into the area’s agricultural past.
  10. Grenfell Historical Society Museum: Illustrates the region’s social history through various historical displays, photographs, and artifacts.
  11. Lake Cowal: Engage in water sports, fishing, and camping at this large artificial lake located about 15 minutes north of Grenfell.
  12. Siding Spring Observatory: Visit one of the largest optical observatories in the southern hemisphere, located about 45 minutes west of Grenfell, for public tours.