School excursion

Hartley historical tour

Stage 3 (Years 5-6), History, Hartley Historic Site

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On this interactive Stage 3 (Years 5-6) History excursion, students visit key sites in the Hartley Historic Site colonial village: the courthouse, the gaol and St Bernards Church. They'll explore the history of how this key colony developed and take part in fun re-enactments with our Discovery Rangers. 

Read more about Hartley historical tour

Students will participate in a mock trial, spend time in a gaol cell and hear stories of Hartley’s colonial history. Hartley, on the edge of Blue Mountains National Park, was a pivotal place when settlement moved west beyond the Great Dividing Range. The rise and fall of the town coincides with major happenings such as the Gold Rush, the birth of the coal and oil industries and the introduction of rail travel.

As students investigate the story of Hartley and the surrounding farms, they’ll gain a rich insight into Australian colonial life, including its impact on the environment and existing Indigenous residents.

For program outline, safety and practical information about this excursion, see info for teachers

Stage Stage 3 (Years 5-6)
Learning area History
Student outcomes

HT3-1. Describes and explains the significance of people, groups, places and events to the development of Australia

HT3-2. Describes and explains different experiences of people living in Australia over time

HT3-5. Applies a variety of skills of historical inquiry and communication


Students will:

  • Explore the beautifully preserved site of an early colony
  • Conduct a historical inquiry using both physical elements of the site, and written and spoken historical accounts
  • Investigate various aspects of early life in an Australian colony.

Excursion details


Monday to Friday during school term. 1hr 30min to 2hrs, depending on group size.

Guided. Also available on request.
1.5-2 hr
Easy. Students will be moving between closely situated buildings in a village setting.

$11 per student (includes GST). Group minimum 60 students. Maximum 120 students.

No wheelchair access
Meeting point
Outside the courthouse, Hartley Historic Site.
If you would like to organise a NPWS school excursion please get in touch with local staff or use the 'Enquire' link for the online form.
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Info for teachers

All the practical information you need to know about Hartley historical tour.

Program outline

Welcome, acknowledgement of Country and safety briefing

Students are separated into groups of 20

Each group will visit the following 3 venues:

  • Courthouse: Students learn about the role of justice, crime and punishment in Hartley, and participate in a mock trial.
  • Gaol: Students experience how settlers were imprisoned and punished and spend time in a real gaol cell.
  • Church: Students explore the everyday life of local farmers and settlers, and consider the role of religion and the broader impact of the colony.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    From Mt Victoria:

    • Travel west along the Great Western Highway
    • Turn left into the village 4km after Little Hartley


    There is parking at Hartley Courthouse and Hartley Historic Site Visitor Centre. Coach parking available.

    What to bring

    Please wear fully enclosed shoes and bring a hat, sunscreen, wet weather gear, lunch and drinking water (there is no drinking water available at Hartley Historic Site. Students should bring gear in a backpack or similar (not plastic bags), and take their rubbish with them.

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    Pre activity briefing: participants will be briefed at the start of the activity/day.

    Safety equipment: NPWS staff carry radios and first aid kits, hold current first aid certificates and are aware of emergency procedures.

    Staff accreditation: NPWS staff have current Senior First Aid accreditation. They are experienced in working with groups of students in the natural environment and have excellent knowledge of the specific areas they are visiting including potential hazards. NPWS is committed to a Child Safe and Friendly Environment. Our staff have been screened for child-related employment and have completed a Working with Children Check.

    Emergencies: NPWS staff are trained to deal with emergencies and emergency procedures are in place. Ongoing supervision of a student following first aid treatment will be the responsibility of the visiting school.

    Risk assessment and risk benefits

    Our rangers and guides have the technical skill and experience to assess the risks and the benefits of a variety of activities delivered as part of our learning programs.

    We believe in including opportunities that allow students to learn and experience for themselves through exploration in the natural environment.

    Please make your own risk assessment based on the information provided. Detailed potential risks and controls are provided for the site to assist teachers in risk management planning. Teachers and carers should be aware of, and consider the needs, abilities and medical conditions of students when visiting this site. The supervision of students remains the responsibility of the teacher. The school must ensure an adequate number of adult supervisors are present.


    Disability access level - no wheelchair access

    Entry to buildings involves stairs.