Willandra shearing precinct

Willandra National Park

Overview

Explore the rustic and distinctive woolshed and shearers’ quarters of the Willandra Shearing precinct to experience the fascinating working history of Big Willandra.

Type
Historic buildings/places
Where
Willandra National Park
Price
Free
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply
What to
bring
Hat, drinking water, sunscreen
Please note
  • This park is in a remote location, so please ensure you’re well-prepared, bring appropriate clothing and equipment and advise a family member or friend of your travel plans.
  • There is limited mobile reception in this park

An exploration of Big Willandra’s past isn’t complete without a visit to the shearing precinct. After you’ve enjoyed the elegant rooms at the Homestead, wander through these beautiful rustic buildings that tell a different story – about the life of the wandering shearers.

You’ll see the woolshed, overseer’s cottage, shearer’s quarters and ablution blocks. There are plenty more rooms to explore; check out the dining room and kitchen, the cook’s cottage and meat house.

Set well apart from the homestead, these fine old buildings show the social distance between the homestead’s permanent staff and the seasonal workers. Looking out over the vast plains from the woolshed, you get a sense of how tightly knit this team needed to be to combat the isolation of the shearing life.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/historic-buildings-places/willandra-shearing-precinct/local-alerts

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Willandra shearing precinct.

Getting there and parking

The Willandra Shearing precinct is 1.5km from the Willandra Homestead precinct in Willandra National Park. To get there:

  • From Hillston, drive 53km west along the Mossgiel Trunk Road (unsealed and impassable after rain). Turn north onto the Trida Road and drive another 20km until you see the park entrance signposted on the right (east).
  • From the Cobb Highway, turn east at Mossgiel and drive 61km east. Turn north onto Trida Road and drive another 20km until you see the park entrance signposted on the right (east).
  • Drive another 10km east along the Willandra Creek trail to reach the Willandra Homestead precinct
  • The Willandra shearing precinct is 1.5km south of the Homestead

Road quality

  • Unsealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • Dry weather only

Parking

Parking is available at the Willandra shearing precinct

Best times to visit

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Willandra National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

Autumn

Like spring, this season is also a time of mild weather.

Spring

Spring brings mild weather and fantastic birdwatching opportunities, as well as being the best time for wildflower displays. Drive, cycle or walk the scenic Merton trail or follow the Nilla Yannagalang Billana walking trail to make the most of what's on offer at this time of year.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

17°C and 32°C

Highest recorded

46°C

Winter temperature

Average

7°C and 16°C

Lowest recorded

-4.4°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

October

Driest month

February

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

119.6mm

Facilities

There is limited water available in this area, so it’s a good idea to bring your own.

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Mobile safety

Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

Outback safety

Safety is of high priority in outback areas. In summer, temperatures can reach up to 50°C in some places. Food, water and fuel supplies can be scarce. Before you head off, check for road closures and use our contacts to stay safe in the outback.

Prohibited

Pets

Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Nearby towns

Hay (55 km)

This exciting and innovative exhibition space uses contemporary design and cutting edge technology to tell the story of Australian sheep shearing. You'll meet the shearers, shed hands, cooks, classers, cockies, sheep and dogs behind the legends at this sparkling gallery-museum in Hay.

www.visitnsw.com

Hillston (34 km)

Make a detour to nearby Merriwagga to visit the Memorial to Pioneer Women, a sculpture by Ron Clarke that commemorates the tragic death of Barbara Blain, the wife of a bullock driver in 1886; the monument recognises the hardships and contributions of all pioneer women in the district.

www.visitnsw.com

Lake Cargelligo (46 km)

Lake Cargelligo is a haven for birdwatchers and nature lovers. Among the protected species you'll find there are the Australian pelican, the black swan, the great crested grebe, the rare bower bird and the black cockatoo. You can hire binoculars and a field guide from the Visitor Information Centre.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Willandra shearing precinct is in Willandra National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

A closer look at Aboriginal culture

Merton trail, Willandra National Park. Photo: David Egan

Evidence of Aboriginal people's lives on this land can best be seen on the scalds near Halls Lake, near the Merton trail, where erosion has exposed a number of objects. Take a look at (but please don't touch) the remains of oven hearths, broken pieces of grinding dishes and stone flakes. Nilla Yannagalang Billana, the only formal walking track in the park, means 'walking along together' in Wiradjuri.

  • Merton motor trail Whether you’re driving or cycling, the Merton motor trail at Willandra National Park is the perfect way to experience the park’s various wildlife habitats and historic past.

Plain to see

Dry creek, Willandra National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Windmill, cane, spear and white top - the names of Australian native grasses really have evolved to become far more fun than their original Latin terms. These grasses now make up most of the ground cover on the park's plains. Saltbush and cottonbush dominated - and still does - but Europeans quickly recognised the nutritional value of these plants and a century of grazing has changed the environment. A hike through the wetlands, woodlands and grasslands of the park, rich with birds and animals, is a reminder of how nature continues to adapt.

  • Nilla Yannagalang Billana The Nilla Yannagalang Billana is an easy walking track that follows Willandra Creek and passes sites of great historical and cultural significance.

The ringer looks around

Shearers Quarters, Willandra National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Big Willandra Station once stretched from Hillston to Mossgiel and covered an area eight times that of what is now Willandra National Park. Some buildings from the huge merino stud are in ruins, while others have been restored. In its time, Big Willandra saw it all: illegal squatting, leasehold, freehold, homesteading, the establishment of the Western Lands Commission, resumptions and soldier settler occupation. Today, you can enjoy cheap heritage accommodation, ideal for a weekend family or group getaway.

  • Merton motor trail Whether you’re driving or cycling, the Merton motor trail at Willandra National Park is the perfect way to experience the park’s various wildlife habitats and historic past.
  • Nilla Yannagalang Billana The Nilla Yannagalang Billana is an easy walking track that follows Willandra Creek and passes sites of great historical and cultural significance.
  • Willandra Homestead Visit Willandra Homestead, the lovingly restored pastoral station of Big Willandra. Step back in time, enjoy a barbecue and watch waterbirds on Willandra Creek.
  • Willandra shearing precinct Explore the rustic and distinctive woolshed and shearers’ quarters of the Willandra Shearing precinct to experience the fascinating working history of Big Willandra.

What bird is that?

Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla), Willandra National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Could there really be 195 species of birdlife within an area of less than 20,000ha? The diversity of Willandra's natural environment — from woodland and wetland to grassland and open plain — provides a variety of habitats. The result is an eclectic mix that includes emu, swan, seagull, night heron, raptor and duck. Set yourself the challenge to see how many different birds you can spot during your visit.

  • Nilla Yannagalang Billana The Nilla Yannagalang Billana is an easy walking track that follows Willandra Creek and passes sites of great historical and cultural significance.

Education resources (1)

Willandra campground, Willandra National Park. Photo: D Egan