Posted by barbara on June 7, 2015
In March 1989, the historic township of Berrima (125 kilometres south of Sydney) was bypassed by the Hume Freeway which connects Australia's largest two cities, Sydney and Melbourne.
Established around 1830 as a staging post stop over for travellers in the days before bicyles and vehicles, Berrima had been bypassed once before. In 1867 the southbound Sydney-Melbourne railway line was constructed through its nearest neighbour towns, Mittagong and Gloulburn, ensuring their economic growth and prosperity.
While Berrima subsequently languished in obscurity for many years, both transport diversions with the benefit of hindsight have been responsible for an unexpected revival to the township's fortunes in the longer run and into the future.
How so? From the perspective of 2015, almost 150 years after the railway bypass and 25 years after the Hume Freeway bypass, Berrima is a township that has been frozen in time, accidentally so to speak. Home to a number of heritage listed buildings, some of the oldest examples of Georgian architecture in Australia, this 1830s-1860s township is an architectural 'time capsule'.
Had Berrima thrived, without a doubt may of the older buildings would have been torn down and 'cannibalised' to make way for newer more modern dwellings before heritage buildings of significance were safeguared by law.
The other significant benefit of being bypassed by the freeway is that the never ending stream of noisy heavy vehicles came to an end in 1989.
For visitors to Berrima, this is a decided plus, allowing them to more fully appreciate the ambience of an historic town that came to prominence in an era of horses, carts and stage coaches.
Last updated 4 April 2017.