The entire area between the Bong Bong River (a few kilometres north of Moss Vale) and Paddy's Creek (about ten minutes' drive toward and along the freeway south) was once called Sutton Forest.
It lies among rolling hills between the two rivers, and was the site of a number of large land grants to early settlers soon after it was discovered (1820s).
Many of these built grand homes which can still be glimpsed through the trees set back from the roads. The grandest of these was 'Hillview' (1850), built by R.P. Richardson (of Richardson & Wrench fame), purchased and extended in 1882 by the State Government as a summer residence for the Governor.
St. Patrick's Catholic Church (c.1880)
Although most of these significant buildings are not now open to the public, what can be visited are the historic churches and cemeteries, and a few other historic commercial buildings, beautifully restored by their currect owners and operated as must see venues for the traveller looking for antiques and collectables.
Sutton Forest has a significant place in early Australian history, being one of the first settlements (1820s) in the new lands discovered outside the outer limits of the colony of Sydney.
There have been three villages in the area: one (private) village near All Saints Anglican Church (1861); another (official) village - off to the right about a kilometre on the road to Bundanoon, which never took off; and the current centre at the intersection of the highway where the stores are.
Here there are interesting buildings to see, and reminders of early history in the cemeteries (look for the graves of the bushranger and troopers at All Saints, and of other early settlers at St. Patrick's (c.1880 - although graveyard is earlier).
Sutton Forest has been a popular travellers' stop for 150 years. Two fine old Georgian buildings at the Equestrian Centre (1km past the stores) were originally inns; near it the original Harp Inn (now a B&B); and another stood next to the current hotel (since demolished).
The Everything Store (orig.1830)
The famous 'Everything Store' (a store since the 1830s) has been a magnet for antique collectors since the 1960s. ('A Little Piece of Scotland' has now closed.)
The Old Post Office (1883) on the corner is a fine and well preserved example of a late Victorian country house; purchased by the government and used as a post office (1885-1975) it still retains the fine cedar counter and partitioning at the front of the building.
There are a number of gardens open to the public in the surrounding area, a first class resort and golf course, an international standard equestrian centre, a berry farm, and two boutique wineries.
Sutton Forest also has a number of quality self-contained and farm stay accommodation houses.
For further details see our Past and Present pages.
Cabernet Sauvignon grapes - cool climate vineyards