Over centuries poets and artists have attempted to capture the spirit of the plains, but only a visit to Hay will give visitors the real experience – the unique landscape, the diversity of attractions, the richness of our cultural heritage and the warmth of true country hospitality.

Hay’s political and social history has left a grand legacy of Australian architecture. Hay’s heritage buildings reveal the ingenuity of early architects attempting to tame a harsh outback climate. Hay services a large pastoral area so you’ll find the main street buzzing with activity


The township of Hay began as Lang’s Crossing, a crossing-place on the Murrumbidgee River for stock being driven south to markets in Victoria during the gold-rushes of the 1850s. The site was eventually surveyed in 1859 and Hay, named after a prominent politician (John Hay) of the day, quickly developed as an important hub for the surrounding pastoral holdings, with their fat-stock and wool production.

During its earliest days Hay’s economy was linked to the navigation by steam-boats of the Murrumbidgee, and it became an important river port. The town and district was also extensively serviced by horse and bullock wagons. In 1882 the railway was extended to Hay, linking the town directly with regions to the east, including Sydney.


The Murrumbidgee River is where Hay started. Today the river provides some of the best fishing spots in NSW, as well as easy access for boating and canoeing.

Hay’s population makes full use of its 327 ‘fine days’ a year and has a full calendar of special events covering the entire district.

For all the details on what to see and do in Hay visit the friendly local staff at the Hay Visitor Information Centre located in Moppett Street.

The Hay region is home to five amazing museums that are a must see for any visitor.

Shear Outback – Offers visitor a glimpse into the Australian shearing industry. The award winning museum captures the feel of the shearing shed in a modern interpretation. There are daily shearing demonstrations, a café, maze and retail shop.

Bishop’s Lodge Historic House – Is a fine example of architectural adaptation. Visit the 1888 iron house to see how the building was made to withstand the heat of Hay’s summers. Take a stroll through the historic gardens which contain many unique and heritage roses.

Hay Gaol Museum – Was built in 1878 and has been everything from an institute for girls to a maternity hospital. The gaol has many unique and rare treasures housed within its walls and provides a very moving experience for visitors.

Hay War Memorial High School Museum – This is a museum within a school – honouring the young that Hay lost in war by educating future generations. The museum houses a collection of artefacts, photographs and documents relating to both district war service across the twentieth century and the school itself.

Hay Internment and POW Camps Interpretive Centre – The flatness of the Hay Plains and the fact that it was the end of the rail line made it a perfect place to intern prisoners of war during World War Two. Hay became home to the famous Dunera boys, 2,000 German/Austrian Jewish internees first, followed by POWs from North Africa, Italy and Japan. No visit to Hay is complete without a walk through the Museum located at the Railway Building at the northern end of town.