Cargo was the name of an early pastoral station, part of the older Davy’s Plains Run, taken up by William Lawson, with headquarters close to the old Orange-Nanami Road north of the town of Cargo. Gold mining in the late 1860s led to the establishment of the township.
Alluvial gold was first discovered at Cargo in 1868 in Long Gully, which prompted a rush of 500 miners. The Cargo goldfield, 7 miles by 5 miles, was proclaimed in 1869 and mines were open in all gullies leading from the Ironclad Range overshadowing Cargo.
The two main periods of mining activity were from 1869-1879 and from 1885-1899, when the town boasted three hotels, a bank, several businesses lining Belmore Street; three churches, Anglican, Catholic and Methodist; two schools, a flour mill, a hall, a racecourse and sporting grounds for tennis, cricket and football.
Cargo was the stopping place for Cobb and Co Coaches from Orange to Canowindra. Surveys of the early 1870s tried to impose a grid plan on the unplanned growth of the goldfield but the winning main street and gullies defied such order. Cargo was proclaimed a town in 1885. Closer land settlement coincided with the mining period and many miners and businessmen settled on farms around Cargo or worded on large pastoral stations.
By 1969, Cargo’s population had dwindled to 160 but there has been renewed interest in the town in the 1980s and 90s as people are attracted to it peaceful, rural beauty. The population in 1991 was 200, the town continues to grow with the population in 2011 541.
Cargo is situated 35km south west of Orange and is a small country hamlet with a population of approximately 250.
Things to see and do
Visit the Cargo Hotel