The area now known as Braemar lies on a level plateau to the north of the Highlands, and is a welcome respite for the traveller climbing up Catherine Hill (or the more circuitous route via Bargo in earlier times.)
On the left, about a kilometre after leaving the modern freeway, can be seen an elegant two-storey Georgian house (now a restaurant).
This was built by one of the earliest settlers, Bartholemew Rush.
His inn, the Prince Albert Hotel (1811), originally stood on this site, the current building erected later.
The inn was a welcome sight to the weary traveller who had to negotiate the notorious 'Bargo Brush' - thick bushland between Bargo and Mittagong infested in the mid C18th by notorious bushrangers.
Rush himself had to keep his money hidden under a thick hearthstone before the fireplace to foil robbery attempts. A farmer, contractor, and entrepreneur, he amassed a small fortune by his efforts.
Opposite The Poplars (as it is now known) is Braemar House (now Lodge), also built by him as a residence, later a boarding school, now a guesthouse.
Braemar is named after this residence, and incorporates today two other hamlets - Willow Vale (on the right as you proceed towards Mittagong), and Balaclava (on the left just before the bridge into town.)
There was originally a station (first known as Rush's Siding) behind Braemar House, on the main southern line.
This originally was a single steep track between Picton and Mittagong (now known as 'The Loop'), and was replaced by the current permanent way via Yerrinbool and Aylmerton in 1919 (to be seen on your left as you approach Mitaggong).
Most of the surrounding area was farmland, the history of which is still being researched.
The cool mountain air made it ideal for horticulture - Rush himself was known for the apples he grew and exported to Sydney, and there was a large famous nursery (Ferguson's - now gone) near Balaclava for many years.
Some interesting old buildings from the late C19th remain, including a homestead (now antique shop), dairy (now shop), and old farm manager's cottage (now renovated) in grounds of nursery.
To the left and right, and set back from the road today, are two large industrial areas (engineering and manufacturing).
Further towards Mittagong are residential subdivisions.
Braemar is still well known as a favoured resting place for travellers.
There are a number of boutiques and businesses of interest to the tourist, and Braemar attracts visitors from elsewhere in the Highlands who enjoy a few hours exploring this interesting area
For further details see our Past and Present pages.