Towns & Villages - MOSS VALE

Moss Vale

Population: 7806 (inc. rural areas, Fitzroy Falls; 2011 census)

Brief History
The first settlement in the Southern Highlands was at Bong Bong on the Wingecarribee River (abandoned 1830s) a few kilometres north of Moss Vale.

Moss Vale today lies mostly on land subdivided from the property of the original settler in the Highlands, Charles Throsby. Throsby Park (his homestead, now a museum) and Christ Church Bong Bong date from the earliest settlement.

At first the whole area was called Sutton Forest, that village itself about 8 kms. away, being the main settlement in the southern part of the Highlands since the earliest days.

Christ Church Bong Bong
Christ Church Bong Bong (1845)

The town itself was only established when the railway arrived in 1867.

The name Moss Vale is said to be derived from Jemmy Moss, an employee of Throsby's who lived in a shack on the new subdivision. It was formally adopted in 1869 for the town (station and post office).

Moss Vale grew slowly in the early days, having only 600 inhabitants by the 1880s. This was no doubt due to the Depression of the time, and perhaps because land was only available on leasehold.

Many public buildings (churches, school, shops, and private homes) from the 1860s to 1890s can still be seen in the town in a good state of preservation or restoration.

The town - then and now - is dominated by the station, a fine example of Victorian railway architecture. It includes a grand refreshment room and vice-regal suite (now closed), reminders of the days when it was the transfer point for the state governor on his way to his summer residence (Hillview) at Sutton Forest.

Apart from servicing the surrounding farming areas, for most of the last century Moss Vale was a railway town: it was one the main refreshment stops for country and interstate trains, and the junction of the Robertson - Unanderra (Wollongong) line. Many of the residences in the town housed railway workers. Today major country and interstate trains stop only at Moss Vale in the Highlands.

Moss Vale became a municipality in 1888, and a fine Town Hall was built in 1891. The Council began improvements to civic amenities, the town being one of the first in country NSW to install electric lighting.

Old Town Hall
Old Town Hall (1891), now a private residence

In 1935 the municipal and Wingecarribee Shire councils merged, and this grew to encompass all local government bodies by 1981, the Wingecarribee Shire Council's headquarters centred in Moss Vale continuosly since 1906.

Moss Vale has been a major rural centre for most of its life, with a milk processing plant, abbatoir (now closed, but which once exported overseas), and farm machinery businesses. The long ribbon development of Argyle Street with its substantial buildings (many in the process of being replaced) attest to its former importance as a retail centre.

Today engineering (mining equipment) and cement works at nearby New Berrima are the largest industries.

In the late C20th dairying, once a major industry, has given way beef cattle, stud and hobby farms, alpacas and cool climate vineyards.

Like most other centres of the Highlands the town has grown rapidly over the last two decades. With new residential areas, the town is the second largest retail centre in the Highlands.

A burgeoning tourist industry now replaces agriculture as one of the main occupations of residents (although the Moss Vale Agricultural Society's Show - held just before the Royal Easter Show - is still one of the biggest in the state - and the cattle sale yards one of the largest in the south-west.)

For further details see our Past and Present pages.

Moss Vale, main street
Moss Vale - main street

Moss Vale Quick Guide
Accommodation - LIST ALL
The Dormie House
The Pines (Farm Stay) - self.cont.
Conferences & Functions - LIST ALL
Working Spaces Moss Vale.
Eating Out Guide- LIST ALL
Seafood Affair Restaurant
The Dormie House Restaurant
Moss Vale Golf Club
The Pines Pastoral - Angus Cattle Stud

Moss Vale Station (1892)

Major Events & Festivals

March: Moss Vale Agricultural Show

October: Festival of Flowers

November: M.V. Show Society Rodeo

December: Country Twilight Christmas Fair

Village Markets each month

What to See and Do
For Visitors.

Moss Vale has a large shopping centre with a range of boutiques.

There are 2 hotels (live entertainment), cafes, fine restaurants, take-aways, motel, B&B accommodation, a guesthouse, self contained cottages, farm stays, and a caravan park. Moss Vale is the centre of new car dealerships.

The Services Club has dining and entertainment areas and nearby are two first-class golf courses and a Bowling Club.

The town centre and old streets offer a range of interesting historic buildings and residences. Leighton Gardens, in the centre of town, has massed displays of flowers in spring and autumn, a smaller version of the famous garden in Bowral.

The annual Agricultural Show in March is one of the last of the old-style country fairs.

Moss Vale is central to the Highlands and all other villages and attractions.

Old Post Office
Old Post & Telegraph Office (c1890s)

For Kids.

Parks, playgrounds, and sports fields to enjoy. A basketball stadium and heated swimming pool (open all year round); riding schools nearby. A very popular cycle and walking path from town and along the Wingecarribee River.

Lots of places for takeaway and lunch. Look for antiques and boutique shops.

If the sale yards are open, this is an interesting place to visit for that country experience.

Last updated 20/2/17