Our History: A remarkable hill, ‘Pounie’

If you head down the Hume Highway from Yass towards Melbourne, you will soon see Bowning Hill on your left. A little further on is the right turn that will take you to Bowning village. 

In 1829, Captain Charles Sturt recorded in his expedition diary [at] Yass that ‘there is a remarkable hill called Pounie’. The Government Gazette of May 1846 gave notice for a village at ‘Bowning on the Port Phillip Road about eight miles from Yass’. Perhaps Bowning is a corruption of Pounie. 

Bowning Public School began in October 1849, at first in a room in an inn until funds became available to build a purpose built school building. The Commercial (now Bowning) Hotel was built in 1860, one of five pubs and inns built in Bowning.

In 1874, the first post office opened following a petition signed by 89 residents. It stated: ‘We undersigned inhabitants of Bowning respectfully solicit a post office in Bowning.’

The petitioners argued that their case was strengthened because of the numbers employed on the railway, and that Bowning was at the junction of the main southern and south western roads.

The railway came to Bowning in 1876, and an impressive double-storey station was constructed on what eventually became the Melbourne/Sydney line.

St Columbus Catholic Church opened in opened in 1909. Its final service was held in 2003, having served the community for 94 years.

Visitors to Bowning can now see the Hotel, Public School, Railway Station and St Columbus Catholic Church along with several other heritage buildings.

Some of these were public buildings, now privately owned, while others remain commercial buildings and there are a number of private homes. The train line remains open, though the station is now closed. 

There are photos of Bowning and, of course, its hill in Y&DHS collection.