Louth is a small village on the banks of the Darling River which is located 132 km northwest of Cobar, 100 km southwest of Bourke and 836 km northwest of Sydney.
Louth was established in 1862 when an Irishman called Matthews selected 40 acres from the Toorale holding (where he was employed as a shipwright and wheelwright) and built a pub to cater for the passing river and land-based trade.
He named the new settlement after his native town in Ireland and it grew considerably in size in the years to follow, boasting several hotels, shops and even a newspaper.
Now a sleepy little hamlet of less than 30 residents, Louth is well known for hosting NSW’s premier Outback Race Meeting – held on the Saturday following the Monday bank holiday at the beginning of August. The next races will be Saturday, August 10th, 2013 featuring a 7 race program and $74,500 in prize money.
Festivities begin in the week leading up to race day, with the Gundabooka Golf Challenge on Wednesday 8th, a Royal Flying Doctor Service fundraiser. Many campers make a week of it, enjoying the excellent fishing, great company, live music on Friday and Saturday nights, and cold beer served late into the night at Shindy’s Inn. Camping, hot showers and limited firewood are on site at the race course which is only a stone’s throw from the village and Darling River, and courtesy transfers are provided from the Louth airstrip.
In Louth you can visit the local cemetery and marvel at the magnificent granite monument erected by the town’s founder in memory of his wife, Mary Mathews, who died at the age of 42 in 1886. Each 19 August, the anniversary of her death, the reflection from the Celtic cross atop her resting place can be seen from where the doorstep of her home once was. Recent scientific analysis with the help of GPS technology has established the accuracy of the surveyors and ships’ captains of the past.
With the sun setting in a slightly different position on the western horizon each day, the cross’s reflection travels a kilometre and back across the village boundary each year. Anyone visiting Louth can observe the spectacular reflection for just three minutes each evening. Pegs have been positioned for most days of the year to make finding the spot easy.