Packed with interesting historical sites, the story of Collector dates back to the arrival of an exploration party led by Governor Macquarie in 1820. Macquarie had come to investigate reports of a great lake in the area, which he found and named Lake George after the monarch of the day, King George IV. The Governor's party included the Reverend Robert Cartwright, who is recorded as holding an Anglican service at their campsite, which was located in what is now Collector Village.
The village went through a boom period during the gold rush days from 1850 to 1870, but this was also very much a time of violence and lawlessness, as ruthless bushrangers harassed locals and visitors alike.
A legacy of this time can be found in the memorial to heroic Constable Sam Nelson which stands by the heritage listed Bushranger Hotel. On January 25, 1865, armed only with a single shot, muzzle loading constabulary carbine, Constable Nelson bravely faced up to Ben Hall and his vicious accomplices John Dunn and John Gilbert. During the confrontation Dunn shot Constable Nelson in the chest with a shotgun and then calmly finished off his victim with another shot to the face at close range from a revolver.
Modern day Collector is thankfully a much more tranquil place and is now famous for the finer things in life. A good place to start your visit is at Kiki's in the Grove, a combination of café, bakery and gift shop located in the Fedra Olive Grove, just off the Federal Highway, around 30 kilometres from Goulburn. Stunning views over the surrounding countryside, awesome coffees and a choice of delicious meals are sure to get your day off to a great start.
Next, head into the village of Collector to explore the local history and other attractions. History buffs may like to check out the Catholic and Anglican cemeteries, which have graves dating back to the 1830s, while art lovers will enjoy Helen Stephens Gallery, showcasing exhibitions of ceramics, paintings and prints by leading local and regional artists.
Foodies can find some great produce at Collector Fresh, a market garden outlet supplying fresh, locally grown, seasonal fruit and veg from 10am to 3pm on weekends. If by now you're feeling peckish, Some Café offers delicious meals and The Bushranger Hotel offers a range of refreshing ales and great pub lunches. Don't be put off if you feel a ghostly presence at the Bushranger: although the place is said to be haunted by a former publican, he is friendly!
If you are a wine lover, you won't want to go past Collector Wines, which offers a diverse range of award winning cool-climate wines of elegance and distinction. Their "Tiger Tiger" took out Best Chardonnay at the Canberra Regional Wine Show in 2018 and is understandably extremely popular. Other award winning local wineries in the area you can visit include Lerida Estate and Lake George Winery, both located not far from Collector Village at Lake George on the way to Canberra.