Kandos is a small town in the central west of NSW. Like nearby Rylstone, it is about three hours from Sydney. Kandos came into existence because of significant limestone deposits in the area. These deposits provided an opportunity for lime production at the cheapest possible rate. In May 1913, the NSW Cement Lime and Coal Company was registered. Agreement around leases and the land required for the manufacturing plant took time. The beginning of World War I also created delays with the arrival of equipment in particular.
Candos was formed by the arrangement of the surnames of the company directors: Campbell, Angus, Noyes, (Mc)Donald, Oakden and Stephen. There was confusion with a town in South Australia already called Candos which resulted in the change to Kandos in 1915. A site for the town was laid out about a kilometre from the cement works. Kandos was created as a private village, but in 1918 it was proclaimed an urban area under Rylstone Shire Council.
The cement works played a major role in the development of infrastructure in the state. This included the city underground railway and the base and pylons for the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The first cement was sold in 1916 and production continued through to the closure of the Kandos Works in 2011. It had produced the ‘Portland’ type of cement using rotary type kilns under the dry process method. It provided employment for generations of some local families. Long term employees included George Ford Jnr with 54 years service.
The main street of Kandos (Angus Street) has a distinctive streetscape. Shopfront styles are still largely representative of early twentieth-century retail designs. Shops include a bakery, butcher, restaurants, pub, chemist, cafes and a supermarket. The gothic St Laurence’s Church of England and a stylish post office provide a contrasting style.
The large Kandos Community Centre is a social hub for the town. Some residents paid a shilling from their weekly wage to help build it. Others made annual donations or contributed to fundraisers. From its opening in 1956, it was the location for dances and social events and is still used as a library and for functions.
A highlight was the Kandos Museum, located in an old Methodist church. The museum provides insights into the working and social lives of people from Kandos and nearby areas. It is a warm and welcoming space.
Kandos is a small place with a big history. Its determination to forge a future without the cement industry is demonstrated in events such as the biennial Cementa Festival. This encourages artistic installations celebrating contemporary art and the local community.
[Photo: Kandos railway station]