Dr. Ernest Joel Baxter (c1902 – 1950

Dr Baxter was one of Springwood’s most admired and respected medical practitioners. Both physician and surgeon, he trained in a number of Sydney hospitals. In December 1929, following his marriage in August to Sylvia Watson, he purchased a medical practice in Springwood and remained here for the rest of his life. His initiation into the Springwood practice was not an easy one. On the evening of 27 January 1930 a crowded excursion train ran off the rails and over an embankment at Warrimoo. Dr. Baxter was one of the first to arrive at the accident site and found both the … Continue reading Dr. Ernest Joel Baxter (c1902 – 1950

Walter Henry BONE (1863-1934)

Walter Henry Bone was born at 52 Crown St Sydney in 1863, his father was Robert Bone, printer, aged 30 of London; his mother was Sophia Mary Lymings, age 29 also of London. The parents had married in 1853 and immigration records show they arrived in Australia on the ship Herald of the Morning, as assisted immigrants in 1858 with their daughter Augusta 3, and the body of their infant son Robert, who had died on the voyage. At the time of Walter’s birth there was a living son Robert Jnr, born 1860, named after his dead brother and his … Continue reading Walter Henry BONE (1863-1934)

Faulconbridge Lily Pond, The Water Hole

Known locally as the Lilly Pond or the Waterhole, and dating from 1864-1865, the pool has local significance as the larger of the two railway quarries near Faulconbridge. It has also aesthetic significance as a pleasing, if rather damp, reuse of a flooded quarry. Springwood FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT. The deviation work at Faulconbridge is moving apace. The old pond has practically disappeared, also the well-known waterhole, which was such a boon to travellers . It seems a pity that it was necessary to destroy this beautiful water supply, another is not made in its stead. It would appear, however, that … Continue reading Faulconbridge Lily Pond, The Water Hole

Katoomba Town Clock

Beginning in 12th century Europe, towns and monasteries built clocks in high towers to strike bells to call the community to prayer. Public clocks played an important timekeeping role in daily life until the 20th century, when accurate watches became affordable. Today the time-disseminating functions of town clocks are not much needed, and they are mainly built and preserved for traditional, decorative, and artistic reasons. Blue Mountains City Council had originally intended that a town clock be incorporated into the superstructure of a proposed rail overbridge to replace the level crossing at Katoomba, but as this did not seem to … Continue reading Katoomba Town Clock

The Blue Mountains and the Ashes

The cricket season now drawing to a close has marked for cricket fans the 100 year point since the legendary “Ashes” were created amid the excitement and enthusiasm of those “golden years” of cricket at the end of the nineteenth century. It is perhaps of some interest for those of us who live in the Blue Mountains to know that our region has had some connection with a number of the people who helped shape the early contours of the story a century ago. When, on that sultry and overcast August day, in 1882, players came onto The Oval at … Continue reading The Blue Mountains and the Ashes

Death of a Horse Breaker, Alfred Hermann Fischer (c.1896-1917)

It is the early hours of Saturday 1st December 1917, the overnight passenger train from the Central West township of Orange is steaming through the night on its way to Sydney. On board two men sit silently in a locked third class compartment. One man wearing civilian clothing lies back on the hard seat trying to sleep amid the constant rocking and the clattering wheels on the rails. On his wrists he wears a pair of steel handcuffs. The other man, his guard and escort, wears a khaki military uniform with a corporal’s single chevron, and also dozes fitfully. The … Continue reading Death of a Horse Breaker, Alfred Hermann Fischer (c.1896-1917)

“We polished everything” Osborne Ladies College, Blackheath

Most of us recall the story of Miss Appleyard and her College for Young Ladies depicted in the film “Picnic at Hanging Rock”. Located at Macedon in Victoria this story could just as easily have played itself out in the dramatic scenery of the Blue Mountains where, in the late 19th and first half of the 20th Centuries, many private-venture schools run by idiosyncratic, sometimes eccentric, educators were established. One such school was the Osborne Ladies College, which moved to Blackheath from the Sydney suburb of Epping in 1923. The college established itself in a large, three-storey building that had … Continue reading “We polished everything” Osborne Ladies College, Blackheath

A Church on Pulpit Hill, unlocking a Blue Mountains mystery

It has long been popularly held that a number of convicts who died while working on road gangs in the Blue Mountains were buried at Pulpit Hill, just west of Katoomba.  There are also folk traditions that free ‘pioneers’ were interred there.  However, when it comes to verifying these traditions, there are few accurate sources.  In the years after the Western Road to Bathurst was opened to traffic in 1815, Pulpit Hill became a recognised resting place for travellers and stock. In the 1830s there appears to have been a stockade in the vicinity and, in 1835, the ‘Shepherd & … Continue reading A Church on Pulpit Hill, unlocking a Blue Mountains mystery

J. W. Berghofer and Berghofer Pass, Mount Victoria

During the 19th Century German-Australians constituted the largest non-British immigrant group in the colonies: over 4% in 1861. By comparison the Chinese, as the second-largest, came to 3.28%; the Italians as the third-largest made up only 0.21%, and the total migrant population of 48 other ethnic communities amounted to only 3.25%. Organised large-scale immigration started with the arrival in 1838 of groups of Lutheran farming communities from the eastern provinces of Prussia. Many were experienced vineyard workers and were welcomed in South Australia where they established communities in the Adelaide Hills and the Barossa Valley, a small number even went … Continue reading J. W. Berghofer and Berghofer Pass, Mount Victoria

BLACK & BLUE: ‘Jacky’ Brooks, an Indigenous Hero of Blue Mountains Rugby League

I’ve heard the roar at a football match as it rose in the crowded stands, When a winger leapt and took a pass with magic, out-stretched hands, And the double roar as he came inside and flashed across the line, That was a roar that stirred my soul, a roar that was a sign.[1] Setting the Scene. By 1920 Katoomba was on the cusp of its most prosperous years, about to become the ‘Queen City of the Hills’ and one of NSW’s premier resorts. The town had long outgrown its 1870s origins in coal and shale and mining the cliffs … Continue reading BLACK & BLUE: ‘Jacky’ Brooks, an Indigenous Hero of Blue Mountains Rugby League