Murder on Victoria Pass, Caroline Collits

A man and woman with a sulky and driver pose in the afternoon light on Mitchell’s viaduct, also known as the second bridge, on Victoria Pass. Note the massive convict-built masonry walls and buttresses of the causeway across the gully. Image by Katoomba photographer Harry Phillips, from about 1910. Blue Mountains City Library Local Studies Collection.  The improved line of road to bypass the steep tracks at Mt York was surveyed by Thomas Livingston Mitchell in 1830 and named by him Victoria Pass. In February 1832 there were nearly 400 convicts working on the Pass and its spectacular stone causeways. It … Continue reading Murder on Victoria Pass, Caroline Collits

Aviators and the Blue Mountains

In the age of pioneer aviation between the two world wars, flyers were the superstars of their time; and among them were a number of Australian and British flyers who became international as well as local heroes. Three local parks in Katoomba were named after aviators, some toured the Blue Mountains to rapturous acclaim and other place names serve as memorials. ***** Bert Hinkler outside Springwood School of Arts 1928 Hinkler Park, Katoomba Hon. Squadron Leader Herbert John Louis Hinkler AFC DSM (8 December 1892 – 7 January 1933) – better known as Bert Hinkler, was a pioneer Australian aviator (dubbed “the … Continue reading Aviators and the Blue Mountains

Newspapers of The Blue Mountains

The Newspapers of The Blue Mountains A Guide to the Holdings of the Blue Mountains City Library INTRODUCTION The following list has been compiled by the Local Studies Librarian, Blue Mountains City Library. The newspapers are listed in a roughly chronological order. The accompanying historical information has been obtained principally from the newspapers themselves and from a paper, Blue Mountains Newspapers by J. Ralph Bennett, first published by the Blue Mountains Historical Society in February 1952, extended and read to the Springwood Historical Society in March 1973 and later published in a revised form in Old Leura and Katoomba (Rotary Club … Continue reading Newspapers of The Blue Mountains

Dr. Eric Payton DARK

Eric Dark portrait 1914-18, courtesy of Mick Dark DARK, Eric Payten (1889-1987) medical practitioner, social and political activist and writer, was born on 23 June 1889, the youngest child of the Rev. Joseph Dark, an Anglican clergyman, and his third wife, Adelaide (nee Goodwin). In an intensely religious household the young Eric spent his Sundays reading religious literature. This gave him an extensive knowledge of the Bible from which he would quote often in later life. He suffered severe asthma and at the age of eleven was taken out of school on medical advice and allowed to ‘run free’ for … Continue reading Dr. Eric Payton DARK

The Royal Visit to the Blue Mountains 1954, “the sight of a white gloved hand in the distance…”

THE ROYAL VISITThe Queen’s first royal visit to Australia commenced with the entry of the S.S. Gothic through Sydney heads at 8.00 am on Wednesday 3rd February 1954. On the Blue Mountains leg of the tour, the royal train arrived 10 minutes late at Katoomba and the reception at Echo Point ran longer than planned. Aldermen and their wives “agreed to forgo the pleasure of being presented, allowing the royal guests time to enjoy the scenery”. This allowed the tour to make up time and depart Leura only 5 minutes late. The following extracts are from official publications and local … Continue reading The Royal Visit to the Blue Mountains 1954, “the sight of a white gloved hand in the distance…”

Bushwalking and the Conservation Movement

During the years of the Great Depression the popularity of walking in the Blue Mountains revived. The impact of the motorcar had deflected interest away from the old walking tracks until the general decline in prosperity meant that hiking guides replaced motoring guides as sources of popular recreation and visitors to the Blue Mountains began to rediscover the bush. With the increasing popularity of bushwalking, the early 1930s also saw the emergence of the modern conservation movement. Myles Dunphy, who began walking in the Blue Mountains before World War I, had been influential in forming the Mountains Trails Club in … Continue reading Bushwalking and the Conservation Movement

Hidden History – Mickies and Polers

Do we still have colourful characters or do they exist only in the past, when communities were smaller and society had room for the ordinary life lived eccentrically, without compromise, endearing, picturesque, vivid. The Blue Mountains has had its share of colourful characters but perhaps none more so than the men and women who drove bullocks for a living. From the building of the first road over the Blue Mountains until the early decades of the 20th Century, bullocks were a significant and dependable source of draught power, whether it was clearing land, carting massive logs to local saw mills … Continue reading Hidden History – Mickies and Polers