Katoomba Street History Walk

Katoomba St, c.1930 Introduction In its early years Katoomba laid no claim to the status it later achieved among the Mountain towns. While there had been an inn and stock resting place at Pulpit Hill from the 1830s, the town’s real beginnings were with the railway. Towards the end of the 1870s, this lonely mountain outpost began to change dramatically. The official name change to Katoomba occurred in 1878, the same year that businessman John Britty North registered his coal mine at the base of the cliffs near the Orphan Rock. Within a year the high quality of his coal … Continue reading Katoomba Street History Walk

Katoomba Court House

Aerial view of the court House in 1972 By the early 1890s Katoomba had become, through coal and tourism, a town with a future. Municipal status had been granted in 1889 and the possibilities of continued growth held promise of glittering prizes for local commerce. Civic pride flowered in the hearts of the town’s citizens and men prominent in local affairs began to seek expression of Katoomba’s new prestige through the erection of appropriate public buildings. A new brick post office was erected in the Bathurst Road in 1887 while, in 1891, a substantial timber railway station replaced its earlier … Continue reading Katoomba Court House

Murder at St Hilda’s, Stella Catherine Reynolds

St Hilda’s Katoomba in the 1940s photo: Blue Mountains City Library St Hilda’s Church of England in Katoomba, was designed by prominent 20th century architect John Burcham Clamp, a partner of Walter Burley Griffin, and built by a Mr. Johnson of Leura. It replaces the first Anglican church built in 1885. This was known as the School Church of St Hilda and was built through the activity of the Rev. Simons, the incumbent at Blackheath. The first clergyman was the Rev. Power. The present building was dedicated by J C Wright, Archbishop of Sydney, on 16th September 1914. At about 4.00 … Continue reading Murder at St Hilda’s, Stella Catherine Reynolds

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

Katoomba Children’s Library & Crafts Club

The opening ceremony, at the podium from left: Mary Matheson, Joseph Jackson MLA, Hon. Clive Evatt, Dr Eric Dark, Eleanor Dark, Michael Dark on chair, Mayor Freelander, B J Milliss Elsie Rivett, and her sister Mary Matheson, were the founders of the Children’s Library and Craft Movement. In 1922 they opened the first Children’s Library and Crafts Club in Surry Hills, Sydney. The Katoomba branch was apparently the eighth to be established.The following is compiled from contemporary newspaper reports. “Boys’ and Girls’ Library and Craft Club Nearing CompletionMost mothers have had, at some time, to cope with a complaint from their … Continue reading Katoomba Children’s Library & Crafts Club

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…”