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Early Exploration

Early Settlements

Since 1900

The following text and photographs have been kindly supplied by Mrs Joan Edwards for use by the Blue Mountains Family History Society Inc. Copyright is held by J Edwards and no copying, unless under fair-dealing provisions, without permission is permitted.

Early settlements

The Blue Mountains became the transport route to the more fertile hinterland. As well as stockades, services were needed for travellers, so rough inns were established. Two of these were The Valley Inn (Valley Heights) 1832 and The Weatherboard (Wentworth Falls) 1833. The latter had the famous Charles Darwin as a guest.

Many more services were needed to cater for those heading for the goldfields in the 1850s. Some on foot, others with barrows or carts wended their way across the rough track to the west. Many Chinese made the trek, slower than most, as they sold their wares along the way.

The railway terminus was at Weatherboard (Wentworth Falls) in 1867 but 10 months later the line had been extended to Mt. Victoria. The elegant stone station was constructed in 1872.

The more affluent members of Sydney society obtained homes where Hordern, Arnott, Sweetacre and other business families were able to escape Sydney's hot and humid summers.

Other home owners included Sir Alfred Stephen, NSW Chief Justice 1845-73, then Lieutenant Governor in 1875 and Sir James Martin, three times Premier of NSW and Chief Justice in 1873, were neighbours on the south side between Faulconbridge and Linden. In 1877 Henry Parkes moved into the first of four homes he built and named Faulconbridge after his Mother, Martha Faulconbridge. The name has remained. Five times Premier Henry is buried nearby

Henry Parkes' grave.


Yester Grange

Other identities include the famous geologist Sir Edgeworth David at Woodford, Premier John See who bought Yester Grange at Wentworth Falls, His Excellency Sir Frederick Darley at Lilianfels, Katoomba and the Fairfax family of the Sydney Morning Herald at Mt Victoria in 1876. The Fairfax residence became the well known Coopers Grand Hotel.

Robert Matcham Pitt, of Pitt, Son & Badgery Stock & Station Agents, built Coorah at Wentworth Falls in 1889 and commuted to Sydney by train daily.

'Coorah', build by Robert Matcham Pitt in 1889

Two of the best known buildings on the Mountains are the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath. Originally known as Belgravia it was built in 1891 and sold to Mark Foy in the early 1900s. Another is the 1880 built Carrington Hotel at Katoomba. Both have undergone extensive restoration and are still operating.

Storekeepers, packsaddlers, poultry farmers, Chinese market gardeners, shale miners and labourers provided the goods and services to residents and travellers.

To the north, the high altitude and rich volcanic soils, became the ideal site for the wealthy to build homes and develop beautiful gardens. The area is still renowned for spectacular cold climate gardens.

One of the gardens at Mt Wilson



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