Blue Mountains Family History Society Inc




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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.

Development in the 1900s

Increasingly 'The Mountains' was recognised as a desirable place to live and the population increased. A Pioneer Register of the Blue Mountains was compiled with a cut off date of 1920 and a second edition has been compiled up to 1930, reflecting the transition from affluent holiday residences of the wealthy few and those servicing travellers to a more settled general population.

Copies of the 1930 Pioneer Register are still available for sale from the Society.

The Morris family at Blackheath. Photo:Sydney Morris 1922

Three generations of a Blackheath family at the back of the residence in 1922. Note the enclosed verandah and the water tank. None of the services such as electricity, water or sewerage were available.

The Blue Mountains became a desirable holiday destination for Sydney people easily accessible by train. 'The Bush' was ideal for camping and shooting of wildlife, none of which was protected then. Some set up semi-permanent camping sites.

Kanimbla Valley camp site accessed on foot from Blackheath. Photo:Sydney Morris 1909

The clear air, spectacular scenery, waterfalls, newly made tracks and steps were attractive and new guesthouses provided comfortable accommodation, food and entertainment. Katoomba was THE place to holiday.

During World War 2 many of the guesthouses suffered staff shortages, some became R & R sites for servicemen and others were temporary boarding schools for children evacuated from Sydney. Unfortunately the war's end did not bring revitalisation. As elsewhere shortages of labour and materials did not allow adequate maintenance or renovation and many declined. At the same time private ownership of cars became more affordable and the nature of tourism changed from the week long stay in guest houses to day trippers.

The post WW2 era saw the rapid expansion of residential areas, fanning out from railway stations, along the ridge tops. Gradually services expanded, additional shopping facilities including specialist shops, new cafes, restaurants and take away food centres catered for the visitors and locals alike. More importantly additional schools, TAFE college, sporting clubs, service clubs, support services groups, dramatic & musical societies, etc etc helped the Blue Mountains to develop into the vibrant community it is.

And do not forget the Blue Mountains Family History Society ;-)

We are an environmentally aware society with our 26 townships within the Blue Mountains City Council area fringed to the north and south by the 247 000 ha of the Blue Mountains National Park which, with its adjacent National Parks, make up the 1000 sq. km. of the World Heritage area.






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