Historical Towns Directory

By clicking on a state or territory on the map, you can access a regional guide to Australia's historic towns, including a wealth of information about organizations, museums and locations.

We invite organisations to submit information for inclusion on this site. Please click here to email your information to the Directory Editor, Ros Stirling.



Find Katoomba

Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson were the first Europeans to pass nearby the current Katoomba townsite during their trek across the Blue Mountains in 1813. The stump of the 'Marked Tree', near Katoomba remains a major tourist attraction today. It has been thought to have been marked by the explorers with their initials, although no evidence has been found to support this theory.

The first road across the mountains was constructed using convict labour in 1814. It has been thought that a number of graves of convicts who died while working on the road existed on Pulpit Hill, although recent research by the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority using ground penetration imaging equipment has found that only a lone grave exists.

Katoomba circa 1920 (courtesy Blue Mountains Historical Society Inc.)

Coal was discovered locally by George Clarke in 1841, although mining did not begin until 1879 when the Katoomba coal mine was opened by J.B. North. The mine closed for the first time in 1903, reopened in 1923 and again ceased operations in 1929. 'The Incline' tramway, which had hauled coal up the cliff, subsequently became the Scenic Railway tourist attraction.

In 1874 a conditional stop for passengers along the railway was known as 'Crushers'. Two years later a platform was given the name of Katoomba.

One of the prominent businesses to develop as Katoomba grew as a tourist resort from this time was The Carrington Hotel. The premises, built in 1882, were originally known as the Great Western Hotel. The name was changed to The Carrington Hotel in honour of Lord Carrington, NSW Governor between 1885 and 1890, who visited the hotel during his weekend holidays the mountains. In 1927 the Duke and Duchess of York lunched at The Carrington.

Katoomba, 1925 (courtesy Blue Mountains Historical Society Inc.)

Katoomba, population 9,102 (2001 Census), is the biggest town in the Blue Mountains. It is situated 110 kilometres from Sydney and with many of the Blue Mountains' most famous sites located nearby it is a popular tourist destination.

The iconic Three Sisters rock formations, located around two kilometres from town, obtained their name from indigenous story of three women who were turned to stone for their own protection. They had fallen in love with three men from a neighbouring tribe, but the union was forbidden and a battle occurred. The tribal witchdoctor who had turned the women to stone died in the fight and the spell could not be undone.

Blue Mountains Historical Society Inc
Information: The aims of the Society (founded in 1946) are the preservation of the 1890 historic cottage museum 'Tarella', its contents are grounds and opening the house and associated research centre to the public on specific dates and on request by groups. The objectives of the Society's Hobby's Reach Library and Research Centre at Wentworth Falls are to preserve documents, photographs, maps etc and to encourge community interest in research and publication of historic information.
Publications: 'Hobby's Outreach'
Events: To be advised.
Phone: 02 4757 3482 (Research Centre)

PO Box 17
Wentworth Falls NSW 2782

Website: http://www.bluemountainshistory.com
Blue Mountains Family History Society Inc
Information: The Society offers discussion, participation, speakers, workshops, social outings and family history research enquiries (Blue Mountains area). Research enquiries are $25. The Society is unable to carry out detailed research. Founded 1986.
Publications: Please see website: www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nswbmfhs/
Contact: Jan Koperberg, Secretary

PO Box 97
Springwood NSW 2777

Email: xploretree@yahoo.com.au
Website: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nswbmfhs
Echo Point Visitor Information Centre, Katoomba
Information: Open 9am to 5pm daily (closed Christmas Day).
Phone: 1300 653 408
Fax: 02 4780 5729

Echo Point Road
Katoomba NSW

Postal Address:

Locked Bag 1011
Katoomba NSW 2780

Email: info@visitbluemountains.com.au
Website: http://www.visitbluemountains.com.au/



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