Tag Archives: Blue Mountains Historical Society

Historical societies in the Blue Mountains

The earliest of the following societies was established in the 1940s, after the Second World War (Blue Mountains HS, 1946). One was established in the 1950s (Springwood HS, 1955), one in the 1960s (Mount Victoria, 1965), one in the 1980s (a family history society: Blue Mountains FHS, 1986), two in the 1990s (Glenbrook, 1992; Mount Wilson, 1995), and two since 2000 (Mid Mountains, 2000; Springwood Historians, 2001).

GLENBROOK:  Glenbrook & District Historical Society. Publications include Nell Aston, Glenbrook and District: A History, Glenbrook, Glenbrook & District Historical Society, 2009.

LAWSON:  Mid Mountains Historical Society (Bullaburra, Lawson, Hazelbrook, Woodford, Linden). The society has a website entitled Mid Mountains History.

MOUNT VICTORIA:  Mount Victoria & District Historical Society. The society’s museum is located in the Mount Victoria Railway Station, Station Street, Mount Victoria.

MOUNT WILSON:  Mount Wilson & Mount Irvine Historical Society. The society runs the Turkish Bath Museum at Mount Wilson. The building was originally constructed as a Turkish bath in the grounds of the home of Richard Wynne, who established a property at Mount Wilson in 1875. Some details are given on websites for Mount Wilson, Tourism New South Wales, and the Heritage Council of New South Wales.

SPRINGWOOD:  Blue Mountains Family History Society. According to the society’s website, the society ‘concentrates on serving the area of the Blue Mountains City Council from the rise from the Cumberland Plain to Mt Victoria and the off shoots of Mt Wilson and Mt Irvine to the north and the Megalong Valley in the south.’ The society’s latest newsletter (12/1/2011) is available online.  Springwood Historians. This is a small group which focuses on public (including family) history, with special reference to the social history of the Springwood district (including Linden, Faulconbridge, Valley Heights and Winmalee). The Springwood Historians have a blog which began in January 2011. Publications include The Making of a Mountain Community: A Biographical Dictionary of the Springwood District (2002).  Springwood Historical Society. The society’s website includes a brief history of Springwood, and a list of publications by the society. There is a brochure listing historic sites in Springwood.

WENTWORTH FALLS:  Blue Mountains Historical Society. According to the society’s website, the society was established by the Blue Mountains County Council in 1946 but is privately owned.* It has the historic cottage ‘Tarella’, used as a museum, and a modern building for archives and research, the Hobby’s Reach Research Centre, in Blaxland Road.

* 28/11/12. The statement ‘privately owned’ requires amendment. The Blue Mountains Historical Society is an incorporated society. See Comments.

Museums in the Blue Mountains

The following museums in the Blue Mountains not only preserve items of historical interest but involve the preservation of buildings and grounds of heritage significance.

FAULCONBRIDGE:  Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum.14 Norman Lindsay Crescent. This National Trust property was formerly the house and gardens of artist Norman Lindsay, and includes his studio.

LEURA:  Leuralla New South Wales Toy & Railway Museum. 36 Olympian Parade. The museum is in the heritage-listed house ‘Leuralla’. Displays include items relating to Alice in Wonderland. The model railway displays include an outdoor garden railway. The Doc Evatt Memorial Room has photographs of international political figures of the 1930s-1950s. An amphitheatre is used for weddings. The house was at one time owned by C.R. Evatt, brother of H.V. Evatt and himself a parliamentarian.

MOUNT VICTORIA:  Mount Victoria & District Historical Society Museum. The museum is in part of the heritage listed Mount Victoria Railway Station. Items document the crossing of the Blue Mountains and early stages of settlement.

VALLEY HEIGHTS:  Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum. Tusculum Road. The museum is the Blue Mountains Division of the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum. The old Locomotive Depot buildings are preserved, along with items documenting the history of the railways in the Blue Mountains. [A six-month project to catalogue the museum’s exhibition items began on 1/2/2011.]

WENTWORTH FALLS:  Tarella Cottage Museum (Blue Mountains Historical Society). 99-101 Blaxland Road. This cottage was built in 1890 by Sydney solicitor and parliamentarian John McLaughlin on land granted to him on Cox’s Road. His daughter Beryl McLaughlin, who died in 1988, left the house, contents and what remained of the land to the Blue Mountains Historical Society. The museum contains items from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The nearby Hobby’s Reach Research Centre, named after that stretch of Cox’s Road, built by Lieutenant Thomas Hobby, holds historical archives.

WOODFORD:  Woodford Academy. 90-95 Great Western Highway. This is a National Trust property preserving the Blue Mountains’ oldest group of buildings, dating back to the time of a land grant to former convict Thomas Pembroke, who erected the first building c. 1834. It has been the site of an inn (the Woodman Inn, the King’s Arms, Buss’s Inn), a residence, a boys’ school (Woodford Academy, 1907-1925) and a school for local children, a guest house and a boarding house.

Clive Evatt: Chris Cunneen and John Kennedy McLaughlin, ‘Evatt, Clive Raleigh (1900-1984)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 17, [date?], pp. 367-368, and online; ‘The Hon. Clive Raleigh Evatt (1900-1984)’, Parliament of New South Wales. Dr Evatt: G.C. Bolton, ‘Evatt, Herbert Vere (Bert) (1894-1965)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 14, 1996, pp. 108-114, and online; ‘Mr Herbert Vere Evatt (1894-1965)’, Parliament of New South Wales. Norman Lindsay: Bernard Smith, ‘Lindsay, Norman Alfred Williams (1879-1969)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 10, 1986, pp. 106-115, and online. John McLaughlin (associated with Tarella Cottage): ‘Mr John McLaughlin (1850-1918)’, Parliament of New South Wales.

Postscript reference: Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum cataloguing project: cf. ‘Chance to preserve rail heritage’, Blue Mountains Gazette 2/2/2011.