Monday, January 31, 2022

Faulconbridge Lily Pond, The Water Hole

The Lily Pond and quarry 1968

Known locally as the Lilly Pond or the Waterhole, and dating from 1864-1865, the pool has local significance as the larger of the two railway quarries near Faulconbridge. It has also aesthetic significance as a pleasing, if rather damp, reuse of a flooded quarry.

Springwood FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT. The deviation work at Faulconbridge is moving apace. The old pond has practically disappeared, also the well-known waterhole, which was such a boon to travellers. It seems a pity that it was necessary to destroy this beautiful water supply, another is not made in its stead. It would appear, however, that in making railroads little heed is given to the requirements of other travelling. Some few years ago a beautiful hole of Spring water was destroyed between Linden and Bull's Camp, while making alterations to the railway.

Nepean Times (Penrith, NSW : 1882 - 1962), Saturday 28 May 1910, page 4


The sawmilling and carrying business of Hall Bros, is offered for sale. Both plant and biz is solid, and results should be assured, The Commissioners for Railways have leased the water-hole at Faulconbridge to the Shire Council, at a yearly rental of £1, plus rates and taxes, the tenancy to be terminable on one year's notice by the Commissioners.

Blue Mountain Echo (NSW : 1909 - 1928), Friday 22 February 1924, page 6 


Springwood. Water is being carted from a water-hole near Faulconbridge, to relieve the shortage locally, Notice boards are to be erected at the public vehicles stand, in Western Street, intimating that private vehicles must not be parked there.

Blue Mountain Echo (NSW : 1909 - 1928), Friday 5 March 1926, page 6


Letter from the Faulconbridge Advancement League in 1950, confirming that Blue Mountains Council will build the fireplace

  The old quarry is roughly circular, some 30 metres in diameter, with higher walls to the east supporting the railway line. These walls continue to the south beside the picnic area, which utilises a flat sandstone shelf and an area of chronically wet grass. Water-lilies flourish in abundance in the quarry-pool along with reeds.

The water lilies in flower 1968

 As a result of the widening of the Great Western Highway, the former quarry is now immediately adjacent to the highway. Steel safety fencing has been erected along the western (highway) side of the pool. There is a concrete pipe upright and slab and roof picnic shelter on the southern side.

 Water lilies flourish in the quarry-pool along with reeds and contrast in an aesthetically pleasing manner with the sharp, quarried and natural rock sides of the pond on its northern and eastern sides. Naturally twisted trees of a picturesque form grow on the shallow soil on top of the rock on the northern side of the pond. This is a visually tranquil spot beside the very busy highway.

 The picnic reserve also contains a memorial plaque to indigenous volunteer bushfire fighter Claude Cooper who died on the 3rd December 1957 while fighting fires in the Blue Mountains.

RAH Smith's Water Hole Garage 1950s

In the 1950s RAH Smith operated the Water Hole garage opposite. In later years this incorporated a book barn and mixed business.

The Bookmark and mixed business 1968

The garage and shop site was resumed for highway widening in the 1990s. The Waterhole and its lilies, once a popular picnic and rest stop, is now largely neglected next to the busy highway, with no turning lane to safely enter and exit the speeding traffic.

John Merriman
Local Studies Librarian

All images from the Local Studies collection, Blue Mountains Library


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