Monday, May 20, 2013

Private Francis Smith (1793-1836)

Head and foot stones from the grave of Francis Smith

Springwood Cemetery (Blue Mountains City Library)

Francis Smith was born at Bromashall, Middlesex, in 1793. On 6 December, 1813, he enlisted in the 4th Foot of the King's Own Regiment, which was engaged in the fighting against the armies of the Emperor Napoleon in Spain. The following year he proceeded with the regiment to North America and participated in the Battle of Bladensburg and the capture of Washington; then accompanied the regiment south to New Orleans. The 4th sustained heavy losses against Andrew Jackson and half their number perished in the disease-ridden Louisiana everglades. Francis was one of the yellow fever causalities and he remained sick in hospital in North America while his regiment proceeded to Waterloo. He rejoined them in France early in 1816 as part of the British army of occupation. In 1819 he went with the army to the West Indies for eight years, then returned to England.

In February 1832, as a guard on board the convict ship Catherine Stewart Forbes, which was recorded as the worst cholera-affected vessel among the convict ships at the time, Corporal Francis Smith sailed from London for NSW. The voyage took 170 days during which he was subject to a court martial for a military offence that brought him one month's hard labour and reduction to Private. He stepped ashore at Port Jackson on 15 August 1832.

Private Henry Watts, of the Light Company 4th Foot, painted in spring 1831 before his departure for Australia. The inscription reads:

“Henry Watts, 4th King’s Own, Lions of England, Dear Parents

when you see this remember me

And bear me in your mind When i am far in a Foreign Clime.”

Private Smith would have worn a similar uniform.

Image courtesy of Kings Own Museum

Following short terms of duty at Sydney, Parramatta, Windsor and Liverpool, Francis was detached as a guard of iron-gangs at Mount Victoria. He then went to Cox's River for two years, followed by Emu Plains, Seventeen Mile Hollow and Springwood. At one stage he camped with a detachment of 50 men of the King's Own, in what is known as the King's Cave near Linden. By now he was a Lance Corporal. His daughter Isabella was born at Parramatta in January 1833 while Francis was at Cox's River, and he had to wait six months for leave to attend her baptism.

Francis Smith arrived in Springwood in January 1836 to take up duties at the Military Stockade on the Western Road. The Springwood Stockade maintained a line of communication to Bathurst, provided protection from escaped convicts for travellers and was a supply point for iron-gangs working in the district. With a compliment of six soldiers, it had been in continuous use since its establishment after Governor Macquarie camped near the site in 1815. The comfortable barrack comprised a substantial slab hut with a shingled roof, stone chimneys and board floors. There were three bedrooms, a sitting room, pantry, store room, a detached kitchen with an immense fireplace, and a stable. It also had an enclosed garden and a good supply of water.
In this setting, many years before lawful settlement was permitted in the district, Francis Smith completed a most adventurous life. There is no record of a cause of his death, but he died at the Springwood Stockade and was buried in the bush close by.

The inscription on the Georgian style headstone reads:

Sacred to the
Francis Smith
who died May 5th, A.D.
aged 43 years
having served for 25 years
as a soldier in
H.M. 4th The King’s Own

At the time of his death, Private Smith was survived by his wife, Isabella, and his daughter, also named Isabella, who was born in Sydney and was three when her father died. Following her husband’s death, Isabella received a gratuity of ₤4/8/2 ½ and settled in Parramatta with their daughter, where in 1840 she married labourer George Ross. She died a grandmother, aged 68 at Sydney in 1865.

In 1848 aged just 15, the young Isabella married Joseph Lapworth, a ticket-of-leave convict. There was one child, Sarah Jane. Isabella died aged 39, also a grandmother, at Sydney in 1872.

In 1869 Sarah Jane Lapworth married Theodore Dubber, an immigrant from Wiltshire. They produced five sons and a daughter, whose descendants live throughout Australia to-day.

Private Smith’s grave was relocated from the Stockade site after the Springwood Cemetery was opened in 1886. His headstone gives the misleading impression that Springwood Cemetery is much older than it actually is. Unfortunately the headstone has been vandalised and parts of it are no longer legible.

This image is of the regimental badge for the Kings Own Regiment,

taken from an officer’s belt plate issued during the time

the regiment had units garrisoned in the colony of NSW.

Image courtesy if Kings Own Museum

On Saturday 5th May, 1990, in a small park at the front of the Springwood Civic Centre, a plaque was unveiled by Brigadier D. J. McLachlan, Commander of the 2nd Military District, Australian Army. He was assisted by 15 month old Nathan Dubber of Tweed Heads, Francis Smith's youngest direct descendent.

Note: Francis Smith’s grave is not the earliest known European burial in the Blue Mountains. That honour belongs to the convict Edgar Church who was buried on Pulpit Hill at Katoomba in June 1822, aged 27 years.

One year later than the grave of Francis Smith is that of the Irish convict John Donohoe who worked in an iron gang under the supervision of the 4th Kings Own Regt. and was buried in June 1837, aged 58, near to King’s Cave at Linden; it is therefore almost certain that the two men were known to each other.

1. Blue Mountains City Library, Local Studies Collection PF258, undated photo from Stan Bentley, Springwood Historical Society Research Officer 1981-1987.
2., 3.  Images courtesy of:

* The Making of a Mountain Community, Springwood Historians 2003
* Smith, Francis. Vertical file, Blue Mountains City Library, Local Studies collection.
* Springwood's Solitary Soldier. Bob Grady, 1988

Note: This article is now linked from a QR code at the grave site at Springwod Cemetery.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Aviators and the Blue Mountains

In the age of pioneer aviation between the two world wars, flyers were the superstars of their time; and among them were a number of Australian and British flyers who became international as well as local heroes. Three local parks in Katoomba were named after aviators, some toured the Blue Mountains to rapturous acclaim and other place names serve as memorials.


Bert Hinkler outside Springwood School of Arts 1928

Hinkler Park, Katoomba

Hon. Squadron Leader Herbert John Louis Hinkler AFC DSM (8 December 1892 – 7 January 1933) - better known as Bert Hinkler, was a pioneer Australian aviator (dubbed "the Australian Lone Eagle"), inventor, first person to fly solo from England to Australia, and the first person to fly solo across the Southern Atlantic Ocean.

Hinkler was born in Bundaberg, Queensland, the son of a Prussian-born stockman. In his early life, Hinkler constructed and flew two gliders on beaches near his hometown. He became mechanic to Arthur Burr Stone, whom Bert met at a travelling show in Bundaberg and again at the Brisbane Ekka where Hinkler solved another problem with Stone's infamous "Bleriot" monoplane. In 1913, Hinkler went to England where he worked for the Sopwith Aviation Company, the beginning of Hinkler's career in aviation.

During the First World War, Hinkler served with the Royal Naval Air Service as a gunner/observer in Belgium and France, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. In 1918 Hinkler was posted to No. 28 Squadron RAF with which he served as a pilot in Italy.

Hinkler was an "exceptional mathematician and inventor" and "made a lot of aviation instruments which were in use up until the Second World War." For example, "one was a gadget to correct drift as airplanes fly a little bit on their side, not straight ahead." Furthermore, "In WWI, Hinkler invented a machine gun adaptor for air gunners. Back then, when the biplanes were flying upside down in combat, the hot, ejected shells would fall and burn the chest of the gunners as they fired. Hinkler's invention had the ejected shells all flying off to one side instead."

Hinkler flew the first solo flight between England and Australia, departing England on 7 February 1928 and arriving in Darwin on 22 February 1928 and back in his home town of Bundaberg on 27 February 1928. This reduced the England-Australia record from 28 days to just under 15½ days. The aircraft used was an Avro Avian, registration G-EBOV. The flight was little noticed before Hinkler reached India but then media interest intensified. One paper nicknamed the flyer "Hustling Hinkler" and he was the subject of the Tin Pan Alley song ‘Hustling Hinkler Up in the Sky’. For the flights in 1920 and 1928 Hinkler had already won two Britannia trophies and the gold medal of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.

Hinkler is quoted as telling the Australian Prime Minister Stanley Bruce at this time: “You know, one day, people will fly by night and use the daylight for sightseeing.” (In 1998 Australian Lang Kidby recreated this flight in a similar 1927 Avro Avian). He was invited by the Speaker of the House of Representatives to be seated on the floor of the House in recognition of his achievement. The next time such an invitation was extended was in 1973, to Patrick White, who declined.[6] After visiting the principal cities of Australia and returning to England, he was awarded the Air Cross for the finest aerial exploit of the year.

The Federal electorate of Hinkler, in Queensland, is named after him. In 1978 he was honoured on a postage stamp depicting his portrait issued by Australia Post. In 1983, "Mon Repos", Bert Hinkler's English home, was saved from demolition and relocated to the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens, serving as a historical museum in his honour until 2008.

On 8 December 2008, the $7.5M Hinkler Hall of Aviation was opened to the public in Hinkler's home town of Bundaberg. Adjacent to "Mon Repos", the hall continues in the role the house played as a historic museum dedicated to the memory of Hinkler; this has allowed the house to be refurbished to a more domestic state and now serves as a joint attraction with the Hall of Aviation.

Originally called Lurline St Park, it was renamed about 1935 after a suggestion by Katoomba alderman William Soper. Blackberries were removed, playground equipment installed and it was opened by Burt’s mother in 1934.


Melrose Park, Katoomba

Charles James (Jimmy) Melrose (1913-36) was born on 13 September 1913 at Burnside, Adelaide. Jimmy purchased a DH Puss Moth fitted with a powerful 120 horsepower (89 kW) Gipsy Major engine. He named the plane 'My Hildergarde' and in August 1934 flew 8000 miles (12,875 km) solo around Australia, reducing the previous record by almost two days, to 5 days, 10 hours, 57 minutes. A skilful and courageous natural flyer, Melrose was tall, flaxen haired and blue eyed; while conforming to the popular ideal of a hero, he avoided lionization. He exercised seriously, swimming at Glenelg where he and his mother lived; he kept early hours, neither smoked nor drank alcohol and ate 'Oslo' lunches.

On his twenty-first birthday he left Parafield, Adelaide in the Puss Moth for England, reaching Croydon in a record 8 days, 9 hours. At Mildenhall he joined the Melbourne Centenary Air Race as the youngest entrant and, in spite of an emergency landing at Darwin, came second in the handicap and was the only solo flyer to finish. Awarded second prize of £500, he established a monoplane fund for the Aero Club of South Australia. In October 1934 he set a South Australian altitude record over Gulf St Vincent; two months later he made the first non-stop Adelaide-Tasmania flight, followed by a record time from Launceston to Sydney.

In January 1935 Melrose studied navigation and blind flying in England at the Air Service Training Centre, Hambling; returning to Australia in a new Percival Gull, he joined in the unsuccessful search for Sir Charles Kingsford Smith. His first accident involved a forced landing at Penrose, New South Wales. On recovering from injuries he went to England, bought a five-seater Heston Phoenix monoplane, and in April 1936 used it on a goodwill flight home to publicize South Australia's centenary; a crowd of 8000 greeted him at Parafield. Later he started air taxi work, once flying the premier to a country meeting.

On 5 July 1936 Jimmy began a charter flight from Melbourne to Darwin. Over South Melton, Victoria, in turbulent conditions with low visibility his Heston Phoenix broke up, killing both pilot and passenger, A. G. Campbell, DSO. The cause of the accident was established as structural failure. Australians joined Prime Minister Joseph Lyons, in mourning their 'chivalrous young knight of the air'. Funeral services were held simultaneously in Melbourne's and Adelaide's Anglican cathedrals. Schoolchildren lined the route from St Paul's to Springvale necropolis, as planes circled overhead. In Adelaide both Houses of parliament suspended their sittings and St Peter's Cathedral was packed, mainly with women, who had idolized Jimmy. Three Royal Aero Club Moths flew over as the service ended. Jimmy was 22 years old.

Melrose Park between Camp and Fitzgerald streets in North Katoomba was reserved in 1883 and named after the aviator in 1936.


Kingsford Smith Park, Katoomba 

Sir Charles Edward Kingsford Smith MC, AFC (9 February 1897 – 8 November 1935), called Charles Kingsford Smith, or by his nickname Smithy, was a well-known Australian aviator. In 1928, he made the first trans-Pacific flight from the United States to Australia. He also made the first non-stop crossing of the Australian mainland, the first flights between Australia and New Zealand, and the first eastward Pacific crossing from Australia to the United States. He also made a flight from Australia to London, and set a new record of 10.5 days.

This area was originally known as Hudson’s Gully when Katoomba Council resumed the land in 1935. After removal of the blackberries and rubbish, it was landscaped, according to a plan drawn up a Mr Kerr of the Sydney Botanical Gardens. The labour force was composed of men on unemployment relief and the stone for the many retaining walls was carted in from the surrounding bushland.

The first name given to the park in 1935 was Jubilee Park, for the Silver Jubilee of King George V. This however was changed only a year later to Kingsford Smith Memorial Park and Playground, in honour of the pioneer Australian aviator.

In 1928, Kingsford Smith, in the aircraft Southern Cross, with co-pilot Charles Ulm, Harry Lyon and James Warner, had made the first trans-pacific flight from San Francisco to Brisbane, with refuelling stops at Hawaii and Fiji. Leaving Oakland Field on 31 May, they crossed the coast over Ballina at dawn on 8 June and turned north along the coast for Brisbane to refuel.

They then flew south to Sydney on the same day, where they were welcomed by a crowd of 300,000 people. Smith and Ulm had spent over 83 hours in the air in an open cockpit, lashed by storms, without sleep and deafened by the engine noise. On 8 November 1935, Smithy, at the age of only 38, crashed and died in the Bay of Bengal while making an attempt on the England-Australia speed record, only the nose wheel of his plane was ever recovered.

On 7 March 1938, Lord Wakehurst, Governor of NSW, dedicated the entrance pavilion with a slate plaque, the lintel bearing the words ‘Kingsford Smith Memorial Park’. This was topped with a hemispherical metal dome showing a relief map of Australia, with a two foot scale model of Southern Cross, constructed by Mr Evan Cork of Randwick, mounted above it. In 1939 Katoomba Council constructed the band rotunda and public lavatories at a cost of ₤329 in time for the official opening on 1 January 1940, by the Hon. L. O. Martin, KCMG, Minister for Works and Local Government, a brass plaque on the pavilion commemorates this.

The park is one of many memorials to this courageous pioneer aviator, an unparalleled breaker of long-distance records, a trailblazer and remarkable visionary, and a man who could drink a glass of beer while standing on his head.

The inaugural Carols by Candlelight were held 8.00 pm to midnight on Christmas Eve 1947, under the auspices of radio station 2GB with proceeds going to Blue Mountains Hospital. By then the park had an ornamental pond and a children’s playground.

Over the next 40 years, the park gradually fell into disuse and disrepair until local residents began to lobby Council to fund improvements and maintenance. In July 1987 high winds tore the dome from its base on the entry pavilion; it was repaired and replaced in December. At the same time an aluminium sheet profile of Southern Cross replaced the scale model, which had been vandalised and removed some years before.

In 1991 a Friends of KSP group was formed and a Carnivale and parade were staged. Restoration of the gardens and rotunda was commenced in 1993, and since the inception of the Winter Magic Festival in 1994 and the Blue Mountains Music Festival in 1996, it has regained much of its earlier popularity as a music venue and picnic spot, weather permitting.

In 1998, a landslip caused by a leaking water main resulted in extensive damage, and a $300,000 repair bill. Around this time, there were also numerous complaints from nearby residents, of anti-social behaviour and drug dealing in the park, which were addressed with tree and foliage thinning, security lighting and police patrols.

In 2001 the entry pavilion became unstable and was dismantled and re-erected on new foundations and reinforced pillars with a rebuilt retaining wall.


Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson CBE, (1 July 1903 – 5 January 1941) was a pioneering English aviator. Flying solo or with her husband, Jim Mollison, Johnson set numerous long-distance records during the 1930s. Johnson flew in the Second World War as a part of the Air Transport Auxiliary where she died during a ferry flight.

Also flew in the 1934 MacRobertson Trophy Air Race accompanied by her husband Jim Mollison in a DH.88 Comet ‘Black Magic’. From Karachi, Mollison lost his way, and landed at Jubulpur. No high-octane fuel available, filled up with petrol. Engines "burned out" on flight to Allahabad.

Johnson achieved worldwide recognition when, in 1930, she became the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia. Flying her ‘Jason’ Gipsy Moth, she left Croydon, south of London, on 5 May of that year and landed in Darwin, Australia on 24 May after flying 11,000 miles (18,000 km). Her aircraft for this flight can still be seen in the Science Museum in London. She received the Harmon Trophy as well as a CBE in recognition of this achievement, and was also honoured with the No. 1 civil pilot's licence under Australia's 1921 Air Navigation Regulations On 31 May 1930 the Blue Mountains Star newspaper reported the Katoomba Municipal Council discussion regarding a suitable response:

Katoomba’s Tribute
To Amy Johnson
Special Mayoral Minute

“In a special minute presented at Tuesday night’s Council meeting, Mayor A.E. Packer referred to the thrilling flight of the heroic English girl – Amy Johnson.

He also stated that Miss Johnson would pass through Katoomba on her way to Jenolan Caves.

Needless to say Mayor Packer is taking every step to get Miss Johnson to break her trip at Katoomba, for a civic welcome.

When the minute was being dealt with Ald. Bailey contended that Katoomba should ask Blackheath and B.M. Shire to join forces and give ‘our famous Johnny’ a rousing, united welcome.”

However it was decided to leave the matter in the hands of the Mayor. The minute was as follows:

“England – Australia Air Flight

On behalf of the citizens of this municipality, I forwarded to Miss Amy Johnson, a telegram of welcome to Australia and congratulating her on her great feat.

This unique performance, which might easily have eclipsed Hinkler’s wonderful record, has won for Miss Johnson the unstinted admiration of us all.”

The civic welcome did not eventuate but press articles continued:

Amy Johnson
Photographers Have Hard Time

“Photographers have had a hard time at Mascot, trying to keep their cameras still whilst photographing our Johnnie amidst the surging crowds of 50 to 60 thousand.

One in particular was very unlucky, his ladder broke and he had a forced landing.

How many private photographers will have the same trouble when the ‘Lone Flyer’ comes through Katoomba?

Let us live in the hope that she will prolong her stay in Katoomba.”

Blue Mountains Star, 14 June, 1930 

Death of a Flyer

On 5 January 1941, while flying an Airspeed Oxford for the Air Transport Auxiliary from Blackpool to RAF Kidlington near Oxford, Johnson went off course in adverse weather conditions. Reportedly out of fuel, she drowned after bailing out into the Thames Estuary. Although she was seen alive in the water, a rescue attempt failed and her body was never recovered. The incident also led to the death of her would-be rescuer, Lt Cmdr Walter Fletcher of HMS Haslemere.

In 1999 it was reported that Tom Mitchell, from Crowborough, Sussex, claimed to have shot the heroine down when she twice failed to give the correct identification code during the flight. He said: "The reason Amy was shot down was because she gave the wrong colour of the day [a signal to identify aircraft known by all British forces] over radio." Mr. Mitchell explained how the aircraft was sighted and contacted by radio. A request was made for the signal. She gave the wrong one twice. "Sixteen rounds of shells were fired and the plane dived into the Thames Estuary. We all thought it was an enemy plane until the next day when we read the papers and discovered it was Amy. The officers told us never to tell anyone what happened."



Ross Smith

Sir Ross Macpherson Smith KBE, MC & Bar, DFC & Two Bars, AFC (4 December 1892 – 13 April 1922) was an Australian aviator, who, along with his brother, Sir Keith Macpherson Smith, became the first pilots to fly from England to Australia, in 1919.

His father migrated to Western Australia from Scotland and became a pastoralist in South Australia. His mother was born in Western Australia, the daughter of a pioneer from Scotland. The boys boarded in Adelaide, at Queen's School and for two years, in Scotland.

He enlisted in 1914 in the 3rd Light Horse Regiment, landing at Gallipoli 13 May 1915. In 1917, he volunteered for the Australian Flying Corps. He was later twice awarded the Military Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross three times, becoming and air ace with 11 confirmed aerial victories.

In 1919, with his brother Keith, Sergeant Jim Bennett and Sergeant Wally Shiers, flew from Hounslow, England, on 12 November 1919 in a Vickers Vimy, eventually landing in Darwin Australia on 10 December, taking less than 28 days, with actual flying time of 135 hours. The four men shared the £10,000 prize money put forward by the Australian government.

Ross Smith was killed, along with recently commissioned Lieutenant Bennett, while testing a Vickers Viking amphibian aircraft which crashed in Byfleet soon after taking off from Brooklands on 13 April 1922. The bodies were transported to Australia and Smith was given a state funeral and later buried on 15th June at the North Road Cemetery, Adelaide.

The great Australian cricketer Keith Ross Miller was named after Smith and his brother.

Ross Smith visited Katoomba in 1920 and was afforded a civic welcome in front of a large crowd at the top of Katoomba Street, near the site of the present roundabout and former railway crossing.


Wirraway Ridge, Wirraway Hill, Aeroplane Hills

Two small hills and a ridgeline located 3.2 km southwest of Hazelbrook, accessed via Kings Tableland and Ingar Picnic area. It was named after the Wirraway trainer which crashed on this ridge line in heavy fog on 1st August 1940, killing Pilot Officer Harry Thomas Hopgood and Sergeant Vincent Charles Monterola. The wing struts and fuselage still remain at the crash site.


The Avro Anson crash at Glenbrook

At approximately 4.30pm on 28 January 1941 an Avro Anson aircraft number N4-5 from RAAF No. 1 Air Navigation School, Parkes, crashed on the corner of Lucasville Road and Clifton Avenue, Glenbrook. The aircraft was on a medical evacuation mission from Parkes to Mascot, transporting a patient.

All persons on board were killed. They were:

 •Pilot Officer John Ignatious Newman (Pilot)
 •Flying Officer Henry Theodore Skillman (Navigator)
 •Aircraftman Charles Richard Tysoe (Wireless Operator)
 •Squadron Leader James N. Rainbow (Medical Officer)
 •Pilot Officer Bailey Middlebrook Sawyer (Patient)
There is a memorial plaque in Clifton Ave. Glenbrook.

John Harper of Glastonbury, Connecticut, USA, recently contacted me regarding the Avro Anson crash and supplied the following information, thanks John:
Bailey Sawyer was an American (born in 1905) who enlisted in the Australian RAF. He had taken his schooner Henrietta to Australia in 1938 and it got wrecked off Point Cook, Port Phillip on September 28, 1940 . Then he enlisted in the Australian RAF. His ashes were scattered over the wreck site. 
Images from top:
1. Hinkler Park, the Children's Paradise, photo by Hary Phillips c.1930, Blue Mountains City Library
2. Hinkler Park, Katoomba, photo by Wal Green 1938, Blue Mountains City Library
3. Bert Hinkler outside Springwood School of Arts 1928, Blue Mountains City Library SHS79
4. Jimmy Melrose, State Library of South Australia: B12725
5. Kingsford Smith Park, entrance pavillion, photo by 'Wal Green 1938, Blue Mountains City Library
6. Kingsford Smith Park, rotunda, photo by Wal Green 1939, Blue Mountains City Library
7. Amy Johnson, 
8. Sir Ross Smith at Katoomba, Blue Mountains City Library
9. Ross Smith over the Three Sisters, 14/2/1920, postcard photo by E. Gordon Garrett, Katoomba, Blue Mountains City Library - this may be a photo montage.

John Merriman, Local Studies Librarian,
2013 Blue Mountains City Library

Monday, November 5, 2012

Newspapers of The Blue Mountains

The Newspapers of The Blue Mountains

A Guide to the Holdings of the Blue Mountains City Library


The following list has been compiled by the Local Studies Librarian, Blue Mountains City Library.

The newspapers are listed in a roughly chronological order. The accompanying historical information has been obtained principally from the newspapers themselves and from a paper, Blue Mountains Newspapers by J. Ralph Bennett, first published by the Blue Mountains Historical Society in February 1952, extended and read to the Springwood Historical Society in March 1973 and later published in a revised form in Old Leura and Katoomba (Rotary Club of Katoomba, 1981). The Gazetteer of NSW Country Newspapers (on computer data base at UWS Nepean) compiled by Nightingale and Liston from newspaper registration files held by the Archives Authority of NSW was also a valuable reference against which to check information. Rod Kirkpatrick of the Department of Journalism, University of Queensland, Jim Smith of Wentworth Falls, Gwen Silvey and Alan Tierney of the Blue Mountains Historical Society and Reg Baumgarten and Ron Brazier of the Mount Victoria & District Historical Society also contributed significant information.

The list excludes tourist newspapers, ie. newspapers aimed exclusively at tourists.

Where a long run of a newspaper is indicated as being held, there may still be some individual issues missing. These are generally indicated on the microfilm at the beginning of each reel.

Where particular issues and runs not included in the Blue Mountains City Library’s collection are known to be held by other organisations, this has been indicated.

Note : A full duplicate set of our newspapers on microfilm is held by the State Library of NSW, search their catalogue - 

From July 2015, surviving newspapers published before 1954 will be available in digitised form, check their availability at - Trove  

The Nepean Times (Penrith), The Lithgow Mercury and The Clarion (Lithgow), though based outside the Blue Mountains, contain much relevant material. The Blue Mountains City Library holds The Nepean Times (3 March 1882 to 29 November 1962) and The Lithgow Mercury (4 January 1901 to 31 December 1964) on microfilm. The Clarion (1932-1974) is held by the Lithgow Regional Library. Runs of several other Penrith papers which circulated in the Lower Blue Mountains, including The Penrith Press (1952- ), The Nepean Herald (1968-1973), The Penrith District Star (1973-1986), The Penrith City Star (1987-1995) and The Fairfax Sun: Penrith Edition (1995- ), are held by Penrith City Library.

The Blue Mountains City Library would welcome donations of newspapers that fill gaps in our collection. Even single issues can be of great value to historians.

For further information, the Local Studies Librarian can be contacted at Springwood Library, phone: 02 4723 5044.


Blackheath Advertiser

Blackheath Beacon

Blackheath Bulletin

Blackheath Free Press

Blue Mountain Echo (1909-1939)

Blue Mountain Express

Blue Mountain Gazette

Blue Mountain Star

Blue Mountains Advertiser

Blue Mountains Courier

Blue Mountains Democrat

Blue Mountains Echo (1939)

Blue Mountains Echo (1981)

Blue Mountains Gazette

Blue Mountains-Lithgow District News

Blue Mountains News

Blue Mountains Times (1931)

Blue Mountains Times (1962)

Blue Mountains Weekender

Blue Mountains Whisper

Chronicle, The

Enterprise, The

Hospital Saturday News

Independent, The (1930)

Independent, The (1997)

Katoomba And District Weekly

Katoomba City News

Katoomba Daily

Katoomba Times

Lawson Post

Lower Mountains Circle

Mid-Mountains Village Views

Mid-Mountains Village Voice

Mountain Advertiser

Mountain Daily

Mountain Gazette

Mountains Messenger Magazine

Mountaineer, The

Observer, The

Record of the Blue Mountains

Smith’s Weekly Blue Mountains Section

Sporting Record

Springwood Sentinel

Upper Mountains News



According to Bennett the first newspaper on the Mountains was The Mountain Advertiser which, he says, appeared in the mid-1870s in Katoomba (or The Crushers as it was then known). No copies of this paper have survived and no other reference to it has been found.


In early 1889, the year Katoomba became a municipality, George W. Spring established The Katoomba Times which ran under his sole proprietorship until September 1890 when George P. C. Spring (Jun.) and J. Albert Southwood took over. Under a revamped banner the paper continued publication until 1894 when Spring and Southwood moved to South Australia. In October 1890 the paper relocated from its original office in Main Street “to more central premises, near The Carrington, and opposite the railway station.” It circulated between Hartley and Springwood.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds microfilm copies of The Katoomba Times covering the period 25 May 1889 - 15 June 1894 [1 reel].


In the early 1890s another newspaper, The Blue Mountain Express, was established in Katoomba by Walter Henry Bone and Mr Upton. No copies have survived, but in its short life it apparently passed through the hands of a number of proprietors and its relationship with its competitor, The Katoomba Times, appears to have been less than friendly. It ceased publication at the end of July 1892 and the editors of the Times marked its passing with a satirical obituary.


In September 1894 Robert Moss, said by Bennett to have been the proprietor of the earlier Advertiser, began publishing The Mountaineer in Main Street Katoomba (near the Family Hotel). The paper circulated “throughout the Blue Mountain and Hartley Districts”. At the end of 1894 Moss sold the paper to Peter Giles Hart who remained its publisher until May 1904 when he passed it on to his brother-in-law John Knight. During Hart’s time as proprietor the business moved its premises from Main Street to Park Street. At the end of 1908 The Mountaineer was sold by Knight to a new public company, “The Mountaineer Printing and Publishing Company, Ltd.” , whose board of directors was made up of a number of well-known local businessmen. This company planned to publish a new paper “much enlarged of an entirely different character, and in keeping with the needs and requirements of the rapidly rising places on the Mountains.”

The Blue Mountains City Library holds microfilm copies of The Mountaineer covering the following periods:

Reel 1.

7 September 1894 - 28 August 1896.

Single copies: 18 June 1897; 22 June 1897; 18 March 1898.

6 January 1899 - 28 December 1900.

Reel 2.

4 January 1901 - 29 December 1905.

Single copies: 6 December 1907; 24 December 1908.

The Mount Victoria & District Historical Society holds in hard copy a 4 page supplement to the issue of 22 January 1897.

The Blue Mountains Historical Society holds the following single issues in hard copy: 9 November 1906; 16 October 1908 (incomplete); 25 December 1908 (incomplete).


Bennett mentions another paper he claims was operating in the 1890s - The Observer. However, no other references to it have been found and there are no copies extant.


In January 1903 The Blue Mountain Gazette was launched in Katoomba by E. D. Wilson who set up his business in Main Street. Twelve months later, in January 1904, Wilson sold his interest in the paper to Robert Gornall. Gornall sold to John Knight of The Mountaineer in December 1904 and transferred his printing plant “to a prosperous and rapidly rising mining and agricultural town in the north, where there is no newspaper.” The Gazette, which had circulated throughout the Blue Mountains and adjoining areas, was incorporated with The Mountaineer.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds microfilm copies of The Blue Mountain Gazette covering the period 9 January 1903 - 30 December 1904. [1 reel]


The first issue of The Blue Mountain Echo, circulating between Mount Victoria and Glenbrook, was published on 6 March 1909 under the management of James C. Hart for the Mountaineer Printing and Publishing Company at the Park Street premises of the old Mountaineer. Hart retired in February 1910, when Robert Villiers Smythe arrived from North Queensland to take charge. Smythe remained editor for almost the life of the paper, resigning as Managing Editor in November 1928 along with the Board of Directors of the Company. The new management closed the paper down with its issue of 28 December 1928 (Vol.39, No.82) and began publishing The Blue Mountain Star in January 1929.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds microfilm copies of The Blue Mountain Echo covering the period 6 March 1909 - 28 December 1928. [7 reels]

The library also holds in hard copy (3 volumes):

7 March 1913 - 26 February 1915.

7 March 1919 - 25 February 1921.

3 March 1922 - 23 February 1923.

In 1909-10 the mid-Mountains entered the newspaper scene with the appearance of The Lawson Post, published by Lawson businessman W .Lowden. It lasted six months (twenty-six issues) during which time, according to its proprietor, it had to contend with some belittling opposition from some sections of the community.

The only known surviving copy is No. 26 (16 April 1910), the last issue. This was located by Jim Smith in a second-hand book shop in Sydney and was re-published in facsimile by him in the mid-1980s. Facsimile copies are held in the Local Studies Collection.


In June 1913 a small newspaper called The Enterprise was begun in Katoomba. According to the Echo’s announcement of its birth, the paper “had been hatching for a considerable period as an advertising sheet.” (Echo, 13 June 1913). This explains the high numbering of the one issue known to have survived, a microfilm copy of which is held by the Blue Mountains City Library:

3 September 1913 (Vol.2. No.104).

This issue was “printed and published by W. Hickson, Proprietor, Katoomba Street, Katoomba”. the Echo says the proprietors were “Messrs Hickson and Millard”. It is not known when it ceased publication.


The Mountain Daily began publishing in 1919. Microfilm copies of only two issues are held by the Blue Mountains City Library:

26 July 1919.

7 February 1920.

The July 1919 issue was printed and published by Charles Gordon Buchanan at premises in Main Street, Katoomba. Buchanan had previously worked for the Echo. By February 1920 the paper was in the hands of J. M. Bennett.


The Blackheath Free Press probably began publication at the start of 1920. It circulated in Blackheath and Mount Victoria and was published and printed by J. M. Bennett at his Main Street, Katoomba, office. It is not known how long it survived.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds a poor photocopy of the third issue, 6 February 1920 (Vol.1, No.3), in its Local Studies Section. No other issues are known to exist.

By July 1922 The Blackheath Free Press had been incorporated into another newspaper, THE BLACKHEATH ADVERTISER. This paper was printed and published in Katoomba by John Charles Boden and circulated free throughout Medlow Bath, Blackheath, Megalong Valley, Mount Victoria, Bell, Mount Wilson and Hartley Vale. It is not known when it began or when it ceased publication.


Probably beginning in early 1920, this was a local section incorporated in the Sydney newspaper Smith’s Weekly. The latter was owned by Sir James Joynton Smith who had extensive business interests in the Blue Mountains. It is not known how long the local section survived and the library holds no copies.

The Blue Mountains Historical Society holds a hard copy of the issue of 31 January 1920.


It is possible that The Katoomba Daily grew out of The Mountain Daily (See Bennett’s paper). If this was so, the change had taken place by December 1920. It appears that the The Katoomba Daily was originally owned by the Smith’s Weekly Publishing Co. Ltd. and was printed and published by Robert Clyde Packer in North Sydney. By July 1924 the printing and publishing of the paper had moved to the Katoomba Daily Printing Works, Froma Lane, Katoomba, and was under the supervision of Austin Mays. Sydney Lochlan Ward (November 1924-?) and Edmund Joseph Collins (ca1927-?) are other editors/publishers mentioned during the 1920s.

Sometime in the late 1920s Blue Mountains Newspapers Ltd. began printing and publishing The Katoomba Daily at its office in the Echo Building, 23 Parke Street, Katoomba. From its issue of 21 July 1932 the Daily’s banner carried the addition: “With which is incorporated The Blue Mountain Echo, The Blue Mountain Star and Blackheath Bulletin”. By 1932 it was circulating between Lithgow and Penrith.

In 1939 the name of the paper was changed to THE BLUE MOUNTAINS DAILY (from the issue of 18 February) in recognition of its aim to meet “the publicity needs of all towns between Glenbrook and Mt. Victoria.” The new name proved to be a hint of greater changes to come and the paper closed with its issue of 9 May, 1939. The paper’s management issued a statement to the effect that it felt “that the rapid expansion of the Blue Mountains district warrants a larger and better paper to minister to its needs.” In its place they launched The Blue Mountains Echo.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds microfilm copies of The Katoomba Daily / The Blue Mountains Daily covering the following periods:

1920 - 1931 [1 reel]. VERY incomplete !! Other than for the period July-December 1924, this is a collection of disparate single issues.

2 February 1932 - 9 May 1939 [4 reels].

The library also holds in hard copy:

3 July 1934 - 31 December 1938 (5 volumes).

The Mount Victoria & District Historical Society holds the following in hard copy:

2 April 1921 - 25 March 1922 (complete run of Saturday editions).

4 April 1921 - 30 July 1921 (complete run of Wednesday editions).

The Blue Mountains Historical Society holds the following single issues in hard copy: 16 April 1921; 14 May 1921; 7 February 1922; 30 May 1924; 1, 10, 24 March 1928; 18 April 1928; 8 May 1928; 18 August 1928; 28 September 1928; 16 July 1929 (damaged); 18 February 1930; 29 November 1930; 10 December 1930; 8 December 1931.


The Record began in August 1921 as The Catholic News of the Blue Mountains, a monthly published by the Katoomba Catholic Club. Outgrowing its role as a parish bulletin and widening its appeal to include the non-Catholic community, the name was changed from July 1922 (Vol.1, No. 12). By July 1923 it had achieved a circulation of 6,000 readers between Bathurst and Sydney. While its editors included M. Curran, John F. Ryan and Bruce Milliss, the driving force behind The Record was the colourful and eccentric Katoomba parish priest, Father St. Clair Joseph Bridge. Financial difficulties and pressure from the Church hierarchy to concentrate on parish affairs eventually forced Bridge to close The Record ca.1924. Though registered as a newspaper, The Record was, and saw itself as, more a magazine than a newspaper. In his autobiography, Serpent’s Tooth, Milliss’ son Roger describes the journal as consisting of “a minimum of low-key Catholic propaganda and a mass of inoffensive general features aimed to attract a broader readership and quell the prejudice of likely Protestant advertisers.”

he Blue Mountain City Library holds the following issues of The Record:

August 1921 - July 1923 (September 1921 missing). Hard copy.

February 1924. Hard copy and microfilm.


The first issue was published on 14 March 1924. It was printed and published by Frank Walford at The Cumberland Times Printing Works in Parramatta and distributed throughout Katoomba, Leura and Blackheath.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds a microfilm copy of only one issue: 23 May 1924.

The Blue Mountains Historical Society hold a hard copy of the issue for 14 March 1924.


The first issue of The Blue Mountain Star, successor to the Echo, appeared on Saturday, 5 January 1929, printed and published by the Blue Mountains Newspapers Ltd. at their office in Parke Street, Katoomba, under the editorship of Victor Yeoman Mathias. The paper reached issue No.6 of Vol.3 (7 February 1931) when the management informed readers “that circumstances have arisen, largely due to the present trade depression, which will compel it to suspend publication of the journal temporarily.” The Star did not reappear.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds microfilm copies of The Blue Mountain Star covering the period 5 January 1929 - 7 February 1931 [1 reel].


A paper known as The Blackheath Bulletin was published for a short period in the early 1920s (Vol.1, No.1 issued 1 May 1923) under the wing of The Blue Mountain Echo. No copies of this paper are held by the library. Jim Smith of Wentworth Falls, however, has a copy of the first issue in his collection. In 1929 it was resurrected by Blue Mountains Newspapers Ltd. and printed at The Star office in Katoomba. There seems to have been two distinct runs of this paper. The first, under the editorship of Victor Yeoman Mathias, appears to have been free and to have ceased publication by the end of 1929. The second, edited by W. E. Vincent, who had earlier been associated with the Echo’s Bulletin, began publication on 13 November 1930. Its thirteenth and final issue appeared on 5 February 1931. The offices of Vincent’s Bulletin were in “Oakdene”, Govetts Leap Road, Blackheath.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds microfilm copies of the following issues:

8 August 1929.

13 November 1930 - 5 February 1931. Issue No.8 (1 January 1931) is missing.


The Chronicle was published weekly by Joseph Bennett and Edmund Collins (late editor of The Katoomba Daily) at Bennett’s office and printery on the corner of Bathurst Road and Cascade Street, Katoomba. Beginning publication on Thursday 15 August 1929, it circulated in Katoomba, Blackheath and Leura for only nine issues. The editors spoke in their closing remarks of a “bitter campaign” waged against them from the start. The Katoomba Daily, it seems, lowered the cost of advertising to levels The Chronicle could not match.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds microfilm copies of the paper’s nine issues: 15 August 1929 - 10 October 1929.


Printed by Joseph Bennett and published for the Blue Mountains District Anzac Memorial Hospital Board by Charles Lawson Dash of Leura, this paper circulated throughout the Blue Mountains. When it began and when it ceased is unknown.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds a microfilm copy of one issue: 19 April 1930.


The Independent was owned, published and edited by Thomas Walter Guest and printed at the offices of Joseph Bennett & Son. It began publication on Wednesday 14 May 1930, appeared weekly and circulated through Katoomba, Blackheath and Leura. It appears to have survived for just under a year.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds on microfilm an almost complete run for the following period: 14 May 1930 - 5 March 1931.


Joseph Bennett & Son began publication of The Blackheath Beacon in November 1930. A local office and printery was opened in Blackheath on the corner of Hat Hill Road and Wentworth Street and the paper circulated through Blackheath, Medlow Bath, Mount Victoria and Hartley Vale. However, the Beacon proved not to be “a paying concern” and the local office closed in February 1931. The paper continued to be printed at Bennett’s Cascade Street office in Katoomba for another month or so but finally ceased publication with its twentieth issue on 27 March 1931.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds microfilm copies covering the period of the paper’s existence: 7 November 1930 - 27 March 1931.

Issues 1-8 (ie 7 November 1930 - 2 January 1931) are very badly damaged. The top half of each page has been torn off. Issue No.3 (21 November 1930) is missing. A facsimile copy of issue No.5 (5 December 1930) was published some years ago and a copy is held in the Blue Mountains City Library’s Local Studies Collection.


The first issue of The Blue Mountains Times appeared on Friday, 16 October 1931. It circulated from Mount Victoria to Hazelbrook/Woodford and was printed and published at the office of Joseph Bennett & Son in Cascade Street, Katoomba, for Lorin Grant Christie. From August 1937 Ralph Bennett is listed as the proprietor. (Bennett says the paper was taken over by the management of The Katoomba Daily, Blue Mountains Newspapers Ltd., and soon closed.)

The Blue Mountains City Library holds microfilm copies of The Blue Mountains Times covering the periods: 16 October 1931 - 16 February 1934

13 March 1936 - 12 November 1937

These are INCOMPLETE runs and are held on 1 reel.

The Blue Mountains Historical Society holds in hard copy the following single issues not included in the above runs: 23 September 1932; 19 May 1933; 25 August 1933; 23 November 1934; 28 June 1935.


Published by the Blue Mountains Daily Pty., Ltd., at its office in the Echo Building, 23 Parke Street, Katoomba, the first issue of the new Echo came out on Friday, 12 May 1939. Its banner carried the addendum “Formerly The Blue Mountains Daily”. It was published bi-weekly and, while it is not certain when it closed, its life was not a long one.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds microfilm copies of The Blue Mountains Echo covering the period 12 May 1939 - 17 October 1939 [1 reel].


The Advertiser was a weekly paper that began publication in 1939, though no early issues are extant. It was established by James Robert Wighton, a former compositor with the Daily, and Mr Cecil Thomas Roberts and the early issues were printed at Parramatta. From issue No.20 (19 January 1940), however, it was published by Wilfrid Mason and printed at the Daily office, 23 Parke Street, Katoomba. Its circulation encompassed virtually the whole of the Blue Mountains, from Glenbrook (and later Emu Plains) to Mount Victoria. In June 1942 Mason’s name disappeared from the paper and the publisher was listed simply as “Blue Mountains Daily Pty., Ltd.” Sometime during the period January - July 1948 the paper began to be printed in Parramatta again, at the office of Cumberland Newspapers. On 4 October 1948 The Advertiser moved to 134 Katoomba Street and the Parke Street office, after such a long newspaper history, was finally closed and the plant dispersed. From this date a succession of companies were listed as proprietors: “The Blue Mountain Advertiser Co. (to April 1949); “Blue Mountains Newspaper Co.” (to ca.1957); “Summit Newspapers” (from ca.1957 to October 1965). From October 1965 the Advertiser was printed and published by Cumberland Newspapers, Parramatta, with the local office remaining at 134 Katoomba Street, Katoomba.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds microfilm copies (12 reels) of The Blue Mountains Advertiser for the following periods:

Reels 1 - 4 Reels 5-12

19 January 1940. 3 August 1961.

1 March 1940. 3 January 1963 -25 May 1978.

1 July 1941 - 31 December 1947.

16 July 1948 - 30 December 1954.

The Blue Mountains Historical Society holds in hard copy the following single issues: 5, 26 January 1940; 2, 9, 16, 23 February 1940; 8, 15 March 1940; 6 October 1955; 25 February 1960 (incomplete).

The Mount Victoria & District Historical Society holds in hard copy the following single issues: 11 January 1962; 17 May 1962; 28 June 1962.


No copies of the News have survived, though Bennett says it was first published in July 1947 by Leslie John Hanks. By March 1949 it appears to have been taken over by Cumberland Newspapers and published in tandem with The Blue Mountains Advertiser - the News early in the week, the Advertiser at the end of the week. How long this went on is unknown. It circulated between Springwood and Mount Victoria.


Bennett says that this short-lived sporting paper was founded ca1948 by Adrian Twigg, formerly the local (Katoomba) representative of The Blue Mountains Advertiser. No copies have survived.


The Courier was another weekly newspaper which appears to have begun publication ca1947, though copies of early issues have not survived. It was established, according to Bennett, by Frederick George Carden of Springwood and it is his name that appears on the earliest issue extant (16 September 1948, Vol.2, No.29). The paper was printed in Sydney by Gowans & Giltrow. Carden eventually sold the paper (ca1950) to a journalist, Marjorie Plunkett, who published it until 1951. By May 1951 the Courier was in the hands of H. P. Mitchell. It changed owners again in 1953 when James Arthur Mahoney took the helm and set up his own printing plant, including a flatbed press, linotype machine and composing facilities, in the garage of his home in Wentworth Falls. By October 1955 he had moved the plant to Froma Lane in Katoomba, using premises at the rear of the Carrington Hotel. Mahoney sold the Courier to Keith Leonard Newman in December 1959. Sometime between July 1960 and August 1961 Newman sold to Cumberland Newspapers and the Courier was incorporated into its long-time competitor, The Blue Mountains Advertiser.

Circulation of the paper was originally from Glenbrook to Blackheath, expanding in a few years to include the region between Emu Plains and Hartley Vale and eventually also taking in St. Marys and Penrith.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds microfilm copies (1 reel) of the Courier covering the following periods:

16 September 1948.

24 May 1951.

18 February 1954.

4 August 1955 - 12 January 1956.

7 June 1956 - 14 July 1960.

The Blue Mountains Historical Society holds the following single issues in hard copy: 11 October 1951; 19, 26 January 1956; 2, 9, 16, 23 February 1956; 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 March 1956; 5, 12, 19, 26 April 1956.


The first issue of the Sentinel was published on 3 December 1959. It was a weekly newspaper designed to cater for and promote the Lower Blue Mountains (Linden to Glenbrook). Printed in Parramatta by Cumberland Newspapers for the proprietors, Norpress Pty. Ltd., its local office was situated at 154A Bathurst Road, Springwood. According to Bennett, the paper lasted only a few months before it was incorporated in The Blue Mountains Advertiser.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds a hard copy and a microfilm copy of: the issue for 3 December 1959 (Vol.1, No.1).


According to Bennett the Democrat was founded by a Medlow Bath saw miller with an interest in politics, Leslie Cant. The first issue appeared on 19 April 1961. Its office was located at 190 Katoomba Street, Katoomba, and it was printed and published by Bushell Press Pty. Ltd. Its banner carried the addendum: “A Co-operative Voice of the People for Community Benefit / ‘By the people, for the people, that Freedom shall not perish in this land’.” While it appears that the life of this weekly newspaper was not long, it is not known exactly when it closed.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds a microfilm copy of the issue for 19 April 1961 (Vol.1, No.1).


The first issue of the News appeared on 17 December 1968. It was edited by Tony Marinato and published for the Blue Mountains Tourist Centre, 216 Katoomba Street, Katoomba. Initially the paper circulated between Hazelbrook and Mount Victoria (including Megalong Valley) but, by June 1969 its area had expanded to include Springwood and Hartley. How long it survived for is unknown. Appears to have changed its name to THE BLUE MOUNTAINS-LITHGOW DISTRICT NEWS ca.1969/70.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds microfilm copies for the period 17 December 1968 - 24 June 1969.

The Mount Victoria & District Historical Society holds hard copies of issues of The Blue Mountains-Lithgow District News for: 3 September 1970; 17 September 1970; 1 October 1970.


Bennett records that a Katoomba businessman, Ian David Hawke, began publishing a paper called The Katoomba Times in January 1962. Nightingale & Liston, drawing their information from newspaper registration records, list the paper as The Blue Mountains Times. It lasted only four issues and no copies appear to have survived.


The Circle began publication in 1962. It was published by Michael Edward and Anne Ticehurst of Faulconbridge. In October 1965 it was incorporated into The Mountain Gazette. No issues of this paper are available.


The Mountain Gazette was begun in 1963 by a partnership of three men, Mr Barden (a printer), Mr J. M. Powell (a local businessman and alderman) and Mr H. Ragen (the first editor), under the name of BPR Printers, Springwood. When Bardon and Powell resigned their directorships Ragen recruited Mr T. Booker (one of the paper’s compositors), Mr B. Woolveridge (a printer) and Mr M. Ticehurst (the editor and proprietor of the rival Circle). The life of BPR printers was not a settled one. Following the resignation of Ragen and Woolveridge the company went into voluntary liquidation. Ticehurst and Booker were subsequently backed by Hawkesbury Newspapers and formed a new company, Mountain Press. The first issue of the Gazette for the new owners was published on 25 August 1966. Despite the troubles and the change in ownership their was no break in publication. From 1963 to 1970 the Gazette’s office was in the basement of 210 Bathurst Road, Springwood. In 1970 the address changed to 218 Macquarie Road and, in 1977, the paper moved into its present premises at 274 Macquarie Road, Springwood. The paper was set up at Springwood and printed by Hawkesbury Newspapers at Windsor until that company sold out to Rural Press in 1982. Rural Press now own a major share in Mountain Press and continue to print the paper at North Richmond. The Mountain Gazette changed its name to THE BLUE MOUNTAINS GAZETTE from its issue of 15 August 1979. Its circulation has always been throughout the whole of the Blue Mountains area.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds the following:

17 March 1966 - 17 December 1969 (Hard copy).

7 January 1970 + (Microfilm and hard copy.) The Gazette is still publishing. Issues are held in hard copy until microfilmed. [Microfilming occurs every three months.]


Edited by Tony Marinato for the Blue Mountains Regional Tourist Association, this paper was possibly a successor to The Blue Mountains-Lithgow District News. It circulated throughout the Blue Mountains.

The only issue extant is that for 23 June 1972 (Vol.2, No.23), held in hard copy by the Blue Mountains Historical Society.


A small community news and tourist newspaper folded in magazine format. It was published by Mountain Studio (photographers and printers) at 5 Leichhardt Street, Katoomba and appears to have circulated from Mount Victoria to Hazelbrook. How long it survived is unknown.

The first two issues, 21 December 1978 & 17 January 1979 are held in hard copy by the Blue Mountains City Library.


The first issue of the Echo appeared, as an independent weekly, on 7 April 1981, under the editorship of Terence Cunningham. It circulated throughout the Blue Mountains and, by May 1981, had included Lithgow. The paper’s first publisher was a company known as Periot, with an office at 2/92 Katoomba Street, Katoomba (later, in 1982, moved to Froma Lane). For the first couple of years the Echo was printed in various places, including Orange (by Western Newspapers Ltd. at the office of The Central Western Daily), Maroubra and Parramatta. During (probably towards the end) of 1985 the printing and publishing of the paper moved to Manly and the office of The Manly Daily. The local office moved to 202 Katoomba Street in 1985. In June 1987 the publisher became Rural Press and the paper was printed and published at North Richmond until its final issue of 27 June 1989. About 1988 the Katoomba Office moved a final time to 88 Katoomba Street. Spencer Ratcliff was appointed Managing Editor in May 1985 and filled that position until January 1989. For the period February - June 1989 the Managing Editor was Douglas Hayman.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds microfilm copies for the period 7 April 1981 - 27 June 1989. [8 reels]


The Whisper, an independent monthly (occasionally bimonthly) with a satirical edge, began publication in November 1989. It was published in the upper Mountains by Mary Moody and Geoff Fanning, was printed by Spot Press in Marrickville and circulated throughout the Blue Mountains. Mary Moody was the editor. The last Whisper (No.16) appeared in September 1991, its demise linked to legal difficulties.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds a complete run in hard copy for the period November 1989 (No.1) - September 1991 (No.16).


The Weekender was launched in Katoomba in September 1991. Early publisher/editors were Nigel Wilson and Michael Lopez. It was published in Katoomba until November 1992 (issue 16) when it moved to the Lower Blue Mountains at Springwood/Faulconbridge. Here it was published and edited by Graham and Roslyn Reibelt. The Weekender moved back to Katoomba in February 1994 (from Vol.4, No.1) under the editorship of Keith Whiting. Initially, The Weekender was published monthly but, from issue 12, it came out fortnightly. After the first few issues the paper circulated free throughout the Mountains from Penrith to Mount Victoria and, by the end of its life, had extended its distribution to the Lithgow area. For most of its life the paper was published in a magazine format. However, from March 1993 (Vol.2, No.1) to November 1993 (Vol.3, No.5) it appeared in tabloid newspaper format. The Weekender began with a substantial component of community news and opinion, though its content was eventually dominated by leisure and lifestyle activities.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds the following issues in hard copy:

Vol.1, Nos.1-24, September/October 1991 - 20 March 1993.

Vol.2, Nos.1-12, 21 March 1993 - 4 September 1993.

Vol.3, Nos.1-10, 19 September 1993 - 12 February 1994. [No.2 is missing.]

Vol.4, Nos.1-23, 13 February 1994 - 31 December 1994.

Vol.5, Nos.1-25, 8 January 1995 - 30 December 1995. [No.9 is missing.]

Vol.6, Nos.1-10, 7 January 1996 - 25 May 1996. [No.2 is missing.]


This small, monthly, free community newspaper was published in Woodford by Jane Clements and Sharon Fray and edited by Jane Clements. Its aim was to foster a sense of community through informed news, issues and comment. Though it initially circulated from Winmalee to Lawson, by the early issues of Volume 2 it was being distributed between Valley Heights to Katoomba. The paper was published in magazine format up to Vol.1, No.3, after which it appeared as a tabloid newspaper. The first issue of this paper appeared under the title THE MID-MOUNTAINS VILLAGE VOICE and was numbered Vol.1, No.1. With the second issue the title was changed and the numbering re-started.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds a complete run of this paper in hard copy:

Vol.1, No.1, June 1996 [as The Mid-Mountains Village Voice.]

Vol.1, Nos.1-6, July 1996 - December 1996.

Vol.2, Nos.1-7, February 1997 - August 1997.


After circulating for three years in the Hawkesbury district as The Hawkesbury Independent, in September/October 1997 the publishers, Jemshaw Pty., Ltd. of South Windsor, produced companion editions for Penrith and the Blue Mountains. In November 1997 these three editions were combined into one regional edition, distributed free throughout the Hawkesbury, Penrith and Blue Mountains areas. Then, from the issue of July 1998, special editions for each of the three areas were again produced. The Independent is published monthly. Its content covers issues relevant to the three local government areas and feature articles of general and tourist interest.

The Blue Mountains City Library holds copies of all issues to date in hard copy:

September/October 1997 (Issue 1) +


The cover photograph was taken by Katoomba photographer Arthur Manning in the mid-1930s. It depicts the arrival in Katoomba of five young Leeton women who were cycling from their home town to Sydney. Also in the photograph are (L to R) Jack Maddock, reporter on The Blue Mountains Times, possibly Bill Coventry, Speedwell’s agent in Katoomba, Harry Drake, reporter on The Katoomba Daily, and Jim Tyley, lino operator and part-time reporter for The Katoomba Daily. The identity of the young boy is unknown.



BENNETT, Joseph Matthew. Moved his family to Katoomba ca.1918 and worked for a few weeks on "The Blue Mountains Echo" before taking a position with "The Mountain Daily". By February 1920 he had become the printer and publisher of that paper. Printed and published "The Blackheath Beacon" 1930-1931 and "The Blue Mountains Times" 1931-1937.

BENNETT, J. Ralph. Son of Joseph M. Took over much of the responsibility for running the family business (which included "The Blue Mountains Times") from about 1934 when his father became ill. In 1973 the Blue Mountains Historical Society published his booklet titled "Blue Mountains Newspapers" which has provided a wealth of useful information for later researchers.

BROOMHEAD, FRED. Was on the reporting staff of "The Blue Mountain Echo" for about two years (ca1912-13). Resigned in January 1914.

BUCHANAN, Charles Gordon. Was on the staff of "The Blue Mountain Echo" in its early years. By July 1919 he had become the printer and publisher of "The Mountain Daily".

CHRISTIE, Lorin Grant. Proprietor/publisher of "The Blue Mountains Times".

GORNALL, Robert. Purchased "The Blue Mountain Gazette" in January 1904. During his time in Katoomba he was closely involved with the Katoomba Town Band. He closed the paper in December 1904 and moved to Kurri Kurri where he founded the "Kurri Kurri Times" in January 1905. Bennett claims he was the founder of the mysterious "Observer".

HART, James Clarence. The first manager of "The Blue Mountain Echo". He retired in February 1910 because of "failing eyesight and other disabilities". He was to undergo an eye operation and then return to the paper in another capapcity. (?)

HART, Peter Giles. Born ca 1863. Had experience in the printing trade in Melbourne and Sydney. In January 1895 he purchased "The Mountaineer" from Robert Moss. After selling the paper to his brother-in-law John Knight in May 1904, Hart moved to Rylstone where he incorporated "The Rylstone Star" with "The Rylstone Express". He later returned (1907/8?) to the Blue Mountains and established the Federal Printing Works in The Mall, Leura. His wife, Rosanna, was a guesthouse proprietor ("Hurlstone" in The Mall, Leura). He died on 2 September 1946 and is buried in the Methodist section of Katoomba Cemetery.

HICKSON, W. Proprietor and publisher of "The Enterprise". He had earlier worked as a machinist on "The Blue Mountain Echo".

KNIGHT, Alfred E., younger brother of John Knight. At the time of his marriage to Annie Dunford of Bathurst in March 1910 he was foreman printer at "The Blue Mountain Echo".

KNIGHT, John. Born ...? The son of Rosanna and John (Sen.) who arrived in Katoomba in the early 1880s. Before purchasing "The Mountaineer" from Peter Hart in June 1904, he had been associated with the paper for about eight years, including a period as acting manager. He served his time as a printing apprentice in the "Mountaineer" office and also gained experience working in the Government Printing Office and a number of other establishments in Sydney. At the end of 1908 he disposed of the business to the newly floated "Mountaineer Printing and Publishing Company, Ltd." He then appears to have moved to Ryde. Bennett claims he was associated with the mysterious "Observer".

LOWDEN, W. Lawson businessman (auctioneer, real estate agent, photographer, publisher) who published the short-lived "Lawson Post" in 1909-10. In 1905 he published "The Official Guide to Lawson, Hazelbrook & Woodford", a tourist guidebook "profusely illustrated" with many of his own photographs.

MATHIAS, Victor Yeoman. Editor of "The Blue Mountain Star" 1929-1930.

MAHONEY, James Arthur. Formerly edited the rural weekly The Farmer and Settler, bought The Courier in 1953 which he published and edited until 1959. In 1960 he returned to rural journalism as sub-editor of The Land, where he stayed until his death in 1960. Source: James Mahoney (son) letter to BMG, 27 Feb, 2013.

MOSS, Robert. Born ca 1834. Possibly arrived in Katoomba during the 1880s when, according to Ralph Bennett, he started the first Blue Mountains newspaper, "The Mountain Advertiser". In September 1894 he began "The Mountaineer" from offices in Main Street, Katoomba. He sold the paper in January 1895 to Peter G. Hart. Moss and his wife, Isabella, ran a guesthouse ("The Pines" - now "St. Mount") in Blackheath. He died on 23 September 1906 and is buried in the Church of England Section of Blackheath Cemetery.

SMYTHE, Robert Villiers. Arrived from North Queensland to take over the editorship of "The Blue Mountains Echo" on the retirement of J.C.Hart in February 1910. He was editor until 1925(?). Married Ida Webb in 1916. He was an expert rifleman, a member of the Katoomba Rifle Club and a winner of the Blue Mountains Championship. Elected to the Katoomba Municipal Council ...? Served as Mayor in 1918 and 1919.

SOUTHWOOD, J. Albert. Took over "The Katoomba Times" in partnership with G.P.C. Spring in September 1890. In 1894 he moved with Spring to Kadina, South Australia, where they founded "The Plain Dealer".

SPRING, George P.C. The son of George William Spring. Born ...? With J.Albert Southwood he took over "The Katoomba Times" in September 1890 after his father's retirement. After he and his partner had closed the paper down in 1894, they moved to South Australia where they established "The Plain Dealer" in Kadina.

SPRING, George William. Founded "The Katoomba Times" in April 1889 in Main Street, Katoomba. He retired from the paper in September 1890, allowing his son George P.C.Spring and J.Albert Southwood to take over. As well as being proprietor of the "Times", Spring's other business interests in Katoomba included a newsagency, supplying a variety of popular newspapers at the railway station and from his office, and a real estate agency in which he offered his skills as an auctioneer and general commission agent. He was drowned in February 1891 after falling overboard from the S.S.Barcoo while returning to Sydney from Melbourne.

TONKIN, W.J.K. Came from Brisbane to join the reporting staff of "The Blue Mountain Echo" in January 1914.

VINCENT, W.E. Worked for "The Blue Mountain Echo" and was involved particularly with that paper's satellite, the original "Blackheath Bulletin", in the early 1920s. He later edited the Blue Mountains Newspapers' version of the "Bulletin", 1930-31, from his home "Oakdene" in Govetts Leap Road, Blackheath. Vincent was born in Glen Innes in 1873 (?)

WILSON, E.D. Founded "The Blue Mountain Gazette" in January 1903. Sold it to Robert Gornall in January 1904.


The photograph was taken by Katoomba photographer Albert Manning in the mid-1930s. It depicts the arrival in Katoomba of five young women from Leeton who were cycling from their home town to Sydney. Also in the photograph are (L to R) Jack Maddock, reporter on The Blue Mountains Times, possibly Bill Coventry, Speedwell’s agent in Katoomba, Harry Drake, reporter on The Katoomba Daily, and Jim Tyley, linotype operator and part-time reporter for The Katoomba Daily. The identity of the young boy is unknown. The women are identified in the cutting as Misses Daisy Transton, Elma and Joyce Eurell, Molly Dunne and Beryl Burns.

John Merriman & John Low
Local Studies Librarians
Blue Mountains City Library

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The Blue Mountains and the Ashes

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