Tuesday, March 3, 2020

J. W. Berghofer and Berghofer Pass, Mount Victoria

JW Berghofer (SHS 185)
During the 19th Century German-Australians constituted the largest non-British immigrant group in the colonies: over 4% in 1861. By comparison the Chinese, as the second-largest, came to 3.28%; the Italians as the third-largest made up only 0.21%, and the total migrant population of 48 other ethnic communities amounted to only 3.25%. Organised large-scale immigration started with the arrival in 1838 of groups of Lutheran farming communities from the eastern provinces of Prussia. Many were experienced vineyard workers and were welcomed in South Australia where they established communities in the Adelaide Hills and the Barossa Valley, a small number even went into the desert to spread the Faith among the Indigenous people. 
A smaller wave in the wake of the failed German revolution of 1848 brought a different group of immigrants, including outspoken democrats and liberals dissatisfied with the lack of political reform in Germany who chose a country promising constitutional democracy and progress towards their ideal of a unified nation state. A third wave of German immigrants was part of the huge number of fortune-hunters who arrived during the gold rush years of the 1850s. When the goldfields were exhausted, many of the diggers and tradesmen of German origin took up farming in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales.
Johannes Wilhelm Berghöfer was born in the village of Münchhausen in the province of Kurhessen, Germany in 1840. In 1855 he accompanied his mother Anna, née Althaus, and four siblings, as steerage passengers to New South Wales, there to join his father Wilhelm Christian Berghöfer (1806-1890). In 1853 Wilhelm had left Germany on board the ‘Triten’ sailing from Hamburg ahead of his family to prepare the way. They were seeking a new life and opportunities in Australia where four more children were born. William soon found work as a farm labourer in the Bankstown area where his family joined him.
By 1864 William had saved enough money to buy his own piece of land Road from the merchant, manufacturer and philanthropist Ebenezer Vickery (1827-1906), on Rocky Point near the Sydney suburb of Sans Souci, a place name with a German connection. Sans Souci takes its name from a grand house built on Rocky Point Road on land bought in 1853, by Thomas Holt (1811–1888), a wool merchant and politician, for his German wife. It was named after Sanssouci in Potsdam, Germany, the summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. 
In the 1850s English and Irish migrants had settled along the Rocky Point Road in Sydney’s south where the suburbs of Kogarah and Sans Souci, where they found fertile land and an access track to the City markets. German settlers also found land there, helping to turn the area into a great vegetable supplier for the expanding suburbs. Although coming from a staunch Lutheran background in Germany, the Berghofers joined the Anglican Church and became active in community affairs, attending the first Anglican service in the district in 1867.
William Berghofer became a successful and dedicated market gardener. His holdings occupied over 4 acres, he grew rhubarb, peas, potatoes and beans and his garden was typical of many others in the area, some of them worked by his devout and industrious German countrymen. He was a foundation member of the St Paul's Anglican Church at Kogarah and chairman of the committee that planned and established the church building in 1868-69. There were 45 children attending school in the church building, until the first separate school was established in 1876. He was also a prominent member of the Rocky Point Road Trust that managed repairs and construction contracts. William died on 31st May 1890 and was buried at St Paul's, Kogarah, the church he had helped to establish 21 years earlier.
William’s son Johannes Wilhelm anglicized his name to John William when he arrived in Australia and the family adopted the name Berghofer without the accent. The strong sixteen year old youth initially worked as a farm hand for a local landowner followed by a position as overseer of roadworks. In 1867 he married Katherine Spring (1850-1945) a girl from the Rhineland whose family farmed a small holding in nearby Rockdale. Following his marriage, John purchased land from his father and began farming on his own account, later acquiring more land from Ebenezer Vickery. 
John and Katherine Berghofer 1901 (courtesy Blue Mountains Historical Society)
 By 1874 John, now in his mid-thirties, had a growing family of four boys and a girl. When one of his brothers contracted a serious illness, he realised there was no local burial ground, so he campaigned for land to establish Kogarah Cemetery. In the same year he formed a committee for the establishment of a Public School.
Around 1870 John Berghofer decided to try his luck on the ‘diggings’ and travelled on foot with three companions to the Hill End and Gulgong goldfields. By then the easily accessible alluvial gold had be largely worked out and mining companies were formed to get at the deeper deposits. The group had little success and Berghofer found work as a carpenter and engineer while teaching Sunday school to the miners’ children. Returning after a few months, he resumed farming on the cabbage patch at Kogarah, but it was through this adventure that he first travelled over the Blue Mountains.
In 1876 while the Kogarah School was still being built, John Berghofer took up a position of considerable responsibility in the Kanimbla Valley, managing ‘Kanimbla’ station for his old benefactor Ebenezer Vickery. Vickery gave Berghofer full authority to deal with all matters at Kanimbla, which was a massive landholding by today’s standards, encompassing nearly the whole of the parish of Kanimbla including about 10,000 acres of freehold land and more under lease-hold.
Berghofer set to work with a will, first building his own homestead to accommodate his growing family, he then built a brick residence for Vickery as a summer resort. In 1878 he became a naturalized Australian citizen. Two daughters were born during this period which may have encouraged him to build a new schoolhouse for his own children and the dozen families of the Kanimbla Valley. Originally a half time school when founded in 1869, by 1882 Kanimbla School had reached the required minimum of 25 pupils to move from a half-time to a full-time public school later known as Duddawarra School.
Mount Victoria Inn 1887, named Rosenthal by Berghofer (PF 996)
The diligent and hardworking Berghofer prospered and in 1892 purchased a property in Little Hartley at the foot of Victoria pass, known as ‘The Foot of the Hill’. On the land stood an old semi-derelict coaching inn, the ‘Mount Victoria Inn’, built in 1839 by convict labour, for William Cummings of Bathurst and first licensed as the Crown and Horses Inn.  This he renovated and renamed 'Rosenthal' (Valley of the Roses) in memory of the old Berghofer homestead in Hessia, making it his family home. Around 1890 he purchased land in Montgomery Street, Mount Victoria and financed constructed of two semi-detached cottages for lease. The cottages, known as Larsen’s Cottages, were built by Neils (Peter) Larsen, father of poet Henry Lawson and ex-husband of feminist Louisa Lawson. It is said that the young Henry assisted his father with the house painting and may have briefly attended a local private school run by another German immigrant, Henry Rienits. 
By this time Berghofer had become a familiar figure in the settlement of Mount Victoria, where a small German expatriate community developed. Always well-dressed in a dark suit, bow tie and Homburg hat, he wore a top hat for special occasions and to church on Sundays. The Montgomery Street venture proved successful and he followed it with a general store with living accommodation on the corner of Selsdon Street, which was leased to store-keepers from 1912 to 1923. The accompanying residence known as Berghofer’s House was leased to tenants for much of the sixty years that Berghofer and later his widow owned it.
Berghofer’s primary residence after 1892 was 'Rosenthal', except for the period 1898 to 1903 when he returned to Kanimbla homestead as Vickery’s manager, by which time his family had grown to five sons and six daughters. He and his compatriots were also active in the affairs of the town: Charles Prott was the Mount Victoria postmaster and a crack rifle shot, winning the Queen’s Cup, his nickname was ‘Bismarck’, and Albert Kunz opened ‘The Ladies College’ in 1891. Henry Guenther Rienits was headmaster and founder of ‘The School’ a private boarding school for young gentlemen of good family, which opened in 1885. All were active members of the Mount Victoria Progress Association, Mount York Reserve Trust, Rifle Club, Town Band and Masonic Lodge. 
The Macquarie Obelisk 1980s (PF 182-1)
In 1900 Berghofer campaigned for the building of the Macquarie Obelisk at Mount York and developed a strong interest in Australian history. Later he accompanied his friend Frank Walker, president of the Royal Australian Historical Society, to the summit of Mount Blaxland, to confirm the track of the explorers who had opened the way for European expansion over the Blue Mountains in 1813. 
Berghofer in cart pointing to Mount Blaxland, 1913 (SHS 185)
In 1907 when the Shire of Blaxland was proclaimed, encompassing the area from Hartley to Lithgow, Berghofer was elected its first President and continued as an active member of the Shire council until 1916. The poor German peasant boy who had arrived in Sydney nearly 50 years before had come a long way.
Following a meeting in the Sydney Town Hall in October 1912 the State Governor, Lord Chelmsford, moved the first motion, “That arrangements be made to celebrate the centenary of the gallant efforts of Blaxland, Wentworth, and Lawson in crossing the then impenetrable and unassailable Blue Mountains in May, 1813, and thus assisting to develop the present magnificent pastoral and farming lands.” Mr. J. W. Berghofer seconded the motion, which was carried.
Crossing Centenary celebrations at Mount York 1913 (LS images)
The Blue Mountains Centenary Committee organising committee was established with Mr. Frank Walker, president of the Royal Australian Historical Society as presidential chair and Berghofer among the vice presidents, with Henry Rienits as organising secretary. The Celebrations focused on Mount York and began with a vice-regal banquet in Mount Victoria on 28 May 1913, at which Berghofer was hailed as ‘the father of the celebration movement’ and recognised as the force behind the memorial pavilion at Mount York, unveiled later that day. Such was the crowning day in John William Berghofer’s public career, he was now 73 years old and it had been a full and eventful life with a distinguished career in community service. Nobody could have doubted his patriotic spirit, although at times he may have been seen as somewhat hardheaded and persistent. But clouds were gathering on the horizon.
Mount York Monument (PF 193-1)
By 1914 over 100,000 Germans were living in Australia, comprising around 2% of the population of five million. They were a well-established and generally well-liked community. However with the rising tension between the British and German Empires this began to change and German-Australian communities throughout the country found themselves the subject of suspicion and animosity. When war broke out in August 1914 that changed to outright hostility. Australia was rife with war fever and ordinary citizens were keen for ways to get involved, to ‘do their bit’. The sinking of the German light Cruiser SMS Emden by the Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney in the Cocos Islands was one of Australia’s first actions of the war and excited the nation. The event created hysteria about possible German naval attack, immediately establishing cultural and national divisions within the community.
Within a week of the declaration of war, German and Austro-Hungarian residents of Australia were forced to register with the police. A fear of possible German-Australian 'conflicted loyalties' led to several regulations under the War Precautions Act 1914, such as forbidding German-Australians to leave Australia or send money overseas. These immigrants, naturalised subjects and Australian-born people rapidly moved in the Australian consciousness from 'our Germans' to 'enemy aliens'.
As the war progressed and propaganda about the 'Hun' German continued, the pressures on German-Australians increased. Many lost their jobs or found their communities no longer safe. Internment without charge or trial was implemented around Australia. By 1918 nearly 7 000 men, women and children were interned by the Australian Government. Some were interned voluntarily after they were no longer able to support their families; others were German settlers deported from former German colonies in the Pacific; others still were working class men who had been born in Australia to a German father or grandfather. The aim of internment was to protect Australians and the Australian war effort from 'disaffected and disloyal' 'enemy aliens'.
In NSW the principal place of internment was Holsworthy Military Camp where between 5000 and 6000 men were detained. Women and children of German and Austrian descent, detained by the British in Asia, were interned at Bourke and later Molonglo near Canberra. Former gaols were also used. Men were interned at Berrima Gaol (constructed in the 1840s) and Trial Bay Gaol (constructed 1886). Others were carefully watched by the police and neighbours. Germans lost their jobs or had their business destroyed. Some voluntarily went into camps so their wives and children could survive on a government allowance. At the end of the War, 6150 internees from NSW were deported back to Germany on various ships, in a Government-backed form of ethnic cleansing.
It was not only people who suffered. Dachshunds were routinely kicked or stoned to death in the streets of England and similarly treated in Australia. Owners of Dachshunds that dared venture out into public risked being assaulted and labeled as German sympathizers, or having their pet ripped from their arms to be kicked and stomped to death in front of them. Under such duress, the Dachshund population of the Allied world crashed during the Great War. In Chicago a frightened breeder; after being harassed and tormented by overzealous patriots and self-proclaimed spy catchers, is said to have gone home and shot every Dachshund in his kennel rather than face further reprisal. In 1913, 217 Dachshunds were registered in Britain; in 1919, none. In the United States the poor Dachshund went from one of the ten most popular breeds in 1913 to being represented by 12 survivors in 1919.
The Great War had provided a welcome opportunity to realise one of Prime Minister Billy Hughes’ long-held aims, namely “the eradication of German influences from the trade of all parts of the Empire”. This was to be achieved by diverting “trade from enemy to Empire”, as Hughes put it.
In 1916 the NSW Labor Government enacted the Naturalized Subjects Franchise Act which stipulated that ‘any naturalized British subject of enemy origin shall be incapable of sitting or voting in the Legislative Assembly, the Municipality of Sydney and any Council or Shire’. The act also deprived such naturalized subjects of the right to vote, to officiate as a JP and from holding a publican’s licence. It directly targeted two men, one was John Berghofer. In the NSW parliament it was opposed by Hon. JP Fitzgerald MLA who described it as ‘an act of cruelty directed at Councilor Berghofer, a faithful and loyal citizen’, and that ‘a considerable amount of cruelty would here be perpetuated in the case of Councillor Berghofer’, ‘I refuse to be a party to persecute a few helpless old men’.
The other helpless old man also caught up in the anti-German hysteria was Charles Lindeman, originally ‘Lindermann’, (1859-1931) who was removed from his position on Katoomba Council by the same Act. He was forced to sell his guesthouse and dairy in Leura and spent the last fifteen years of his life in obscurity. Thanks to local historian Jim Smith, Lindeman's name has been rescued by the rediscovery and restoration of the historic walking track that he surveyed and built: Lindeman Pass at Wentworth Falls. But that is another story.
Blue Mountains Identities 1890 (PF 147).
Charles Prott is back row end left, Henry Rienits is back row end right.
Henry Rienits closed his boys’ school which never reopened, it was offered to the government as a convalescent home for wounded soldiers in 1915 and in 1920 it was being used for meetings of the Mount Victoria Progress Association. But not wishing to be outdone, he also had a pass named after him, probably before the War. Rienits Pass appears in a 1919 tourist map of Mount Victoria and connects Pulpit rock at the southern end of Kanimbla Valley Road with Ross Cave via the top of the Mount Victoria escarpment. Rienits and his wife Kate lived at ‘The Lindens’ in Montgomery Street, the linden tree being of great significance in Germanic mythology, and was a keen amateur geologist. He donated minerals, rocks and fossils to the NSW Dept. of Mines and taught geology to his pupils at The School. In 1903 he prospected for coal in Victoria Creek, driving a tunnel into the hillside which was later exploited by his son Oswald.
While Charles William Prott had been naturalised in Sydney on 18 August 1903, making him a British subject, it would appear that he never lost his German accent. To save himself some trouble, Prott told anyone who asked that he was from Belgium. Rather than evoking the usual anti-German sentiment, he was seen as some sort of hero. Things began to unravel when the Belgian Consul in Sydney heard of these claims through people wanting to ascertain their accuracy. The Department of External Affairs was contacted in February 1916 seeking clarification of his status. The truth came out although it is not clear as to the actual impact on Protts life. There is no indication that the Belgian Consul actually pursued the subject any further.
Twenty two ratepayers petitioned Cr. Berghofer to resign his seat in the Blaxland Shire Council but he resisted. In reply he stated that he was naturalized in 1878, and his home and family were here. He held a number of public positions and defied any man to say he had spoken or acted disloyally. He had lived in Australia for practically a lifetime and reared a large family, many of whom were married to Australians. He had worked hard, cleared the bush, and used his strength and ability for the good of the country. Until the Government said he was not fit to hold the position, he would remain in it.
But it was not to be, the Naturalized Subjects Franchise Act finally forced John Berghofer's resignation from the Blaxland Shire Council, and public pressure even made him anglicize the name of his home to ‘Rosedale’. Ironically Berghofer's youngest son Lewis George Berghofer, was fighting with the AIF in France at the same time - although under the assumed name of George Bridge. Two nephews who also bore the Berghofer name had enlisted under assumed names. In fact some 18,000 German-Australian soldiers fought with the Australian Imperial Force against their ancestral homeland. Local sentiment however was not entirely against Berghofer as the Daily Telegraph reported:
DISFRANCHISEMENT. . CASE OF CR. BERGHOFER. LITHGOW, Wednesday. — As the result of the passing of the Aliens Disfranchisement Bill, Mr. J. W. Berghofer, Little Hartley, and representative of C Riding in the Blaxland Shire, has been disfranchised. Mr. Berghofer, who has had a long and honorable career as a Councillor, has been notified to this effect by the shire clerk. At Friday's meeting, the Council will be asked to fix the date for the election of a successor. Mr. Berghofer would have attended the meeting, but he has fractured his ankle as the result of which he will be confined to his house for some time. Sympathy will he extended to the veteran colonist, who has been in Australia for 60 years. He has proved himself a capable citizen— one who has done more towards the development of the country than most men.
Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW: 1883 - 1930), Thursday 4 May 1916, page 4

In the years following the Great War, John Berghofer withdrew from public life, living quietly at his home in Little Hartley which he again referred to as ‘Rosenthal’. Until, on a cool, blustery day in April 1927 in the drizzling rain, the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother, visited the memorial compound at Mount York on their return from a trip to Jenolan Caves. Both John Berghofer and Henry Reinits were presented to the royal visitors. The occasion was organised by Henry’s daughter Annie, referred to as Miss Rienits in a contemporary account. Of his three daughters she was the only one unmarried in 1927 and in fact never married.

As Berghofer shook hands with British royalty, did the old man appreciate the deep irony of this brief meeting with the Duke of York? It was well known that the future king had descended from German nobility: he was the great-grandson of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and his great-grandmother was Queen Victoria, daughter of the Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.
The Duke and Duchess of York at Mount York 1927 (PF 2074-1)
The Duchess of York’s words were recorded in a contemporary newspaper with a variation of his name which provides a clue that Berghofer retained the original German pronunciation and an extra year was added to his age at the time:

‘A Wonderful Road’
When John William Berghoefer, 88 year old pioneer and ‘Father of Mount Victoria,’ was introduced to the Duchess of York, the octogenarian had a heart storm. Her words as he took her hand were, ‘Oh Mr. Berghofer, what a wonderful road you have made over these rugged mountains!’

Was the royal recognition enough to wash away the years of persecution? Did he think back on his long life of service to his adopted country and, looking down at his calloused hands, whisper to himself “Ich habe sehr gearbeitet schwer” (I have worked so hard) and feel some final vindication?

John Berghofer died some two months later, aged 87 and was buried in the family plot in Mount Victoria cemetery.​ His wife Katherine survived him by 18 years, dying in 1945 at the age of 95 and is buried next to her husband. Today, his legacy is visible in the explorers’ obelisk and centenary monument at Mount York, his home ‘Rosedale’, the store in Selsdon Street and the rental cottages that he built. Let us now turn to the other monument that bears his name.
Berghofer Pass from the walking tack (photo: John Merriman)
Berghofer Pass
In the early years the 20th Century motor cars were having a tough time climbing the steep Victoria Pass, in some cases requiring horses to assist them. Hotels and guest houses east of Mount Victoria, in Blackheath, Katoomba and Leura, as well as the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath, however, saw the opportunity afforded by the new faster and more comfortable means of transport and began offering one day motor coach tours to Jenolan Caves.

Surveyor Thomas Mitchell had designed and built Victoria Pass in 1842, using convict labour, for horse, foot and coach traffic. This route replaced several early attempts to find a descent of the western escarpment from Mount York, including William Cox’s original 1815 road. Following the arrival of the railway to Mt Victoria in 1868, the infant Blue Mountains tourism industry in the upper Mountains began to develop itineraries taking in scenic views, waterfalls, and lookouts. With the opening of a direct road to Jenolan Caves in 1882, the Mount Victoria hotels had looked to gain a share of the lucrative tourist market by offering daily coach trips to the ‘far-famed Fish River caves’ as Jenolan was then known. The coach trip however, could be eventful as a newspaper remarked.

The Victoria, or Mitchell Pass has a grade of 1 in 8 and was well known to the old-time travellers, in the days when the famous coaching firm of Cobb and Co. ruled supreme. The drivers of those coaches when they came to this hill, then known as 'One Tree Hill' from an enormous gum tree that graced the pinnacle, used to say, with gentle pleasantry, "Will the gentlemen passengers please walk up this little pinch?" Then they drove off at a good pace for a mile and half, allowing the tired passengers a chance to 'stretch their legs,' as they humorously phrased it, when in reality it was a long, steep walk, especially on a hot day. Wiping the large beads of perspiration from their brows with big coloured handkerchiefs, and wringing them out, the passengers would storm sarcastic blessings on the driver until they again met the coach. At Perry's Hotel, the present site of the Mount Victoria Post Office, all would alight, with parched throats, and the unanimous cry of 'Ave a drink.'
Evening News, Sydney, Saturday 30 December 1911

So as the horse gave way to the motor car in the early 20th Century, the steep road remained just as much a problem for the early vehicles.
Tour car departing Mount Victoria for Jenolan Caves 1926 (LS images)
John Berghofer had business interests in the town and was not a man to sit idly by when a problem demanded a solution. He rose to the occasion and in 1906 rediscovered a ground survey of an alternate route made 20 years earlier. This was an easier grade from skirted Victoria Pass crossing Mount York road and passing below Mitchell’s famous stone causeway with its massive convict built abutments, to emerge near the foot of the descent. His search was recorded in a contemporary account.

Five years ago Mr. Berghofer, a gentleman of considerable influence in Blue Mountains circles, and then president of the Blaxland Shire Council, gave the matter his serious attention. Having heard of the survey made by Mr. Gee, after a very strenuous search, crawling on hands and knees around the sheer face of the cliff, he at last located the surveyor's marks and urged upon the Government the great advantage of making the road along this new path, especially so with the enormous increase of traffic that was going along the Bathurst Road. He was successful in inducing Mr. Lee, the then Minister for Works, to favourably consider the matter and it is entirely due to Mr. Berghofer's pioneering efforts that travellers will have this new road, deservedly named Berghofer Pass. (ibid.)
Berghofer Pass under construction (courtesy Blue Mountains Historical Society)
Construction commenced in 1907 and continued for five years with several interruptions due to finding constraints. When the new pass opening in February 1912 it became immediately popular with regular use by traffic until the early 1920s, when grade improvements to Victoria Pass and the advent of more powerful motor cars made it redundant. Although of a gentler grade, it had sharp curves that followed the contours, and the numerous embankments and culverts required constant maintenance, it was officially closed to traffic in 1949. Today it is signposted and used as a walking track. The original road extended much further that the present one and included what is now known as Berghofer Drive, as well as part of St George Parade and also a small section of Mount York Road. 
One of the fine stone culverts (photo: John Merriman)
In addition to the many fine stonework walls and culverts formed during construction of the pass, a water trough for horses and travelling stock was carved into the sandstone near the halfway mark. The horse trough is supplemented with a small, lower receptacle at the right height for dogs. Both are filled by natural seepage from the rock and remain a source of drinking water for native birds, bush animals, and thirsty walkers.
The Berghofer inscription showing the deeper lettering
after restoration (photo: John Merriman)
A direct physical reminder of the opprobrium to which Berghofer was subjected lies along the bottom section of the old road where an inscription: ‘Berghofer Pass 1909 S. 75 M. B. 49 M’ i.e. Sydney 75 miles, Bathurst 49 miles, is proudly inscribed high on the rock wall just below the fine stone arched culvert which crosses a small rainforest creek. Keen eyed observers will note that Berghofer's name appears deeper than the other lettering. In 1915 when the Coo-ee March from Gilgandra to Sydney was ascending the Pass, some eager recruits, incensed by the sight of a German name, smashed it from the cliff face before passing on to Sydney and their uncertain fate in the Hellfire of the Western Front, many never to return. It is likely that a more systematic removal was carried out at a later date by the Shire Council.
The name Berghofer Pass was also changed to Victoria Pass by resolution of Blue Mountains Shire Council, with the present Victoria Pass reverting to its earlier name of Mitchell’s Pass. This has led to some confusion as Blaxland Shire Council apparently never assented to any such change.
The 2013 Coo-ee March re-enactment followed the same route but with less concern for the name above their heads. The inscription was restored shortly before Berghofer’s death by Blue Mountains Shire Council, a gesture which gave him ‘intense satisfaction’. Bergman asserts that it was restored by his old friend Henry Dalziell in 1954, this may refer to renewal of part or whole of the inscription. In 1990 a memorial brass plaque was erected on the Pass by proud John Berghofer descendants, some of whom travelled from Germany for the occasion.
The horse trough with smaller dog bowl (photo: John Merriman)
Berghofer Pass remains an easy, graded walking track open to the public, shady and cool in summer with the tinkle of dripping water over moss-covered stone and the sounds of echoing birdsong. At any time of year it has magnificent views over the Hartley Valley, and the quiet visitor may even hear the faint tramp of boots as the original Coo-ee recruits march into history, perhaps softly singing ‘Tipperary’. Its usefulness as a road is now long past but it remains a monument to its builder, a man of singular vision and boundless energy. A man whose dress and manners marked his as subtly different  from those around him, but whose misfortune was that his native tongue marked him as an enemy, and resulted in shameful treatment by his adopted land.

·       Bergman, George. (1954). John William Berghofer, the life of a Blue Mountains pioneer. Lithgow & District Historical Society.
·       Fox, Brian. (2006). Blue Mountains Geographical Dictionary. Bathurst, the author.
·       Fox, Brian. (2019). Upper Blue Mountains Bush Walking Club Greater Blue Mountains National Park – Blue Mountains National Park- Berghofer Pass -Monday 19th August 2019 -Track Notes
·       Innes, Paul. (2005). Johannes (John) Berghofer and Berghofer’s Pass.
·       Jack, Ian. (2000). Blue Mountains Heritage Inventory.
·       Low, John. (1998). The Mount Victoria Inn and John William Berghofer.  Pictorial Memories Blue Mountains. Kingsclear Press.
·       Low, John. (2019). Travelling to Wonderland: the emergence of coach services to Jenolan Caves in the pre-motor era. Blue Mountains History Journal, issue 9.
·       Morrison, Don. (1994). Characters of the Post 1813, History of Hartley Valley.
·       Rickwood, Peter C and Joan E Steele. (2019). Henri Rienits, amateur geologist and principal of The School at Mount Victoria, 2019. Blue Mountains History Journal, issue 9.
·       Smith, Jim. (1990). The Blue Mountains mystery track: Lindeman Pass. Winmalee, Three Sisters Productions,
·       Smith, Jim. (1983). Bushwalkabout: One stockman and his dog. Blue Mountains Gazette.

John Merriman 2020.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Black & Blue: ‘Jacky’ Brooks, an Indigenous Hero of Blue Mountains Rugby League by John Low

I’ve heard the roar at a football match as it rose in the crowded stands,
When a winger leapt and took a pass with magic, out-stretched hands,
And the double roar as he came inside and flashed across the line,
That was a roar that stirred my soul, a roar that was a sign.[1]

Setting the Scene.
By 1920 Katoomba was on the cusp of its most prosperous years, about to become the ‘Queen City of the Hills’ and one of NSW’s premier resorts. The town had long outgrown its 1870s origins in coal and shale and mining the cliffs had given way to mining the pockets of tourists. A Municipal Council had been established in 1889 and the arrival of public amenities such as gas, water and electricity in the early years of the 20th century was accompanied by an ever expanding market in holiday cottages and guesthouses, which catered to all levels of income.

Figure 1: Katoomba level crossing ca.1920 (Blue Mountains City Library)

However, despite this new gloss of tourist glamour, the town retained enough of its working class character to support a sometimes thriving culture of Rugby League. After a brief flirtation with the Hartley District Rugby League in 1915 Katoomba became involved in a truly local competition in 1920 with the formation of a Blue Mountains District Rugby League under the patronage of Carrington Hotel owner, Sir James Joynton Smith. A lively first season culminated at Lomatia Park in Springwood where the grand final “metamorphosed the quietude of the bush into a veritable pandemonium”.[2]  The Katoomba ‘Federals’ defeated the Springwood ‘Springboks’ by 7 points to 2 and took home a trophy sponsored by another of Katoomba’s prominent businessmen, John S. Henderson.

It was an auspicious start for the code and, while the health of the local competition over the next two decades became something of a season-to-season proposition (there was no local competition at all in 1926), the early years saw teams from all over the Blue Mountains – from Emu Plains to Mount Victoria - do battle each week. When a Blue Mountains regional team, outfitted in royal blue jumpers, became part of a Western Districts competition in 1921 the ‘Blues’ began playing regular matches against teams from as far away as Wellington and Dubbo. Games against metropolitan club (generally lower grade) and company teams were also arranged and became common fixtures in the late 1920s and 1930s. Indeed, as the fortunes of the local competition began to fluctuate, the ‘Blues’ assumed centre stage and provided the Mountains community, characterised by a divisive geography of small parochial towns with entrenched traditions of rivalry, one of the few avenues through which it could express a unified sense of regional identity.

Initially games were played on the Katoomba Park Recreational Reserve within earshot of Katoomba Falls. However, when the Show Society’s grounds at North Katoomba were upgraded to accommodate football and cricket and re-opened in June 1925, the ‘Katoomba Showground’ was soon adopted as League headquarters. When a grandstand was built a couple of years later and training rooms and showers were added the ground become “one of the finest ... outside the Metropolitan area.”[3]

Just as a football team is usually identified with its town or region, so too, sport can throw up unlikely local heroes, who, by their athletic ability, carry the aspirations of the community on their shoulders. One such ‘unlikely hero’ is the subject of this article and, while Jacky Brooks may not rank in the elite of rugby league players, to the Blue Mountains crowds of the 1920s and early 1930s, he was “a wonder-boy”.[4]

Introducing a local lad.
Behind Katoomba’s town centre, out of sight in the valley formed by the Katoomba Falls Creek, an Aboriginal community had formed around the turn of the century when members of an existing community at the foot of Nellie’s Glen in the Megalong Valley moved up on to the ridge. Never large, the ‘Gully’ community consisted of a core of permanent families, which included people of Dharug, Gundungurra, Wiradjeri and European descent with a regular itinerant population drifting through from other centres. A small interdenominational church, funded by local Congregationalists and run by a Katoomba Mission Committee (supplemented by visits also from the Australian Inland Mission), was erected in 1910 and emerged as a focal point for community meetings and gatherings. Though individuals from the Gully visited, shopped and worked in the town the latter took little interest in them, their small community becoming a refuge from unwanted attention.[5] The Gully was Jacky Brooks’ place.

‘Jacky’ was born Walter Woodburne John Brooks on 25 June 1906 at Little Bay, Sydney. His father William, other than a couple of references to him as a “labourer” and, intriguingly, a “variety artist”, remains a shadowy and mysterious figure.[6] His mother, Jessie (known as Rosie), on the other hand, was the daughter of William and Fanny Lynch, both prominent Gundungurra elders. William Lynch was born at Bungonia in 1830 to a Gundungurra mother and an Irish convict father. He worked for many years as a police tracker and later as a shepherd on Alexander Dalziell’s ‘Rosevale’ property in the Hartley Valley, eventually settling on his son’s selection at Gibralter Creek where it joins the Cox’s River. Rose Anna ‘Fanny’ Lynch (nee Fisher) was born at Hartley in 1829 and after their marriage bore William seven children. Following her death in 1900, her husband and a number of their family (including Jacky’s mother Rosie) moved into ‘The Gully’ at Katoomba.[7] When he died in 1913, ‘Old Billy’ was described in The Blue Mountain Echo as a “Mountain historian”, his obituary writer paying tribute to his “encyclopaedic” knowledge of the district.[8]

Figure 2: Looking east across The Gully to Katoomba township, late 1940s (Blue Mountains City Library)

Though it was on the football field in the years following World War I that Jacky Brooks achieved his greatest fame, his courage and physical stamina first came to public notice in November 1912 when he played an active role in the rescue of two young friends who had fallen during a precipitous climb up the Narrow Neck cliffs following an excursion via Dickson’s Ladders - “a weird wire rope hanging from an iron peg fully 70 feet over a sheer precipice” - into the Megalong Valley to collect wild flowers. The local press praised him as “a little hero ... deserving of every recognition”; he was presented with “a handsome medal” at a special function in the Mission Church and a small trust fund was established to “be spent only in the best interests of the little hero”.[9]

The ‘Wonder Boy’ of Blue Mountains Football
Today there would be few major Rugby League clubs without Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders on their books. At the time Jacky Brooks joined the Katoomba ‘Federals’[10] in 1923, however, it was a different matter. Indeed, that year saw the retirement of George Green, the first ‘Aboriginal’ to play first grade Rugby League in Sydney and even his Aboriginality is now considered doubtful.[11] Nevertheless, perhaps Green who played a significant part in the North Sydney premierships of 1921 and 1922 provided inspiration to the young Katoomba footballer.

Whatever the source of his decision to play Rugby League, Jacky’s first match performance was considered worthy of notice by the local press and within weeks he found himself selected to play in a combined Blue Mountains-Mudgee team against Lithgow. “No better sport or more gentlemanly player has donned the Mountains league guernsey”[12], remarked one commentator and it was not long before his attractive playing style made him a favourite with the local crowds.

League at its best is an attacking game and, while big forwards lay a foundation of grinding progress, to play as a centre or on the wing demands speed and evasive skills. Jacky had both and the local sports journalists were prolific in their praise. He was simply “a wonder-boy when properly fed [the ball]”.[13] In August 1928, gathering the ball near his own line, he sprinted and weaved “in one of the prettiest runs imaginable” to score; it was “the best piece of individual play we have seen this season.”[14] The following year, in a game against a team from Granville in Sydney’s west, he scored “the greatest try of the season”, intercepting a pass on the half way line and “with great head and footwork he managed to dodge his many would-be tacklers, and scored right behind the posts ... no one could get close enough to bring off a successful tackle.”[15]  Jacky was clearly one of those players who could inject magic into a game at any moment and, simply by receiving the ball, bring a crowd to its feet. At Blackheath in 1924, trying to explain the way he “electrified the crowd”, a reporter struggled for words only to find them eventually in the poetry of Tennyson.[16]

Figure 3: Jacky in his ‘Federals’ jumper ca.1923 (Blue Mountains City Library)

It seems, too, that Jacky possessed the ability to ‘use his head’, to play intelligently and learn from criticism. In a club match in June 1924 he was criticised for trying to do too much. Had he “short kicked at times”, the commentator remarked, this “would have been better for his side.”[17] The following week, playing for the Blues against the South Sydney Warrigals, he showed he had taken this advice to heart. Receiving the ball on the half way and confronted by a phalanx of opposing players, he “used his head, short kicked, raced through, gathered up and flashed across an easy winner. It was a pretty creditable piece of work.”[18]

Besides speed and agility in attack, League also demands the defence of territory and an ability to tackle can separate a good three-quarter from the rest. Jacky, though lightly built, ticked this box too. Even when starved of possession and limited in attack, it was observed that “nothing got passed Jackie (sic)”[19]. He could be all over the ground “working from wing to wing, one time cutting off the visitors’ winger after a burst across field.”[20] When he was nearing the end of his playing career he could still produce ‘man-of-the-match’ defensive performances. In a game against Fairfield in 1936 “the beautiful tackling of Jacky Brooks” was seen as a highlight, the journalist from the Katoomba Daily concluding his match report with the comment: “I think Jacky Brooks is the finest tackler it has been my pleasure to watch. Not once on Sunday did he let his man go past him. … A pity the rest of the team does not tackle like him.”[21]

Jacky’s speed and effective defence were sustained by his remarkable stamina and courage or, what one commentator called, “true football grit”[22]. His ‘staying power’ was noted early and by 1929 had earned him the nickname of ‘Tiger’[23]. In August 1929 a thrilling Sunday match against Orange, in which the Blues were victorious over a team that contained two former internationals, revealed him at his most determined. He was a marked man from the kick-off and during the second half was found to have suffered a broken rib. Refusing to leave the field, he moved briefly to full back but soon reverted to his normal position in the three-quarter line where, “holding his injured side with one hand”[24], he successfully executed a couple of try-saving tackles before the game concluded. Then, he was back on the field the following weekend in a knock-out competition against teams from the metropolitan area, a “red-letter day for Katoomba”[25] with the local side scoring an exciting victory in the final against South Sydney. The crowd at the showground was lively and conditions certainly favoured the local side, with wind, rain and snow all effecting play.

While it is true that Jacky Brooks’ abilities have to be seen in the context of the generally average and often criticised standard of football in the Mountains[26], there is no doubt that he showed above average abilities as a player. In 1929 he would have benefited from the more professional coaching, which came with the appointment of the experienced Charles Hamey as the District team coach. Hamey was an ex Newtown Union player and had been a South Sydney junior representative at aged 13. He introduced a more disciplined regime into the training schedule and its impact was felt immediately, with the Blues recording a win against Bathurst, which observers felt placed the team “on a level with any first class team of the west”[27]. On training nights the showground, lit by two large electric spotlights, “was as busy looking as a disturbed ant bed.”[28] The Blues won 17 out of 21 games played that season.

Figure 4: Blue Mountains District Rugby League team 1929; Jacky front row, first on left (Blue Mountains City Library)

While an early commentator forecast that “some day he’ll be heard from”[29], Jacky seems to have won representative honours beyond district level only once. This was in May 1933 when he was the only Katoomba player chosen by the Group 10 selectors to represent the group’s Eastern against its Western Division. The match was played before the State League selector at Bathurst and, while Eastern Division won and his pace was praised, he did not have a good game. He was criticised for “a little too much indecision” and failed to make selection for Country Week carnival honours in Sydney.[30]

Nevertheless, his talents did not go totally unrecognised and the high regard, in which he was held by local spectators and players alike, was reflected in a number of local ‘honours’. In August 1924, at a dinner at the Hampden Villa Guesthouse following a Blues victory over an Eastern Suburbs President’s Cup team, which had won the Sydney competition, the Eastern Suburbs Club’s Vice-President “paid a high tribute to Jacky Brooks, which caused prolonged cheering from all present.”[31] A month later his was the first name to be inscribed on a shield sponsored by Katoomba businessman and Federals official, Dave Brown, to recognise annually the club’s “most proficient player”[32]. And the following year his efforts were again recognised when the club presented him with its award for “all-round excellence”. 

The Katoomba Community
Jacky Brooks, like many of the Valley residents, worked in the town and participated in other aspects of Katoomba life without apparent discrimination. Indeed, in 1927, after working for a local carrier for over a year, Jacky took his employer to court, alleging successfully that he was due 4 pounds 13 shillings and 9 pence “as wages underpaid in terms of the award”[33]. In the 1930s he appears to have obtained work at some of the local hotels and guesthouses including the Hydro Majestic at Medlow Bath and the Carrington and Milroy in Katoomba.

Figure 5: The Carrington Hotel, Katoomba, 1930s (Blue Mountains City Library)

At a farewell dinner for the Carrington’s manager, Harry Cantor, Jacky spoke of how happy he had been working under Cantor, with whom he had come from the Hydro Majestic.[34] He worked in the kitchens at the Carrington and would bring home left-overs of food and sweets for the Valley children and scraps for his favourite cats. He played the organ in the Valley church, was a good singer, a fine dancer and skilled on both the gum leaf and the spoons. As such, he was a popular participant at staff balls and football club dinners. At the aforementioned dinner for the Eastern Suburbs team in 1924, he was one of the principal musical attractions, while in 1938 he won a prize for the most original fancy dress at the Carrington Staff Ball.[35]

While the Australian devotion to sport provided Jacky with a pathway to community respect and all the evidence suggests that he was widely and genuinely liked, he was rarely allowed to forget that he was ‘different’. Language now considered unacceptable was then widespread and unremarked upon. It reflected deeply ingrained community attitudes. To the press he was the “swarthy Jacky”, the “fine little ‘white’ player” or the “gallant Etheopean (sic) with the white heart”.[36] And, popular though he was with the crowds, it seems that he did not always escape the cruel and derogatory comment. “Give the ball to the boong!” was heard by at least one spectator, who shared his memories with me.[37] 

Figure 6: Jacky with friends in the AB Cafe in Katoomba. Joe Stubbings, Jackie Brooks with Harvey Clark, date unknown (Blue Mountains City Library courtesy of Jean Murphy)

Beneath the surface of its metamorphosis into one of the nation’s premier tourist resorts, Katoomba was basically a small provincial Australian town imbued with a deep conservatism, which underpinned its view of the world. Jacky Brooks might have been recognised and applauded as a fine footballer, but he lived, worked and played in a community in which ‘race’ and skin colour still mysteriously measured a man’s place in society, and his success must be seen in this context. Australia had a ‘White Australia Policy’, the last vestiges of which remained until the Whitlam era, and its leading journal, The Bulletin, did not remove the slogan “Australia for the White Man” until the early 1960s.

The press’ treatment of three other Aboriginal men who fell foul of the law around the time that Jacky Brooks was beginning his football career provides a useful comparison. The prominent historian of race in Australian sport, Professor Colin Tatz, has described community attitudes to race in terms of “inclusion” and exclusion”.[38] The ‘acceptance’ given to Jacky emanated from his ‘special case’ status as a black champion, his racial difference emphasized by his “inclusion”. The Hughes brothers, on the other hand, had no such special status. They had already placed themselves outside the law, compounding their racial “exclusion”.

In April 1921 William Hughes, a World War I veteran, and his younger brother Herbert escaped from the Katoomba lock-up where they had been incarcerated for burglary. Before their eventual recapture, they lead the police on a ‘merry dance’ around the Burragorang Valley. Extra police were sent from Sydney to assist in tracking them down, a response which seems somewhat out of proportion to their status as petty criminals. Three years later their older brother Jimmy was also arrested in Katoomba for similar crimes. In its coverage of these cases, in which police “wit” was matched against the “cunning” of the “copper-coloured coons”, the local press portrayed the brothers in a manner, which suggested they were hardened criminals. It also implied, irrelevantly, that one of the brothers was “a perambulating darkie who used to play ‘peeping Tom’ in the nude” instilling fear among Katoomba’s women.[39]

As Katoomba rode the crest of an economic wave into the early 1920s, the Valley community on its margins remained poor. Houses were constructed with the limited materials available – saplings, kerosene tins, corrugated iron, hessian – and painted with whitewash. Public utilities were minimal. The local newspaper, if it referred to the community at all, called it a “camp” and mission records refer to cases of sickness and premature death indicative of social neglect.  In November 1924 Jacky married Edith Faith Stubbings at a ceremony in the Valley’s church, the interior of which was decorated “with wildflowers and greenery and a Wedding bell, and outside an arch of greenery was erected and coconut matting laid from the gate”.[40] Within two months of the wedding Edith had died from complications incurred during childbirth. 

Life after Rugby League
In the 1930s, as his football career was coming to an end, Jacky seems to have considered other outlets for his athletic abilities. One of these, not surprisingly, was boxing. On the evening of Saturday, 1 April 1933, “our football champ” appeared at the Katoomba Town Hall in a bout with a similarly weighted (9 stone, 7 pounds) but height advantaged opponent named Jack Swords. Despite showing all the courage and determination, which characterised his football, his attempt to forge a new career in the ring proved unsuccessful.  The reporter from the Katoomba Daily observed that: “Brooks attacked tigerously (sic), forcing the taller man again and again into his corner. In the third round Brooks hit the canvas for seven, and in the fourth, Swords … knocked him through the ropes. Coming back into the ring, Brooks received a straight left and a right arm jolt to the stomach, again going down. The towel was then thrown in from his corner.”[41] This seems to have been his first and only fight.

Figure 7: Jacky Brooks 1940s or 1950s (Blue Mountains City Library)

Not a great deal is known about Jacky’s life after football. Despite the fact that even when he was playing there were periods when his name failed to appear in the football reports suggesting his absence from the town (chasing work perhaps) and a possible stint as a football coach at Wellington (NSW),[42] Jacky lived in Katoomba until probably the mid-1950s. In 1936 he married Daisy Smith (aka Dennis/Barker), an attractive and “stylish” Aboriginal woman with reputed connections to La Perouse and Redfern. This marriage did not last. A later relationship with a non-Aboriginal woman, Eileen Rutland, produced a number of children who, sadly, were later placed in foster homes.[43]

For residents of the Gully, the 1950s brought with it the spectre of disruptive change. From the early years of the decade the local council, having reached agreement with a local syndicate of car enthusiasts to build a modern motor racing circuit as part of a larger recreational ‘attraction’, began to acquire and clear land in the valley. With no apparent thought given to the impact on the small Gully community, construction of the track began in 1958 and continued through until 1961. It spelled the demise of the Gully as a place of refuge and community and the end (or so it was thought at the time) of a people’s special relationship, formed over a long period, with “a particular piece of ground”.[44]

Figure 8: The motor racing circuit in The Gully, early 1960s (Blue Mountains City Library)

Jacky was still living in Katoomba when his mother died in 1949 and when he applied for exemption from the provisions of the Aboriginal Welfare Act. His house was next door to his mother, Rosie’s.[45] But, his place was now lost to him and it is probable that he left Katoomba some time during this period of dislocation. It was mentioned to me once that, before his departure, he played in an exhibition match at the Katoomba Showground, in which his team-mates ensured that he scored a try. If it happened it was a final flourish for “the wonder boy” of Blue Mountains football. He moved possibly to Redfern or perhaps to La Perouse near his birthplace of Little Bay … and vanished!

Considering the importance of sport in Australian life, it is unfortunate that local historians have given it little serious attention. When seen in its broader social context, sport offers yet another perspective, from which to look at our history. Jacky Brooks was a talented footballer, whose exploits on the field spoke that mysterious language understood by fans of all eras, that ‘secret knowledge’ so baffling to outsiders. He was also an Aboriginal man living in a small Australian town in the early 20th century. Such stories as Jacky’s are important. They open a window on a moment in our community’s evolution. They show us the ways in which we have changed and remained the same. They provide us with context and continuity. 

In modern Katoomba, there are two places where Jacky Brooks is publically remembered. The first is located outside the Carrington Hotel where some years ago an area of public space was set aside so locals and visitors alike could soak up the sunshine, enjoy dramatic and musical performances or just sit under the gaze of one of Australia’s iconic 19th century hotels. Set into the pavement here are a series of panels that memorialize, in a brief imagistic line of text, a number of local people whose lives have intersected with that of the old hotel. Jacky is among them.

Figure 9: The interpretive ‘Story Walk’ in The Gully, Katoomba (Budawa Aboriginal Signage Group website)

The second can be found in an oasis of quiet some distance from the centre of town. In 2002, the Gully was officially declared an ‘Aboriginal Place’, a public acknowledgement of the profound connection to this place, which has survived within the local indigenous community. An Aboriginal ‘story walk’ has been included in the ‘refurbishment’ of the area and Jacky’s story is among those of the Gully people featured. 

While these are the two public acknowledgements of his place in the life of Katoomba, not long ago I had the pleasure of meeting Jacky’s daughter, Eileen, and her son, Jay, who are only now discovering the richness of their Blue Mountains heritage. Jacky’s grandson Jay is an impressive young man fired with enthusiasm for his grandfather’s story and determined that it not be forgotten. Jacky’s memory, I think, is in safe hands.

Figure 10: Jacky’s daughter Eileen and grandson Jay (Jay Brooks)

A very early ‘version’ of this article was published in Loosehead (Rugby League Quarterly), No.7 (Vol.2 Issue 1), Spring 1999, pp.7-9, 20; and a later version presented as a paper at the Blue Mountains History Conference, 25 September 2005.

This article was originally published in Doryanthes, Vol.8 No.4, November 2015, pp.12-21

For their interest and assistance I am grateful to the Blue Mountains Historical Society, John Merriman and the Blue Mountains City Library’s Local Studies Section and to Jim Smith who shared information from his own research. I am also extremely appreciative of the help, support and encouragement given to me by members of Jacky Brooks’ family, especially his niece Margaret Joyce Jordan, his nephew Ron Fletcher and, more recently, his daughter Eileen and grandson Jay. Finally, I drew untold knowledge and inspiration from the historical research of my friend Andrew Moore and the many afternoons we spent on the hill at North Sydney Oval. 

Written by John Low

Editor note

This article contains quotations from historical sources that would now be considered offensive and even shocking. They have been preserved for historical accuracy.

John Low OAM is a former Local Studies Librarian at Blue Mountains Library. 

John Merriman, Local Studies Librarian.

End notes

[1] D Kevans,  “The Roar of the Crowd” in The Great Prawn War and other Poems, Sydney: The Author, 1982, p. 31.
[2]  “The Henderson Cup”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 6 August 1920, p. 3, cols.4-5.
[3] “District Rugby League”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 4 May 1928, p.2, cols.5-6.
[4] Though his nickname appears as both ‘Jacky’ and ‘Jackie’ I have used the former spelling for consistency.
[5] D Johnson, “The Gully Aboriginal Place”, in E Stockton & J Merriman, ed. Blue Mountains Dreaming: The Aboriginal Heritage, 2nd edition, Lawson (NSW): Blue Mountain Education & Research Trust, 2009, p.206.
[6] I am grateful to Jim Smith who provided me with the birth date, recorded in Jacky’s application (16/8/1949) for exemption from the provisions of the Aboriginal Welfare Act; and to Jacky’s niece, Joyce Jordan, who sent me copies of his Marriage Certificates: to Edith in 1924 and to Daisy in 1931. The references to Jacky’s father come from these.
[7] D Johnson & D Colless. Upper Kedumba Valley, Katoomba: Report on the Cultural Significance of Upper Kedumba Valley for Declaration as an Aboriginal Place, Blackheath: NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, [2002]. 
[8] “Death of an Old Identity”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 21 November 1913, p.3, col.4. Many years earlier his local knowledge and respected position was recognized in an interview published in The Sydney Mail, 12 December 1896. But perhaps the best memorial to William and Fanny was given by Bernard O’Reilly in his book Cullenbenbong (1944).
[9]  “A Miraculous Escape”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 29 November 1912, p.2, col.1; “Honest Recognition”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 20 December 1912, p.6, col.2.
[10] It is interesting that the Federals’ colours were red, yellow & black hoops – the colours adopted for the modern Aboriginal flag!
[11] See A Moore. The Mighty Bears: a Social History of North Sydney Rugby League, Sydney: Macmillan, 1996, pp. 86-88.
[12] ‘Dally-B’, “Football Flashes”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 24 August 1923, p.5, col.4
[13] “Football”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 4 June 1926, p.5, col.2.
[14] “Football”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 14 August 1928, p.2, col.3.
[15] “Another Meritorious Win”, The Blue Mountains Star, 21 September, 1929, p.4, col.1.
[16] “Federals Down Heath”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 16 May 1924, p.3, col 3.
[17] “Football Flashes”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 6 June 1924, p.5, col.3.
[18] “Football”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 13 June 1924, p.3, col.3.
[19] “Football Flashes”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 12 June 1925, p.3, col.5.
[20] “Strenuous Rugby”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 11 July 1924, p.3, col.3.
[21] ‘Lock’, “Rugby League: Football Flashes”, The Katoomba Daily, 17 July 1936, p.2, col.7.
[22] “Football-Thrilling Game”, The Blue Mountains Star, 24 August 1929, p.8, col.5.
[23] “A Muddy Game”, The Blue Mountains Star, 17 August 1929, p.8, col.3.
[24] “Football-Thrilling Game”, The Blue Mountains Star, 24 August 1929, p.8, col.5.
[25] “The Blue Mountain Line Never Crossed”, The Blue Mountains Star, 7 September 1929, p.4, cols.3-4.
[26] Blue Mountains football was described by one commentator in 1922 as “a mild recreation” rather than “a serious proposition”. See: “Football Flashes: Almost Cricket”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 4 August 1922, p.4, col.5.
[27] “Mountains Football Comes into its Own”, The Blue Mountains Star, 1 June 1929, p.3, cols.3-4.
[28] ‘Centre’, “Football Rakings”, The Blue Mountains Star, 25 May 1929, p.3, col.6.
[29] ‘Dally-B’, “Football Flashes”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 24 August 1923, p.5, col.4.
[30] ‘Lock’, “Football Flashes”, The Katoomba Daily, 18 May 1933, p.3, col.5, quoting comments from The Bathurst Times.
[31] “Week-End Football: After the Match”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 29 August 1924, p.2, col.4.
[32] “Football Flashes”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 19 September 1924, p.3, col.5.
[33] “Under the Award: Jacky Brooks’ Wages”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 8 April 1927, p.3, col.4.
[34] “Farewell”, The Katoomba Daily, 9 July 1938, p.4, col.5.
[35] Mrs. Lillian Booby, undated letter and oral history interview (21/10/1992) in the Blue Mountains City Library’s Local Studies Collection; and “Week-End Football”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 29 August 1924, p.2, col.4; “Football Flashes: Federals vs Springwood”, The Blue Mountains Echo, 17 July 1925, p.5, col.1; “Carrington Staff Ball”, The Katoomba Daily, 28 June 1938, p.3, col.6.
[36] “Mountains Wins”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 8 June 1923, p.6, col.5; “Football Season”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 22 May 1925, p.5, col.3; “Football”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 14 August 1928, p.2, col.3.
[37] This was told to me during an informal conversation with the late Springwood historian, Jack Maddock, who worked as a junior reporter on The Katoomba Daily in the early 1930s.
[38] C Tatz. Aborigines in Sport, Bedford Park SA: Australian Society for Sports History, 1987, p.5.
[39] Man Hunt”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 22 April 1921, p.1, cols.2-3; “Capture in a Cave”, The Blue Mountain Echo, 16 May 1924, p.2, col.4.

[40] J Smith, “Katoomba’s Fringe Dwellers”, in E Stockton, ed. Blue Mountains Dreaming: The Aboriginal Heritage, Winmalee, NSW: Three Sisters, 1993, p. 129.
[41] ‘Karku’, “Boxing”, The Katoomba Daily, 6 April 1933, p.3, col.5.
[42] Mrs. Lillian Booby, oral history interview (21/10/1992) in the Blue Mountains City Library’s Local Studies Collection.
[43] Johnson & Colless 2002, p.88. Also, Marriage Certificate Walter Woodburne (sic) John Brooks and Daisy Smith known as Dennis, 19 November 1936.
[44] For the details of this, in the words of historian Martin Thomas, rather “tawdry episode in local government”, see: M Thomas, The Artificial Horizon: Imagining the Blue Mountains, Melbourne: MUP, 2003, pp.199-207 and Johnson 2009, pp.215-217. The racing circuit was ultimately a financial disaster.
[45] See: J Smith ed. Legends of the Blue Mountains Valleys, by Jimmy Shepherd, retold by Frank Walford, Wentworth Falls: Den Fenella Press, 2003, pp.64-65.

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