Westward, Ho! The Upper Blue Mountains

Wentworth Falls | Leura | Katoomba | Medlow Bath | Blackheath
Megalong Valley | Mount Victoria

Wentworth Falls

Wentworth Falls was the site of William Cox’s Weatherboard Hut store in 1815 and the Weatherboard Inn from 1827. In 1867 the railway station opened as Weatherboard and in 1879 the name was changed to Wentworth Falls in honour of William Charles Wentworth, the explorer. The word Falls was added to distinguish the town from another Wentworth on the NSW/Victorian border (Fox, pp 299-300).
Sketch of Wentworth Falls from The Railway Guide of NSW. NRS16407-1-1[6]_[Opp-p41]
Brittannia Falls, Wentworth Falls, n.d. Digital ID 12932-a012-a012X2448000088 Undercliff track near Lady See's Lookout, Wentworth Falls, n.d. Digital ID 12932-a012-a012X2448000086 The Weeping Rock, Wentworth Falls. NRS16407-1-2[43]_p39 Wentworth Falls Railway Station, c1900. Digital ID 17420_a014_a014000760

Jamieson Valley

Jamieson Valley was named by Governor Macquarie after physician and landowner, Sir John Jamison. The Valley is about 12 km long and forms part of the Cox’s River canyon system from Katoomba to the Cox’s River. The area is noted for the steep sandstone cliffs and includes the Ruined Castle, Mt Solitary, Kings Tableland and Wentworth Falls.
Panoramic view of Jamieson Valley from Sublime Point, Wentworth Falls, n.d. Digital ID 12932-a012-a012X2448000105


The town was named after close by Leura Falls, which itself was named by Frederick Clissold after his Queensland property (Fox, pp 177-178).  The Leura Estate subdivision occurred in 1881 and the railway station opened in 1890.
Excursion train leaving Leura Station, c1902. Digital ID 17420_a014_a014001370
Leura Railway Station, n.d. Digital ID 17420_a014_a014000739 Queen Elizabeth II arriving at Leura onboard the royal train, 12 February 1954. Digital ID 17420_a014_a014000190 Sketch of the Cascade Falls, Leura. NRS16407-1-1[13]_p108 Valley Scene, over Leura Falls. NRS16407-1-1[13]_p106


Katoomba is the largest town in the Blue Mountains and is 110km west of Sydney and 39km south-east of Lithgow. The area was known as The Crushers when the railway opened in 1868, due to the nearby quarry. The name was changed in 1877 and is said to derive from a Dharug word kadumba for falling waters. The town developed as a tourist and spa destination with regular trains from Sydney.
Katoomba, c1950. Digital ID 17420_a014_a014001369
View of Katoomba Railway Station and surrounds, c1885. Digital ID 17420_a014_a014000741 View of Katoomba Railway Station and Carrington Hotel, c1885. Digital ID 17420_a014_a014000742
Katoomba Railway Station, c1889. Digital ID 17420_a014_a014000740 Katoomba Railway Station, c1930. Digital ID 17420_a014_a014000747
Echo Point, Katoomba, n.d. Digital ID 12932-a012-a012X2448000111 The Carrington, Katoomba, 4 Sep 1929. Digital ID 549_a029_a029000180

Three Sisters

The Three Sisters are three towering rock formations in Katoomba, overlooking the Jamieson Valley. There is some debate as to whether the name comes from an Aboriginal legend or is a European term adopted in the 1880s (See Fox, p.283 for more details).
View of The Three Sisters, Mount Solitary and the Jamieson Valley, n.d. Digital ID 12932-a012-a012X2448000090
View of the Coxs River Valley from Splendor Rock near Katoomba, n.d. Digital ID 12932-a012-a012X2448000108 Orphan Rock, Katoomba, n.d. Digital ID 12932-a012-a012X2448000100

Medlow Bath

When the railway arrived in 1880 the town was called Brown’s Sidings after Brown’s Sawmill which was located in the town. The name was then changed to Medlow and Bath was added in recognition of Mark Foy’s development of the Hydro Majestic as a hydropath sanatorium in the early 1900s.
Medlow Bath Railway Station, c1954. Digital ID 17420_a014_a014000748 Blackhealth Glen, Medlow Bath, n.d. Digital ID 12932-a012-a012X2448000093


Blackheath was named by Governor Macquarie on his return trip from Bathurst in 1816 and is a reference to the dark-coloured heath growing in the area. There was a convict stockade operating from about 1844 to 1849 when it became a mounted police station. The railway station was opened in 1869.
Blackheath Railway Station, c1899. Digital ID 17420_a014_a014000749 Blackheath Golf Course, n.d. Digital ID 12932-a012-a012X2448000089 Blackheath Golf Course, n.d. Digital ID 12932-a012-a012X2448000087 Swimming pool at Blackheath, n.d. Digital ID 12932-a012-a012X2448000082 Blackheath Railway Station, c1910. Digital ID 17420_a014_a014000750

Govetts Leap – Blackheath

Govetts Leap is a lookout over the Grose Valley. It was named after William Govett, assistant Surveyor General who surveyed the area in June 1831. Evans Lookout is an alternative vantage point to view the same valley.
Sketch of Govetts Leap NRS16407-1-1[6]_[Opp-p56] View of Fortress Walls above Govett Gorge, n.d. Digital ID 12932-a012-a012X2448000078

Megalong Valley

Megalong Valley is located west of Katoomba Valley and includes the Six Foot Track, a horse and carriage track cut out in 1884 by William Marshall (Surveyor of Public Parks), a nineteenth century bridle path from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves. The word Megalong is derived from an Aboriginal word thought to mean “valley under the rock”.
View of Megalong Valley, n.d. Digital ID 12932-a012-a012X2448000081

Mount Victoria

This area was originally known as Broughton’s Waterhole and One Tree Hill (the highest point in the region), both popular spots for stopovers on the trip to and from Bathurst. In 1849 a toll operated at Broughton’s Water Hole. By the time the railway station opened in 1869 it was decided by Governor Belmore to rename the town Mount Victoria, in honour of the Queen.
Mount Victoria township, c1875. Digital ID 17420_a014_a014001368
Mount Victoria Station, c1871. Digital ID 17420_a014_a014001367 Mount Victoria Railway Station, n.d. Digital ID 17420_a014_a014000751 The Imperial Hotel, Mount Victoria. NRS16407-1-1[5]_[Opp-p52]
Advertisement for the Grand Hotel, Mount Victoria. NRS16407-1-2[43]_p80


NRS 16410 Blue Mountains Shire brochure

Brian Fox, Blue Mountains Geographical Dictionary, Brian Fox, 2006

Geographic Names Board of NSW: http://www.gnb.nsw.gov.au/name_search

Brian and Barbara Kennedy, Sydney and Suburbs: A history and description, Reed Publishing, 1982

John Low, Pictorial Memories Blue Mountains, Kingsclear Books, 1991

Research by

Suzanne Upton, Archivist Public Access