The Blue Mountains area we know today, is the land of the Gundungarra and Darug people, who have been here for over 1000 generations.
The Europeans in the late 1700’s originally called the hills the Carmarthen Hills, it was not long till the famous Blue Haze dictated its new name, and by the early 1800’s the name Blue Mountains was adopted.
The Blue Mountains is a major character in the expansion of the young Colony of NSW. In 1813; Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson found their way across the mountains, and soon a road was being built by convicts out to the fertile lands to the west.
Mountains villages like Springwood, Lawson, and Blackheath where soon offering accommodation inns for travellers to stay the night, before continuing their westward journey.
For the next 50 years, little settlement occurred in the Blue Mountains, but by the late 1860’s the arrival of the railway turned a journey of many days into a few hours.
Soon, Sydney residents were looking to the mountains as an escape from the heat of Sydney, as people would come to the mountains to “take the air.” The altitude of the mountains offering clear air and cool nights, attracted many, and soon villages begun to grow.
In 1881 a developer purchased the land we know today as Katoomba and Leura; and promoted the towns as an escape from Sydney. Large hotels like the Carrington Hotel opened, guest houses popped up and the tourism industry begun to bloom.
The Blue Mountains became know as the place to holiday, and honeymoon, to enjoy the cooler air, the sights of the fern dells and waterfalls and the luxurious accommodation. The tourism industry was developing offering everything a holiday maker could need, from dairies and bakeries, to bushwalking trails and established lookouts.
For over 140 years holiday makers have flocked to the Blue Mountains, though activities and fashion may have changed, the desire to breathe the fresh air and be one with nature is still relevant today.
Written by Sue Collins, a Leura Local who runs a tour business called Mountains Tales, offering creative and entertaining historical tours of the Blue Mountains. Sue offers coach commentary hosting and guiding for large groups to the mountains and village walking tours of upper mountain villages.
To add a little bit of history to your next Blue Mountains getaway and really experience the Mountains like a local - ask us to include one of Mountains Tales' walking tours in your bespoke itinerary.