Gold! The Robertson Land Acts and Warrimoo

Identifying the geography of New South Wales as being very similar to the countryside he recently visited in the California Gold Rush, Edward Hammond Hargraves set off across the Mountains’ Road towards Bathurst seeking clues to a possible ‘El Dorado’ west of the Great Divide.

This romantic painting of Edward Hammond Hargraves (1816--1891) shows him acknowledging the cheers of grateful gold miners, in front of a mountain range, presumably the Blue Mountains


He met John Hardman Lister at an Inn along the way. Lister mentioned that he had heard gold specks had been found in Lewis Ponds Creek, so Hargraves promised the young man he would show him how to find gold. They panned at Lewis Ponds Creek and found five specks of ‘colour’.

Hargraves then showed Lister and two of his mates, James and William Tom, how to build as well as  use a ‘Californian Cradle’, and shortly left for Sydney to announce the discovery of gold in the colony.

 An old photo of William Tom (1791--1883) and the 'California Cradle' he constructed to start the Gold Rush, although it would be decades before he, his sons, and John Hardman Lister achieved the recognition they deserved.

While Hargraves was busily trying to (unsuccessfully) convince the Colonial Secretary of the importance of his find, Lister and the Tom brothers had actually sifted 120 grams of payable gold at the junction of Lewis Ponds and Summer Hills Creeks—this was to become the site of the first ‘gold rush town’ of Ophir. Rather foolishly, the boys passed this information, along with the 120 grams, to Hargraves.

John Hardman Lister (1828--1890). It was he who showed Hargraves the location of the goldfield, and he and the Toms who actually found payable gold, but it was Hargraves that received the fame and a 10,000 pound reward from the government.


It was April, 1851. This was headline news. With Hargraves encouragement, a fever was being generated. By mid April, 400 people were panning for gold at Ophir. By December of the same year, 10,000 were frantically mining at Ballarat—the Australian Gold Rushes had begun.

Swollen Immigration

The next decade saw a massive influx of immigrants. For a group of colonies which had taken sixty years to achieve a white population of 405,000, the next ten years’ arrivals amounted to a tidal wave. In that time over 700,000 new optimists, including 50,000 Chinese, swamped the countryside seeking a new and fortunate life.

S. T. Gill's famous drawings: at left the road to the goldfields, at right, Chinese diggers at their labour


 West of the Divide, far from Warrimoo, gold rush towns sprang up around and beyond Ophir, at Sofala, Hill End, Mudgee, Young (Lambing Flat), Forbes, Parkes, Grenfell and Gulgong along with many other, smaller fields. The traffic across the ‘Great Western Road’ as it was now known grew to be consistently intense. The colony grew wealthier, and service providers such as pubs and inns, stables and blacksmiths, general stores and postal services, sprang up across the Blue Mountains.

Throughout all this, the area now known as Warrimoo remained a campsite. The famous ‘Black Stump’ referred to by Maisie Lupton[1] had a clearing and a basic fireplace where weary travelers could bed down, bake some damper and boil a billy. There is (up to this point in time, at least) no evidence of non-Aboriginal occupation up to the 1860’s.

The Demand for Land

Sir John Robertson (1816--1891). Despite being a large pastoralist himself, the NSW Premier realised the need for fairer land distribution, and introduced his 'Land Acts' in 1861.


Many of the new immigrants saw opportunities in the fledgling settlements of the colony, and felt that land ownership offered the best chance of building wealth. However most land throughout New South Wales had already been “locked up”, either as Crown Land, previously granted and/or sold land, or as large scale “Stations” controlled by wealthy squatters, who paid peppercorn rental to the Crown for their pastoral  properties.

The question of land distribution became a sore political issue in all the colonies, so that ultimately the Premier of New South Wales, John Robertson, introduced a series of Land Acts which allowed “Selectors” to peg out 40—320 acre (16—130 hectare) ‘agricultural lots’ and then purchase the land at One Pound per acre over time. They were obliged to live on their blocks for at least three years and make economic improvements. Now, the “rush for land” had begun.

'Selectors' pegging out their blocks, which could be as large as 320 acres (130 hectares) and which cost One Pound per acre. They were obliged to live on the block for three years, and to make "improvements" to it, which generally meant clearing.


Naturally, the most fertile, well-watered, less rocky and most accessible land was sought out and struggled over. In many districts, squatters aimed to block the new and enthusiastic farmers with a host of subversive and downright shonky practices, yet the process continued.

Soon, even less desirable farming land became available, and residential blocks to service transport networks such as roads, ports and railway stations, were released by the ‘Crown’ (the colonial government of New South Wales). Warrimoo’s existence as an identifiable Europeanised ‘place’ was drawing closer…

The ‘First Landowners’

When engaging in Australian history such as that at Warrimoo, historians must inevitably confront the reality of ‘Terra Nullius’. Of course the real ‘first landowners’ were either Darug or Gundungarra peoples, and their ‘ownership’ was different in nature to that conceived by British tradition—it was more a question of ‘custodianship’, where the land in question was tended and replenished in a cyclical manner, in preparation for future visits and future generations.

 Thus, ‘firestick farming’ occurred when a group was leaving a given area to replenish green grassland and remove unwanted shrubbery, so that hunting and general movement was made easier. Thick forest-land was left as such to retain bush habitat for edible vegetation and game. Tracks were maintained as groups moved through, simply  by uprooting and removing obstacles. The idea of ‘changing’ or ‘clearance’ or ‘building upon’ an identifiable stretch of ground and working upon it in a ‘lineal’, ‘progressive’ or ‘developmental’ way was not the aim.

Lapstone escarpment as seen from 'Emu Plains Road'--this was Emu Plains while there were still emus present--as painted by an early colonial observer, Augustus Earle.

A very powerful case[2] can be made for the notion that British colonizers walked in to an ‘Eden of Plenty’ in 1788. Aside from the travails of the First Fleet, the members of which understood very little of the environment around them, colonial explorers more frequently spoke of ‘rich grasslands’, ‘abundant wildlife’ and ‘plentiful game’. At the same time, white settlers generally ignored the edible vegetation all around them and preferred to import European crops which often failed.

Kangaroos feeding at Euroka Clearing, near Glenbrook--Darug and Gundungarra clans maintained cleared grassy areas by controlled burning, but they also sustained forested areas in a 'patchwork' fashion.

Indications—from available European writings of the period—tend to support the notion of both ‘clear forest areas’ as well as ‘dense bushland’ coexistent with ‘plenty’ upon first arrival. There were plenty of emus at ‘Emu Plains’ for example, and Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson, along with the other explorers of the time, were always able to shoot game when the necessity arose. They came across ‘open forest areas’ and clear streams such as that near Sun Valley as well as tough, bush-bashing vegetation which made progress difficult. In short, Darug and Gundungarra land management practices had provided a complex yet plentiful, some might say ‘idyllic’ environment, for human existence.
Yet by the 1860’s the ‘first landowners’ had effectively gone from Warrimoo. The density of traffic moving to and fro across the Great Western Road meant that all stock fodder had been stripped for kilometres on either side. Native animals had been hunted into scarcity or extinction (by the 1830’s there were no more emus at Emu Plains), and random but fairly frequent bushfire incidents had changed the shape and ecology of the bush forever.


Darug survivors from the Hawkesbury region, photographed here at the turn of the 20th century: the Everinghams, the Barbers, and George H. Morley

It is logical to assume that these factors alone made survival and reproduction for Darug and Gundungarra clans vastly more difficult. Then there was the likelihood of killings and deaths from disease as the European population became more omnipresent. Many Indigenous people became fringe dwellers—there is certain evidence of a substantial presence of Aboriginal people at Springwood up until the 1830’s---and many sought work on the farms of the Marsdens (St. Marys), Blaxlands (St. Marys and Wallacia) and Coxes (Richmond and Mulgoa) down on the Cumberland plain.


As land became available and white settlement expanded during the latter half of the nineteenth century, Darug and Gundungarra families were herded into more confined settlements, generally termed ‘missions’ and ‘reserves’. There was the first gathering of families at Blacktown, but others sprang up at South Creek, Eastern Creek (this settlement had Darug burial grounds) Sackville Reach on the Hawkesbury, and in the Mountains, at ‘The Gully’ near Katoomba.


Three proud descendants who have done much to promote awareness of the continuing vibrancy of Darug and Gundungarra culture: Aunties Joan Cooper, Dawn Colless and Betty Locke


The ‘Gully’ was a well known settlement in the Mountains which held descendants of both Darug and Gundungarra nations. It lasted until the 1950’s when a car racing circuit called “Catalina Park” was established there. The Aboriginal people were evicted and dispersed, although many of their descendants continued to live in their original ‘Country’[3]. According to the last census, there are currently about 1,000 Aboriginal people living in the Blue Mountains, several of whom live in Warrimoo. 


The Railway Rolls By—1867--1918

The most prominent locomotive to have operated on the Blue Mountains, the 'G-23' --as seen at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney 
‘Warrimoo’ would not have been born had it not been for the marriage of two ‘Great’ forms of infrastructure: the ‘Western’ or ‘Bathurst’ Road, and the ‘Western Railway’. We know that Cox and Mitchell were key figures in the construction of the former, but it would be a truly outstanding figure who achieved the latter.[4]
Famously, it was John Whitton, Engineer-in-Chief of N.S.W., whose determination inspired the construction of a railway from Penrith to Bathurst, and hence through the future area of Warrimoo, between 1862 and 1867.

Bust of John Whitton--'Father of  the NSW Railways'--at Central Station, Sydney
 His ambition was driven by the need to further develop Western NSW, and by the agitation of the now gold-rich residents of Bathurst for a fast and efficient transport link to Sydney. Indeed, it was the combined wealth of gold and wool that provided the infant colony with the wherewithal for such an ambitious project.
There was also a rival scheme announced by Sir William Denison which proposed a ‘light-rail’ horse-drawn tramway across the ‘Mountains, running through the centre of the Western or ‘Bathurst’ Road.[5]
Whitton felt the public pressure, but was confronted by three natural obstacles: the Nepean River, and two steep escarpment slopes either side of the Great Divide, at Lapstone and Lithgow.
Whitton Shows His Genius

Victoria Bridge, over the Nepean River at Penrith. Whitton designed the bridge for rail and vehicular traffic, and construction of the piers began in 1862

The Engineer-in-Chief had deep faith in heavy rail, and his plans emanated from that. He designed the Victoria Bridge for both rail and vehicular traffic and its wide piers were to be constructed with sandstone quarried from Lapstone Hill itself.[6] The challenge of building solid foundations for these piers in such a powerful river as the Nepean can be well imagined, yet it was done in two years.
Building a bridge over a river the size of the Nepean was no easy feat in the 1860's--piers had to be built on a solid foundation, and sandstone blocks were quarried from Lapstone escarpment and carted to the site.
Meanwhile, a “Mr. Watkins’” company was contracted to build a viaduct over Knapsack Gully in order to smooth out the gradient up the escarpment. This was something reminiscent of the Roman Empire, and consisted of six massive piers supporting soaring arches, the highest of which reached 36.9 metres from the floor of the gully. Two further viaducts of similar magnitude were built on the western side of the Mountains to erect the Lithgow, or ‘Great’ zig-zag.[7]

An artist's impression of the 'Great' or Lithgow Zig-Zag as it looked upon completion--the viaduct arches are a stunning testament of Blue Mountains architecture
The slope up Lapstone hill was inclined at 1:33—too steep for 19th century locomotives to climb in one stretch. From the outset, Whitton had wanted a tunnel carved into the mountainside to reduce the gradient by half--1:60. The length of the tunnel would have to be 2 miles (3.22 kms), and it would need 10 million bricks to secure its interior. No contractor would take it on…[8]

A gradient profile of the Lapstone escarpment, showing where the tunnel ultimately by-passed the Zig-Zag, from Railway West Chronicles, p.27
So Whitton designed the two “Z” shaped zig-zags at the east-west bookends of the Blue Mountains. How it works is as follows…The upper and lower “points” extend beyond the central arm. A train approaches along the lower arm and continues until the last of the vehicles is beyond the intersection. The lower point is then switched to the central arm track, and the loco then pushes the train backwards up the angled section until the train is clear of the top arm, where it then proceeds on its way. With a good signals team switching the tracks at the appropriate times, the whole procedure could be carried out in 20 minutes.[9]

Sketch of the Lapstone Zig-Zag--note that the "Points" had to extend long enough to cater for the full length of a train. As demand for longer trains grew and the Zig-Zags could not adapt, they rapidly became "bottlenecks". 'Lucasville Platform' was built at the Top Points level because the then Minister for Mines, John Lucas, had a holiday cottage on the escarpment, and he needed convenient access
The Railway Arrives at … ‘Karabar’ / ‘Karabah’?
Ultimately, in a triumph of engineering for such a young colony, the eastern obstacles were overcome: Victoria Bridge, the Knapsack Viaduct and the Lapstone Zig-Zag all now shone, so that feverish work on the remaining single-line track could proceed all the way to ‘Weatherboard’.

Building the Blue Mountains' railroad. Note that it is single track. The labour shortage in NSW was so acute that the govt. paid the fares of 500 'navvies' enlisted in England to help build the line--from When We Rode The Rails, p. 40
When this section of the Great Western Line was opened to great fanfare in 1867, it comprised six stations: ‘Watertank’ (Glenbrook)—so named because all locos needed refilling from Glenbrook Lagoon after their uphill climb—‘Wascoes’ (Blaxland), ‘Springwood’, ‘Buss’s’ (Woodford), ‘Blue Mountains’ (Lawson)—this is why Lawson now claims itself to be the original ‘Blue Mountain’,--and ‘Weatherboard’ (Wentworth Falls) itself. After the western (Lithgow) zig-zag was completed in October 1869, when the first train traversed it and arrived at ‘Bowenfels’, the rail crossing of the Blue Mountains was complete.

Given the rugged terrain and the basic 'Pulling and Lifting' power available to workers, the line was completed with amazing rapidity.
On October 1st, 1881, ‘Karabar Platform’ and waiting shed was opened. The name of this first railway platform is believed to have been derived from the name ‘Karadra’, an Aboriginal Elder of the Boorooborangal, or Nepean nation.[10] A certain ‘Karabah Terrace’ presently runs behind some houses on Florabella Street and the Warrimoo Public School, no doubt memorialising this place-name, but with a different spelling.

The Railways always referred to the area as 'Karabar', but NSW Lands Dept. oscillated between the 'r' and the 'h' spelling, as evidenced in Survey Maps and this sign.
Confusion surrounding the spelling of the name ‘Karabah/Karabar’ can feasibly be explained by different spellings in two survey maps produced in July and September 1909, where the former spelled it with an ‘r’ and the latter with an ‘h’[11] …could it be the original name for the area later to be known as Warrimoo was borne of a spelling mistake, or maybe even the fuzzy vision of a Lands Dept. or Railways clerk?
 The 100ft (30 metres) platform was positioned at the Sydney side of the No.3 Level Crossing, which lay somewhere between the present Warrimoo Station and Valley Heights. The platform was placed about 500 metres west of the current Warrimoo Station and was probably built with the aim of servicing residents of a proposed new subdivision, since in 1882, Richardson and Wrench opened a new estate named ‘Karabar’.

The G-23 loco emerges from a cutting at Woodford in 1867, pulling the standard number of two carriages. The two smaller 'bogey' wheels at the front allowed speedier travel around curves--from a sketchbook by 'Mountains artist, Jo Booker
Whatever the case, the arrival of this new platform signaled a new stage in the establishment of settlement at Warrimoo, and the ‘Mountains generally. Firstly, land could now be developed along agricultural, industrial, commercial, or residential purposes with heavy transportation available nearby.
Secondly, thousands of railway workers now witnessed the powerful beauty of the Blue Mountains which previously had remained largely unnoticed, being a mere transit space to the goldfields or sheep stations out west. Now it became a place of residence for fettlers, signalmen, gatekeepers, engineers, stationmasters and the host of other workers and suppliers to the railroads.


Thousands of Railway workers now experienced life in the Blue Mountains. Most lived in 'tent cities', and some even successfully experimented with market gardening near the tracks, as shown in this photograph--from When We Rode The Rails, p 41.
Platform Upgrades
It wasn’t long before the Lapstone Zig-Zag became a bottleneck of ever-growing rail traffic so Whitton’s dream of a tunnel on the escarpment was revisited, along with a general upgrading of the line to allow more crossing and overtaking trains. Thus, additional to a new ‘Glenbrook Tunnel Loop’ being constructed for ‘up’ trains from Sydney, a ‘Signal Box Loop’ was established midway between Glenbrook and Springwood which served to divert trains while others passed or crossed them.

The line as it would've looked passing through 'Karabar', prior to the platform. A plan for residential development was soon to follow--photo from When We Rode The Rails, p.41
The new loop was at ‘Karabar’ and it was set up in 1895 and upgraded even more extensively in 1902, when the railway was duplicated. Naturally, a ‘Signals Box’ of this importance would have necessitated a Signal Man, who, along with the Gatekeeper required to ensure vehicular traffic crossed the line safely, must live in the vicinity and be able to answer emergency calls and adjust signals along the line.

Illustration of the changes made to Karabar: top drawing shows the 1895 addition of a 'Crossing Loop', allowing trains to pull over and allow others to pass. A mere 7 years later, in 1905, the line became fully 'dual carriageway', with the 'Signal Box' still playing an important function--from Railway West Chronicles p. 128
A central question arises…could this ‘Gatekeeper’ and ‘Signalman’, their families ensconced in their cottage homes, have been the first European residents of Warrimoo, or had the 1882 Richardson and Wrench subdivision gained some sales such that other settlers had arrived before them in the early 1880’s?

A typical sandstone Railwayman's cottage, this one is at Valley Heights. Could a similar one have existed next to the Crossing at Karabar, near where the present Citizens Hall now stands? Could the first residents of our township have lived there? Certainly, there is no trace of such a cottage left anywhere in Warrimoo.
The evidence seems to point to a pretty slow uptake in the market, because the Karabar Platform was closed down on December 9th 1897 due to a ‘lack of patronage’. It was re-opened in 1902 and the Signal Box was again upgraded in 1909, but it would appear that  fire or misuse (?) destroyed the remnants of the ‘platform’ by 1913(?) leaving the whole area in a kind of limbo…
The First European Land Holders [12]
The first Land Grants or Purchases occurred at ‘Karabar’ after the development of both the Great Western Road and Railway, the enactment of the Robertson Land Acts and the subsequent Volunteer Regulation Force Act of 1867.
This last Act is significant because it is possible that some 50 acre blocks may have been granted under it at Karabar. This reflected an imperialist tradition that went back to the Roman Empire, where loyal, long-serving soldiers were rewarded for their services with land. One of the great advantages possessed by the British Empire was that it had acquired, by whatever means, large tracts of land that could be transferred at the whim of the Crown under the aegis of ‘Terra Nullius’.
When the time came for ‘the Crown’ (Britain) to disengage from its colonies, new locally drafted troops were required to fill the gap of colonial defence. One of the incentives for colonial volunteers was the promise of land…
New South Wales was granted self-government in 1855 and, while British forces continued to garrison New South Wales for another 15 years, it was decided in London that the Australian colonies would need to take responsibility for their own defence. In 1854, upon the outbreak of the Crimean War, a local voluntary force, the 1st Regiment of New South Wales Rifles, was raised.

A second volunteer regiment was raised in 1860, after the withdrawal of British forces was confirmed. This force consisted of one troop of mounted rifles, three batteries of artillery, and twenty companies of infantry. Two years later more artillery batteries were added. The force was reorganised by the Volunteer Regulation Act of 1867.

The withdrawal of British forces from New South Wales was completed in 1871, and local forces assumed control of the defence of New South Wales. The forces of New South Wales were restructured during the 1890s, with new units formed and others disbanded or merged. With the enactment of Australian federation on 1 January 1901, all Australian colonial forces, including New South Wales, were automatically transferred to Commonwealth control.
Under the Volunteer Force Regulation Act officers and volunteers were entitled after a period of five years continuous service, to a free grant of 50 acres of Crown Land.
Many of the men who received such grants sold their land as soon as they were able in order to make some money.  Others were able to increase their holdings by purchasing adjacent lands.  
We do know the first Crown land grants in the Karabar (Warrimoo) area were accorded to:
·       Frederick Somers: 31 October 1879 & 1880
·       Alexander Finlayson and William Cope: 1881
·       William Dickson: 2 September 1882
·       William Deane: 14 April 1892[14]

The insignia of the 'Royal NSW Regiment', the first volunteer force struck in the colony. If a soldier served for five years or more, he could be rewarded with a Crown Land Grant under the Volunteer Regulation Force Act of 1867

At this stage it is difficult to ascertain just how these first five Crown Land recipients got  their grants—most likely it would have been from some form of ‘service’ to the Crown, the British or colonial government of New South Wales. There has long been the traditional wisdom that Warrimoo has always held some connection to military service and soldier settlement.

The NSW Regiment marches down Gresham Street near Circular Quay prior to departure for Sudan in 1885. Despite being after the early Land Grants at Karabar, it is likely that incentives had long been needed to ensure ample enlistments for wars throughout the Empire
However, the exact connection is difficult to trace. Of the above candidates, one of the most likely to have been a British Serviceman was the first named: Frederick Pane Hawkins Somers…
Frederick Somers 1836-1889
It is estimated that Frederick Somers was born in 1836 somewhere in England. In the Census of 1841 a “John Somers--Yeoman” was registered at Glastonbury with a son, Frederick. In the following, 1851 Census a Frederick Somers was counted as a 15 year-old “Scholar-Pupil” under the tutelage of “Henry Howard”, the “Head” of a school in Acacia Road, Marylebone (London).[15]
Possibly Frederick had been sent to London for a formal education—as a small country farmer/landholder his father may have felt this was the best chance for his son to build a future.
From 1851 to 1869 there is a hiatus in the records of Fred’s life, because in 1869 he appeared in Sydney, getting married. In the interim a very important event had occurred: the Crimean War against Tsarist Russia. It is quite feasible that Frederick Somers had joined the British army as a young (educated) officer and fought in that war, after which he may have decided to emigrate to Australia to start a new and prosperous life, though his Land Grant did not occur for some time yet.
The Pub Owner
Whatever the cause of his migration, it would seem that Fred had settled in Sydney long enough to woo and marry a midwife by the name of “Annie Maria Bluck” (this surname sometimes transforming to “Black” or “Pollack”) in 1869.[16] For a while during this early part of his marriage, he became something of an investment speculator, stumping up funds for shares in the ‘Victoria Reef Gold Mining Company’ of Adelong, but forfeiting those shares in 1873 for “…non payment of calls due…”[17]
Nonetheless the marriage was an advantageous match for Somers, because the Bluck family owned a pub in Crown Street, Surry Hills, called, of all things, “Bluck’s Hotel”, which Fred’s father-in-law, James Bluck—who may have been ill and dying--, bestowed upon him in 1874.[18] Fred’s management of the hotel proved to be rocky at the outset for he was hauled before the courts in the same year for allowing the “playing of cards” on the premises and fined 10 shillings plus costs.[19]
Surry Hills in the 1870’s was a pretty rough working class neighbourhood but it did not deter Fred Somers from expansive ambition. In 1876 he applied for a licence to run “billiards and bagatelles” in the hotel.[20]
Meanwhile his wife, Annie Maria, was not a well woman. She gave birth to a healthy daughter, Caroline Maria Hawkins Somers, in 1872, but then four years later, in 1876 her second child, Daisy Fredericka Hawkins Somers, only survived for a couple of months.[21] The midwife mother may well have been distraught by this family tragedy, or she may have been weakened physically by her labours, for a little over a year later, in November of 1877, she herself died at the age of 28 years.
Annie Maria’s death did not deter Fred Somers from running in the Sydney City Council elections held in December of the same year. He was soundly trounced by 355 votes to 50, which makes one wonder why he bothered to run at all.[22]

Close up of one of the early Lands Dept. maps of 'Karabar', which, you will note, is spelt with an 'r' in this case. Frederick Somers' 1879 blocks flank those of William Pinhey and Edward Reading, granted a couple of years later. Somers acquired further blocks to the north of the 'Platform' as well.
Real Estate Agent
By now a pattern was emerging, not only of an ambitious and opportunistic capitalist, but one who was unabashedly litigious—he would go to court over the slightest injury, and was a bloodhound in the quest for personal justice, especially relating to money.
As well, now that his wife was dead, Fred Somers’ interests were extending elsewhere and his connections were becoming more powerful. In an 1878 court case he teamed up with a certain James Augustin Cunneen, a major ‘Land Agent’ as they were termed at this time, and a Member of the NSW Parliament, to prosecute a civil case against one ‘Michael Ward’, a Free Selector who had forfeited his five selections near Deniliquin because he had allegedly failed to abide by the Act.
Ward sought help from Somers and Cunneen, who had promised to take his case to the Minister for Lands, which they did do, and which resulted in Ward regaining most of his land. However, the dispute centred around the amount owed to Somers and Cunneen: was it the one hundred pounds that Ward had already paid, or the two hundred pounds that the two plaintiffs had charged was the verbal contract? In the event…
His Honour summed up, greatly deprecating that such a state of things should exist as a member of Parliament being at the same time a land agent, that being a combination which no right-minded person could approve; yet as it was not contrary to law, the plaintiffs were not on that account to fail.  If the jury believed that the defendant had agreed to give 200 pounds for the revocation of the forfeitures, which without doubt had been revoked, the plaintiffs were entitled to succeed.  The only question was contract or no contract, and that altogether depended on the credibility they would give to the evidence of either side.
Without retiring, the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiffs, with 100 pounds damages.[23]
Now, by 1879, Somers was being listed in ‘Sands Directories’ as a ‘Land Agent’ of ‘Perouse Street, Randwick’, not the Licensee of Bluck’s Hotel, Crown Street Surry Hills. He had acquired a reputation as a ruthless businessman and a determined land purchaser, so that when he targeted an opponent he generally got his way…
The Karabar (Warrimoo) Land Grants
In 1879 Frederick Somers was in pursuit of a career in Real Estate. In July of that year the Government Gazette announced that Somers had “two petitions presented as to certain claims or demands which he deems himself to have against the government…”[24]

Somers took his claims upon the Minister for Lands here, to the NSW Parliament in Macquarie Street. The Minister at the time of the 'Karabar Grants' was Sir James Hoskins
What were these “…claims and demands”? Was Frederick Somers asserting some claim to land owing him from military service on behalf of the Empire? Had he performed some other service or land deal, for example on the Lachlan River, for which he was owed? Did he have something over the Secretary for Lands, the Hon. James Hoskins, which was politically embarrassing?
Whatever the reason, it is a wondrous coincidence that Frederick Pane Hawkins Somers received a 50 acre Crown Land Grant in October of 1879, the first in this particular part of the Parish of Magdala in the County of Cook, right next to the newly completed railway line and a soon-to-be-constructed platform upon it. It was the first Land Grant at Karabar.
Next year, further ‘…tenders for a run of Crown Lands at Corrabagul Creek, in the District of Lachlan’ were served on the government. He won them all, and received yet another 50 acres at Karabar for his trouble—the future was indeed accumulating for Mr. Fred Somers.[25]
Successful Investor
The 1880’s proved to see an even more rapid rise for the humble English yeoman’s son. After the death of his mother-in-law, Mrs Eliza Jane Bluck, in 1880, he married the sister of James Cunneen’s wife, Elizabeth. His new bride was Mary Ann Hudson and she came from a wealthy family based in Windsor.[26] Henceforward Fred would maintain an abiding interest in areas west of Sydney, and he continued to gather up land whenever or wherever it was available.
Somers had three children by this second marriage; Frederick Hawkins Henry Hudson Somers (1883); Mary Hudson Somers (1885); and Charles Etherdell Hudson Somers (1888).[27]
In 1887 the Somers family moved to an even bigger mansion, ‘Ferndale’, on the border of Randwick and Coogee.[28] The Somers name appeared again, several times, in various court matters, one even involving a criminal case where horses and buggies were stolen from the family property.

Since his marriage to Mary Anne Hudson, of Windsor, Somers took an active interest in real estate around the Blue Mountains and the Hawkesbury. It is likely he toured his holdings in a carriage such as this, since he owned several--from a sketchbook by Mountains' artist, Jo Booker
There is some evidence to suggest that by the end of the 1880’s Frederick Somers’ run of success was petering out. Some of his valuable belongings were put up for auction, for example.[29] The boom of previous years was fading and the costs of holding land were outweighing the benefits—the depression of the 1890’s was looming.
Suddenly, on the 13th September 1889, he was dead. Cause of death was not specified. His body was removed from his home, Ferndale, on Coogee Bay Road, to the Funeral Depot at Redfern and thence by train to Windsor cemetery for burial.[30] He was 53 years of age. His youngest son was only one year old.
He did not live to profit from the resale of his Karabar properties. Presumably they were disposed in the ensuing years, during a downturn in the market, for the liquidation and division of his estate among his heirs. Most likely the purchaser was Arthur Rickard, another Real Estate Agent of emerging note…
Edward Reading (1838-1922)
Edward Reading came to possess a 50 acre block to the south of those held by Frederick Somers and William Pinhey. His grant covered what was to become Florabella Street and parts of The Mall. To summarise Edward’s life, it is probably most apt to draw upon his published Obituary…
At the age of 84 years, Mr. Edward Reading of Warwick, Edgecliff Road, Woollahra, passed away yesterday.
The son of the late Edward Grant Reading, Edward Reading was born in Warwickshire in 1838. He came to Australia in 1866 and commenced practice as a Dental Surgeon, being one of the earliest dentists to practice in Sydney. For many years, the rooms were in Phillip Street, but he later moved to Castlereagh Street, near Hunter street, next to the old Tattersall’s Horse Bazaar. For many years the leading dentist of Sydney, Mr. Reading retired a few years ago.
He displayed a keen interest in golf, and was one of the first members of the Australian Golf Club at Kensington, and in those days, golf used to be played in what is now Centennial Park. Mr. Reading was also a member of the Union Club, but retired some years ago.
Mr. Reading married Caroline Waddell, daughter of the late Reverend Abraham Waddell. He leaves five sons and one daughter. Mrs. Reading died in April of last year. Four of the sons are in Australia, and another is in the south island of New Zealand. Miss Reading married Doctor Howard Mummery, and is now living in England. [31]
Mr. Reading’s sons became leading figures in Dental Education and the development of Dentistry in Sydney and Australia. His wife’s Obituary (she died a year earlier than Edward) reads as follows…
The death occurred on Wednesday night of Mrs. Caroline Mary Reading, wife of Mr. Edward Reading, who, prior to his retirement, was one of the earliest dentists practising in Sydney.
Mrs. Reading, who was 79 years of age, was born at Long Buckley Northamptonshire, and came to Australia with her husband in 1867, three years after their marriage. She was naturally of a benevolent nature and possessed a kindly disposition. These induced her to devote as much as she could to assisting the poor and the needy. She was very active some years ago in city mission work, and also took an interest in the Boys Brigade. As a young woman she was interested in various charitable movements, but most of her practical work was performed for the City Mission and the Boys Brigade when these institutions were in their infancy.
Mrs. Reading was a regular attendant at the Jersey Road Congregational Church. Of late years she had necessarily been prevented from taking an active interest in social and public affairs. About two months ago she became ill, and for a time her condition was regarded as serious. She rallied again, and it appeared she would recover, but on Wednesday she suffered from heart seizure and died at 5.30pm.
Of her six surviving children, Dr. Richard Fairfax Reading, Professor of Dental Surgery at Sydney University, is her eldest. The other sons are: Claude Hill Reading, Managing Director of the British Australasian Tobacco Company and one of the Managing Directors of the British Tobacco Company of Australasia Ltd.; Phillip Burdett Reading, practising as a dental surgeon in Macquarie Street; Arthur Edward Reading, practising as a dental surgeon at Armidale, New South Wales; and Frank Ernest Reading, a merchant in Wellington, New Zealand. The one surviving daughter is Mrs. Minnie Isabel Mummery, wife of Dr. Mummery who, after retiring from the Royal Navy, started a practice in Australia, but afterwards went to England.
A short service will be held at the Jersey-Road Congregational Church at a quarter to ten this morning, and the funeral will leave the church for the South Head cemetery at about 10 am. [32]
These Death Notices combined, give us a golden insight into the roles and manners of the Australian ruling class of the latter nineteenth century, and the positions of those who now assumed ownership of the rugged acres around ‘Platform Karabar’.
Edmund Edmonds Smith[33]
Land holder of the block….This gentleman held an important position in a shipping and coal merchants’ firm called ‘Wm Howard Smith and Sons’. He was one of the sons. This may be relevant because a certain developer of later years, Arthur Rickard, was a director of a shipping company also.
William Hamnett Pinhey (1848-1948) [34]
A Carefully Structured Upbringing
It is highly unlikely that William Hamnett Pinhey ever served in any military force, but it is clear from the outset he was a pillar of the fledgling Sydney community. He was born a ‘currency lad’, which meant he did not migrate from Britain, but was born in Sydney, at Glebe, in 1848, although his grandfather, Dr. William Townley Pinhey, had served in the Royal Navy.

This is the home of William H. Pinhey's future wife, Laura Fitzstubbs. At another  imposing institution on Glebe Point Road, William was receiving a thorough Christian education at the hands of the Rev. John Pendrill
He was first publicly mentioned when 14 years of age, in 1862. Being a candidate for a ‘proper’ upbringing, William was placed under the tutelage of the Reverend John Pendrill of Glebe Point, who engaged his students in constructive Christian activities such as charitable works. It would appear that hardships were being suffered by workers in nearby districts—“Manufacturing Districts”-- which led the boys of   Rev. Pendrill’s class to raise funds for their assistance. It was William Pinhey who led the contribution with a donation of ten shillings.[35] Clearly William was being groomed for a lifetime in philanthropy and finance.
In the following year, at the age of fifteen, William appeared as the “Chairman” of a Glebe branch of supporters for the very upright and conservative politician, the Honorable Mr. Thomas Ware Smart, Esq.[36]

William H. Pinhey as a young man
William H. Pinhey was growing up just as his father intended: everything was mapped out for him, including his investments. He appears next as a co-director of the ‘King of Denmark Gold Mining Company’, along with his father, William Towney Pinhey, and  six others. He was an auditor and investor, already, at the ripe old age of 24.
At some point in the next few years William accepted a position as Manager of the Commercial Banking Company (C.B.C.) in Tamworth, which he held until 1883. It was during this time that he came across the 50 acre block at Karabar.
Pinhey’s Block at Karabar/Richardson and Wrench
It would appear unlikely that W.H. Pinhey received a simple Crown “grant” at this time—after all, he was a person who clearly had the wherewithal to purchase such a block without too much trouble. More probably he had been tipped off about a possible platform at Karabar, and that a block nearby might be a very canny investment. In short, his motive was more than likely speculation on development.

Laura A. Fitzstubbs, future wife of William H. Pinhey, aged four and a half
At the time of Richardson and Wrench’s release of the ‘Karabar Estate’—April 1882—Pinhey had been married to the very respectable Laura A. Pinhey (nee Fitzstubbs) for six years and had fathered two children, Eustace and Rosina, while living and working at the Commercial Bank in Tamworth.[37]

Laura Pinhey, in her classically Victorian wedding dress, on her wedding day in 1876, and...


...her husband. The couple moved to Tamworth for William H. to take up the position of Manager of the C.B.C. Bank. While there, Laura had three children and William bought and developed his 50 acres at Karabar.
At this stage it is unclear whether Pinhey had sold his 50 acres to Richardson and Wrench, or whether they were simply agents operating on his behalf. Whatever the case, it would seem that the deal was something of a watershed in William’s life, because he subsequently resigned his position as Bank Manager, (receiving, as his parting gift, “a purse containing 100 sovereigns” for his service to the Bank and his retirement from it), then opened up a “Land Agent’s” office in King Street Sydney the following year (1883). The advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald offered loans for purchase of “city or suburban property”.[38] Perhaps now William Hamnett Pinhey was seeking something more than the stifling banking straightjacket prescribed by his father?
Was it possible for a man in Pinhey’s position to operate as both ‘Land Agent’ and Bank employee? One would have to think not, so we must therefore conclude that William’s foray into real estate was less than successful, for in 1887 he was back in the Commercial Bank’s headquarters in Sydney as one of its “Inspectors”.[39]
W. H. Pinhey’s Subsequent Roller-Coaster Life: 1890-1948
Whatever the success of William Pinhey’s Karabar subdivision, he now confronted the great depression and bank collapses of the 1890’s. The CBC, despite being subsidiary to a larger English home office, must still have suffered extreme pressure as banks all around fell like ninepins. Employees like William might well have had to tighten their belts…
In 1903 an ad. proclaiming a “clean out” sale at the Pinheys home pointed to the family moving out of their residence in Strathfield to go elsewhere. Was it a step up or a step down?[40]
Notwithstanding, the Pinheys must have been lifted by the anticipated success of their only daughter, Rosina, or Rosini, who by 1906 was gaining accolades as a performing artiste:
Miss Rosini Pinhey, the young Sydney singer, who made a successful debut at the Opera House in Ventimialia, Italy, in Verdi's opera, "La Traviata" this week, is the only daughter of Mr. W. H. Pinhey, one of the inspectors of the Commercial Banking Company, Sydney.  She went to Paris about four years ago to study under Madame Marchesi, who predicted a great future for her. Early this year Miss Pinhey proceeded to Italy, and received instruction from Caruso, at Florence. The young lady's professional name (says  the Melbourne "Herald") is Rosine Sydna.[41]

A youthful Rosinha Pinhey
The indomitable 'Madame Marchese', operatic instructress extraordinaire. She showed the young chanteuse the glories of Europe and prepared her for the stage
Interesting that Rosina’s chosen ‘professional’ name was “Sydna”, a pretty clear salute to Melbourne’s rising star, Nellie Melba. The fame of the latter, however, came to shine far more brightly over time than her Sydney contemporary. Could the Pinheys have been dismayed by this?

Sydney's answer to Dame Nellie Melba: Rosine 'Sydna' (Pinhey), seen here in the costume of a character from the opera 'Carmen'. Rosine toured Europe, returned to Australia, then emigrated to the USA, where her career appears to have petered out
During the Great War (1914-1918) a truly dreadful tragedy befell the family…

William and Laura's youngest son, Roydon Hoadley Pinhey, who struck out to Rockhampton to build his own career...
Private Roy Pinhey, younger son of W. H. Pinhey, of the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney, has been officially reported as missing since July 29 last, in France.  He served also at Gallipoli, and was in the evacuation. Prior to enlisting he was connected with the Rockhampton branch of Dalgety and Company.[42]

Roydon Hoadley Pinhey in the uniform of the AIF, prior to embarkation. He survived Gallipoli, but was blown to bits on the battlefield of Pozieres in 1916
The Pinheys youngest son (the third child of the family), Roydon Hoadley Pinhey, who struck out to Queensland to make his own career at Rockhampton, had enlisted in the enthusiasm of the early months of the war, and who had survived Gallipoli, met his end (“disappeared”) on the battlefield of Pozieres in France. This must have been a staggering blow to William Pinhey: his structured life was not supposed to encompass this.
After the war William appears to have again left the C.B.C. and taken a position as factory Manager in a modern dairy processing works at the head of the Manning River, near Taree.[43] In 1927 he lost his younger brother, John, who had remained loyal to the bank throughout his life, but who had apparently paid the price of a stressful career.[44]. His final, elder son, Eustace, died in service in London in 1945, during World War II.

William H. Pinhey photographed in later life, taking tea in the garden. He was the epitome of the successful Australian bourgeois, but he died alone in 1948, at 100 years of age, his family all gone
To culminate a topsy-turvy working life, Pinhey was obliged to auction off investment land at Blacktown after the collapse of the Real Estate market during the Great Depression.[45] It was a fire-sale and probably signaled the end of his financial career. By now (1932), he was 84 years of age, and had earnt his place in the sun. He died in 1948, a life that had spanned 100 years.

'Chatswood', the Pinhey home in Manly, which they presumably moved into after they had moved from Strathfield. The massive size of this Victorian era mansion is proportioned by the size of the young man at the front doorway
1882—Release of the ‘Karabar Estate’[46]
As previously mentioned, in 1882 the Real Estate firm of Richardson and Wrench, one of the largest in Sydney at the time, released a brand new sub-division at ‘Karabar’, where a railway platform and waiting-shed had already been constructed. Most likely, the company was operating as agent for Mr. William H. Pinhey, seeking to make a ‘killing’ from the sale of some 127 blocks at a price of about 10-20 pounds each.
At this time, most of the other ‘Mountains ‘stations’ had already been settled. Springwood was a thriving ‘well-to-do’ stopover with a substantial shopping centre,  banks, post-office and hotels, and with some relatively large rural properties about. ‘Blue Mountain’ (Lawson) was an important railway depot and home to more than 200 railway workers. Each of Katoomba, Blackheath and Mount Victoria held their own claims for exotic ‘Mountain-climbing’ weekend tourism. Thus, ‘Karabar’ aimed to be a shorter, newer, more accessible and less expensive Mountains Retreat.


By 1882, at the release of the 'Karabar Estate' (later to become 'Warrimoo'), Springwood was already a thriving, well-to-do township of the Lower Mountains, visited by tourists and through travellers alike--from a sketchbook by Mountains' artist Jo Booker
Whether or not the developers were entirely clear as to the object of their offering is not certain. Maybe that would become its problem. Was it to be predominantly a ‘weekender’ outpost, offering swift train transport to and from, but with ‘roughing it’ little cabins for temporary stays only, or was it rather an affordable chance to settle and build sturdy homesteads for long-term family residence?

Map of the first 'Karabar Estate'. Note the position of the 'Platform' (station) at the western side of The Avenue, and two 'gates' allowing the Great Western Highway to cross the railroad [47]
Examining the subdivision map, you will notice ‘Karabar’ platform is directly at the end of The Avenue. There is a ‘gate’ where the Great Western Highway crosses the railway, presumably opened by a gatekeeper living nearby. There were several such crossings between Warrimoo and Faulconbrodge.
You would also note that The Boulevarde is in a straight parallel line to The Avenue, and that Victoria and Albert Streets run for two blocks, like Arthur Street does today, not one. All this was to change when Arthur Rickard took over the subdivision.
In the meantime ‘Karabar Estate’ withered on the vine. It is uncertain how many blocks were sold, but the evidence points to ‘not many’. In many respects the release could not have come at a worse time. For the next five years, NSW would experience terrible drought, which in turn may well have brought on bushfire in the Lower Mountains. Already the ‘Boom Years’ of the post gold-rush era were becoming flakey and uncertain. International markets were faltering. The loss of confidence that was to create the major depression of the 1890’s was beginning to take root and in December of 1898, the Karabar Platform was closed down due to ‘lack of patronage’.
It seemed that this particular speculative township was going to be short-lived. Perhaps it would revert to bushland, although there is evidence to suggest that this very bushland held a valuable resource…

First White Settlers?

Researching this question opens a real can of worms. Some clues, such as the discovery of an alleged ‘Still’ (distillery) on the grounds of Warrimoo Public School point to 19th century bootleggers making moonshine for railway workers[48]. But did they live in the vicinity?

 Other stories allude to timbergetters and orchardists setting up within reach of Karabar station[49], but the presence of such industries is really only certain around the period of the First World War onwards.

We do know that there was a ‘platform’ at Karabar, opened in October 1881[50]. We also know that a gate was adjacent to the platform to safely close off road traffic when trains came through. There was also a signal box and switches which would’ve had to have been supervised and operated, and nearby tracks required maintenance[51]. Certainly, someone had to live nearby to carry out these duties.

‘Warrimoo Historians’ are therefore suggesting, based on the hard evidence thus far available, that a young couple employed by the NSW railways, Thomas and Mary Smiley, were the first white residents to have settled in ‘Karabar’, probably in the 1880’s or 90’s.

According to immigration records[52], Thomas Smiley was an English ‘Farm Laborer’ who arrived in New South Wales in 1886. His most likely aim was to gain land or get a job as a railway navvy or both. In the ‘Mountains he hit the jackpot.
Immigration Record 1886--Thomas Smiley is the fourth entry from the top. Note that he is English, 27 years of age, and single.
Thomas met and married a young woman whose family lived in Burns Road Springwood, Mary Lockley. Both of them were able to secure railway jobs, and, presumably accommodation at Karabar, where they appear to have stayed for some considerable time. They were soon raising a family there.

Electoral records of the area[53] are proof of their residency: a list of the electors for the newly formed Federal (‘Commonwealth’) seat of ‘Parramatta’ (which covered the whole of western Sydney and lower Mountains) provide the names and township addresses of voters in the ‘Springwood’ district. These figures for the early part of the 20th century make no mention of ‘Warrimoo’ residents, because, as yet, it didn’t exist.

While there are 274 people at Glenbrook, 88 at Blaxland and 724 at Springwood, part of the latter’s resident-count incorporated places like ‘North Springwood’, ‘Bee Farm’,  ‘Valley Heights’ and…’Karabar’. Only two people are registered as electors at ‘Karabar’, and they were ‘Thomas Smiley…Fettler’ and ‘Mary Smiley…Railway Gate-keeper’.[54]

Of course, we must be careful with an assumption based upon electoral records. Compulsory enrolment for voting in Federal elections did not occur till 1912, so it is possible that other people living in Karabar had not registered to do so. Nevertheless, it is important to note the Australian nation had been swept by a wave of nationalism after the achievement of ‘Federation’ in 1901, followed by the passage of the ‘Franchise Act’ of 1902, making the 1903 elections one of the first globally to extend the right to vote to all women. Mary Smiley had voluntarily taken up that right.

An amazing photograph of Karabar's (Warrimoo's) first settlers. From left: 'Springwood Jacky', unidentified youth, Bill Lockley, Mary Smiley and babe, Thomas Smiley. This last two were the township's 'inaugural couple'. (Photo courtesy of BMCC Library 'Image Collection')

This photograph[55] is surely one of the most spectacular in the BMCC collection. It shows the Smileys with Mary’s brother, Bill Lockley, and one of the great characters of the district, ‘Springwood Jacky’, all holding a captured Diamond Python. Costume indicates the date of the picture is late 19th—early 20th Century, and the location could be anywhere between the Lockley property on Burns Road to the Smileys’ place at Karabar.

‘Springwood Jacky’ was not a ‘local’ man (Darug or Gundungarra), but rather came from either Queensland or Rylstone. He once proposed to the famous Penrith identity, ‘Black Nellie’, but she refused him on the grounds that he was of the wrong lineage for a Darug woman . When he arrived in the district he was certainly working on a farm in Emu Plains but in the mid 1880’s drifted up to Valley Heights to live alone, in a bark hut, by his wits.

Jacky often worked as a handyman for Mrs. Georgina Burns, who owned ‘Wyoming’, the imposing property that had once served as the old ‘Welcome Inn’ at Sun Valley. Renowned as an expert bushman, athlete, tracker, and horse-breaker, it was probably Jacky who had tracked and caught the snake. He could be seen every Sunday outside the Frazer Memorial Church in Springwood, singing and dancing as an entertainment for the congregation. In 1913, he was found dead under a log at Valley Heights and buried in unconsecrated grounds.[56]

It is clear from the picture that the group are readily familiar with each other. After all, their homes were all quite close to one another, and they must have seen each other regularly. At left Jacky, who was self-conscious of a skin disease that gave him white blotches around his neck, wears his habitual ‘necker-chief’ and looks across at Bill Lockley, the star of the show in his white clothes, braces and bowler hat. There is a young boy, presumably a relative of the Lockley family and a dog (a ‘Jack Russell’?), which may have had a part to play in the adventure. Mary stands nursing her baby, close to her brother on her right, with husband Tom looking a little awkward as the more formal English fettler, more a gentleman than the boisterous, knockabout currency bloke with his trophy.

Same day, same location, but minus Mary and child. By the way Bill Lockley is holding the python, it is still alive (Photo courtesy of BMCC 'Images Collection)

The second photograph is taken on the same day, minus Mary and the baby. The way Bill is holding the python suggests it is still alive. They are standing on someone’s property (‘Yelkcol’?—‘Lockley’ backwards, the name of the Lockley property on the corner of Macquarie and Burns Roads, Springwood--)[57] because we can see the fence behind them, in front of half-cleared bush. Tom looks even less comfortable here than in the first photo!

It is appropriate, is it not, that Warrimoo’s first non-indigenous settlers should have been a young couple building a family--both public servants with responsible, worthy, long-term jobs, both conscious of their mutual roles as democratic citizens, and both clearly taking pleasure in their bushland surrounds with an original Australian, though without the overt bigotry frequently in currency at the time.

Karabar/Warrimoo in 1900

'Derring Do' bicycling at the turn of the century. With 'auto mobiles' out of reach for ordinary working people, bicycling was the most popular means of taking a pleasant weekend excursion
By 1900  ‘Karabar’ was still a fairly nondescript place. ‘Warrimoo Historians’ have found little evidence of settled activity in the area around the Platform, except for the work of Tom and Mary Smiley.

In his worthy booklet entitled Sun Valley and Long Angle Gully—A History, Bruce Cameron[58] reveals that ‘…Indications would suggest there was activity in Long Angle Gully and Sun Valley from around the late 1800’s…’ He was referring to loggers who may have been felling timber from the beautiful ‘Mountain Blue Gum’ (Eucalyptus Deanei),’Cabbage Gum’ (Eucalyptus Amplifolia) and ‘Turpentine’ (Syncarpia Glomulifaria) in the vicinity north and east of the railway.

Timber-getters at rest. Evidence of their work is all about Warrimoo and Long Angle Gully: gigantic stumps, tracks and old mill equipment are there to find if you look hard enough
There is much evidence of logging still around Warrimoo, Long Angle Gully and Sun Valley, and there may have been some lots of the Karabar Estate that were cleared at this time, if only to provide wood/fuel for cooking and heating, or to provide timber for buildings or poles.

There were probably at least a few weekender cabins erected on the Karabar blocks, and of course, the railway and western (Bathurst) road always provided a central focus. The “Cyclists Guide to the Roads of New South Wales (1898)” provides a picture of what it was like…

After passing Blaxland Station the road is level, passing through railway gates (there was a level crossing opposite ‘Michelangelo’s Restaurant’before the present bridge was built) and rising gradually. A long and fairly steep hill with a steep descent to railway gates at Karabar (near the intersection with The Avenue). The road becomes loose and sandy after crossing the line, still downhill, up a fairly long hill (toward Torwood Road), then level for about half a mile, again passing through railway gates (where the subway and Gatekeeper’s cottage are at Greens Parade) and then fairly level through about 200 yards of heavy sand. The surface now improves and again the road passes through railway gates at Valley Heights (where the road bridge crosses the rail line near the present signal box).[59]

Unescorted women bicycling through the 'Mountains was still a rare sight at the turn of the century, but the suffragette movement had encouraged womens' independence. If they did ride through Karabar, they would surely have used the 'Cyclists' Guide'
The bicycle guide mentions no shops, stopovers or dwellings near the road at Karabar. The area remained predominantly bushland with limited clearance and seemingly no noticeable population.

 At the turn of the century, ‘Warrimoo’ was a place waiting to happen.

[1] LUPTON, Maisie et al, Warrimoo Public School, The First Twenty-Five Years, magazine published by Warrimoo Public School Anniversary Committee, 1987, p.11
[2] GAMMAGE, Bill, The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia. Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 2011
[3] LEAFLET and website: http:www.bluemountainstourismaboriginalhistory
[4] CHAMBERLAIN, D.S. Railway West Chronicles—Penrith to Orange, Bathurst, 2012 p.27
[5] NSW Railways Crossing the Blue Mountains
[6] CHAMBERLAIN, D.S. op. cit. p. 31
[7] Ibid. p. 27
[8] Ibid. p. 27
[9] ADAM-SMITH, B. When We Rode The Rails, Lansdowne Press, Sydney 2012, p.45
[10] LUPTON, Maisie et al, Warrimoo Public School, The First Twenty Five Years, 1987, p.11
[12] Land and Property Information HLRV—
[12] RICHARDSON, E. and MATTHEW, K, Warrimoo History Project, 2010—this whole section was researched and written by Evelyn Richardson and Kate Matthew. Their references will be duplicated below as continuous footnotes.
[14] RICHARDSON, E., and MATTHEW, K., op. cit. Power Point Presentation to John Wycliffe, Slide 3
[16] Ibid.
[17] SMH, Thursday 24 April 1873, p.12 (NLA)
[18] SMH, Saturday 27 June 1874, p.5 (NLA)
[19] SMH Thursday 26 November 1874, p7 (NLA)
[20] SMH, Saturday 27 June 1874, p.5 (NLA)
[21]RICHARDSON, E., and MATTHEW, K., op. cit.
[22] SMH Friday 14 December 1877, p.7 (NLA)
[23] The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, Tuesday 19 February 1878, p.3 (NLA)
[24] SMH, Saturday 12 July 1879, p.5 (NLA)
[25] SMH, Friday 4 June and Saturday 5 June 1880, p.3 (NLA)
[26] RICHARDSON, E., and MATTHEW, K., op. cit.
[27] Ibid.
[28] Ibid. Sands Directories
[29] SMH Friday 24 June 1887, p.11 (NLA)
[30] SMH, Saturday 14 September 1889, p.1 (NLA)
[31] National Library of Australia,
[32] The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842-1954), Friday 8 April 1921, page 8
[33] RICHARDSON, E., and MATTHEW, K., op. cit. Brisbane Courier Mail, Tuesday July 8th, 1873, page 3
[34] Ibid. All research done in this biography carried out by the authors mentioned earlier, Evelyn Richardson and Kate Matthew.
[35] Ibid. SMH Wednesday 19 November 1862, p.8 (NLA)
[36] Ibid. SMH Saturday 1st June, 1872, p.8 (NLA)
[37] Ibid. National Archives, Births Deaths and Marriages
[38] Ibid. SMH Tuesday 27 March 1883, p.2 (NLA)
[39] Ibid. SMH, Tuesday 21 June 1887, p.12 (NLA)
[40] Ibid. SMH, Monday 9 February 1903, (NLA)
[41] Ibid. The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA), Friday 16 November 1906, p.4 (NLA)
[42] Ibid. The Brisbane Courier, Thursday 12 October 1916, p.7 (NLA)
[43] Ibid. SMH Saturday 13 April 1929, page 15 (NLA)
[44] Ibid. SMH, Friday 21 January 1927, p.16 (NLA)
[46] Ibid. SMH, Saturday 15 October 1932, p. 20 (NLA)
[47] RICHARDSON, E. and MATTHEW, K, Warrimoo History Project, 2010—‘Images’
[48] Ibid—assisted by John Low--Article, Blue Mountains Gazette, 15-4-1987: ‘Whiskey Still discovered at Warrimoo School
[49] Ibid—CAMERON, B., History of Sun Valley and Long Angle Gully, 1988, Springwood, p.21
[50] RICHARDSON, E and MATTHEW, K, Op. Cit.,--Richardson and Wrench ‘Karabar Estate’ map, 1882
[51] Ibid—‘Karabar Estate’ map
[52] RICHARDSON, E and MATTHEW, K, Op. Cit., --Thomas Smiley, Immigration Records, 1886, NLA.
[53] BMCC Library, Local History documents, Electoral Rolls—Springwood Booth, 1903, p.3
[54] Ibid., Local Studies Facts Sheet--Census, 1911
[55] Ibid., Image Library, PF 2301B  donated by Mrs. Lees, Springwood Jacky with the Smileys and Snake
[56] Ibid., The information found in these paragraphs on ‘Springwood Jacky’ are derived from the text supplied by John Low accompanying the photograph found in the Flikr section of the Image Library referenced above
[57] Ibid., Information relating to the Lockley family supplied by Springwood Library’s resident local historian, John Merriman
58] CAMERON  B., Sun Valley and Long Angle Gully—A History, Springwood, 1998, p21
[59] LUPTON, Maisie et al, Warrimoo Public School, The First Twenty-Five Years, magazine published by Warrimoo Public School Anniversary








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