Blue Mountains, Australia, History


A Gentleman's Village


By the time the railway opened in 1876, settlement in the district had created a small village at Springwood. The better travelling provided by the railway made the Blue Mountains an attractive and desirable place to establish a country residence.
Blue Mountains as a Sanatorium


The Gentlemen

Sir Henry Parkes G.C.M.G.

Coming from a poverty-stricken family, Parkes worked hard to better himself and emigrated to Australia in 1839. After working as a farm labourer, he established his first business and went on to establish the short-lived Empire newspaper in 1850. He entered parliament in 1854, but was forced to resign due to bankruptcy. Parkes re-entered parliament in 1866, and became Colonial Secretary in James Martin's cabinet.


1815 Henry Parkes born the sixth & last child of Thomas Parkes & Martha Faulconbridge, tenant farmers on the estate of Lord Leigh, County of Warickshire, England.

1839 Emigrates to Australia.

1876 Applies for grant of land in Springwood area, where he builds a country residence, Stonehurst.

1877 Parkes requests that a mail bag be made up for him and dropped from the train as it passed by. Shortly after he suggested that mail for his neighbors (32 people in total) be included. He named the spot Faulconbridge, his mother's maiden name. He also had a Morse telegraph instrument installed in his house to keep in touch with the affairs of state, arguably making him our first telecommuter.

1877 Railway station Faulconbridge opened to serve Henry Parkes; opened to the public soon after.

1877 Postal receiving office opened at Faulconbridge, with Mrs Jane Wood, wife of Parkes' overseer in charge. Upgraded to a Post Office in 1891.

1879 Construction began of a second, larger, residence; Faulconbridge House. Many important visitors, including royalty, were guests in this home. Parkes also built Mosley Cottage for his sister Maria, and Fern Dell for an employee.

Sir James Martin

Sir Alfred Stephen

Dr Charles Badham




Timber cutting, especially for sleepers, was an important industry in the early 1900's. Some remains may still be found.





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