At 1,065 metres above sea level Blackheath is the highest township in the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park. 90 minutes drive west of Sydney on the main western railway Blackheath is renowned for both its natural attractions and its vibrant and creative community life. Here are some things to do in the village & surrounding district.
1. Come to Blackheath for these annual events:
2. Find out more about the natural attractions of our United Nations World Heritage listed National Park
Noted for its huge diversity of Eucalypts, 1300 species of wildplants & its still pristine wilderness … tread carefully & preserve the beauty of this place for those who follow.
Visit the stunning lookouts…
Northern or Govetts Leap Side…
Explore the many wonderful bushwalks…
Take a short drive from Blackheath…
Western or Lithgow side…
Discover Blackheath’s fascinating history…
On his journey across the Blue Mountains in 1815 Governor Macquarie named the area ÔHounslowÕ but on his return journey he obviously forgot & re-named the area ÔBlack-HeathÕ because of its wild, charred, open heath-like appearance.
3. Visit Walls Cave
An original occupation site where Aboriginal bands camped under conditions of extreme aridity. The traditional indigenous owners of this land are the Darug & Gundungurra people. Check with NPWS to see if the walk to this cave is open.
4. Trace the Beginnings of White Settlement
This part of the Blue Mountains was first crossed by Blaxland, Lawson & Wentworth in 1813. George William Evans followed their discovery to reach Bathurst. A track was formed & then on the 29th April 1815, Governor MacquarieÕs party camped in Blackheath on their way to Bathurst. Sir Thomas Mitchell’s surveying exhibition lasted from 1832 to 1845 during which Mr William Romaine Govett discovered Govett’s Leap.
Visit Blackheath Cemetery to view the military stockade cemetery…
The burial ground of the convicts who built our highway & our now buried next to it. Great Western Highway heading west.
5. Take time out to remember the soldiers of blackheath who died in WW 1, WW 11 & the Korean, Malaysian & Vietnam Wars
They have been commemorated by the planting of Rhododendrons in the Blackheath Memorial Park & with a Memorial Arch now located on the Great Western HIghway frontage of the The Gardens.
6. Explore local history at the mount victoria & district historical society inc museum set in the grand old sandstone railway station in Mt Victoria.
Open Saturdays, Sundays, Public & School holidays 2pm -5pm ph. 4787 1190 Historical Society meets 4th Saturday of the month at 10am.
7. Take an historic walk around Blackheath
Compiled by Geoff Bates, local Blue Mountains Historian
Railway Station & mural
Original railway platform opened on December 28, 1869. Present Island platform & railway station opened on April 24, 1899. The mural on the eastern end of the main building depicts a legendary bushranger Govett with sacks of gold on a horse leaping into the abyss & was painted in July 2004 by Vern Treweeke.
Gardner’s Inn Hotel & sandstone fence
Has had many name changes. Formerly the Scotch Thistle Inn, Hotel Astoria & the Hotel Hydora Ð built on 20 acres of land granted to Andrew Gardiner in 1929 & officially opened for business on July 11, 1831. Charles Darwin stayed here in 1836. Sandstone blocks used in the fence adjacent to the Highway came from the original Inn when it was demolished in 1938.
Community Centre Great Western Highway
Started out as the School of Arts with offices for the former Blackheath Municipal Council Ð officially opened on November 10, 1906. Extensions to the Centre were opened on October 13, 1956.
Macquarie’s Obelisk – Great Western Highway
Located in front of the Memorial Arch & next to the GWH. This obelisk was built in 1939 by the Royal Australian Historical Society in conjunction with the Blackheath Municipal Council to commemorate the naming of Blackheath on May 15, 1815 by Governor Macquarie, who was returning from his tour of inspection of the newly discovered country west of the Blue Mountains.
Memorial Arch – Great Western Highway
Erected in the memory of the 76 Blackheath residents who heeded the call & enlisted to fight in the First World War 1914-18. The stone was set on November 10, 1928 by The Right Hon William (Billy) Hughes, a former popular Prime Minister of Australia. The Memorial was dedicated on May 25, 1929 by his Excellency Admiral Sir Dudley De Chair, K.C.B. MVO, Governor of New South Wales.
The Gardens – Great Western Highway
Previously known as North Park but renamed in 1921 because of the beautiful gardens that were established here. Every Spring, holiday makers came up by steam train from Sydney to picnic & admire the beautiful flowers. In years past one of the gardeners, Tom Cliff, woke up one night to see it snowing, got dressed & went up to his gardens to knock the snow of his freshly planted annuals. What dedication ….
Redwood tree in The Gardens
In 1958 Blackheath Rotary transplanted this Redwood tree in The Gardens to be used as the village Christmas tree with coloured lights
The Historic Road Roller in The Gardens
In the early 1920Õs this Roller was purchased by the Blackheath Municipal Council & over a 20 year period was used in the development of the local roads throughout the Village of Blackheath. It was also used to help transform an old abandoned Railway Dam into the Blackheath Swimming Pool.
Baby Health Centre Ð Gardiners Crescent
The first project of the Blackheath Rotary Club & was officially opened on March 15, 1952. The sandstone blocks along the fence came from the original Gardner’s Inn when it was demolished in 1938.
St Aidan’s Anglican Church Ð Hat Hill Road
Was consecrated on December 6, 1884
The Manse – South-West cnr Wentworth St & Hat Hill Road
This was the original Manse to the St AidanÕs Church of England (now Anglican). It was built around 1880 & replaced the new brick building next door to the church. The Manse is now a private residence.
Stop Laughing this is Serious Gallery – Cnr Wentworth St & Hat Hill Road
In the 1930’s this building was used as a newspaper office where a local newspaper named the Blackheath Beacon was compiled and printed. A General Store followed, operated by Keith Rae, then an Optical shop.
Duddington North-East corner Wentworth St & Hat Hill Road
This home was built in 1891 & was the residence & surgery of Dr Henry Jackson, Blackheath’s first Doctor.
Catholic Church Wentworth Street
Was consecrated on January 26, 1902.
Yabba Dabba – Wentworth Street
Yabba Yabba was one of the earliest guest houses in Blackheath, operated by Ms Page & Dash. It was in continuous use as holiday accommodation for approximately 70 years. The initial land grant in 1880 was to an innkeeper from Mount Victoria. The tennis court has been in existence since at least 1914. Although additions have altered the facade & internal spaces the original Victorian style roofline & chimneys are still clearly visible. Now a private residence.
Campbell’s Rhododendron Gardens Ð Bacchante Street
Covers an area of 18.5ha where Rhododendrons, azaleas & other plants are integrated with natural bushland. The first plantings in this garden were made on September 23, 1972.
“The Oaks” Cnr Gardiners Crescent & Wentworth Street
This magnificent home was the residence of James Stafford Cripps, the licensee of GardinerÕs Inn from 12 Sep.1946 to 4 Aug.1948. A beautiful & unique water fountain from the gardens established in 1893 by Alfred Goodare adjacent to GardnerÕs Inn is now located in these gardens.
140 Wentworth Street
From August 25, 1918 to 1933 the Blackheath Police Station was located at this address. Constable First Class John Joseph Coleman was the officer in charge. Joe Coleman loved Blackheath & when the Police Department decided to sell the old police station he bought it. In 2006 the building is still owned by the Coleman family.
Presbyterian Church – Wentworth Street
The Presbyterian Church was first instituted to Blackheath in 1897. The present Church was dedicated on December 30 1925. The early services were held in the hall that now stands beside the church.
Memorial Swimming Pool Park – Prince Edward Street
The memorial Park covers an area of 26 acres & was set aside as an area of reserve for recreation on January 21, 1919. Originally a NSW Railway Reserve where a dam was built to store water for the steam trains operating on the Great Western Railway line. Council has recently spent $2.5 million to refurbish this popular attraction. In 2006 an armillary sphere sundial was installed next to the swimming pool complex donated by the Blackheath Horticultural Society to help introduce children to an ancient way of telling the time & solar science.
Duck Pond – Prince Edward Street
A second dam, also used to store water for steam trains using the Great Western Railway Line, was built in 1886 with a concrete wall. A great place for the kids to feed bread to the wild ducks that now live there.
Lily Pond at the Memorial Park
A plaque, next to the now filled in Lily Pond, was erected in the Memory of Miss Mary Huie a worthy citizen & for many years a dedicated Red Cross worker of this town. Now just a trickle of water it is still one of the many natural springs that run through this Memorial Park.
Caravan Park – Prince Edward Street
Formerly the site of the Colliers pipe making plant. In the 1930Õs the Collier family donated this land to the Blackheath Municipal Council to be used as a Camping Ground. In the early 1980Õs a State Government grant enabled the Blue Mountains City Council to develop the area into a modern Caravan park & camping area.
Pope’s Glen Creek
In 1830 this was the creek that William Romaine Govett followed to the top of the Grose Valley where he discovered a waterfall named in his honour, GovettÕs Leap, by the then NSW Surveyor-General, Major General Thomas Mitchell. Leap is an old Scottish word that means waterfall or cascade.
Lakeview Holiday Park – 63 Prince Edward Street
The oldest established holiday cabin complex in the Blue Mountains. Built in 1939 Lakeview obtained its name from a proposed dam that was going to be built across PopeÕs Creek & a lake developed for recreational fishing & sailing. The caravan park is now located on this site. Lakeview was originally part of the old Pope Estate where John Pope was going to establish ÔA fruit bowlÕ & sell the produce in Sydney.
Park Avenue – Cherry Trees
A mass of pink blooms in the Springtime & golden leaves in Autumn. Planted by local residents in the 1950’s.
Former Post Office building – 38 GovettÕs Leap Road
Built in 1910 to cater for the ever increasing demand for this service.
Now occupied by Ravir, a boutique fashion shop.
Kylie Tennant Plaque
Located on footpath – corner of Wentworth St & Govetts Leap Rd. Kylie Tennant lived from 1912 – 1988 & spent her twilight years at ÔCliff ViewÕ apple orchard at Shipley. She was a novelist, playwright, short-story writer, critic, biographer & historian & her work was known for its well-researched realistic, yet positive portrayals of the underprivileged.
Vulcan’s Restaurant Ð GovettÕs Leap Road
Formerly a bakery opened in 1934 by Alf Snelling who in the early 1940Õs sold the business to a Mr Smeaton. The original oven is still used.
Watson’s Hardware Store – Govett’s Leap Road
In the 1880’s Hudson Bros, Sydney timber merchants, established a general store on this site & called it Hudson & SlatyerÕs Exchange Stores. Slatyer withdrew from the business in 1887 & during the following year the store was operated by Hudson and a Thomas A. Walker. For 10 years it was the leading general store in the village but closed in the 1890Õs when Hudson left Blackheath. In the 1930Õs a hardware store with the name ÔHouse BrosÕ was operated by Jack House on this site. The store was later bought by the Manager, Tom Bennett, a local Blackheath identity, who continued to operate it as a hardware store for many years until his retirement. The hardware store was then purchased & renovated by Michael Milios who later sold it to Max Beattie who changed the name to WatsonÕs Hardware Store.
Glenella Guest House – Govetts Leap Road
George & Elizabeth Phillips built ÔGlenellaÕ as their home in 1905 & in 1917 George converted it to a guesthouse. It is still operated as one.
New Uniting (Methodist) Church – 39-43 GovettÕs Leap Rd
Was dedicated on April 18, 1924. The original Methodist Church is a little further down GovettÕs Leap Road on the corner of GardinerÕs Crescent & was moved to that site in 1909 by bullock dray from Mt Vic.
Oakdene Grammar School – 52-54 Govetts Leap Road
From 1933 until 1936 this private school was located in ÒOakdeneÓ then transferred to the Manchester Unity Hall at 105 Wentworth Street (now Bakehouse on Wentworth) until it was closed down in 1939.
Commonwealth Bank Ð Cnr Govetts Leap Rd & Wentworth St
A temporary building was established on this site in 1947 & demolished in 1962 to allow for the construction of the existing building.
Masonic Centre Ð 93-95 Wentworth Street
The Blackheath Masonic Lodge No 370 was established on February 5, 1921. The present building was completed on January 31, 1925 & the upstairs portion is still used for regular Masonic meetings & the ground floor by the Montessori Preschool.
Blackheath Sports Ground (Oval)
In 1933 Sir Donald Bradman, playing in an exhibition cricket match for Blackheath against a Lithgow eleven, scored his fastest century here from three, eight ball overs. Bradman went on to score 256 runs.
Jubilee Park Ð Cnr Prince Edward and Leichhardt Streets
Est. & named in 1935 to celebrate 25 years of King George V’s Reign.
Blackheath Tennis Courts
Records of a tennis club in Blackheath date back to 1890. When these courts were opened in 1924 there were 6 courts. This was where the famous “whipping tree” was found at the turn of the last century. Prior to 1844 the convicts at the Blackheath Military Stockade were shackled to this tree and whipped for any offence.
Blackheath Bowling Club – Bradman’s Bat on display
The first bowling green in Blackheath was located beside the Gardner’s
Inn & used in the summer of 1902. The Peter Sutton Green at the present clubhouse was officially opened on November 14, 1936 New additions to the clubhouse were added in 1976. On show inside the clubhouse in a special display case is the original cricket bat that Sir Donald Bradman scored his fastest century on the adjoining sports ground.
Whitley Park Cnr Great Western Highway & Prince George Street
Prior to 1903 known as South Park. Renamed in 1908 after a prominent Blackheath resident, Thomas Whitley, who advocated the building of a walking track from Evans Lookout into the Grose Valley. In 1906 a large in-ground brick water reservoir was built on this Reserve by the NSW Railways. The water was pumped up from a small dam located on a creek next to Braeside Walk. The water was then gravity fed down to two water towers located at the Blackheath Railway Station. In 1979 the open reservoir was considered a danger and filled in by Council.
St Mount’s Guest House Ð Great Western Highway
Established in 1902 by Margaret Shiels as a guest house & called ÒThe PinesÓ. In the early 1980Õs the Parsons purchased the building, refurbished it as a guest house & renamed it ÔSt MountsÕ.
The Pines Restaurant – located next to St Mounts.
In 1933 the Police Department relocated the Blackheath Police Station to Kenthurst, a building located next to St Mounts Guest House. It remained in use as a police station until 1939. There was a wooden lock-up in the back yard where overnight inmates attracted the attention of guests at The Pines, asking to be let out. The house is now used as a restaurant.
Blackheath Public School Ð Leichhardt St & Great Western Highway
A Military Stockade was established on this site & convict road gangs camped here during the maintenance of the Old Bathurst Road (now the GWH). The Blackheath Military Convict Stockade under the command of Captain Bull existed here from 1844-1849 & was the last convict stockade to close in NSW. Stonework from Captain BullÕs house was later used in the first schoolhouse, opened in 1885 on this site.
Neate Park – Great Western Highway
Formerly called Railway Park. The name was changed in 1921 to Neate Park in honour of John George Neate, a prominent resident. Good views of Kanimbla Valley & Hampton Plateau.
Norwood Guest House & AbbottÕs Restaurant – GWH
Built in 1888 by John George Neate & used as his family home. A very civic minded citizen of Blackheath he has a number of scenic spots named after him – NeateÕs Glen and Neate Park opposite Norwood. Since 1915 Norwood has operated as a guest house.
Mobil Service Station & IGA Store – GW Highway
Neate’s 6 cottages were built on this site. In 1936 the cottages were demolished & a modern service station was built & named Kerry’s Service Station. It was the first service station outside the Metropolitan area with a drive in concourse.
Kiora – 213 Great Western Highway
The site of BlackheathÕs first postal receiving office & operated by Mrs Clara Wilson from July 1880 to February 1882. When the property was renovated the original Post Office section was sheeted over. Originally called “Kanimbla House” it is now a private residence.
Blackheath Automotive Services – 215 GW Highway
In 1916 a shed was built on this site by Harley and Byrne to house 14 Fiat motor vehicles. H & B had a Government contract to transport passengers to Jenolan Caves. In 1930 the building was converted to a garage. In the early 1940’s the business was taken over by Ross Hatswell who renamed the business Hatswell’s Blackheath Garage. On his retirement in 1997 the business was purchased by George & Stephanie Vergotis. In 2005 they demolished the original building and erected a new building now known as Blackheath Automotive Services
Govett’s Horse – Great Western Highway
A statue of the legendary bushranger Govett, commissioned in 1974, by Arthur Murch, one of Australia’s leading sculptors, famous for being George Lambert’s assistant & for winning the Archibald Prize in 1949.
The legend is told on a plaque in front of the statue.
Peg Factory – 228 Great Western Highway
Located where Dr John Aitkens’ surgery was situated until his retirement in 2003. Established in the Arcadia Public Hall in 1925 it produced the famous wooden Dolly Clothes Peg & wooden props to hold up clothes lines.
Fire Station building – Great Western Highway
In 1910 Mr Robert Rolfe maintained a very good vegetable garden here. When the small building housing fire appliances next to the present day police station in WÕworth St became inadequate the fire station was relocated on Sep. 26, 1959 to a new building on the Gt Western Hway.
Bus shelter shed 1925 – Great Western Highway
Once used as an electrical sub station by the Blackheath Municipal Council.
Tourist Direction Board & Town Clock – GW Highway
Built as a Rotary project in 1967 with the clock added in 1971.
New Ivanhoe Hotel – GW Highway & Govett’s Leap Rd
The original building was completed in 1893 by John Francis Cripps who intended to use it as a hotel, however the Temperance Movement successfully blocked the issue of a liquor licence & the building was used as a Coffee Palace. It became Collier’s general store from 1895 to 1933. In 1939 the present building was erected & opened as a hotel.
Evans Marker – Outside the New Ivanhoe Hotel
An initiative of John Yeaman, a former City Engineer with the Blue Mountains City Council, the Footsteps in Time obelisk was erected in recognition of the work undertaken by the NSW Deputy Surveyor of Lands, George William Evans, who in 1813/14 surveyed the route for the first road across the Blue Mountains.
Victory Theatre Antiques building – Govetts Leap Road
Built in 1914 as the 999 seat Arcadia Picture Palace, it was also used over the years for ice-skating, receptions, public meetings, concerts & socials. But its primary use was always as a cinema Ð becoming eventually the Victory Theatre. TV killed that; the Victory’s last hurrah as a movie house was in May 1960. It was converted into a second hand furniture shop & in 1996 Ted Greenwood converted the building into a spectacular antique centre with a wonderland of antique stalls & a cafe.
Blackheath Mural – on the side wall of the Victory Theatre Antiques
A town project organised in 1996 by the local business community & the Blackheath Area Neighbourhood Centre. It was designed by well known artist Jenny Kee & painted by members of the local community.
Collier’s Arcade – Govetts Leap Road
Built on the site of Normanton where in the early 1890’s Nick Delaney
Opened a butchery & bakers shop & also used the building as his residence. In 1929 the Bank of New South Wales leased ÔNormantonÕ & opened a Branch that operated there until 1942.
Baptist Church – Bundarra Street
A Baptist Mission Hall was opened in 1888 on the site of the present Baptist Church.The present church building was opened on 16 Feb.1929. In 1948 a manse was built next door to the church – now Church House.
Mitre 10 Hardware Store – Great Western Highway
On this site one of Blackheath’s early Motor Tour Proprietors, John Rice. had his garage.
Braemar Guest House – Station Street
Operated from 1923 to 1949 by female proprietors including Mrs Knagg, Misses Graham & Allcorn, Mrs Bessy Bastock & Mrs Parker. Many a young railway porter ate well here.
Steve’s Auto Barn – Station Street
Site of the original StockadeÕs Military Cemetery. The building was constructed by Dick West who, for many years conducted an engineering business on this site. In the 1960’s Dick was responsible for the design & construction of many unique pieces of metal playground equipment that were installed in the Memorial Park.
Dundee Guest House – 140 Station Street
Operated from 1921 to 1947 & was very popular with holiday makers to Blackheath due to its close proximity to the railway station.
Blackheath Brewery – Murri & Waragil Streets
Established in 1884 it produced some of the finest beer or ale in the colony. Ceased operating in the 1890’s due to a severe economic depression. Now a private residence.
8. Support local producers:
blackheath cellars 34 govetts leap rd
gardners inn hotel bottle shop great western highway
the new ivanhoe hotel bottle shop great western highway
Altitude delicatessen 20 Govetts Leap Rd
Bakehouse on Wentworth 105 Wentworth st
Blackheath Bakery 6 Govetts Leap Rd
NB electric bbq at the memorial park: gas bbq at sutton park; wood bbq’s at hargraves lookout, evans lookout, anvil rock, Mt Blackheath, Govetts Leap & pulpit rock.
10. Let someone else do the cooking!
Take a drive and eat out:
In town have coffee & cake or a meal at…
Have a night out at one of our renowned restaurants…
Enjoy a drink & a meal at the local pubs…
Grab a takeaway & relax at home..
Feed your brain & your soul…
11. Find out more about meditation & buddhism
at the Vipassana Meditation Centre 212 Station St Blackheath 4787 7436
12. Join hundreds of others for debate & discussion
at the Blackheath Philosophy Forum held from 4pm at Blackheath Public School hall fortnightly from June to Sep – for dates & topics visit the website.
13. Find the perfect book, magazine, cd, video or talking book at the Blackheath Branch Library
Internet access is provided & a trainer is available to assist (bookings essential).computer & printer are also available for a small user fee, as are photocopying & fax facilities. Community hall GWH ph. 4787 8893
14. Stay up to date with the latest news from the Blackheath Newsagency
– newspapers, magazines, stationery, childrenõs toys, photocopying, lotteries 245 GWH ph. 4787 8449
15. Search for fine old & rare books
& have your treasures repaired, restored or rebound at Cambria Books & Bindery – specialising in first editions & literature, the arts, history & philosophy. Book search & mail order services are also offered. Shop 1, Collier Arcade Govetts Leap Rd ph. 4787 5232
16. Take in a church service or mass:
17. Play outdoor chess in “the gardens”, bring your own pieces.
Great western highway, near the community hall.
18. Go on line to check emails or surf the web at…
Get inspired by the arts:
19. Be surprised by the diverse range of galleries & art
20. Do a tour of the murals in town
Check out the Jenny Kee mural on the side wall of the Victory Theatre, Birgitte Hansen’s mural house cnr of Evans Lookout Rd & the highway, Blackheath Station & the aerosol art murals on the back of the Gardner’s Inn & on bus stops on the cnr of Govett’s Leap Rd & Boreas St, the cnr of Govett’s Leap Rd & Grose St & the cnr of the Great Western Highway & Evans Lookout Rd.
21. Visit the monthly Blackheath craft markets
On the 3rd sunday of the month at the community hall GWH ph. 4782 7672
22. Pick up handmade artist-designed cards
from venues around town & send them to friends from the blackheath post office in Colliers Arcade, Govetts Leap Rd. Ph. 4787 8159
23. Make an appointment to visit and be inspired by artists in their studios
(pick up a blue mountains cultural directory from the galleries to find contact details)
24. Take part in an artplay interplay workshop or retreat
designed to inspire your creative expression using luscious art materials, music, movement, story, ritual & humour ph. Lindena 0410 310205
25. Book in for a class:
26. Attend artmaking days at the blackheath art society
138 station st Blackheath ph. 4787 6016
27. Join the Blackheath Creative Writing Group
10am – 12 noon thursdays Blackheath Area Neighbourhood Centre ph. Walter 4787 1424
28. Share your works in progress at the thursday night writing group
4 – 6pm Thursdays Blackheath Area Neighbourhood Centre ph. Virginia 4787 7097