- Wentworth Falls, New South Wales
Infobox Australian Place | type = suburb
name = Wentworth Falls
city = Sydney
state = NSW
City of Blue Mountains
postcode = 2782
pop = 5,650 (2006)
fedgov = Macquarie
near-nw = Leura
near-n = "Blue Mountains National Park"
near-ne = "Blue Mountains National Park"
near-w = Leura
near-e = Bullaburra
near-sw = Leura
near-s = "
near-se = Bullaburra
Wentworth Falls (coord|33|43|S|150|22|E|region:AU-NSW_type:city, elevation 867
metres) is a town in the Blue Mountains, New South Waleslocated 100 kilometres west of Sydney, and about 8 kilometres east of Katoomba, Australia, with a population of 5,380. It is situatued on the Great Western Highwayand has a railway station on the Main Western line.
Originally called "The Weatherboard" after the ‘Weatherboard Inn’ built in 1814, a year later the town was named "Jamison’s Valley" by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in honour of the colony's leading private citizen, Sir
John Jamison. In July 1867, the first railway journey to the Blue Mountains left Penrith and travelled through to Weatherboard Station, where the train terminated. In 1879, the village took its name from a nearby system of waterfalls, which in turn were named for William Charles Wentworth, one of the men that headed the exploration to cross the mountains in 1813 and a friend of John Jamison ["Origin of Blue Mountains Town Names" [http://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au Blue Mountains City Council] ] .
Kings Tableland, at the south-east corner of Wentworth Falls, contains areas of major archealogical importance, including the Kings Tableland Aboriginal Site. This area is highly significant to the Darug, Wiradjuri and Gundungarra people. Used as a gathering place for at least 14,000 years, the area contains a variety of cultural features, including engravings, axe-grinding grooves, modified rock pools and an occupation shelter [Stockton, Eugene (ed.), "Blue Mountains Dreaming" 1993, Three Sisters Press] . Ingar Picnic Ground, one of the most scenic picnic grounds in the Blue Mountains, is eight kilometres further east along Murphys Fire Trail. Further south along Kings Tableland are Sunset Lookout and McMahon’s Lookout, both of which provide long views as far south as
The Kings Tableland area also once hosted a deer park that closed down in the late 1980s, with the site subsequently falling into private ownership. Several deer were sighted around the area for some time until they were culled by National Parks rangers. This area is also home to a privately-owned
observatoryand is the site of the former Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital, once a major facility for the treatment of tuberculosis. Ownership of the site has shifted between Government and various private interests over the decades since it was closed in the 1980s. Sporadic development proposals for the former hospital have been the source of some local concern. The observatory in Hordern Street features three modern telescopes as well as a flat screen planetarium and is open on weekends and during school holiday periods.
Other points of interest and local institutions include the historic Grand View Hotel, the Wentworth Falls School of Arts, the Kedumba Gallery (found within the grounds of the
Blue Mountains Grammar School) and Wentworth Falls Lake, an artificial lake created early in the 20th century to provide water for steam locomotives. This is now a reserve and recreation area. The School of Arts is a popular venue for local community events and theatre productions and also houses the local library.
On the north side of the town is Pitt Park. The Bathurst Traveller, later renamed Weatherboard Inn, was built here in 1826. The site, adjacent to the railway station, is now the location of the village war memorial.
Charles Darwinwas reported to have stayed there in 1836, walking from the inn along Jamison Creek to the cliff’s edge, about which he wrote ‘an immense gulf unexpectedly opens through the trees, with a depth of perhaps 1,500 feet’. The route he took was formally opened as Darwins Walk in 1986 and leads from Wilson Park opposite the School of Arts building to the northern escarpment of the Jamison Valley.
There are many natural lookouts in the area including Breakfast Point Lookout, Princes Rock Lookout, Wentworth Falls Lookout and Rocket Point Lookout. A track through the Valley of the Waters leads to Empress Falls, Sylvia Falls, Lodore Falls, Flat Rock Falls and, near the junction of Jamison and Valley of the Waters Creeks, the sheltered Vera Falls. [Sydney and Blue Mountains Bushwalks, Neil Paton (Kangaroo Press) 2004, pp.202-207] One of the most popular walks in the area, the National Pass, skirts the top edge of the Valley of the Waters, along a narrow claystone ledge perched halfway down the cliff, and then ascends the ridge via a series of sandstone steps built by Peter Mulheran and a group known as "The Irish Brigade" in 1908. The Conservation Hut is an information centre and restaurant in Wentworth Falls leased from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, and serves as a starting point for several of these walks.
Wentworth Falls hosts several festivals and events, including the Wentworth Falls Autumn Festival in April, the Wentworth Falls Public School Art and Craft Show in May and the
Task Force 72Annual Regatta in either November or December.
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