Former Blue Mountains councillor Terri Hamilton dies

Former Blue Mountains City Councillor, Terri Hamilton, has died.

She was 88.

The independent councillor was the city’s longest-serving representative when she retired from local government in 2012, having been first elected to Ward 1 in 1991.

Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill paid tribute to the former councillor on Thursday.

“Along with Councillors Chris Van der Kley and Daniel Myles I have had the privilege of serving on council with Terri from 1999. Terri was not just a friend but a colleague for whom I had the deepest respect,” he said.

“She was fiercely independent. The people of the Upper Mountains enjoy a better quality of life for her contribution.”

Clr Hamilton’s journey to becoming a councillor started in 1986 when council was considering plans to commercialise Echo Point.

As a nearby resident, she became involved with the pressure group, Friends and Residents of Echo Point, and “led the fight” to save the Mountains’ most recognised beauty spots.

“When I got involved with that I realised how important it was to keep an eye on council because they can do things to the natural and built environment and we need to be there to make sure what they do is OK,” she told the Gazette in 2012.

“After four years watching council . . . I decided I would run.”

She was first elected with the highest Ward 1 primary vote and listed among her achievements as winning extensions to Katoomba’s indoor pool and helping to keep Blackheath pool open.

Mrs Hamilton’s other contributions on council included:

  • showing strong support for Katoomba Library and the development of the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre;
  • campaigning against excessive heavy vehicle traffic on the Great Western Highway through the Blue Mountains; 
  • supporting the Blackheath Rhododendron Festival; ​
  • lobbying for the establishment of the senior citizens room at the Katoomba Civic Centre;
  • supporting the successful nomination of the Blue Mountains as a World Heritage site through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 

A low point in Mrs Hamilton’s council career came only weeks after being re-elected to council in 1995 when her garage and car were destroyed in an arson attack.

An unsuccessful attack on the garage had been made only three weeks earlier.

Mrs Hamilton never felt comfortable in her Echo Point home after that and moved to Blackheath, where she was proud to have played a big part in the community.

Mrs Hamilton suffered poor health in her final years on council including undergoing surgery for bowel cancer.

She was made a Freeman of the City of Blue Mountains in 2014. She was also honoured in a ceremony at Blackheath in 2013 when two maple trees were planted to mark her 21 years as a councillor.

Family and friends are invited to attend a celebration of Mrs Hamilton’s life on Friday, August 17 at Leura Memorial Gardens and Crematorium, commencing at 1pm.