A very (brief) history of early Springwood | GALLERY

Although the Dharug people had inhabited the area for thousands of years, Springwood's European history is as old as Sydney itself.

Lieutenant William Dawes and his party were the first Europeans to reach Springwood, near Bee Farm Road, in 1789.

Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson camped at Springwood while they cleared a path through the scrub ahead in 1813.

Deputy-Surveyor Evans and road-builder William Cox, both based themselves there while surveying the track and building the road over the Mountains to Bathurst.

On April 26, 1815, just 12 miles from Emu Ford, Governor Macquarie camped at "a very pretty wooded plain near a spring of very good fresh water" which he named "Spring-wood".

Travellers journeyed through the area; military barracks were built in 1816, and Thomas Boland had opened his inn there by 1845.

There were few permanent residents in the area at this time although the Catholics amongst them celebrated Mass occasionally at Boland's.

It was the railway that unlocked Springwood for European settlement with the opening of the Springwood platform in 1868.

Regular trains between Sydney and the Mountains meant wealthy businessmen could build country homes in Springwood while working in Sydney. These men invested both time and money in their new homes.

One businessman to settle there was Charles Moore, M.L.C., M.L.A., former Mayor of Sydney. He built his country residence, Moorecourt, in 1876.

An Anglican, Moore also assisted in the development of the Anglican church still standing beside the Great Western Highway.

Early Anglican services were held in the railway station waiting room; then in a small glass conservatory in Moorecourt's grounds. Moore offered land near Moorecourt and contributed towards the cost of building Christ Church.

The architect, Sir John Sulman, freely provided plans and specifications.

The nave and temporary chancel were built and dedicated in 1889, but Christ Church was fully completed in 1962.

By 1892, the Boland family had prospered with the incoming settlers; they offered land and money to the Catholic Church to build St Thomas Aquinas Church. It stood in Rest Park until it was moved to Hawkesbury Road, becoming a primary school in 1920.

Still extant is the Frazer Memorial Church in Macquarie Road, which owes its existence to another Sydney merchant.

The Hon John Frazer MLC built Silva Plana. He donated three-and-a-half acres of land in 1880 to establish a church. On his death in 1884 he bequeathed £500 for the 'provision of a church.' After delays, construction eventually began in 1895, the first service being held on December 8.

By the end of the 19th century Springwood was a thriving town looking to the future.

Robyne Ridge is publicity officer for Blue Mountains Historical Society.