Blue Mountains History Plaza
3 Sisters, Blue Mountains, Australia.
Industries, past & present, in the Blue Mountains, Australia


The Blue Mountains were initially just an obstacle to be crossed on the route from Sydney to the western pastures & gold fields. Traveller's accommodation sprang up, & shale mining commenced at Hartley Vale.

Then the railway arrived.


Tourism, made practical by the railway, quickly became popular. Hotels & guesthouses sprang up, along with recreational services & facilities. Today, tourism is our major industry, with ecotourism gaining in popularity. Australia's oldest tourist hotel is situated at Mt Victoria.

Mining & Oil

Mining rapidly expanded, with the opening of numerous coal & shale mines, along with tramways to service them. Oil refineries were built near the oil shale mines at Hartley Vale & Newnes. Today, mining is confined to coal in the Lithgow region. The refineries are long gone.


Agriculture is restricted in the Blue Mountains, due to poor sandstone-based soils & rugged terrain. However, in areas with good conditions, such as Bilpin & Shipley Plateau, apples & other cool climate fruit are grown. The old Lapstone railway tunnel serves as a mushroom farm.

Light Industry

Light industrial estates are located in Blaxland, Valley Heights, Springwood, Lawson, Katoomba & also Lithgow.

Computer & Telecommunications Revolution

Telecommuting, programming, consulting & Internet-based occupations are increasingly popular, with some courier companies classifying the Lower Mountains as Sydney Metropolitan, & the City of Sydney being close enough for daily visits when necessary. As the geographical centre of Sydney is at Granville (near Parramatta), the Blue Mountains are closer to most of Greater Sydney than to the City of Sydney (the CBD).

Our first telecommuter was Sir Henry Parkes, who had a telegraph instrument installed in his Faulconbridge home in the late 1800's.


Dubbed "City of the Arts", the Mountains have long held an attraction for artists. Local artists include painters, photographers, sculptors, potters & much more. Outlets range from community craft markets to plush galleries. Famous local artists have included Norman Lindsay & Harry Phillips.

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Copyright 1997-2003, David Martin
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Established 1996 - originally "Blue Mountains Plaza".

Blue Mountains, Greater Western Sydney, NSW, Australia
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