The policy below outlines how we intend to protect your privacy.

Collecting your personal information

Any personal information about you will only be gathered from three sources:

  • Details provided by you (or, for residents, someone on your behalf) to us by phone, email or on-line forms,

  • Details that has been available historically from community sources such as the local telephone book or community groups mailing lists.

  • Details that are directly linked, and integral to your involvement, in local community groups such as the Mt Wilson/Mt Irvine Rural Fire Brigade, the Mt Wilson and Mount Irvine Historical Society, Mount Wilson Progress Association Inc. and others.

What is this information used for?

We will use your personal information for the following purposes:

  • to advise of upcoming events

  • to distribute newsletters and other community-related information or announcements

  • to contact you in times of a local emergency such as a large bushfire incident

  • to record information that is directly related to your involvement in local community groups.

Disclosure of personal information

Any email lists, data or information held by this website will not be sold to an external third party and will only be used or disclosed for the purposes outlined above.

Accuracy of Information

The accuracy of this information depends to a large extent on the information you provide. That is why we strongly recommend that you advise us immediately if the information has changed (for example, email address or telephone number) or is incorrect.

Security of Information

The collected information is restricted to general access via a robust security system where an individual is assigned a specific ‘security role’ and log-in password.  This role controls what web pages or documents you can access, and what database information (if any) you can view, create or edit.

The assignment of roles is created and modified by a small number of approved system administrators of the Mount Wilson Progress Association Website Committee. This Committee will take all reasonable steps to protect the personal information it holds from misuse, unauthorised access and modification.

A casual visitor to this site will be able to only access the public section and will not be assigned a user name and role, and will not be able to access all pages on the website.

Community groups will determine and control the security access within their individual website pages. 

Links to other websites

This website contains links to other websites. These linked sites are not under the control of the Mt Wilson website, and we are not responsible for the management or protection of any personal information you provide to these sites.

Please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information..

Many thanks to the numerous residents who generously submitted their photographs for display on this website; their interest in, and enthusiasm for, capturing the essence of their local environment is self-evident.

Particular thanks must go to three brilliant photographers who kindly allowed the Mount Wilson Progress Association to use a small sample of their photographs:

David Iori - two fine examples of his work - the Waterfall and The Avenue streetscape - are incorporated into this website's main banner.

Scott Moorhen ( - four small vignettes representing the distinct seasons of Mount Wilson and Mount Irvine are shown on the Home page.

Bev Woodman ( is a long time friend of, and visitor to, Mt Wilson. Her generosity of spirit is greatly appreciated and admired.

All three photographers have a standalone album of further examples of their work of Mount Wilson and its environs in the Photo Gallery.

The following books have been written and published about Mt Wilson.

The Story of Mt Wilson in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales

The first history of Mount Wilson was written by Gilbert Hughes and published in 1955, coinciding with a renewed post war interest in gardens and plants. This small book, of only 25 pages gives a brief overview of the geology of the Blue Mountains, outlines the eight early houses and their owners and mentions some notable features and avenues. It contains a number of black and white photos which give glimpses into the past, and it reproduces the sketch map of Fred Mann. It was published by the Progress Association and has been revised several times. Gilbert Hughes was a friend of Fred Mann and for a while Hughes’ family owned Yengo. Copies of the most recent edition are available from Libby Raines at Merry Garth.

Mount Wilson, New South Wales: its location, settlement and development

Dr. C. H. Currey’s more substantial history of Mount Wilson with interesting detail about the early explorers and discovery of the northern basalt mounts and the difficulty of access. Currey was a well regarded historian and he quotes from early surveyors and visitors. He too discusses the years of early settlement giving details about the owners and their properties, and continues the history into the mid years fop the 20th century. It includes some early photos and colour photos from his own garden. Dr Currey owned a property, Three Gables, in Church Lane. This book was published in 1968 and has been out of print for some years.

A Mount Wilson Childhoood

An evocative and fascinating memoir by two sisters of the Gregson family, Helen Warliker and Margaret Fromel, paying  tribute to the hardships and difficulties of life in a remote place in the early 20th century; but it also celebrates the surrounding bush and the many joys of childhood freedom. Published in 1990.

Trees of History and Romance

A delightful book by Michael Pembroke celebrates the trees that are found on his property, Hawthorn, by examining their ‘character’, and their role in history and legend, in the wild and in our gardens. It includes also a poem about each tree and beautiful, evocative drawings by Libby Raines. Usefully, it also lists the birds and fauna of the Mountain. It was published in 2009.

A Passion for Place: gardens of the Blue Mountains

Over 30 gardens of Mt Wilson, Mt Irvine and Mt Tomah are explored here through the voices of the gardeners, the history of each place and the glorious photographs of Ian Brown. It includes many historical photos and was written by Alison Halliday, who has a long connection to Mt Wilson, and Joanne Hambrett, garden designer. It was published in 2010.

Several other small books have been published over the years which give insights into the character of Mt Wilson, and its people.

Mountain Cookery

a collection of recipes gleaned by Ann Pigott from residents, published in 1991.

Mount Wilson: a potted history

by Audrey O’Ferrall which combines recipes with historical snippets. Published in 1985

Trees of Mount Wilson

A description and guide to the many European and American trees found in the streets and gardens of Mount Wilson, by botanist Don Schofield.

Mount Wilson Walks

is a valuable guide to walks both long and short, on the mountain itself and in the surrounding bush by Libby Raines, indefatigable walker, one of the founders of the local walking group, and owner of Merry Garth.

There are also many mentions of the history of Mount Wilson, memoirs of its people, and details of its gardens in a variety of sources in the Mitchell Library in Sydney.

The street trees on Mt Wilson are a wonderful feature contributing to the unique character of the mountain. The first trees planted are those on The Avenue, with elms on one side and originally Spanish or sweet chestnuts on the southern side. These chestnuts later died and were replaced with alternate beech and lindens (or limes if you prefer). These were followed by plantings of horse chestnuts, beech and plane trees. The Avenue was planted by the earliest settlers who were probably inspired by the wonderful avenues of trees in England but no doubt they were also aware that planting such trees is a very long term project. Today we see the benefit of their foresight and generosity. The cherry trees in Queens Avenue were probably the next to be planted, but there is no evidence as to when this happened.

Since the beginning of the Progress Association, in the early years of the 20th century, it has been responsible for the street trees; the selection, the planting and the maintenance. The Progress Association acts on behalf of the Blue Mountains City Council; and it is much better to have local knowledge, experience and skills preserving our unique trees. The ideal street tree is one that is a large tree at maturity with maximum vertical growth and preferably one that is deciduous to give cool shade in summer and let in the winter sunlight. Those original Avenue trees are good examples. The flowering cherries, while spectacular in spring, have growth that is rather too spreading. It is also useful if the trees can be ‘trunked up’, that is, tolerating their lower branches being trimmed off which not only encourages the vertical growth but also allows for vehicular and pedestrian access. In practise this means trunk only to a height of three to four metres.

Beeches and lindens are the perfect street tree: their growth is vertical and they are lovely in both their summer and autumn foliage. Trees such as the oak, while a very handsome tree, are really too big to be a street tree as the mature growth is horizontal as well as vertical; and the tulip tree does tend to be brittle in windy places. Allowing light through to the ground is increasingly important when there are so many beautiful gardens which also have their share of (potentially) large trees so preference is given to deciduous trees. (Bushes and shrubs are not appropriate street plantings.) The green beeches in Galwey Lane, planted about 30 years ago, are now more than saplings or youthful trees and they will become more beautiful and further enhance the street-scape. You may wonder why the beeches, which continue this avenue in Davies Lane, have been planted inside the fence of Wynstay. This was done because if the land adjoining a half-chain road is formally subdivided then the road should allow for an increase in width to one chain. It is doubtful if our laneways would ever now be widened but this is the reason for the placement of these trees. These smaller beeches were planted in 1999 in memory of Bill Smart.

It is very important that street trees are carefully chosen for every location. Not all the mountain roads are bordered by the basalt soil, so the trees next to the Cathedral Reserve are Liquidambars which do well in the poorer soil, growing slowly and colouring very well in autumn, similarly the smaller maples alongside the school and its cottage. It is hoped that the recent planting of Nyssas next to the Marcus Clark Reserve will cope with the exceptionally wet conditions there. Recent avenues include the mixed copper and green beeches in Hillcrest Lane. The older copper beeches outside Wynstay and Campanella provide a beautiful colour contrast with the golden elms on the other side of the road. These golden elms reinforce the importance of appropriate planting as some of you will have noticed that those ones under the power lines have been harshly pruned, destroying the lovely natural vase shape of the mature elm tree.

The Progress Association has responsibility for all the street trees, that is, those that are outside a property fence, as these are considered part of the road. There is a responsibility to both pedestrians and to vehicular traffic. We want people to be able to walk under the street trees, to enjoy their beauty and to be safely off the road. It is also important that not only cars but also larger and commercial vehicles, especially the fire trucks and those of Integral energy, can use the roads without being damaged by the street trees. For example at Ferny Corner trucks now have to use the centre of the road, and it is a real problem if vehicles are going in both directions. The new fire truck has rear-vision mirrors which cost $1000 each! Similarly, the tree ferns on the side of sections of the road between Mt. Wilson and Mt. Irvine will need to be sympathetically removed, and re-planted elsewhere if possible.

Unfortunately there are few places left that are appropriate for street trees, but all the street trees, both younger and those nearing senescence will remain the loving responsibility of us all through the Progress Association.


Mount Wilson and, nearby, Mount Irvine, are two basalt capped peaks on the northern edge of the Blue Mountains. Blessed with rich volcanic soils, these two peaks were heavily timbered with temperate rain forests of sassafras, coachwood, lilli pilli, tree ferns and a thick understorey of ferns. The forests are teeming with wildlife and birds.

European settlers had difficulty reaching Mt Wilson and Mt Irvine, however there is much evidence that indigenous people camped in the area. There are many rock carvings and paintings, implement-sharpening grooves, and stone axe-heads to be found among the caves and forests, and chips of chert, a rock not of this district, have been found along creek banks.

William Romaine Govett surveyed the area in 1832-33, producing a plan of the area north of Bell’s Ridge which shows but does not name the Wollangambe River and Bowen’s Creek. Between them is a ridge marked “High mass of the range of the richest soil covered with the most impenetrable scrub.” This was Mt Wilson. Govett crossed the western end of the Mt Wilson ridge (see NSW Railway Guide of 1879). Following an exploratory trip by George Barton Bowen from Berambing, Edward S Wyndham, directed by Philip Francis Adams, Deputy Surveyor General of NSW, surveryed the ridge in 1868.

The area was named Mt Wilson in honour of John Bowie Wilson, member of the Legislative Assembly in NSW and the Minister for Lands. Wyndham drew up a plan of 62 portions (covering the baslat areas) ranging from 7 to 45 acres. Only one portion was sold before the Mt Wilson Platform (later to become Bell station) was built in 1875 where the Bell’s Line of Road crosses the railway line at Bell. The sale of all 62 portions was then completed by 1876.

By 1880, eight houses had been built for use as retreats from the summer heat of lower altitudes, creating at what was known at the time as a 'hill station'. Many of these early landholders had made their mark already on NSW society, business and government. While laying out their extensive gardens in the rich volcanic soil, they never lost sight of the magnificent environment of luxurious native rainforest and bushland which surrounded them at Mt Wilson. Eucalypts and tree ferns are still featured among the exotic trees and shrubs which make Mt Wilson famous as a ‘heritage garden village’.

Those early settlers included Lewis Thompsom, a protege of Eccleston Du Faur, a foundation member of the NSW Academy of the Arts, later President of the NSW Art Gallery, and responsible for the establishment of Kuringai Chase; and Richard Wynne, first Mayor of Burwood and benefactor of the Wynne Art Prize for Landscape who bought several of the original portions. Thompson acted as a caretakre, servant, maintenance man and provider for the early settlers of Mt Wilson. Three grandsons of William Cox, who built the first road over the Blue Mountains, were also among the first landholders, and GH Cox’s property ‘Beowang’ (now Withycombe) was purchased in 1921 by Mr & Mrs V. White, parents of Nobel Prizewinning author Patrick White, who spent time there as a boy. Two other signficant settlers were Edward C. Merewether of the Australian Agricultural Company and Jesse Gregson, who replace replaced Merewether as Superintendent of the same company.

Not only did these and other settlers establish extensive gardens but they also planted the magnificent avenue of trees from Sefton to Wynstay Lodge. They built the School in 1891 and later St George’s Church, built as a memorial to Henry Marcus Clark by his children, and consecrated in 1916. Land was donated for Founder’s Corner, a sports ground named Silva Plana, and almost 3000 acres of native bushland, including rainforest, was placed in Crown Reserves.

Mt Wilson remains a fascinating and charming village with many English-style houses, gardens and avenues, now over one hundred and thirty years old, in a setting of Australian bushland and rainforest.
Mt Irvine was developed later; in 1897 Charles Robert Scrivener, a staff surveyor of the Lands Department, was given the job of surveying a road to the end of the Mount Wilson spur. He described the land there and located an approach across Bowen's creek, to Bell's Line of Road near Bilpin. He suggested that it should be proclaimed a national reserve, but instead it was thrown open for settlement and called Mt Irvine.

The men who took it up were C.R. Scrivener's son, Charles P. Scrivener and two of his friends, Harold Morley and Basil Knight-Brown. These three young men had graduated with credit from the Hawkesbury Agricultural College in 1897, the first year of Mr George Valder's tenure as principal. They each selected 10 hectares, and developed orchards, dairy and vegetable growing. Their chief problem was access, and for twelve years, each worked on the road to Mount Irvine for one month each year.

For further reading, Ian Jack has written a well researched article about the early history of Mt Wilson and Mt Irvine.

Above is an early view of The Avenue, Mt Wilson, taken from a postcard of the day.