Andrew Brown a Scotsman established 'Cooerwull' station at what is now Bowenfels in 1824. The property was given by Governor Macquarie in 1821 to the first settler in the district. Andrew Brown built the Presbyterian Church - the first west of the mountains. You will find him buried in the graveyard along with other pioneers.
After Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth made the first successful crossing of the Blue Mountains in 1813, Cox's Road from Sydney to Bathurst was completed. This saw traffic passing through Hartley and Glenroy on its way to Bathurst so small settlements began in these areas.
Later because the descent from Mt York into Hartley Valley on Cox's Road was too steep and unsuitable for much traffic - Mitchell's, Mount Victoria Pass was opened in 1832.
Lithgowon the western slopes of the Blue Mountains is 144 km north-west of Sydney and 920 m above sea-level . Its development was closely linked with the large coal deposits upon which it stands but the area did not grow until the Railway to Lithgow via the 'ZigZag' was completed in 1869.
At this time there were just five landholders in the valley. The name 'Lithgow' chosen by Hamilton Hume in 1827, honouring William Lithgow, the auditor-general of the colony.
The Lithgow area, and in particular Rydal, expanded rapidly following the discovery of gold at Bathurst in 1851.
Other Pioneers are.....
Rev. C. Stewart who arrived in the District in 1839 and soon afterwards took up land in the Valley and called it the 'Hermitage'.
Thomas Brown purchased land in Lithgow Valley and named it 'Eskbank' in 1840 and Thomas Sheedy settled on land now known as Sheedy's Gully in 1847.
In 1850 Andrew Brown who had built a water-powered flour mill introduced steam power by using coal mined on his property. He later (1857) converted his flour mill into a woollen mill.
By 1866 a track for a railway was being surveyed over the Blue Mountains and in 1869 the railway to Lithgow via the 'ZigZag' - acclaimed worldwide as a major engineering feat - was completed.
Because of this making the exportation of coal and iron commercially viable, Lithgow became industrialized and the town of Lithgow was established.
It became the major industrial centre of NSW in the last quarter of the 19th century and the railhead for the western region - leaving Bowenfels(not linked by rail) to decline..
Other important developments were..........
In 1873 Thomas Mort's Meatworks - a slaughtering and meat refrigeration works was built. Then in 1874 a blast furnace was erected and Copper smelting began on Thomas Brown's property 'Esbank'. He had started the first commercial coalmine the year the railway arrived, and later in 1875 when iron was found on his property - iron smelting began .
By 1878 Pottery manufacturing began at Lithgow Pottery, producing bricks, tiles, pipes and pottery and Lithgow Mercury newspaper began publishing. Breweries and four brickworks were in operation by 1889 when Lithgow was declared a municipality and shortly after in 1891 the Lithgow Gasworks began operating with the hospital founded in 1893.
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Dams and lakes were built in the Wallerawang area to provide water to the Power Stations.
Lake Wallace construction began in 1978 and is now a popular destination for trout fishing.
Much of Lithgow's rich cultural heritage still provides great entertaining, informative adventure outings - for everyone. Along with the many outstanding natural attractions with bushland and scenery unparalleled, there is just so much to see.........
By 1901 there were seven collieries.
Due to Lithgows steel and coal production and its distance from the coast (in case of naval bombardment), in 1912 the Small Arms Factory commenced production. It was enlarged in 1939 and proved to be one of the most consistent businesses and employers. Naturally it was a major employer during the 1st and 2nd world wars - employing 6000 people at its peak in 1942.
At the end of the 2nd world war in 1945 Lithgow was proclaimed a city.
(the 'Lithgow Flash') - honoured with a statue in Lithgow, and radio and television personality John 'Roy Slaven' Doyle both originate from Lithgow.