Blue Mountains News

Blue Mountains Historical Society Talk - Living in the Kedumba Valley

Source: Blue Mountains Historical Society
Archived 4 Jun 2018 - Posted: 5 Apr 2018
Views to Kedumba Valley from Narrow Neck, Katoomba
On Saturday April 7, 2018, commencing at 10.30am, Blue Mountains Historical Society’s monthly talk at the History Centre, 99 Blaxland Road, Wentworth Falls, will be presented by Max Hill and is entitled Living in the Kedumba Valley. The Society’s brief AGM for members will precede the talk.

Max Hill is a member of the Society and has been researching the history of the Kedumba region for many years. He was one of those responsible for giving proper recognition to the grave of pioneering Kedumba Valley bushman, William James Maxwell.

?Mr Hill stated that the Kedumba Valley has been home to many people, from the Gundungurra traditional owners to the Kill, Fitzpatrick, Woollam, Dawson, Bennett, Maxwell, Smith and Cleary families who worked and built dwellings on the land. For many years, People have worked the cattle, agisted horses, trapped rabbits, built fences, grown crops, harvested timber, cut fire trails and fought fires in the valley.  WaterNSW and National Parks rangers and field officers are now responsible for maintaining the valley.

Max’s talk will take us on a journey through the history of the Kedumba.

New chairs have been purchased by the society for the comfort of those attending the talks. Anyone interested in purchasing the old movie theatre style seats can do so at the meeting.

The talk is free and open to all members and non-members.

Morning tea will be available for a small donation from 10.00 a.m.

In December 2015, with a party of concerned individuals, Mr Hill ensured the last remaining white man’s grave in the valley - “the last token of the Burragorang area that’s above water” - was marked with a ring of rough split palings.

The humble tribute to the cattle grazier was made possible with the palings from the property of Luke Carlon of the Megalong Valley, the support of National Parks ranger Chris Banffy, and under the direction of another Megalong Valley man, Jack Tolhurst.

“It’s a fitting tribute to this colonial pioneer who selected this part of the Kedumba Valley in the 1860s,” Mr Hill said. “In the mid to late 1800s the Katoomba people called this Maxwell’s Selection.”

The grave of the 84-year-old stockman, who died in 1914, sits in the mountain's shadow, near Waterfall Creek Ford and the National Parks and Wildlife Service Kedumba camping area. Dying at the start of World War 1, Maxwell’s grave was marked with a simple wooden cross which later burnt to ash in a fire. It was replaced with an iron memorial by another pioneering family, the Clearys. Cattle grazier, A.L Bennett, another landowner, wrote a poem in tribute to Maxwell which National Parks mounted on a stone plinth in 2014, 100 years after his death.

With wife Mary Ann, Maxwell had 11 children. They travelled for miles by horseback or on foot for supplies and the closest school was 16 kms away at Emu Flat and not built until 1886 (so likely only their youngest child went). It is a nine kilometre walk in to the grave site. Families left the Kedumba after the area flooded when Warragamba Dam was constructed in 1948. The last resident was William Maxwell’s grandson, Les.

The area is still popular with bushwalkers and trailrunners.

“The pioneers are those that went before us and prepared the way that we enjoy today,” Mr Hill said.

Mr Hill said he hoped to hear from anyone who might know more about the family’s pioneering history. Email

Blue Mountains Historical Society Monthly Talk - Living in the Kedumba Valley 

Saturday April 7, 2018


History Centre, 99 Blaxland Road, Wentworth Falls

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