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BLUE MOUNTAINS HISTORICAL SOCIETY
The Annual McLaughlin Lecture - Saturday 3 March 2018
Wentworth Falls School of Arts – Great Western Highway.

The Blue Mountains Historical Society’s Annual McLaughlin Lecture will be presented by Phil Hammon on Saturday 3rd March 2017 at 10.30 am in the Wentworth Falls School of Arts on the Great Western Highway. Phil’s topic will be Bleichert Before and After, the story of the ropeway used to haul coal and oil shale through the Jamison Valley at Katoomba from the 1880s.
This talk will detail the latest findings from Trove, the Tension Pit excavation results, and the surprising upset of long accepted ideas about the Ropeway Failure.
Philip Hammon, who was born in Katoomba, is the son of Harry Hammon who first developed the Scenic Railway utilising the original mine tracks. He has spent his whole life intimately connected to the site and its mining history. Phil and his family continue to develop and operate Scenic World as the premier tourist attraction of the upper Blue Mountains
In 1976, Phil first walked the route of the Bleichert Pendant Tramway across the Jamison Valley, then again in 1977 after a back burn had cleared away all the undergrowth. In 1982 he accompanied the renowned Wilf Hilder, and Johan Goller, who was at the time the Australian Agent for PHB, a material handing company, the “B” of their title being “Bleichert”.
Phil has been researching the history of this installation and its predecessor, the Gladstone Coal Mine Ropeway, for many years. He and Dr Phillip Pells published The Burning Mists of Time, a history of the Coal and Shale mining in the Katoomba area in 2008.
Phil is currently working on a Reverse Engineering exercise of the Pendant Tramway to quantify the exact reasons for its failure. He has also been directing the excavation of the Tension Pit in the Valley in association with the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute, and the Industrial Archaeology Department of Macquarie University.
Coffee, tea and biscuits will be available from 10.00 a.m. for a gold coin donation.
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