William Lawson was given a grant of 500 acres
Creek in 1810, but never lived there. Together with Gregory Blaxland
William Charles Wentworth, Lawson made a successful crossing of the
Mountains in 1813, which is now the major road to the west - the Great
The name Kurrajong came from the Aboriginal word
for the beautiful tree, Brachychiton populnous,
which once grew
in abundance in the area. It was used as a general name for the area
from the Hawkesbury River to the mountains. In 1810 Governor Macquarie,
on his initial visit to the Hawkesbury, rode up a rough track to the
summit of "Kurry Jung Hill", possibly near Bowen Mountain. From
there he "had a very grand noble Prospect of the low grounds on
both Banks of the River Hawkesbury" (Gov. Macquarie's Diary, 1st Dec.,
The oldest settlement was along Comleroy Road,
which from about 1819 had been the main road north from Sydney to the
Hunter Valley. In 1827 it was described as nothing but a bridle track
and used chiefly to drove cattle to the new settlements in the Hunter
In the 1820s and 30s,
notorious bushranger Jack Donahoe and his gang terrorised the settlers
travellers of Kurrajong and Richmond. Victims were robbed and sometimes
naked and their horse stolen, left to get home as best they could! A
Harrington, living near Kurmond, was shot and killed in his home by
member, George Armstrong.
Several inns catered for locals and travellers
along the Bells Line of Road. One was the "Goldfinder's Rest",
established in 1851 and run by John Lamrock. It was used by those going
to the Turon diggings. About 1870 it became a Post Office and Store.
The original building (pictured
above) still exists beside Little Wheeny Creek and is a private
Tthe area was found
to be suitable for the growing of fruit trees and the Kurrajong area
for its orchards. By the late 1800's orchardists and others were
the government to extend the railway from Richmond (opened in 1864) to Kurrajong so that
could get their produce to market more easily. In
1920 the Government established the Kurrajong Soldier Settlement scheme
with 46 blocks allocated to returned Servicemen to take up farming.
Some of the original four room timber settlement houses can still be
seen from Bells Line of Road near Kurmond. The lobbying for a railway eventually
off, and in 1926 the extension of line from Richmond was opened.
Station in the 1920s with Allison's Orchard in the background.
However, by the time the line was opened, the
orchardists had begun to use trucks and the line was never economically
viable. Landslides gave an excuse for the line to close in 1952.
In the 1930s,
the district contained many Guest Houses, especially along Comleroy
Road. The beautiful scenery of rolling hills with the mountain backdrop
attracted many city people for a stay in the country. The Kurrajong
Heights Hotel, a
magnificent building with panoramic views towards the coast, was
in 1928 but destroyed by fire in 1975. The 1950s and 60s saw a decline
local tourism as people began to travel further afield for their
holidays, in cars and planes.
Kurrajong Village in the 1930s.
Kurrajong's orchards also began to decline and
many properties were subdivided into smaller acreages. Horses and cows
the paddocks once covered by fruit trees.
Today there is a revival in
Kurrajong. The scenery and rural tranquility has made it a sought
after location for people wanting an escape from the bustle of life in
the city. Many people have
purchased small acreages as hobby farms or rural retreats. There is
a revival of guest accommodation, as the pressures of modern work have
that people want a weekend away that is only a short drive from Sydney.
Village in 2000.
In 2001, the Kurrajong-Comleroy
Historical Society was formed to increase awareness in and the
preservation of Kurrajong's historic heritage. Take a look at Kurrajong and the surrounding area in the past in the image database.
Kurrajong: an early history. Vivienne Webb (1980)
Kurrajong Kurmond Tourist Guide. Kurrajong Community Forum
Diggers Hill: surviving on a Soldier Settlement Farm. Vera Machtolf-Bentvelzen (2007)
See also the Hawkesbury Historical Society for information on the history of The Hawkesbury.