By Blue Mountains Cultural Centre
“To those debilitated by strenuous work in the cities’’, the Katoomba Daily declared in 1920, “or suffering with any form of anemia, nerves or lassitude, a course of the ozone-laden winds proves a veritable elixir of life.’’
Such claims, combined with the dramatic scenery of the region, made the Blue Mountains a key getaway destination for travellers, city dwellers, and families.
The latest exhibition at Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, The Air Up There, of which Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism is a major sponsor, explores and celebrates the heyday era of tourism in the Blue Mountains from the 1900s to the 1950s. The exhibition looks at why people came, where they stayed and what they did while they were here.
A wide range of images and objects will be on display, including a 1902 De Dion Bouton veteran motor car, one of the vehicles from Mark Foy’s fleet which drove guests from the Hydro Majestic at Medlow Bath to Jenolan Caves. Other display materials include original tourism posters, vintage home movies, clothing, photographs, models and souvenirs.
The exhibition also pays tribute to two early pioneers of Blue Mountains tourism, Harry Phillips and Frank Hurley.
Phillips, active in the early part of the 20th century is most famous for his “View Books’’. By 1920, 100,000 had been printed and are now a prized collectable.
Phillips’ friend Hurley created the first Blue Mountains promotional film, Treasures of Katoomba, in 1936.
Curator Tim Smith said: “This exhibition is so much more than pictures on walls. The story of early Blue Mountains tourism is told in innovative and entertaining ways, with visitors encouraged to (re)discover the magic of stereoscopes, View-Masters, postcards, and souvenirs.’’
The exhibition draws from a wide range of private and public collections including State Records NSW, the Macleay Museum and Powerhouse Museum.
The Air Up There: Vintage Tourism in the Blue Mountains will be exhibited at Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, 30 Parke St, Katoomba, until January 26.
A great summer holiday outing, the exhibition would also be a fantastic all-weather activity for the whole family.
The centre is open from 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday and 10am to 2pm public holidays (closed Good Friday and Christmas Day). Admission $5 adults, $3 concession, InSight members and under-16s free. Details: (02) 4780 5410 or bluemountainsconnect.com.