Friday random memory 7: Katoomba 1975

That’s forty years! FORTY! The occasion was the Secondary English Workshop, Katoomba, March 30-April 8, 1975. There is a report out there on it. Yes, the Whitlam era – so look at the length of that residential workshop, which of course was brilliant. I was around the age of Mr Rabbit or Thomas at the time and was there representing Illawarra. The main speaker was Leslie Stratta from the UK. See Thomson, Jack and Watson, Ken. “Leslie Stratta” [online]. English in Australia, Vol. 45, No. 1, 2010. It was held here:


I posted in 2010:

I think it must have been 52. In January that year my sister died, and I seem to recall my father taking my mother and I to the Blue Mountains later that year. We stayed in a guest house which had probably not changed since before World War II. (Over 20 years later at an English Teachers’ inservice week at the Carrington Hotel in Katoomba — which John Boase also attended — I recall the visiting UK expert describing the hotel as like Gatsby’s place after the last party, but no-one had cleaned up.)

We shared the hotel with, among others, the cast and crew of the TV series Ben Hall — Jon Finch, Evin Crowley, John Castle, Sandra Lee Paterson, Jack Charles. That was interesting in itself.

About The Carrington:

…By the early 1900’s The Carrington’s reputation as the premier tourist resort in the Southern Hemisphere was undisputed and the newspapers of the day often cited her as the only rival to Raffles within The Empire.

Sold in 1911 to Sir James Joynton Smith, who introduced the famous stained glass facade, The Carrington entered a new phase and quickly became known as the honeymoon destination of choice, and this remained so for the next half a century.

Although in a time of decline in Mountains tourism, The Carrington remained popular as ever through the 1950’s and 60’s and was bought by Theo Morris, a developer, in 1968. Despite the dwindling popularity of the Mountains in the 70’s and the toll taken by time on the Hotel, her loyal clientele kept her afloat for nearly twenty more years.

The Carrington closed her doors in late 1985 and remained empty and derelict until 1991 when it was purchased with the aim of restoring and relaunching this Grand Old Lady of the Mountains.

The Carrington reopened her doors in December 1998 after eight years of restoration, and works are continuing on the restoration of the gardens, garages, stables, and powerhouse.