History of the Association of the Hammon Family with Katoomba.
Percival John Francis Hammon
Born 16/2/1872 Rushcutters Bay Sydney
Died 21/2/1947 Katoomba
His father was Frederick Hammon who was a watchmaker and clock maker, had a jewelry store in Railway Square, Sydney, who looked after the Sydney Council Clocks. He was a "remittance man". His family had a long association with watch and watch case making in England, back to his Great Grandfather, William James Hammon Born 1768 died 1846.
Edith Katherine Green
Born 11/8/75 Shepton Mallett Somerset England
Died 24/2/54 Katoomba
Edith's family emigrated to Australia aboard the Allenshaw in 1883. .
She had 4 brothers and one sister. Albert was blinded by the effects of Scarlet Fever whilst on the voyage out and Harry was run over by a tram in Sydney.
Edith got a job as chambermaid at the "Canberra Hotel" In Katoomba St. (Now Rural Bank/State Bank/Bennetts Office Supplies)
A photograph of the house taken in about 1914 shows the five children, Percy and Edith standing proudly in front.
The sign out front says
CARRIAGE DRAG & COACH PARTIES
and all mountain sights.
Percy and Edith Married in (?) and had five Children.
Percival came to Katoomba to be "Buttons" at the Carrington
He started in business for himself with a dairy and a milk run.
Being therefore involved in the tourist industry, Percy drove horse drawn then motorised coaches to Jenolan Caves, and other local tourist spots.
He had a bus run to Echo Point - and later he had a bus run - Katoomba/Wentworth Falls.
Percival and Edith lived in a beautiful sandstone house which they built in Katoomba Street from sandstone that was excavated from the cellar of the Carrington Bar in Katoomba Street.
The house was named Shepton.
Leslie married Gwen Harrigan, a twin and one of 12 children from Queenstown Tasmania.
They had two children, June who died of cancer at xx and Rex, who was killed racing motor bikes.
Leslie had the Shell Garage at the top of Bowling Green Avenue, and was an NRMA patrolman for many years.
Young Percy married Grace Knight, and they had two children Barry and Lila.
Young Percy was into transport, and had many and varied trucks. He had red hair and a fearsome reputation. His sworn enemies were the Transport Inspectors whose job it was to catch the poor struggling truckie trying to squeeze an extra ton or two onto the underpowered and weakly spring trucks of the day.
Isobel married Brian Fahey, and they had one daughter Patricia. They were divorced in xx.
Isobel was an accomplished pianist, and entertained at the Carrington.
She went into business with her younger brother Harry, when they took over the lease of the Katoomba Coal mine in 1945. Isobel was in the first class to start at the new Katoomba High School in Park Street.
Violet married Kevin Minogue, a ships radio operator. They had no children. She was receptionist at the Carrington, and had her own hairdressing business in the northernmost shop of the group to the north of the Post Office in Katoomba St. They lived in Merriwa St.
Harry married Mary Smith in 1940 and had two children, Julie and Philip.
Harry was the youngest of Percival's children, and it was he that had the most impact on the Tourist Industry in Katoomba. According to Harry he started on his father's milk cart when he was three! He went to Katoomba Primary school, and two years of High School at the Park St High School.
Because of wartime petrol shortages, the State Government made rail the preferred mode of transport. This created a demand for a transport business to tranship goods from train to customer. Harry started "Western District Transport", operating from the Goods Yard beside Katoomba Station. He unloaded "loover" vans with everything from flowers to beer, and serviced hotels and shops from Mt. Victoria to Lawson. They also trucked coal, which was trained from Lithgow for the Power House in Power House Lane. The coal was shoveled by hand from the open topped trucks into motor trucks, then driven around to Bent Street and tipped into the chutes there. A nice story is about Frank Barker, whose job it was to shovel the twenty tons of coal out of the train trucks. He came into Harry's office one day and threw his shovel onto the floor. "I can't shovel coal with this bluddy spoon!" he shouted, "Get me a decent sized shovel!" Needless to say he had a No. 9, the biggest shovel money could buy, so Harry had to specially order a No. 10 shovel from Anthony Hordens.
Other coal for both the Carrington and the Power House came from the Katoomba Colliery.
Harry was down there one day loading coal from the hopper there, when a jeepload of American soldiers drove up. "Where's this ere railway thingy?" they asked. Harry replied that it was only open to carry tourists on weekends. "Goldarn it, we've driven all the way up from Sydney to ride in this thing".
Little do those soldiers know what they did that day, for a seed was planted in Harry's mind, and when the Colliery was closed and put up for tender soon after, Harry and Isobel put in an offer.
Harry was in Newcastle when Isobel rang him to tell him that their tender had been accepted. "Well", he said "I suppose we might make a tenner a week out of it."
History has proven him right. His little business which started carrying 28 people at a time up and down the mountain, now carries over a million people a year, and is the third biggest Tourist attraction in NSW after the Opera House and Taronga Zoo.
Harry was never one to do anything by halves. When the Mayor of Katoomba Council asked him if he wanted to keep out a "foreign" investor who wanted to build an aerial ropeway from Reid's Plateau across Katoomba Falls, and build one himself from the top of the Scenic Railway to the other side of the valley now known as "Harry's Amphitheater",
Harry said "Sure", and so the Katoomba Scenic Skyway was born. It was erected in 9 months and was opened in April 1958. No DA's and Environmental Impact Statements then!
Promotion of Katoomba for any reason at all was always uppermost in his mind. New Year's Eve processions were one of his vehicles to attract people to Katoomba. Winter Festivals, Car Racing at Catalina, culminating in the formation of the Blue Mountains Tourist Association.
Katoomba is rich in Australia history. It has many beautiful old buildings with unique architecture, many dating back to the 1800's.
There are many families still in Katoomba whose roots go back to the beginnings of Katoomba
- here we tell some of the history of Katoomba through its resident's family histories.
This web page is donated by the Highway West 'family' of websites
Can't find what you're looking for ?
Try the Search box..>
When the depression made his fathers business non viable, Dad and the three boys went out to a relative's property at Trida to shoot rabbits. On returning Harry took up an electrical apprenticeship. This was a fortuitous time to do so, as the Carrington Power House was selling electricity, and the demand to wire houses and convert from gas and kerosene lighting was high. Harry wired houses for "a Pound a point". Most houses had two or three power points ( lounge/kitchen/laundry) and a light in each room. Many guest houses were also converted. Money was hard to come by. Mrs. Bailey who ran the Milroy in Clissold Street, was a particularly demanding customer.