The road to Black Springs history becomes a lot more accessible

PARTNERSHIP: Forestry Corporation northern manager Jason Molkentin, deputy mayor Kerry Gibbons, Max Hanrahan and mayor Kathy Sajowitz at White Springs cemetery.
PARTNERSHIP: Forestry Corporation northern manager Jason Molkentin, deputy mayor Kerry Gibbons, Max Hanrahan and mayor Kathy Sajowitz at White Springs cemetery.

BLACK Springs district history is more accessible thanks to a recent project.

A gravel road has been completed to the original Roman Catholic Black Springs cemetery, which contains the grave of a number of settlers, including a woman considered to be the matriarch of the original community.

The old cemetery is off Campbell's River Road, five kilometres from the village of Black Springs.

The work came as a result of a partnership between the Forestry Corporation, Oberon Council, the community and the Black Springs Progress Association.

Forestry Corporation supplied gravel, Oberon Council supplied tippers and loaders and the progress association committed $5000.

"All these bodies coming together saw this project move ahead and now it's accessible to the public," Oberon deputy mayor Kerry Gibbons said.

The cemetery, located on Foresty Corporation land known as White Springs, was the burial place for many of the original settlers of the Black Springs district.

The area was notable for the large number of Irish Roman Catholics who moved to this remote place for social and civil reasons. The land for the cemetery was provided by local farmer Michael Hanrahan and it was in use between 1858 and 1911.

Cr Gibbons said the cemetery was historically significant to the descendants of those buried there.

"Many families will be very interested in the 50-odd graves located there,” he said.

"Mary Hogan, nee McMahon, often regarded as the matriarch of the original Black Springs community, is buried there. Mary was born in 1777 at Innis, Ireland and died in 1859 aged 82."

Pioneers Phillip and Mary Hogan had eight children: Michael Hogan (born 1804, married Catherine Rogers); Catherine Hogan (born 1806, married Patrick Hanrahan); Robert Hogan (born 1811); Margaret Hogan (born 1812, married Peter Behan); Henry Hogan (born 1816, married Anne McQuirk and then Mary Dillon); John Hogan (born 1818, married Ann Scott); Dennis Hogan (born 1812, married Thelma Sheehan); and Bridget Hogan (born 1812, married Patrick Hanrahan senior).

"Descendants of these families continue to live in the region today," Cr Gibbons said.

"Other names of interest are John Foley, who was a reformed bushranger and who was associated with the famous Lowry gang in his youth, and Patrick Hanrahan senior, who was a member of the Cox's Road gang which built the first roads over the Blue Mountains.

"Bushranger and ex-convict Edward Lanigan has landmarks recognising his name throughout the district.

"John Foley died in 1891, aged 55, and Patrick Hanrahan died in 1889, aged 78."

Cr Gibbons said there's a lot of very interesting history that has been documented by the late Alan Hoolihan.


THE first record of exploration in the Black Springs area was that of Charles Throsby on April 25, 1819, who followed an earlier track blazed by surveyors James Meehan, Throsby and Hamilton Hume which went generally east of the Hume Highway, passing over the Mittagong Range, through Bong Bong and Sutton Forest to Bungonia. Throsby's line deviated west following the Bathurst expedition route as far as the Goulburn Plains.

When Lachlan Macquarie visited the Cookbundoon Range in October 1820 he praised the explorers for paving the way south west of the Blue Mountains.

From the Burra Burra Lagoon there’s a track which extends northerly across the Abercrombie and Little River Porters Retreat to the source of the Campbells River.

The first record of settlement in the Black Springs area was "Swatchfield", named after Captain John Brown's wife who came from "Swattersfield Hall", Suffolk, England. Brown held a ticket of occupation on Swatchfield 1826. Prior to this it was known as "Beemerang".

On May 3, 1825 Sir Thomas Brisbane had given William Davis permission to buy 1000 acres of land at a place known by the native name Beemarang or Swatchfield.

William Davis, James Meehan and Philip Hogan (United Irishmen), who came to the colony as convicts on board the “Friendship” in 1800, and Edward Redmond, also a United Irishman, were the first settlers to take up land in the Black Springs area.

Edward Redmond leased land in the Campbells River area, on the eastern side of the Abercrombie Road. He was granted 1000 acres at Bingham, Lower Arkstone in 1825. John Larkin Scarvell, son-in-law of Redmond, secured 2560 acres known as Arundel Park in 1829.

The pioneers of Black Springs by Alan Hoolihan will continue next week.