The Gully Collection

Katoomba Falls – to where all water within ‘The Gully Water Catchment’ upstream flows, then tumbling down into the Kedumba River in the Jamison Valley below.  Many controversial undisclosed truths upstream deserve to be told. 



So what really is ‘truth-telling‘?


Its Meaning?

The phrase ‘truth-telling‘ is lingua franca English. 

According to the authoritative English language dictionary published by Oxford University Press, ‘truth-telling‘ is defined as “telling the facts openly, honestly, and unambiguously“.   ‘Truth-telling’ simply means ‘telling the truth’. 

Three ways to help clarify the meaning of this phrase are by providing (A) synonyms, (B) antonyms, and (C) applied examples in a sentence contexts. 

(A) Synonyms for ‘truth-telling’ are: ‘disclosed’, ‘true’, ‘honest’, ‘frank’, ‘trustworthy’, ‘candid’, ‘correct’, ‘factual’, ‘forthright’, ‘precise’, ‘realistic’, ‘reliable’, ‘sincere’.

(B) Antonyms for ‘truth-telling’ are: ‘undisclosed’, ‘untruthful’, ‘deceitful’, ‘devious’, ‘dishonest’, ‘false’, ‘incorrect’, ‘inaccurate’, ‘insincere’, ‘tricky’, ‘lying’, ‘unreliable’, ‘untrustworthy’.  However, we don’t believe that the word ‘unfrank’ exists to counter ‘frank’ in this sense.

(C) Applied in sentence contexts:  

‘And he said that being with her alone might produce more truth-telling than talking with her while her parents were present.’

‘For honesty, truth-telling fairness, was Mary’s reigning virtue: she neither tried to create illusions, nor indulged in them for her own behoof, and when she was in a good mood she had humor enough in her to laugh at.’


Its Grammatical Meaning?

Truth-telling‘ is a compound adjective version of this phrase in English descriptive grammar, just as the following: ‘home-bred’, ‘white-washed’, ‘short-lived’, etc. 

A compound adjective combines a noun and an adjective, and the result is usually hyphenated.  in the case of ‘truth-telling’ the noun is ‘truth’ and the adjective is ‘telling’.  ‘Telling’ is derived from the verb (t0) ‘tell’.  In grammar, the “-ing” form of a verb is called the ‘present participle’ of the adjective, such as also “a thrilling story”.


Its meaning in contemporary vernacular?

Currently in the media and on the Internet, the phrase ‘truth-telling‘ appears to have been annexed by certain Australian Aboriginal tribal leaders since a 2017 meeting at Uluru in the Northern Territory. 

Out of this meeting the phrase ‘truth-telling’ has been interpreted by this political movement to have a singular meaning: ‘Aboriginal truth-telling’.  It is one interpretation, but it is an example of hijacking of common parlance ‘truth-telling’ for political campaign slogan to conveniently promulgate their given agenda.   

The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation in Australia since back in 2000, has claimed ownership of this phrase as being somehow belonging to its political campaigning.   This follows similar previous socio-political indigenous campaigns in South Africa, Canada, Norway and Sweden. 

Invariably, political campaigners and their propaganda marketers seize upon a popular adage/ idiom as their slogan.  Other example idioms are Gough Whitlam’s “It’s time” campaign in 1972, and there are many other examples. 

But hijacking idioms from common parlance for political slogans only serves to undermine the legitimacy of truth-telling. 

Frankly, no-one owns the phrase ‘truth-telling‘.


So, why then does ‘The Gully’ warrant (any/further) ‘truth-telling‘?


Well, simply because the truth about The Gully (and its broader valley water catchment) has not been told publicly; certainly not in full, rather only in part by a small group of former locals who wish to it seems only tell their side of the associated narrative. 

And they are not the only ones, given that over the years conflicting interested groups, like the racing fraternity outsiders having diametrically opposing designs on this valley. 

Broader stories exist and are yet to be told in public, and so they pervade ‘in the shadows’ so to speak.

In our view all substantiated stories about this valley (The Gully) deserved to be told ‘warts and all’ (to borrow an idiom). 

The truth needs to be based upon factual evidence, of  which The Habitat Advocate possesses a copious archive of The Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley as temporary honourary custodian. 

This webpage seeks to tell the truth about (formerly) Katoomba Falls Creek Valley (comprising The Gully) – its history, pre-history, its stories, its environmental friends, its ongoing land usurpers and their ongoing threats to its natural integrity.   

We at The Habitat Advocate call it ‘truth telling’.  This is our opportunity to share with the local community of the Blue Mountains and to the broader general public about the factual records of the past.  It is also to link those past truths to recent, current and ongoing events and actions affecting this creek valley, and the many struggles by local residents against outside vested interests and local government, in an effort to try to save and rehabilitate this precious natural place.

Akin perhaps to the current vernacular of the oft quoted idiom: “‘past, present and emerging”?

This relates both to those either involved with associated goings-on of this originally community land over the decades, else to the general public.   

Why?  Vested outside interests.

The past and present of this specially valued natural place by many hold many stories by those locals with insight who know.  Many have sadly passed but their spirit persists with those who knew  them in different connections.

‘Truth-telling’ in our book as mere blow-ins  et al. to This Valley, 1980s+ – as passionate voluntary custodians, it’s about not letting the stories of this place (those for public dissemination only) be lost to those who come after us here.  This Valley/Gully place is special.  Our local resident community members who take an interest beyond their back fence in the values of the place and people where they live keeps this place special.  Frankly, NIMBYism rocks!

Truths need to be told and out there, warts and all.  The Friends custodial legacy of The Valley over two centuries to date and perpetuating still is that much unforgivable greed, harm, division, neglect, contempt, usurpation and dare we claim ‘hate’ by outside vested interested have decimated this naturally beautiful and deeply spirited valley and its local brave custodians way beyond living memory.

Truth telling is warranted, and we hold the archival facts, to be published for all to realise the real truths of The Valley concerning what really went on, what was wrong, what still goes on and what is still wrong.  A socio-environmental case study Ph.D is being considered in this regard – perhaps afterlife of The Friends’ custodial legacy, as one’s tribute for a special experience knowing these wonderful individuals.

This quest we dedicate to Neil Lewis Stuart – long local Katoomba resident, founder of The Friends, community leader and stalwart, cause champion, trusted friend much missed.

As a former member of ‘The Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley Inc.’ (‘The Friends’) this author and founder of The Habitat Advocate holds local participatory experience connected with a 27-year record of volunteering care for The Gully by The Friends [1989-2016]. 

This includes the many environmental issues, threats and harm, conflicts with the custodial local council.  We are very aware that most factual accounts concerning The Gully and its broader creek valley have not been told, rather largely kept secret from the local community, broader Blue Mountains community and from the general public.

This includes from:

  • Former Gully residents (Aboriginal, non-Aboriginal, and mixed)
  • Former surrounding residents many of whom have relocated) but who came together back in 1989 in civil protest against the racetrack land usurpation of The Gully and against the many subsequent land use threats by various outsiders (invariably supported by Council management) 
  • Subsequent, recent and future residents of The Gully Water Catchment who typically have no idea of what has happened in The Gully
  • Blue Mountains councillors and politicians
  • Blue Mountains [city} Council staff and management
  • Heritage consultants 
  • Media
  • The broader Aboriginal community
  • The broader non-Aboriginal community
  • Visitors
  • Surrounding residents.


Our wisdom gained over half a lifetime deserves to be shared so that others interested, get to learn the truths about what has gone on in and around The Gully and the broader valley over recent decades. 

We indeed encourage the local resident community to maintain and interest in keeping abreast of what continues to go on under a perpetual secretive culture behind closed doors between local government and outside vested interests.


“There is a continuous emerging of communities and a continuous dying of communities.  Each emergence is its own singularity. Some perhaps many, emergent communities have been and are seen by part or all of contemporary society as unwelcome transgressions, even monstrous, something to be limited, tamed, even done away with.

What will be the landscape of community work in the ‘not yet’ time?  We don’t know.  But there will be rupture in the relationship between the state and newly emergent  communities and reshaped emergent communities of our now time.  Control will be transgressed.  We can be certain of that. There is always rupture – communities  emerging, resistant to colonisation by government.”

[SOURCE:   Neil Stuart [1937-2016], founder of The Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley Inc. (1989-2016), in the Foreword of his book ‘Antill: A place of knowledge about community work & community management’, 2015.]

Left to Right:  Former members of The Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley Inc. – Ivan Jeray, Neil Stuart and Les Petö  in Katoomba Street at the last fund raising stall in July 2014. [Photo by Editor  ]


The Gully Collection


‘The Gully Collection’ is a specific knowledge asset of The Habitat Advocate.  

It comprises a series of articles as webpages and posts by The Habitat Advocate on this website, which are collectively grouped under our subject category of  ‘The Gully Collection‘. 

It refers to what we term The Gully Water Catchment. This is a unique title established in the year 2016 following the untimely death of the founder of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley Inc., Neil Stuart, of Katoomba who sadly died from an incurable cancer on Thursday 26th May of that year.   

So this collection survives as a tribute Neil, our longtime friend and his selfless and tireless voluntary commitment to the safeguarding the natural environs beyond his property within The Gully Water Catchment here.  It is a credit to his consultative leadership of the local community in a noble pursuit to stop greedy harm to a natural place of special ecological value and to his considerable record keeping of what went on over 27 years of The Friends campaigning to respect and restore its ecology.

The Gully Collection comprises a detailed documentary record of the socio-ecological history of a particular natural place situated within the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area of Australia, being The Gully and of its broader water catchment valley of approximately 6 km2, situated on the western fringe of the rural Blue Mountains township of Katoomba.   The collection is drawn especially from the 27 years of archival records of The Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley Inc. [1989-2016] and their battles with threats to The Valley, as well as from former members of The Friends, and from The Habitat Advocate’s own records – its founder having been a proud member of The Friends between 2002 and 2007.

Access to ‘The Gully Collection’ starts here on this webpage.


Our Articles on The Gully Water Catchment


[Editor’s Note:  This is a dynamic webpage in which over time we intend to add additional articles on this topic.  Articles are generally posted in chronological order with the most recent at the top, else articles dealing with older records on this topic shall consistently be listed in chronological order .  In such cases, we shall immediately publicise these on the front webpage of this website for a few weeks or so to notify those interested in this topic who take an interest The Habitat Advocate].


Blue Mountains Council’s waste management?

The Gully Water Catchment

The Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley Inc.

Transforming The Gully by stone ‘yarning circles’?

The Gully Plan of 2004 not acted upon by Council

The Gully Plan of 2021 just another pretense

Gully Plan of 2021 is unbelievably No.19

Secret 2021 plans to sell off Gully bushland

The Gully Plan of Management 2021

Katoomba Falls Creek Valley again at threat

Friends of Katoomba Falls ‘On The Receiving End’

Frosty Morning in The Gully

Katoomba Golf Club’s escarpment vandalism

The Gully in Snow

Blue Mountains ongoing illegal dumping

Adventure Tourism exploiting Blue Mountains

Gully Report No.8 – The Bell Report of 1993

Abuse and Neglect of The Gully in Katoomba



A remnant portion of The Gully’s upland swamp/wetland in pristine condition in 2021

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