The Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley Inc.

The initial website of the Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley Inc. (affectionately referred by its many members as ‘The Friends‘), back in 2006 became an innovative work-in-progress by committed active member, Mr Ivan Jeray, to publicise their environmental lobbying efforts out to the then still emerging online community.   

As a followup to that initiative, fellow former active member of The Friends [2002-2008], Mr Steven Ridd, founder and editor of The Habitat Advocate since 2001, on 20th June 2023 acquired Internet domain name: ^https:\\

The purpose of this domain registration is to transition it to being a hosted website dedicated to the legacy of The Friends.  In particular, this new website is to host the bulk of the archival records of The Friends (1989-2016) held in safe custody in founder Neil Stuart’s home throughout that 27 year period. 

As members we were/are local residents of Katoomba’s western natural edge, and each volunteers/donors to the cause of a special place back then called/gazetted ‘Katoomba Falls Creek Valley‘ – the natural water catchment that flows from Cox’s Watershed southward above and to Katoomba Falls. 


Katoomba Falls in ‘full flight’ after heavy rains upstream in our Katoomba Falls Creek Valley water subcatchment.


After our founder Neil’s untimely passing in 2016, core active Working Group members of The Friends made the hard decision after 27 years to wind up.  It was the end of an era, and also part of a natural life cycle process stage that afflicts many a community group organisation – they each emerge, achieve volunteering wonders, then wind down, go into memory and history.  

But this new website is to become the enduring legacy of The Friends’ decades of volunteer activism and bushcare as local resident voluntary custodians for Katoomba Falls Creek Valley in the Blue Mountains of Australia. 

This new website ^https:\\ is to be the digital archival depository of the bulk of The Friends records.  Those records are since 2016 been agreed and declared by leading former surviving active members of The Friends at the time to be termed ‘The Neil Lewis Stuart Archive‘ in Neil’s honour.


Neil Stuart [1937-2016] the founder and inspirational community leader of The Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley Inc. (The Gully).  Neil was the group’s unifying leader, campaign organiser, environmental strategist, bushcare volunteer, bi-monthly meeting chairperson, volunteer on Clean Up Australia Day in The Gully, organisation administrator, letter writer to obstinate Council, organisation archivist, and renown jam maker for The Friends fundraising street stalls (shown here), etc, etc.   No-one could replace him in 2016.


The Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley Inc. was a legendary, yet little known, grassroots volunteer group of local residents of The Gully Water Catchment (creek valley) situated on the western fridge of the rural bushland township of Katoomba in the central Upper Blue Mountains plateau, 100km west of Sydney. 

Conveniently and affectionately shortened to ‘The Friends’ by its members, the group formed and functioned to respect and rehabilitate the natural values and ecology of this creek valley (including The Gully) as informal ecological custodians and to challenge the many damaging threats to it by various vested outside interests between the years 1989 and 2016 – some 27 years.  


THE BIG LAST PHOTO:  Active ‘Working Group‘ members of The Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley Inc. at our final fundraising street stall on Katoomba Street on Saturday 26th July 2014.  Observe Neil’s critical fundraising home-made jams for sale on the two trestles.   [L to R:  Des Barrett (Chairman, Public Officer), Valley environmental activist Steven Ridd, Rosemary Bristow (famous caterer in her own home for our bushcare group), Valley environmental activist Ivan Jeray, founder Neil Stuart, Les Petö (also Chairman)].   [Photo by John Rule]



Neil and Ivan in 2006 protest against the proposed massive subdivision for housing of 21 Stuarts Road   [Photo: Steven Ridd]


The Neil Lewis Stuart Archive


This archive is substantial and complex, given that it spans 27 years of all the effort, interests and campaigns of  The Friends over that extended period.   The content amounts to the equivalent volume of more than 130 Lever Arch folders, mostly in A4 paper documentary format, but also including many bound reports kept intact as well as photos, original maps, plans, and ephemera.

A link to this new website shall be provided here in due course.



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