The cover has a printed advertisement for THE CARRINGTON, F.C. GOYDER, KATOOMBA and it is addressed to F.S. Dore Esqr., Post Office, Queenscliff, Victoria. The blue 2d ‘Emu’ stamp of N.S.W. is cancelled with an illegible barred numeral (Figure 1).
The reverse has a postmark of origin KATOOMBA/ FE 17/ (1889)/ N.S.W, a transit of MELBOURNE/ 4 L/ FE 19/ 89, and an unframed arrival postmark QUEENSCLIFF/ FE 19/ 89/ VIC (Figure 2).
The Carrington Hotel has a long and rich history spanning a century and a quarter since her establishment by Sydney hotelier and shrewd business man, Harry Rowell, and it was built by Mr. C. Kirkpatrick, a Sydney based architect. In 1880, when construction commenced on the Hotel, Katoomba was described as a nondescript little mining town, originally known as “Crushers” on account of its most prominent feature, a rock crushing operation. The was opened in 1882 as The Great Western and it soon became a popular mountain retreat for international visitors, the elite of Sydney, and those eager to see the natural wonders of the Blue Mountains. It was renamed ‘The Carrington’ in 1886, in honour of the then Governor of New South Wales (in 1885-90), Lord Charles Robert Carrington, Marquess of Lincolnshire (1843-1928).
Initially it was built as having “accommodation for 70-80 persons, containing nearly 60 rooms, consisting of a large drawing room, a lady’s drawing room, a gentleman’s smoking and reading room; the intermediate space is divided into suites of private sitting and bedrooms.” In 1885, Harry Rowell died and his wife continued to manage and operate the hotel until Mr. F.C. Goyder, a squatter from Queensland who was delivering one of his sons to school at Katoomba College, stayed in the hotel and decided he would purchase it from Mrs. Rowell. The hotel changed hands in 1886, and Mr. Goyder almost immediately commenced extending and improving the existing facilities. It is recorded that one of his first tasks was to order £2,000 worth of furniture and artwork, pieces of which are still seen in the hotel to-day.
The extended facilities that he built included an additional 60 rooms, the dining room, additional drawing rooms and a music room and the tennis courts. 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 Hotel, Singapore, in the British Empire. F.C. Goyder became the first Mayor of Katoomba and his son William became the first Town Clerk and eventually the Mayor himself. In 1896 Goyder employed a manager, Mr. Peacock who eventually bought the lease on the hotel in 1902 and he continued the tradition of extending facilities and introducing new services.
After protracted negotiations, Sir James Joynton Smith who traveled from England to Australia via New Zealand bought The Carrington in 1911 and he built the power house to provide the hotel as well as the Katoomba district, with electricity. In 1943 Sir James died; in 1978 the hotel was placed on the register of the National Trust; in 1985 the hotel was closed due to breach of Fire Ordinances, and remained closed and boarded up until its purchase at the end of 1991; the restoration of the hotel has taken at least 11 years, and its occupancy continues to the present day (2009). Photos from its early days until recent times are seen in Figures 3-7.
Katoomba is derived from the following aboriginal names, all with similar meanings: kattatoonbah, waters tumble over hill; or from kadumba or kudumba, falling water, or falling together of many streams.
Addendum (January 2011): An additional cover was found with a photo of the Carrington Hotel in the top L.H. corner with 3 red ‘ONE PENNY SHIELD’ and 4 grey blue ½d stamps of N.S.W. all cancelled with the barred numeral ‘1036’ of Katoomba, and the name of the proprietor was W.F. Goyder, the father of F.C. Goyder. It was undated, sent to England, and it was a front, only, (Figure 8).