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. 



What is Truth Telling?


According to Oxford University Press in Oxford, England, ‘Truth telling‘ is fundamentally about “telling the facts openly, honestly, and unambiguously”.   The phrase ‘truth telling’ is lingua franca English and so does not belong to any particular group or cause, but it is an important social message when used honestly by any group for a good cause.

However on the Internet, dominated by the Google search engine, the search phrase ‘truth telling‘ has been optimised as Google’s lead response as ‘belonging’ to the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation in Australia from 2000.  It follows similar socio-political indigenous campaigns in South Africa, Canada, Norway and Sweden.  ‘Truth telling’ simply means telling the truth, but despite various interpretations suggesting a specific meaning and ownership, and frankly no-one owns the phrase.

This webpage seeks to tell the truth about (formerly) Katoomba Falls Creek Valley (comprising The Gully)- its history, its stories, its environmental friends, its ongoing usurpers and their ongoing threats to its natural integrity.   We at The Habitat Advocate call it ‘truth telling’ and this is our opportunity to share with the local community of the Blue Mountains and the general public the factual record of past 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.


Why does ‘The Gully’ warrant truth telling?


Well, simply because the truth about The Gully (and its broader valley area) has not been told.   This relates both to those either involved with asssociated goings-on of this originally community land over the decades, else to the general public.  Why?  Vested outside interests.

As a former member of ‘The Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley Inc.’ (‘The Friends’) between 2002 and 2007, 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.  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 and broader community and from the general public.

This includes from:

  • Former Gully residents (Aboriginal, non-Aboriginal, and mixed)
  • Former surrounding residents many of whom have relocatd) but who came together back in 1989 in civil protest against the racetrack 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 
  • The media
  • The broader Aboriginal commuity
  • The broader non-Aboriginal community
  • Visitors.


Our wisdom gained is 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:  Ivan Jeray, Neil Stuart and Les Petö (all former members of The Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley Inc. in Katoomba Street at the last fund raising stall in 2014).   


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 which will have many articles added to it over time.  Articles are posted in chronological order with the most recent at the top.]

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 Pretense 4th Oct 2021

Gully Plan for 2021 is unbelievably No.19

Secret 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 1 – The Bell Report of 1993



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

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