The Blue Mountains tourism industry emerged in the late 1800’s, and by the early 1900’s it was Australia’s largest regional tourism area. The blue mountains reputation built exposure internationally due to the areas natural charms. By the 1930’s, the mountains were firmly fixed as the honeymoon capital of Australia. It was even promoted in the UK as the ‘playground of the commonwealth’.
Hotel mountain heritage was formerly known as ‘the california’. It’s believed to have been built in 1908 by Herbert preston, a wealthy Sydney based businessman who followed the age old real estate philosophy of ‘location,location,location’.
A unique physical location demanded a unique building. According to longtime local transport operator Ken Cole, American architect Legge was engaged to create what was the largest timber framed building in the Southern Hemisphere. The 2 and 3 storey structure originally called ‘The California’ was clad in Californian Redwood. In September 1935, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the property was ‘the largest and most palatial guesthouse in the southern hemisphere, with hot and cold water in each room, a neon lighted ballroom, inhouse entertainment and a permanent orchestra’. The site Herbert Preston chose to build his grand ‘coffee palace’ was perfectly situated on a commanding ridge with breath-taking views of the rugged cliff faces and tree-filled canyons of the Jamison Valley and beyond. Little did Preston realise that those dramatic views which stretched out more than 100kms to the south past ‘The Gib’ at Bowral, would become part of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Listed Wilderness in 2000, thus protecting their uniqueness for all time.
The property quickly became a favourite for the stars, and played
host to famous business and political leaders..
During world war 2 the property was taken over by female workers at the Lithgow small arms factory. It was later purchased by the Australian government to house british naval personnel and their families who were recruited by the Australian government to house british naval personnel and their families. The early history of both Sydney and the Blue Mountains is showcased at mountain heritage, making it one of the largest private collection of historical photographs. In 1991, ‘the california’ was renamed ‘the
mountain heritage’ following the first major refurbishment, to truly reflect the history and ambience of the past.