LAWSON

Lawson is a town in the Blue Mountains area of New South Wales, Australia. It is located on the Great Western Highway between Hazelbrook in the north east and Bullaburra in the west. At the 2006 census, Lawson had a population of 2,419 people.  It has a station on the Main Western line. The town is also served by a public swimming pool and over the years has developed into the commercial hub of the mid-mountains area, which spans from Linden to Bullaburra, boasting a significant industrialised area as well as a shopping centre located on the south-eastern side of the highway.

 

History

 

One of the first settlements on the eastern slopes of the Blue Mountains, Lawson was identified on early maps as 24 Mile Hollow - a name which was changed to Christmas Swamp for a few years. When the Blue Mountain Inn was opened in 1848, the locals adopted the name Blue Mountain for the village. This name was also given to the original railway station after the rail line was pushed through in 1867. The presence of a Blue Mountain on the Blue Mountains, however, became so confusing to visitors that the authorities stepped in and renamed the village Lawson in honour of William Lawson who, along with William Wentworth and Gregory Blaxland, were the first Europeans to cross the Blue Mountains in 1813.

In 1931, the Railway Department agreed to supply electricity to the Blue Mountains Shire Council. Power lines were constructed between Blackheath and Lawson, accompanied by a maintenance track. The authorities then decided to promote the maintenance track as a walking trail; it became known as Bruce's Walk, after the surveyor who planned it. The track later became neglected and forgotten, until it was rediscovered and improved by bushwalkers in the 1980s. It can now be followed from Medlow Bath to the north side of Lawson, although it is not shown on the relevant topographic map.

In more recent years, Lawson was at the centre of controversy due to an ongoing government proposal to widen the Great Western Highway. The highway was a single lane in each direction through the town; the proposed plan by the Roads and Traffic Authority for widening necessitated the removal and relocation of the existing shops and the demolition of the Lawson Community Centre, formerly known as the Mechanics' Institute Hall, which dated back to 1903. Groups opposed to the demolition claimed the hall could be re-sited; others claimed this would be too costly, that the building was in poor repair and contained dangerous levels of asbestos. There was also a group lobbying for the retention of the shops on heritage grounds. By the end of 2008, the Community Centre had been saved.