Rangers of Cataract Dam on Bulli Mountain – formerly Sherbrooke

There appear to have been rangers in the early years of Cataract Dam, eg Ranger James McPherson kept busy  : 1908,  in 1909 (1,), rabbitting in 1909,  when he found illegal grazing activity, which was  appealed, more grazing problems in 1910, including by William Wilson – 1, 2, Stanbridge 1, then in 1912, 1913, and later illegal camping at the Lodden River in 1914.

In 1914  – (1)when Bulli Mine tried to do some surveying and were caught by an unidentified Water Board Ranger – which led to wrangling between the Water Board and the Mines Department. Conflict again in 1915 – redolent of the issues arising a century later with the colliery at Bellambi seeking access to Water Catchment areas.

1925 – resident officer (ranger or caretaker) Frank Notley for Cataract Dam witnessed fishing in the Cataract Dam

1930 (1, ) – saw fishing and canoeing in the catchment area and prosecution by the Water Board but ranger not named.

1931 – a still in the Mt Keira part of the Water Catchment – saw the would be Brandy Still being prosecuted

1938 – a caretaker was in place at Cataract Dam

1939 – Sidney S Bouren was prosecuted for intent to take birds and animals in a protected area at Sherbrooke.

1953 – Prosecution for swimming in the Woronora catchment area

So over the decades there seemed to be an ongoing need for Water Board Rangers in the old Sherbrooke area which had become Cataract Dam and its catchment.

Debate about settlement and its risks in the Catchment surfaced  in 1933

WATER BOARD. Settlement on Catchments. SUGGESTED REMOVAL.

A motion that all unnecessary settlement should be removed from the catchment arcas of the Sydney water supply was moved by Sir Thomas Henley, M.L.A., at a meeting of the Water and Sewerage Board yesterday. He said he was concerned about the condition of the water, and for the last two years he had Insisted that all water wr~. J” his home should be boiled. It was the duty of the board to safeguard the public health by maintaining the cleanliness of the catchment areas.

The president (Mr.Cooper) said that the board’s medical officer had made frequent analyses of samples of water from all parts of the city, and there was no need for concern. There were four rangers on routine Inspections of the catchment areas, and it was their duty to maintain cleanliness and discourage offences. Prosecutions during 1931-32 were: Fishing on catchment areas, 13; stockstraying, 12; non-destruction of dead stock, 2; stripping bark, 2: gathering wild flowers, 4. Most of the offenders were persons not residing in the area. There were not more than half a dozen residents above the Cataract dam, and about 60 people, mostly farmers, below It; 400 above the Cordeaux dam and 17 below; 950 above the Nepean dam site and 450 below. In the Avon area the only residents were four railway fettlers.

Alderman Moverly, M.L.A., said the precautions taken were adequate. Further consideration was adjourned till next meeting.

Work was done on Water Board buildings at Cataract Dam –

1928 – tenders were called for the erection of a brick cottage at Cataract Dam

1929 – tenders were being called for painting and renovation of two unidentified stone cottages at Cataract Dam

Ultimately there were rangers or caretakers at Cataract Dam who lived in the old Sherbrooke School until 1968. According to Westie Hapgood, some of these  Rangers at Cataract Dam included :

  • Andrew Painter
  • Jervis Moore
  • Hamie Frew
  • ? Cutler
  • George Bartlett
  • Bill Johnston
  • Les Thew – prosecuted two people for fishing in the catchment in 1948, where people were caught fishing, and with the fishing continuing into 1949, 1951, including a then young Don Gray of Thirroul, 1953, 1954, – not to mention illegal camping in 1952
  • Ken Manning
  • Walter Bewley

Other rangers who may not have lived there were

  • Hilton Moon – was also Ranger at Cordeaux Dam in 1946
  • Brian Stewart
  • Gordon Sandbrook
  • Allan Richards
  • George Williams

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Marilyn Woodward on September 22, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    I am so happy to see this. My father always told stories of living in Sherbrooke but he was born in 1911 !!! Now for the first time I see his father Andrew Paynter was a ranger and the family lived in the cottage after the closing of Sherbrooke. Please note. The surname is Paynter not Painter.


  2. Posted by GORDON on January 19, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    George Bartlett was my great uncle and godfather


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