Site HistoryThe site of the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre is also known as the Parke Street (East) site and the Katoomba TAFE (East) site, reflecting its most recent history.
The site itself has a long history in terms of the development of Katoomba as a town and includes the site of “Froma”, Katoomba’s first permanent house (other than the railway gatehouse) built by James Neale around 1867 on his grant of land which now forms the Katoomba Town Centre. Neale built Froma on the high point of his land overlooking bushland. There are reports that the first tracks to scenic lookouts in Katoomba originated from the Froma site. Neale was a prominent local figure and was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1864 -1874. In 1883 he was appointed to the NSW Legislative Council. He continued in this role until his death in 1890.
From 1883 to 1911 Michael Metcalfe, a merchant from Sydney and his family owned Froma, using it as a summer residence and possibly as a guesthouse.
The site was resumed for use as part of a new public school complex in 1912 under the Public Instruction Act of 1912. The house was considered to be in poor condition and was demolished to make way for new school buildings.
The Katoomba Public School occupied the site until 1982 when it moved to new premises. Following this move the site was used by Katoomba TAFE until 1997. Since 1997 the site has remain unoccupied, and following the demolition of the school buildings in 2001 has been used as a car park.