Lancelot Iredale Brennand, descended from convict Lancelot Iredale, purchased land fronting the main Bathurst Road in Valley Heights (or the Valley as it was then called), in 1875. Here he built Coolabah, a large weatherboard house containing nine rooms as well as a kitchen, bathroom and laundry. There was also a stable, cow sheds and a coach house. Twenty acres were fenced and the Brennand's planted fruit trees, vegetables and flowers. In 1876, Lancelot and Messrs. Russell, Barker, Murray and Eagar petitioned for the establishment of a post office for the Valley. At the time, mail for Valley residents was left at No. 5 gatehouse and was looked after by Mrs Sarah Hamment wife of the gaatekeeper. In December of that year, a post office was opened in charge of Mrs Hamment who was paid ten pounds per annum.
Lancelot was the Superintendant of the Colonial Stores Department in Sydney and was possible one of the districts earliest commuters. Family members were active in school and church functions while Lancelot was a member of the Springwood Progress Committee. He was presented with a beautiful illuminated address when he resigned due to a serious illness. The address - enclosed in an ornate frame - was decorated with water colour paintings of kookaburras, regent bower birds, cockatoos, parrots, native grapes and wild flowers. He died in 1892.
In 1895 Louisa Brennand (nee Wheeler) who married Lancelot in 1858, let Coolabah to the Christian Temperance Union to be used as an Inebriate Home for Females.
This is an abbreviated version of a larger article in The Making of a Mountain Community: A Biographical Dictionary of the Springwood District, 2002, pp. 39-40.
Image Blue Mountains Library Local Studies Collection