In response to peatland degradation by human activities worldwide, restoration through gully blocking is now being implemented in an attempt to return valuable ecological and hydrological services to degraded systems. Re-establishing these services requires an understanding of how systems have formed and evolved in order to establish conditions that assist with physical and ecological recovery. However, management of peatlands and swamps continues without prior investigation into the environmental history of these ecosystems. This study investigates stratigraphy, sediment ages and peat forming potential within three Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone in the Blue Mountains, NSW. These swamps are listed as Endangered Ecological Communities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cwlth) and the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (NSW). High discontinuity in sediment structure, peat forming potential and timeframes of swamp initiation were observed across the three swamps. This localised variation reflects the complex geomorphic processes acting within and between these systems. Such data provides scientists and managers with key indicators to assess timeframes over which infilling, vegetation establishment and peat formation occurs. These tools can guide prioritisation, conservation and financial expenditure for the management and rehabilitation of temperate peat swamps.