Just 80 kilometres west of Sydney, the heart of the Blue Mountains is one of Australia’s most visited tourist destinations, popular with both domestic and international visitors. Tens of thousands of visitors visit each year to experience wonderful views of the ancient landscape from lookouts, bushwalking and seasonal events like spring and autumn garden festivals.
Here are some interesting things you might not have known about the Blue Mountains. Some of our information is sourced through the Blue Mountains Geographical Encylopedia #arbmdidyouknow
#12 ~ The naming of Springwood – On 25th April, 1815 Governor Lachlan Macquarie set out with his wife Elizabeth and a party of ten including officers, civil servants and prominent citizens, to travel over the newly constructed road to Bathurst. In his journal, he recorded the naming of Springwood
“We then Halted at three O’clock in a very pretty wooded Plain near a Spring of very good fresh Water and Pitched our tents near the side of the Road. This Stage is 12 Miles from Emu Ford and our first on the Mountains – The Place being very pretty I have named it “Spring – Wood”
#9 ~ In 1932 Members of the Mountain Trails Club and the Sydney Bush Walkers leased the Blue Gum Forest in the Grose river valley as a wilderness reserve.
#8 ~ The Scenic Walkway is the longest boardwalk in the whole of the Southern Hemisphere.
#7 ~ In July 1814, Cox took a convict gang of just 28 men into the mountains. They laid 160 kilometres of road in just six months – an amazing feat for such a small team, in such difficult conditions, using primitive equipment. For their efforts, the convicts gained their freedom.
#6 ~ The first example of hydroelectric power used to generate electricity in Australia occurred at Jenolan, and was completed in 1917.
#5 ~ Paddys Town referred to the area bounded by Lurline, Leichardt, Gang Gang, Lovel and Railway streets, Katoomba. Named after Patrick (Paddy) Mullany (c.1843-1898), storekeeper of Katoomba, Alderman and Magistrate. Mullany purchased 55 lots of land totalling 18acs in this area on 27 July 1891.
He also purchased the old weatherboard houses from the Katoomba Coal Mine when the mine closed, knocked them down, then re-erected them in this area. A local usage name up to the 1920s.
#4 ~ In 1879 Orphan Rock, Katoomba was known as “Orphan Tower”. Geologically, Orphan Rock was formed around 170 million years ago when erosion followed the planes of weakness called joints. The Three Sisters today show these strong vertical joint planes between them. Orphan Rock, standing alone, was once connected to the cliff face in this way.
By 1924, the Simos Brothers used Orphan Rock as the logo for their Paragon Restaurant.
In 1934, this isolated rock was of such interest to tourists that Katoomba Municipal Council spent part of its £5,000 development-money on the track and stairs to the summit. Previously, it had only been scaled by enthusiastic climbers but the hazardous work being completed meant many more tourists could behold a “magnificent view” of the Katoomba Falls. By 1936, Orphan Rock was floodlit at night.
Safety on the rock continued to worry. In 1974, entry was closed; a mudslide “obliterated” the access track. Entry to the top of the rock was forbidden.
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#3 ~ Lizards Leap’ is a waterfall formed by Corral Creek flowing over the cliff at Narrow Neck Plateau.
It said it got its name this way “A learned doctor, hopelessly lost in the mist, wandered down the creek, stepped on the wet rocks of the upper cascade, and accidentally losing a box full of rock lizards that he had been at some pains to collect. The little waterfall, where the creek empties into Megalong Valley, is now known as “The Lizard’s Leap.”
#2 ~ “Bulls Camp” Woodford, in 1866 was described as, “a postal village” with a population of about 300 persons, half of whom are, employed on the railway works.” Here: https://w3w.co/storage.vanity.rashers
~ Welcome to our new daily fun info post that we hope we can all learn more about the quirky sides and history of the Blue Mountains. “According to local legend, Katoomba was the site of a secret underground tunnel designed as a wartime emergency escape route. The tunnel is thought to run from the Carrington Hotel
across the street to the Savoy Cafe, formerly the Savoy theatre”.
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