Tribute to explorers hewn out of Blackheath cliff face

By | April 1, 2023

FROM: Sunday Telegraph, 17th May, 1959 – Full transcript

Blue Mountains City Council is supporting a Sydney man’s scheme for a huge rock tableau to be sculptured on a cliff face at Govett’s Leap, Blackheath.

The cliff face, opposite Govett’s Leap lookout, is 200ft long and 100ft deep.

Sculptors would hew from the rock face huge relief figures of explorers Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth, the first white men to conquer the Blue Mountains.

Using pneumatic drills and gelignite charges, sculptors and workmen would work on platforms hung hundreds of feet above the Grose Valley.

Tribute to explorers hewn out of cliff face

Linked with the tableau idea are plans to develop:

  • A large landscape garden and driveway dedicated to all Australian explorers at the top of the cliff.
  • A music shell seating 2000 people in a natural amphitheatre overlooking the valley.
  • A luxury tourist hotel built near the present main lookout at Govett’s Leap.
  • Helicopter trips for tourists over the tableau and Grose Valley.

Support by Council

Govett’s Leap, one of the Blue Mountains’ most spectacular scenic attractions, was named after surveyor William Govett, who discovered a waterfall there in 1831.

Sydney publisher Mr. Oswald Ziegler, the scheme’s promoter, said the idea for the tableau came to him while he was touring the Blue Mountains on research for a new book.

‘I put my scheme to Blue Mountains City Council and won its whole-hearted support,” he said.

“The Council’s engineer examined the cliff face and said it was sandstone – probably ideal of sculpturing.”

A committee of Australia’s top sculptors and artists would be formed to design and execute the tableau, Mr Ziegler said.

The director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Mr. Hal Missingham, was enthusiastic about the tableau, and sculptor Lyndon Dadswell had prepared a suggested design for the figures.

The tableau probably would take 18 months to two years to finish.

“Big Tourist attraction”

Mr. Ziegler said: “The site suggested for the tourist hotel is near the main lookout.

Blue Mountains City Council approached the National Park Trust, which approved a hotel of suitable design being built there.”

Mr. Ziegler said the question of financing the scheme had not yet been discussed because plans still were being developed.

The Blue Mountains Mayor (Ald. A.F.C. Murphy) said yesterday: “We are sure Mr. Ziegler’s scheme would lure thousands for tourists to the Blue Mountains.”

Tribute to explorers hewn out of cliff face

Sunday Telegraph, 17th May 1959

NB: Thanks to Alan Newling who provided the full page image.

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