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Saturday, 11 January 2014

THE CHARLES DARWIN WALK, WENTWORTH FALLS NSW AUSTRALIA



LINKS TO ALL BLOG ENTRIES AND RELEVANT YOU TUBE VIDEOS

The Wilson Park entrance

The track alongside Jamison Creek at Wentworth Falls leads from Wilson Park (alongside the Great Western Highway) to the brink of Wentworth Falls. It is approximately the route followed by Charles Darwin in his visit to Australia in 1836 and by thousands of others before and since.
                                                                             

It is a pleasant enough walk, some of it close to houses but most of it through bushland. Weeds are an obvious problem, most of which appear to be garden escapees. It improves in its naturalness as you approach the falls. Following this track reveals lots of things of interest, some good and some bad.
Firstly, after years of neglect, in which the quality of the bushland markedly deteriorated, heaps of money has been spent improving the track, building boardwalks where appropriate, and providing good quality information. It’s a pity that it took so long and it remains to be seen if these things can be maintained in good condition.
Top of the Weeping Rock
Secondly, it is an illustration of bad planning. Looking back over the years since European settlement began, following the construction of the first road in 1815, one can only wonder at what those responsible had in
mind by allowing huge areas of bushland to be sold off without regard to the effect on the preservation of the scenery and the natural features of the country which brought people there in the first place. This isn’t peculiar to Wentworth Falls, of course – there are numerous subdivisions in inappropriate places all over the Blue Mountains and the local council has to do its best to balance development and conservation, which will never be an easy thing to do.
You can begin the walk at either end; if starting at the Wentworth Falls picnic area the starting point is the track down to the top of the falls and if entering at the Wilson Park end, the track commences next to the tennis courts.
Sign at the waterfall end
 Darwin walked from the Weatherboard Inn, which was located near the creek a few hundred metres upstream from the highway. He stayed here on both his outward trip to Wallerawang and Bathurst and on his return. He visited the falls each time, as well as Govett’s Leap, so Blue Mountains scenery obviously impressed him, though he had difficulty in coming to terms with how the valleys had formed. You can download your own copy of the “Voyage of the Beagle” by following this link to Trove and then making your selection. The account of his Australian visit makes for interesting reading.
Extract from "Voyage of the Beagle"
Darwin had a copy of Lyell’s “Principles of Geology” with him on the ship so he was quite familiar with what erosion can do. Even so, he found it hard to believe that such small streams could carve such huge valleys.
You might find the article from the Sydney Morning Herald, 11th
October 1930, of some interest. I wonder what became of these things? The second article (Sydney Morning Herald. March 30th 1908) is about the old Wentworth Falls swimming pool, which is passed during the walk. There is a bridge across the creek at this spot.

The Wild Walks description and map of this walk may be found here. My video is here. Another interesting video on the walk may be found here 
My Blue Mountains You Tube playlist is here . I have three other playlists - on gem hunting/mining, Glen Innes and New Zealand.

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