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Friday, 28 March 2014

SUBLIME POINT, LEURA NSW AUSTRALIA



Rear view of the Three Sisters
While the Sublime Point Lookout doesn’t attract the crowds of many other Blue Mountains lookouts, it still has much to offer.
Sublime Point seems to have first come to public notice (at least, under the present name) around 1890-95. Mr WH Copeland, a Katoomba businessman, found a way into the Jamison Valley from the Point (Copeland Pass). This way into the valley is used today by rock climbers, who have developed many routes on the imposing cliffs in the area.
The path and picnic facilities probably date from the 1950’s and resemble those at Cahill’s Lookout, which dates from the same period.   One unexpected feature is the tap at the end of the path, several hundred metres from the parking  
Distant view of the Katoomba skyline
area, which also has one. The provision of a shelter shed and picnic tables near the lookout is very welcome, though it is quite a way to carry your picnic gear from the car.
You will need to follow your road maps carefully to find the way out to Sublime Point. Basically, the route is the same as for Fairmont Resort and the Leura Golf Course, where Sublime Point Road actually commences.
The area has seen many cases of lost bushwalkers and a number of fatal climbing accidents. It came to prominence in September 2013 when the body of a missing guest from Fairmont was discovered wedged in a tree part way down the cliff on the western side of Sublime Point.
An article in the Sydney Morning Herald about the discovery of the body may be found here.
My video on Sublime Point will be found here
Gary Tweddle disappeared from Fairmont in the early hours of July 16th 2013. There is a memorial plaque to Gary along a track which branches off to the right about half way between the car park and the picnic area. This track leads around the cliff top to Golf Links Lookout, if you succeed in following it through the scrub and across people’s backyards.
My Blue Mountains You Tube playlist may be found here . I have three other playlists - on gem hunting/mining, Glen Innes and New Zealand. Please comment and subscribe.
From a 1905 Katoomba guide book.


Distant view of Mt Gibraltar, Bowral

Sunday, 23 March 2014

LILLIANS BRIDGE WENTWORTH FALLS, BLUE MOUNTAINS NSW AUSTRALIA



Taken before 1927
It’s a matter of opinion whether we locate this celebrated bridge in Leura or Wentworth Falls, it is in fact on the boundary between the two. Its presence across the gorge known as Lillian’s Glen makes it possible to walk conveniently from Fairmont Resort in Leura down to the Glen and then follow the tracks up or down the Valley of the Waters, returning the same way or by bus (if you can work out the times and routes). A simpler way would be to leave cars at both ends of the walk, if you are going with a group.
Who was the Lillian (or should it be Lilian ?) after whom the bridge and glen were named? The obituary of Elizabeth Lilla Murray (Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 20th September 1916, page 5) tells us that she was the wife of Captain Murray, who was for many years Chairman of the Wentworth Falls Reserve Trust. According to this obituary, “Lilian’s Glen and Lilian’s Bridge, above the Valley of the Waters, are associated with Mrs Murray’s name”.
I believe the bridge was built around 1895. “The Bridge, which consists of an iron framework with wooden fittings, is only 21 feet wide, and yet it spans a gorge over 200 feet deep, and miles in length.” So says an article in the 1905 Katoomba and Leura Guidebook. No doubt repairs were made to the structure many times over the years, but by the early 21st century it was in a state of disrepair.
Photo taken in 2007
The 2007 photograph shows it as being closed to all traffic. (I’m sorry, I don’t know the source of this photo so please forgive me whoever took it.)
The approach from the Leura side 2013
The top photo was taken before 1927 (from the Mountaineer tourist guidebook of that year) and could be at least 20 years older than that. It gives a good impression of the structure of the bridge. 
Point of entry to the gorge below the bridge
The bridge has now been restored by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and should last for many years to come. If you are bold, follow the Nature Track until you reach the creek in Lillian’s Glen and then go downstream until you are underneath Lillian’s Bridge.
The approach from the Wentworth Falls side 2013
My video of the walk from Fairmont Resort may be found here . My Blue Mountains You Tube playlist may be found here . I have three other playlists - on gem hunting/mining, Glen Innes and New Zealand. Please comment and subscribe.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

PECKMAN’S PLATEAU LOOKOUT KATOOMBA NSW AUSTRALIA



Bonnie Doon Falls
Commencing at the picnic area adjoining the Cahill’s Lookout car park, in the western part of Katoomba, a little used track leads out across Peckman’s Plateau to an almost unknown lookout. The views out here are as good as anywhere around Katoomba and it is surprising that little has been done to promote this spot or even to let the public know of its existence.
Harry Peckman was one of the great “characters” of early Katoomba. He moved there in 1884 and spent most of his time as a horse cab and coach driver. He was a great “spinner of yarns” and many visitors attested to how much his knowledge and enthusiasm for the mountains added to the enjoyment of their visit.
Harry Peckman 1920's
He wrote much poetry, not of the highest quality, it has to be admitted, but words which overflowed from his heart and revealed the inner man. He died in October 1934 at the age of 88, by which time he must have been one of the best known residents of the Blue Mountains. The "Nepean Times" of 22nd December 1888 had this to say: “He has graphically portrayed the varied and sublimities of Govett’s Leap with a delicacy of feeling which was as welcome as it was unexpected. The poem in question was recited by the author, and was received with marks of great approval.”

The Nepean Times of Saturday 6th October 1934 tells the story of Harry Peckman on page 6. He occupies a unique position in Blue Mountains history. A biography titled “The Prince of Whips: The Life and Works of the Blue Mountains Pioneer Harry Peckman”, by Jim Smith and John Low, may still be available for purchase.
North's Lookout across the valley
                 The Plateau named after Harry and his family was apparently given this name because they cleared a track to viewpoints on the cliff edge. The present walking track, decrepit picnic area and fenced lookout probably date from the early 1970’s. The lookout provides a fine view of the lowermost of the Bonnie Doon Falls, once known as “Ethel Falls”. There are also great views of Radiata Plateau and Nellie’s Glen. It is the best spot to see these places, which are well off the path of most tourists. The track to the lookout is easy, if a little overgrown, and the return walk takes rather less than an hour.
My video about Cahill's and Peckman's lookouts may be found here
The Blog entry about Cahill's Lookout 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. Please comment and subscribe.

Radiata Plateau from Peckman's Plateau Lookout

Monday, 10 March 2014

CAHILL’S LOOKOUT, KATOOMBA BLUE MOUNTAINS NSW AUSTRALIA



John Joseph Cahill was the Premier of New South Wales from 1952 to 1959. It was in his term of office that such well known Sydney landmarks as the Cahill Expressway at Circular Quay and the Sydney Opera House were planned. The Blue Mountains City Council named this magnificent lookout in his honour.
Unlike most of the Katoomba lookouts such as those at Echo Point and Scenic World, which overlook the Jamison Valley, this one overlooks the Megalong Valley. The two valleys are separated by the Narrow Neck, a remnant of the sandstone plateau which projects southwards for many kilometres.
The streams which formed the Megalong Valley have eroded through the Sydney Basin sediments into the underlying granite and other older rocks. Much of the western side of the valley has been cleared for sheep and cattle grazing.
The Boar's Head
Two well known landmarks visible from Cahill’s Lookout are the Boar’s Head Rock (easily seen on your left towards Narrow Neck) and the Six Foot Track to Jenolan Caves. The track may be seen snaking through the forest below the lookout (the bottom one, that is) after the descent through Nellie’s Glen, which is on your right.
There is a picnic area alongside the parking area at  the beginning of the concrete path and steps leading down to the lookout. Unfortunately there are no toilet facilities. However there is a tap near the path and an overgrown drinking fountain (bubbler to we older Australians) at the lookout. I can’t say whether they work or not, but the ones at Sublime Point lookout, which date from the same period, certainly do.
This spot is one of the best places in the Blue Mountains to enjoy a sunset, because of its westerly aspect. It is reached from the loop section of Cliff Drive (Blue Mountains Drive), shortly after passing the golf course, proceeding from the direction of Scenic World.
My video on Cahill’s Lookout may be found here. Another video, taken on a very windy day, is here. My Blue Mountains You Tube playlist is here . I have three other playlists - on gem hunting/mining, Glen Innes and New Zealand.

The picnic area and access paths were reconstructed after the 2014 bushfire and now attract many more visitors. See my video "Cahill's Lookout Reopened" here.
Nellie's Glen from Cahill's Lookout