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Monday, 30 December 2013

Happy Holidays, Safe Home!

This week the topic photograph is of an old vehicle, possibly known as a charabanc, which looks to be awaiting its passengers, who have alighted to visit the Cordeaux Dam, south of Sydney in New South Wales, the structure which can be seen in the background. This dam was completed in 1926, and more information about it can be found here.  What is intriguing is that the Cordeaux Dam is hardly in the same direction from Sydney as the Jenolan Caves,which is the destination of the bus according to its sign, but perhaps the passengers were being taken on a roundabout tour of the wider Sydney region. There's a similar vehicle in a photograph on the web site of the Library of New South Wales, the caption for which is "Visitors walking from charabanc to the entrance of Jenolan Caves for the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the discoveries of various caves, 23 February 1929". Click here to see it. 

Parts of the Jenolan Caves were initially discovered in the early 1840s by members of the Whalan family, and form part of the Blue Mountains, an elevated and very scenic rock formation to the west of Sydney. A very informative site about their history and attractions is located here. There are lots of articles in Trove about the Caves and various events that have occurred there over the years. For example, additional spectacular caves in an extensive underground network of caves were discovered in the 1890s by the Caves keeper Mr Jeremiah Wilson:

Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 23 February 1893,  from the Trove web site

The Caves became a popular tourist attraction for Sydney visitors, and many overseas dignitaries have been taken there on official visits. Of course it was some years before the Caves were able to be illuminated sufficiently so that their beauty could be safely appreciated, and the accommodation provided in the nearby Caves House was originally very basic, as this correspondent who called herself Mother Hubbard complained in a letter she penned to a major Sydney newspaper in June 1886:

Letter to Sydney Morning Herald, 9 June 1886, per Trove web site

The present day grand hotel, Caves House, isnow  on the State Heritage Register.It  was constructed in 1896, and was designed in the Federation Arts and Crafts Style as a retreat for the wealthy, and became a popular destination for honeymooning couples and other sightseeing tourists. Here's a lovely detailed report of the wedding of one such couple in 1904:

Catholic Press, 28 April 1904, from Trove web site
 Here's another report, this one of a wedding that took place in Sydney precisely 101 years ago, on 4 January 1913:

Sydney Morning Herald, 11 January 1913, per Trove web site

The road up the Blue Mountains and over to the Caves was winding and treacherous and visitors travelling there for fun, adventure and relaxation did not always arrive or return home safely.  There have been a number of serious accidents over the years, for example this one which occurred at Lawson in 1929:
Toll of the Motor, Braidwood Review and District Advocate, 8 January 1929, from Trove web site

Here are a couple of dramatic reports of accidents, in which amazingly no one was killed:
Northern Star Lismore, 5 August 1927, from Trove web site
Illawarra Daily Mercury, 20 April 1954, from Trove web site

An accident with a more serious outcome occurred on 5 January 1962:
Canberra Times, 6 January 1962, from Trove web site. One of the injured passengers subsequently died, bringing the death toll to four.
        There have also been unfortunate fatalities within the Caves themselves, for example this one in 1937: 
Canberra Times 8 February 1937, per Trove web site
A fatality also resulted when another woman fell from the same location in 1940.

Several of the above reports relate to events that took place on or about this coming weekend, on or about 5 January. Actually it's a personally significant date, as Sunday 5 January 2014 will be our 40th wedding anniversary. We went to New Zealand, not the Jenolan Caves, for our honeymoon, but here's a photo of my grandfather Oliver Cruickshank and his second wife Maisie, who came over from NZ for our wedding and afterwards visited the Blue Mountains. The photo is taken at Echo Point, overlooking the Three Sisters. It's likely that my parents also took them on to visit the Caves.

Granddad and Maisie at Echo Point, January 1974

 We went to Jenolan the following year in 1975, and here are a couple of photos from that trip.
At the entrance to the Caves
View of Caves House, from Carlotta's Arch

So that's my brief history and reminiscence about the Jenolan Caves, sparked by the bus destination in the photo prompt. Happy New Year to everyone, happy holidays and most importantly, stay safe travelling  home!
Now I'm off to Hobart, Tasmania for a few days, where we'll celebrate by having dinner with one of my bridesmaids and her husband, who got married a month after we did, and have lived down there for most of the ensuing 40 years. My other bridesmaid was my sister, who is now a jeweller and she has made me a ruby ring to mark the occasion.

In the grounds of St Ninian's, Lyneham A.C.T., 5 January 1974.


 Link to the prompt photo? Well I am wearing white, like the waiting attendants in white coats :-) That old oak tree beside us is no longer standing, but thankfully we still are! For more takes on this week's theme, just drive on over to Sepia Saturday 209

ps.Hope you enjoy this traditional rendition of Auld Lang Syne, as sung by the lovely Scottish singer Dougie McLean, whom we coincidentally saw in concert at the Clarendon Hotel, Katoomba in the Blue Mountains a couple of years ago.