The Misty Blue Mountains
I recently spent some time in the stunningly beautiful Blue Mountains which were mostly clouded in mist, fog and rain. Somehow that only added to the atmosphere and their mystery.
Below is a previously unpublished piece of writing I penned some years ago, a memory piece of my previous three visits to The Blue Mountains over the years.
Reflections of The Blue Mountains
7 January 1961
My Mother’s birthday. Dad’s shiny FC Holden took bend after bend with ease because we didn’t have the caravan on the back. That remained under the willow tree back at the Ryde Caravan Park.
It still wasn’t a comfortable drive. My younger sister was car sick and she spent almost the entire ascent with her head in a bucket. We pulled to the side of the road many times, but finally reached Katoomba and then Echo Point . . . and what a reward it was.
I was eight years old and the majestic image of The Three Sisters, sitting ethereal-like, has always remained one of the focuses of my childhood memories. Never-ending bush stretched out before us and tourists with Box Brownies clung to the barrier and leaned over a little to get a better view. A pink scenic skyway with ‘Aspro’ painted on the side clung to a skinny cable and ferried passengers across an enormous valley. Only those not bothered by the fear of heights made the trip.
There was also a yellow scenic railway. Excited people jumped into their seats, strapped themselves in and then took off at break-neck speed rushing down the mountainside. There were no Japanese or American tourists, just Australian families enjoying their annual holiday.
We stopped at the Blackheath and Katoomba Shell Service Stations so my sister and I could add another two stamps to our Shell passport collections.
4 September 1980
In 1980 things had changed although the Tree Sisters still sat cradled comfortably against the backdrop of the beautiful bush. My eighty year old Nanna made the trip with Dad and me. She marveled at the magnificent beauty. We stayed at a motel at Echo Point.
On an early morning walk along Panorama Drive, I found a neglected mansion resting amongst the everyday houses. The paint was peeling and the once beautiful garden was overrun with blackberries and weeds. The house had an incomparable view and I dreamed of buying it and some day restoring it to its original splendour.
1 April 1991
The view was still the same. Nothing can ever change that. The trip up the mountain was faster, but my own children still needed paper bags. Stronger and more sophisticated barriers gave us unlimited views of the Three Sisters from all angles. We even walked right down to them. We held tight to the hand of our toddler and our five year old looked goggle-eyed at the unending and beautiful mountains stretching out in front of her.
I looked for the old mansion, but couldn’t find it. ‘I should have bought it back then,’ I thought to myself. Back further than then would have been better. I mean, what would it have cost in 1961? Then again, my bank account wasn’t very healthy at eight! I was dreaming again. Those mountains do that to you.
The people visiting had changed. The cameras had changed and of course the Skyway and Railway had been updated and were governed by more stringent safety regulations.
But the peace and sheer magnificence of the Blue Mountains will never change.
8 June 2017
We stayed in a gracious, old hotel in Katoomba and walked along Panorama Drive, saw the Three Sisters, just before the mountains were encased in a lazy fog and I think I found the stately old house which I first saw 37 years ago!
Part of my next book, due out in October, is based on that 1961 holiday and my memories.