19 September 2020

Stepping Back in Historic Hartley


At the foot of the mountain, and hidden at the end of a dirt track is the burial ground for many important settlers of the pocket of land I call home. I had visited this site in my university days when taking grave rubbings of a particular family for an assignment I was working on for my Australian history course. 

I recalled the excitement of this cemetery, the way it was just suddenly there, tucked away in the bushland with the birds song being the only sound. What a wonderful resting place. I returned to this place again last week with some friends. After the devastation of the bushfires last Christmas, the feeling of this place was much more eerie.

We got lost in the past for a few hours. Walking around, we wondered about the lives of some of these early settlers. One headstone caught our eye as it was a lot further away from the others

In Memory of TAMBO

Who Died January 23rd


Faithful Servant of 

T H Neale 

Upon returning home, we did a little research to find out if there was anymore to learn about this lonely grave. 

Tambo was the Samoan servant of Thomas Henry Neale (b.1830) who was the last magistrate to sit in the Hartley Courthouse, from 1838 til its closure in 1887. Neale died just 11 months after Tambo. 

Thomas Neale was a man of generous disposition, Trove tells us. A man with a kindly nature. 'As a magistrate, his tendency was towards leniency rather than severity, and more than once he paid the fine in cases of apparent hardship.' 

Tambo must have been very special to Neale, for him to bury him and erect the headstone in Hartley Vale Cemetery. Though Tambo's death doesn't appear to be recorded, it is nice to see that he is still remembered.

13 January 2018

The Grand Canyon - Blackheath

 Last week I visited the Grand Canyon Walk in Blackheath.
And it was amazing.

 From Neates' Glen we headed downward and watched the vegetation change and the lushness of the rainforest thicken. Equipted with a guide to the plants of the Blue Mountains, we had fun identifying the many, many different flowers and shrubs on the decent into the canyon. Learning some interesting facts about plants I've probably walked passed a billion times in the bush.

Soon the walls of the chasm we were entering stretched up all around us. It was truly impressive.
Once we arrived at the creek that flows through the canyon, we came upon 'The Rotunda', a lovely spot to stop for a little while. This big overhang was an Aboriginal occupation shelter in the past and sitting inside you can see what a great choice of a spot it was! I think sitting under here on a rainy day would be so calming and relaxing.. a beautiful space. I can definitely see myself coming back here to sit for a while in the future!

 It should not have come as a surprise when the track notes description of the grade was 'lots of steps'.. but boy there were a lot of steps! This is the walk that had my calves burning for days in the first week of the new year.. but I am looking forward to doing it again with a friend of mine in the next few weeks! So that's a pretty good sign.

This walk was magic. Such beauty in a few short hours.. If you are never going to get an opportunity to go canyoning in the Blue Mountains, this walk gets you deep down into a canyon (350 metres down to be precise) to experience it without all the abseiling, wet suit wearing and pool jumping. The guidebook we used said it would take about 3.5 hours but we managed it in 2.5 with lots of stopping, snacking, huffing and puffing..

8 January 2018

The backdrop to my life

The Blue Mountains has always been home, despite leaving it for 15 years to see if something better was out there. Turns out there wasn't. I was born at the bottom of the mountains and now my little family has settled here. Nesting right at the very top.

Recently a friend came to visit and he has lit a fire in me to explore again. I met him when I began to truly wander the world and his enthusiasm for life was infectious. 8 years on and I have caught the bug from him again. He has left a real desire in me to explore, but this time, my own environment.
There are so many beautiful places to see and and places to discover. In the first 7 days of 2018 I think I have discovered more of my local area than I had in all of 2017! My calf muscles are hurting from walking but I can feel my heart starting to fill with the joy of adventuring I let fall to the wayside.

As you can no doubt tell, I am an occasional blogger. But I am also a reluctant exerciser. As I have recently said goodbye to my 30s, I feel I need to make a more concerted effort to leading a healthier lifestyle as youth is certainly not on my side anymore! So in order to get myself back into feeling healthier, I thought I'd blog about some of the local walks and highlight some of the beauty of where I live.

If you find yourself in these beautiful Blue Mountains, perhaps I can inspire you to visit these places too :)