Friday, 30 April 2010

Lost City

Lost City, Newnes State Forest

A big cluster of pagoda rock formations viewed from above, known as the Lost City. And we've found the end of this trip at last! We start something new tomorrow.

Words to walk with:
From Monoliths by Mark O'Connor
The fey high lonely rocks
stand in the Valley of Idols,
undercut by strata of soft coal,
The wind has no power till one day they topple,
unstacking sideways at the seams.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Ant's Nest

Blackfellows Hands Track, Newnes State Forest

We are on our way to the Lost City. Passing a few ant's nests on the way.

Words to walk with:
The Ant by Ogden Nash
"The ant has made herself illustrious
By constant industry industrious.
So what? Would you be calm and placid
If you were full of formic acid?"

Monday, 26 April 2010

Ferns, cliffs and water

Blackfellows Hands Trail, Newnes State Forest

For me, there can never to too much ferns, cliffs or trickling water.

Words to walk with:
It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of wonder and humility.
~Rachel Carson

Friday, 23 April 2010

Nature's hand

Blackfellow's Hands Trail, Newnes State Forest

As we are back tracking I thought you might be interested in a few more shots from along the track.


Words to walk with:
By Emily Dickinson
"Nature is what we know
But have no Art to say,
So impotent our Wisdom is
To Her Simplicity."

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Newnes

Wollemi National Park, Newnes

One last look at the lovely scenery at Newnes. In my next few posts I am going to take you back into the Newnes State Forest to see one more place on the way home.

Words to walk with:
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you...
while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
~John Muir

Monday, 19 April 2010

On and on

Newnes shale oil refinery ruins, Wollemi National Park

The ruins are extensive, spreading a kilometre along the Wolgan river and up a steep slope. It must have been quite a challenge getting the works established. I understand that a 100 years ago this was one of the biggest industrial operations in the state.

Words to walk with:
From Love Among the Ruins by Robert Browning
"Now,--the single little turret that remains
On the plains,
By the caper overrooted, by the gourd
Overscored,
While the patching houseleek's head of blossom winks
Through the chinks--
Marks the basement whence a tower in ancient time
Sprang sublime,
And a burning ring, all round, the chariots traced
As they raced,
And the monarch and his minions and his dames
Viewed the games.

...

In one year they sent a million fighters forth
South and North,
And they built their gods a brazen pillar high
As the sky,
Yet reserved a thousand chariots in full force--
Gold, of course.
Oh heart! oh blood that freezes, blood that burns!
Earth's returns
For whole centuries of folly, noise and sin!
Shut them in,
With their triumphs and their glories and the rest!
Love is best.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Parrafin Sheds

Parrafin sheds, Newnes shale-oil refinery ruins, Wollemi National Park

They produced kerosene and paraffin (used for making candles) from the shale. This is one of the largest relics at Newnes.

Words to walk with:
By Edna St Vincent Millay
"My candle burns at both ends;
it will not last the night;
but ah, my foes, and oh, my friends --
it gives a lovely light! "

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Coke kilns

Coke Kilns, Newnes Shale-Oil Works, Wollemi National Park

There is a big collection coke ovens (the remains of 90 are visible). These are the inner shell of an original rectangular bench. Locally mined coal was fed into these ovens and turned into coke. Coke was used to fuel the Newnes boiler plant and shale retorts. It was also exported to the Lithgow iron works and the Cobar copper smelter.

Words to walk with:
From To Working Men by Walt Whitman
House-building, measuring, sawing the boards;

Blacksmithing, glass-blowing, nail-making, coopering, tin-roofing, shingle- dressing,

Ship-joining, dock-building, fish-curing, ferrying, flagging of side-walks by flaggers,

The pump, the pile-driver, the great derrick, the coal-kiln and brick-kiln,

Coal-mines, and all that is down there,--the lamps in the darkness, echoes, songs, what meditations, what vast native thoughts looking through smutched faces,

Ironworks, forge-fires in the mountains, or by the river-banks--men around feeling the melt with huge crowbars--lumps of ore, the due combining of ore, limestone, coal--the blast-furnace and the puddling-furnace, the loup-lump at the bottom of the melt at last--the rolling-mill, the stumpy bars of pig-iron, the strong, clean shaped T-rail for railroads;

Oilworks, silkworks, white-lead-works, the sugar-house, steam-saws, the great mills and factories;

Monday, 12 April 2010

Shale oil ruins

Shale oil refinery ruins, Newnes, Wollemi National Park

Just up from the Newnes camping area are the ruins of the shale oil refinery. The Newnes refinery was established in 1906 and shut down in the 1930s when the works transferred to Glen Davis on the other side of the mountain. The Glen Davis operation is also now a ruin but on private land. The Newnes ruins are within Wollemi National Park and open to the public.

The forest is reclaiming its place, but there is plenty to see ... more in my next few posts.

Words to walk with:
The Ruin by Walter De La Mare
"When the last colours of the day
Have from their burning ebbed away,
About that ruin, cold and lone,
The cricket shrills from stone to stone;
And scattering o'er its darkened green,
Bands of fairies may be seen,
Clattering like grasshoppers, their feet
Dancing a thistledown dance round it:
While the great gold of the mild moon
Tinges their tiny acorn shoon."

Friday, 9 April 2010

Newnes Camping Area

Newnes Camping Area, Wollemi National Park

It's beautiful and it's free!

Words to walk with:
The Silken Tent by Robert Frost
"She is as in a field a silken tent
At midday when the sunny summer breeze
Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent,
So that in guys it gently sways at ease,
And its supporting central cedar pole,
That is its pinnacle to heavenward
And signifies the sureness of the soul,
Seems to owe naught to any single cord,
But strictly held by none, is loosely bound
By countless silken ties of love and thought
To every thing on earth the compass round,
And only by one's going slightly taut
In the capriciousness of summer air
Is of the slightlest bondage made aware."

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa

Entrance, Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa

Here it is ... how understated is that! It could be any old farm except for the swish barbed-wire fences running for miles along the "Conservation Reserve" and the wind sock at the front gate.

However you don't even get to peep at the luxury inside unless you are willing to spend $2,000 a night because "To ensure maximum privacy and seclusion, the resort is for exclusive use of our resident guests only. Outside or day visitors are not permitted on the premises."

Never mind, I'll show you my accommodation of choice in the next post.

Words to walk with:
More from The Quality of Sprawl by Les Murray
"Sprawl is really classless, though. It is John Christopher Frederick Murray
asleep in his neighbours' best bed in spurs and oilskins,
but not having thrown up:
sprawl is never Calum, who, in the loud hallway of our house
reinvented the Festoon. Rather
it's Beatrice Miles going twelve hundred ditto in a taxi,
No Lewd Advances, no Hitting Animals, no Speeding,
on the proceeds of her two-bob-a-sonnet Shakespeare readings.
An image of my country. And would thatit were more so.

No, sprawl is full gloss murals on a council-house wall.
Sprawl leans on things. It is loose-limbed in its mind.
Reprimanded and dismissed,
it listens with a grin and one boot up on the rail
of possibility. It may have to leave the Earth.
Being roughly Christian, it scratches the other cheek
And thinks it unlikely. Though people have been shot for sprawl."

Monday, 5 April 2010

Maserati

Wolgan Valley Road

The trail we have been following joins the Wolgan Valley Road. Nice to be back on sealed road for a while.

When we travelled this road in March last year I mentioned that the six star Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa was due to open in October 2009. This is the first time I've been out there since so I was keen to see if it had made any difference. The first sign of change afoot was the Masurati descending the road in front of us (not the kind of car we usually see on our mountain roads). When we hit the gravel road (even though it is very smooth) I suspect the driver was concerned about his shiney paintwork because he quickly beckoned us to pass him.

By now I was wondering what the entrance to the resort would be like.


Words to walk with:
From The Quality Of Sprawl by Les Murray
"Sprawl is the quality
of the man who cut down his Rolls-Royce
into a farm utility truck, and sprawl
is what the company lacked when it made repeated efforts
to buy the vehicle back and repair its image.

Sprawl is doing your farm work by aeroplane, roughly,
or driving a hitchhiker that extra hundred miles home.
It is the rococo of being your own still centre.
It is never lighting cigars with ten dollar notes:
that's idiot ostentation and murder of starving people.
Nor can it be bought with the ash of million dollar deeds.

Sprawl lengthens the legs; it trains greyhounds on liver and beer.
Sprawl almost never says, Why not?, with palms comically raised
nor can it be dressed for, not even in running shoes worn
with mink and a nose ring. That is Society. That's Style.
Sprawl is more like the thirteenth banana in a dozen
or anyway the fourteenth.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Daisy

Blackfellows Hands Trail, Newnes State Forest

I spotted these little daisies growing around the rocks. I presume they are native because we are nowhere near houses with gardens (my flower guide has been misplaced so I can't check).

Words to walk with:
Daisy by William Carlos Williams
The dayseye hugging the earth
in August, ha! Spring is
gone down in purple,
weeds stand high in the corn,
the rainbeaten furrow
is clotted with sorrel
and crabgrass, the
branch is black under
the heavy mass of the leaves--
The sun is upon a
slender green stem
ribbed lengthwise.
He lies on his back--
it is a woman also--
he regards his former
majesty and
round the yellow center,
split and creviced and done into
minute flowerheads, he sends out
his twenty rays-- a little
and the wind is among them
to grow cool there!

One turns the thing over
in his hand and looks
at it from the rear: brownedged,
green and pointed scales
armor his yellow.

But turn and turn,
the crisp petals remain
brief, translucent, greenfastened,
barely touching at the edges:
blades of limpid seashell.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Red

Blackfellows Hands Trail, Newnes State Forest

We've found the hands at last, stenciled on the walls of the rock overhangs by the Wiradjuri people in red and white ochre, many thousands of years before we too have come to enjoy this special place.

Today's is theme day for the City Daily Community on the theme of Red. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.

Words to walk with:
We Are Going by Oodgeroo Noonuccal
They came in to the little town
A semi-naked band subdued and silent
All that remained of their tribe.
They came here to the place of their old bora ground
Where now the many white men hurry about like ants.
Notice of the estate agent reads: 'Rubbish May Be Tipped Here'.
Now it half covers the traces of the old bora ring.
'We are as strangers here now, but the white tribe are the strangers.
We belong here, we are of the old ways.
We are the corroboree and the bora ground,
We are the old ceremonies, the laws of the elders.
We are the wonder tales of Dream Time, the tribal legends told.
We are the past, the hunts and the laughing games, the wandering camp fires.
We are the lightening bolt over Gaphembah Hill
Quick and terrible,
And the Thunderer after him, that loud fellow.
We are the quiet daybreak paling the dark lagoon.
We are the shadow-ghosts creeping back as the camp fires burn low.
We are nature and the past, all the old ways
Gone now and scattered.
The scrubs are gone, the hunting and the laughter.
The eagle is gone, the emu and the kangaroo are gone from this place.
The bora ring is gone.
The corroboree is gone.
And we are going.'