|John and Sue at Govett's Leap Lookout July 2007|
Govett’s Leap has been one of the focal points of the Blue Mountains since its discovery in June 1831 by William Romaine Govett, an assistant surveyor with the survey department of NSW. Dispatched by Surveyor-General TL Mitchell to survey the upper Blue Mountains, Govett’s party came across the view of the Grose Valley and the famous waterfall during the course of their work. It is likely that Mitchell himself is responsible for the name “Govett’s Leap”, but this is by no means certain.
I recommend the fine publication “Blackheath Today From Yesterday”, published by the Rotary Club of Blackheath in 2005 as a good source of information on the area.
Something needs to be said about the silly stories about Govett the supposed bushranger or Govett the escaped convict. As the facts about the discovery and its naming have always been readily available, I suspect that these fictions were invented to drum up business for the tourist industry in Blackheath. You can read lots about it in the newspapers of the day by searching Trove.
The name “Govett’s Leap” applies only to the waterfall itself. It is also commonly called the Bridal Veil Falls or the Bridal Veil, which name is also used for the upper Leura Falls. As “leap” means waterfall, it is the correct and original name. The point where Govett’s Leap Road reached the edge of the valley is correctly called “Govett’s Leap Lookout”, though popular usage is hard to change.
There are 4 lookouts here: an upper and lower one at the end of the road and Williams and Breakfast Rock Lookouts below them, accessible by the Grose Valley track. I would guess that 90% of visitors don’t even get as far as the second principal lookout and a fraction of 1% make their way as far as Breakfast Rock, which is the best viewpoint and always
See the Blog entry “The Princes’ Visits
to the Blue Mountains – 1868 and 1881” dated 12th August 2013
for an interesting story about the Govett’s Leap lookouts.
|Breakfast Rock Lookout from an old photograph|
Govett’s Leap has always been the focal point of tourism in Blackheath. There are numerous early reports of visits to be found using Trove, including one by Charles Darwin, who came this way in 1836. He wrote the following account in “The Voyage of the Beagle” (1845): “January 18th. Very early in the morning, I walked about three miles to see Govett’s Leap: a view of similar character with that near the Weatherboard, but perhaps even more stupendous. So early in the day the gulf was filled with a thin blue haze, which, although destroying the general effect of the view, added to the apparent depth at which the forest was stretched out beneath our feet. These valleys, which so long presented an insuperable barrier to the attempts of the most enterprising of the colonists to reach the interior, are most remarkable. Great arm-like bays, expanding at their upper ends, often branch from the main valleys and penetrate the sandstone platform; on the other hand, the platform often sends promontories into the valleys, and even leaves in them great, almost insulated, masses”.
View my Blue Mountains You Tube playlist here . I also have playlists on gem hunting/geology, Glen Innes and New Zealand.
|The view from Govett's Leap Lookout October 1958|