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Saturday, 30 November 2013


Murphy's Spiral Lookout
I would not be surprised if most readers have never heard of “Stonehaven Pass”. I hadn’t, until I came across Jim Smith’s excellent article on the subject while searching the web for something else. You will find it here ;it will tell you all you would like to know about the Pass – the origin of the name, how it came be to be constructed, then neglected and now made accessible again. You will learn a lot about the Wentworth Falls Reserve Trust and the names given along this track to honour these men and those employed by them to construct and maintain the network of tracks and lookouts that make Wentworth Falls such a great place to visit today. * Unfortunately Jim Smith's article has been removed from the Web since this blog was written.

Photo from the State Library of Queensland
I doubt that Baron Stonehaven (Governor General of Australia 1925-1930) ever heard of this short walk now named after him. He certainly never came to Wentworth Falls as the Trustees hoped he would, nor did the pass become a popular walking track. In fact, it fairly quickly faded into obscurity (as did other tracks) as the years of the Depression and World War 11 rolled by and the changeover to management by, first of all the Blue Mountains City Council and then by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

I started the walk from the Princes Rock track, from which it branches to the right as you descend, a little below the old well on the left. There is presently no sign post, but there is a National Parks sign soon after entering. If you are coming from the Den Fenella track, the turnoff is on the left a minute or so after you start down the hill. There is an identical sign at this end of the track, but nothing at the actual turnoff.                                                                                  

See my video of the walk or study Jim Smith’s map (or both) to get an idea of the layout. The track is easy to follow, if a little wet in places (hanging swamps abound in this part of the National Park). The lookouts have the remains of the original fencing around their edges but they wouldn’t help you much if you slipped. It is definitely not a place for children unless they are closely supervised.

The men working on the Den Fenella track told me that they believed the Stonehaven Pass track was also going to be upgraded. Much as I enjoyed the walk the way it is, I guess that making it more accessible will allow more people to appreciate it. Meanwhile, thank you to those who did the work back in the 1920’s and those who reopened the track as it is today.

 My You Tube video of Stonehaven Pass may be found here .
The Wild Walks description of the Princes Rock – Den Fenella walk my be found here . My Blue Mountains You Tube playlist may be found here. I have three other playlists: on gem hunting/mining, Glen Innes and New Zealand. Please comment and subscribe.

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1 comment:

  1. It appears that Jim Smith's article referred to in the first paragraph has been removed from the web. This is a real loss as the information it contained was most interesting.