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Friday, 24 January 2014

PRINCE HENRY CLIFF WALK: KATOOMBA CASCADES TO ECHO POINT



Cliff View Lookout
The Prince Henry Cliff Walk was named for Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, third son of King George V. He neither saw the track nor opened it, but was “in the right place at the right time” (so to speak). He was visiting Australia in 1934 when the first stage of the track was opened. It was a popular thing in those days to name places after royalty and the Duke happened to be the chosen one this time. You can see a photograph of the Duke at Katoomba Station by clicking here.

When he returned to Australia in 1945 to serve as Governor-General he was well received; by this time he was the brother of the king, George VI. The royal family had become very popular during  the war because of their support for the people of England who suffered so much, particularly during the Blitz.

Sphinx Rock
Sydney Morning Herald
The section of the Walk from Katoomba Falls to Leura Cascades was opened at Echo Point by the Minister for Local Government, Mr ES Spooner. It is one of a number of enterprising tourist paths opened around the same time – the Orphan Rock ascent, the Giant Stairway and the Projecting Platform at Echo Point being the others. Coupled with the new floodlighting, the Cliff Drive and the development of the Scenic Railway, this must have been a boom time for Katoomba!

Before the track was developed there were already a number of popular spots along the route: the Katoomba Cascades, Cliff View Lookout, The Sphinx rock, Lady Darley Lookout and Echo Point. Now it was possible to get a bus to either end and walk between the two in less than hour. Lots of people do this every day, just as they have been doing for the past 80 years. You have lots of options when it comes to returning to your starting point. I decided to follow the road and rejoin the walk at the Skyway terminal near Cliff View Lookout. 
Callicoma (black wattle)
Wild Walks information may be downloaded here.
The area before the Cliff Walk was constructed
My video of the walk is 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.
The area in 1952 (much the same today)

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