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Friday, 6 October 2017

CYCLORAMA POINT, CLIFF DRIVE KATOOMBA



The word cyclorama comes from the theatre, where it refers to the backdrop across the back of a stage, in front of which the action takes place. Its use for this lookout no doubt refers to the extensive view around the horizon, with the Jamison Valley, Narrow Neck and Mt Solitary making up the “foreground”.
That’s what you would have seen had you gone there in 1936, when the Bathurst Road – Echo Point section of the new Cliff Drive was officially opened. Today the view is largely obstructed by trees and whatever appeal the lookout might once have had has now been lost. Few visit the place nowadays yet the tracks to it can be clearly seen from the road and are well signposted.
This has led to the preservation of the lookout more or less as it was when the work was completed in 1936, one of the few places in the Mountains where modernisation has not yet reached. Even the brass direction indicator remains intact. These were once plentiful but vandals and thieves have destroyed most of them.
I have been unable to find any older photographs of Cyclorama Point and even published references to it are few, apart from those referring to the new Cliff Drive and later listings of tourist attractions. 

The nearby Landslide Lookout is right on the edge of the cliff, immediately above the 1931 landslide. You can’t see the landslide from the lookout, however. It’s worth visiting both lookouts when you visit, but there’s only enough parking for a few cars on each side of Cliff Drive.
View my video on these lookouts here:
The newspaper extracts can easily be found in the digitised newspaper files in Trove here. The satellite image is from Google Earth. The landslide and lookout is on the left; Cyclorama Point is in the centre.


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