Jenolan Caves

The Jenolan Caves Blog

1919, When “The Most Impossible Couple” Visited Jenolan

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on November 30, 2021
102 years ago, Jenolan rolled out the 'red carpet' for a VIP visit - Sir George Fuller, Major Frank De Villiers Lamb, Commander Allison ACD and 'the most impossible couple' Governor Sir Walter Davidson and his wife Dame Margaret Davidson.

The Lucas - A Mighty Cave Named for a Mighty Man

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne & David Hay on November 24, 2021

Bell’s Talking Telegraph

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on November 18, 2021

That Handsome Scotsman, George McRae

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on November 12, 2021
The plans for the 2nd wing of Caves House were signed off 114 years ago, on November 12. McRae built a massive 3rd wing on Caves House in 1914. Unfortunately, a few years later, McRae cut short his own life, but if only he knew how much joy and romance Caves House has brought to the people of NSW since then.

Darlin' Don't Ya Know?

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on November 10, 2021

Escape to Jenolan Caves - 9 Great Reasons

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on October 22, 2021

Grandeur, Ghosts and Great Times

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on October 22, 2021

When Jenolan Caves Had Its Own Farm

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on October 21, 2021
Most would be astonished to learn that Jenolan Caves once had its own farm - not an easy achievement in such restrictive terrain. But now, not a trace of the farm remains. Find out what happened.

Understanding the Science of Earth and Water

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on October 14, 2021
To celebrate Earth Science Week, October 11 to 18, think how you can encourage stewardship of the Earth. This year's theme is Water Today and For the Future. Although it seems like the ground beneath our feet is solid and unchanging, Earth Science shows that the opposite is true. Everything about it moves and changes, especially water, and even Jenolan Caves.

Behind the Scenes - Caring for the Caves

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on September 29, 2021

Jenolan - Exploring Strange New Worlds

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on September 20, 2021

Did Jack the Ripper Visit Jenolan Caves?

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on September 17, 2021
It is 133 years since the horrific Jack the Ripper murders of 1888 – cases that have never been solved. We believe that ‘Jack the Ripper’ visited Jenolan Caves in 1892. Let’s examine this mystery.

Jenolan During WW2 - Oasis in a Turbulent World

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on August 17, 2021
When we look back through the unusual history of isolated Jenolan, one thing stands out – Jenolan is a world apart. The indigenous people regard it as a special place, where the waters had healing powers. Jenolan has always been an oasis, amidst a world of troubles, a place of fun, mystery, adventure and romance, where time sometimes seems to stand still, somehow. On 14 August 1945, the Second World War was finally, over. How did Jenolan fare during those war years?

1931 Ribbon Cave Opening - Vulgar Snobbery or Desperate Measure?

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on August 10, 2021
Who would have thought that a trip to Jenolan Caves could cause a political backlash! In August 1931, during the world's worst economic crisis, the Governor Sir Philip Game, and a substantial party of VIPs, made their way to Jenolan Caves in the middle of a snowstorm, to have a great time, open the Ribbon Cave and stay overnight. Their aim was to encourage tourism and score points in their electorates. 

1884 – Correcting a Geographical Absurdity

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on August 5, 2021
137 years ago, on 19 August, 1884, our caves were officially named the Jenolan Caves. Previously, the caves had been known by a variety of names, causing confusion.

A Home Among the Gum Trees, for National Tree Day

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on July 30, 2021
August 1 is National Tree Day, Australia's largest tree-planting and nature care event. Trees are vital for cleaning the air, preventing soil erosion, improving water quality, creating habitats and improving our mental and physical health. This is the story of 2 men, with links to Jenolan, for whom Australia’s most predominant tree, the eucalypt, was so extraordinary that they devoted their careers to studying its many different species.

August 1938 - In the Shadow of Evil

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on July 29, 2021
83 years ago, following record snows of early August 1938, and on the brink of WW2, Jenolan Caves had more than its usual share of Viceregal visits. Was it merely coincidental?

The Orient Cave – Nature’s Bridal Dress

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on July 16, 2021

Lord and Lady Tennyson Visit - 1900

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on July 12, 2021
On July 25, 1900, the Governor of South Australia, 2nd Baron Tennyson, visited Jenolan Caves, with his wife Audrey, Lady Tennyson. It was a whirlwind visit, but it was such VIP visits that helped Jenolan become so popular, way back then.

First Cave in the World to have Electric Lighting

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on July 9, 2021
The matter of who first invented the electric light bulb is contentious. Was it Joseph Swan in England or was it Thomas Edison in America? Well, however it happened, both men obtained their patents in 1879. The very next year, in 1880, on the other side of the world, in the middle of nowhere, at the isolated Jenolan Caves, a lightbulb was switched on.

No Ordinary Boy

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on July 6, 2021
Seventy-two years ago, in July 1949, a 10-year-old boy came to visit Jenolan Caves with his parents, his sister and some family friends. They explored the Elder Cave and the Lucas Cave and they stayed the night in Caves House. Jenolan was extremely popular with families and the boy was a boarder at The Scots School in nearby Bathurst. But this was no ordinary boy.

Jenolan Caves Dreamtime Creation

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on July 5, 2021
NAIDOC Week, from July 4 to 11, reminds us of Jenolan’s special connection with indigenous culture.

1 July, 1898 – Leading the Way into a New Era of Tourism

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on July 2, 2021
What part did a maker of cordial play in launching a new era of prosperity in the Blue Mountains and the Central West, in 1898?

How did Christmas in July (Yulefest) Get Started?

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on June 22, 2021
In many parts of the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas in July has become a fun way to bring old world warmth and whimsy to the dull and chill days of Winter. Therefore, you may be surprised to hear that 'Christmas in July' is not unheard of in the Northern Hemisphere also - in Summer. How did 'Christmas in July' ('Yulefest') start?

Sir John Stonehaven - The Ostentatious Viceroy

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on June 21, 2021
On 21 June 1926, their Excellencies, the Governor-General and Lady Stonehaven, attended by Flight Lieutenant A. P. Davidson, A.D.C., left Sydney, on a ‘meet the people’ tour covering Mt Victoria, Jenolan Caves, Oberon, Bathurst, and Orange.

To All Those Who Lead Monotonous Lives

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on June 16, 2021
“To all those who lead monotonous lives in the hope that they may experience at second hand the delights and dangers of adventure.” This is how one of the world’s greatest crime novelists, Agatha Christie, dedicated her novel, The Secret Adversary, published in January 1922. That year, she embarked on a 10-month voyage through the British Empire. And her Australian leg of the journey took her through the Blue Mountains to the dark and mysterious Jenolan Caves.

Our Heritage for the Future

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on April 27, 2021
The National Trust Australian Heritage Festival goes for a whole month, from April 18 to May 15. The festival started 40 years ago and has become Australia’s largest history festival. “This year the theme is ‘Our Heritage for the Future’ as we look with twenty-twenty vision to the importance of all facets of heritage in honouring the stories of our past, celebrating lived heritage as it evolves in the present, and looking to the future to ensure the stories of our culture, significant historical and natural places and Indigenous heritage is protected for future generations.”

Jenolan's ANZACs

Posted by Kath Bellamy & Carolyn Melbourne on April 22, 2021
ANZAC Day is almost here. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and NZ forces during WW1. Three years ago, to mark a century since the end of WW1, Kath Bellamy, of the Jenolan Caves Historical & Preservation Society, did considerable research to find out about members of the tiny Jenolan community who joined Australia’s defence forces way back then.

Into the Coach House of the Devil Himself

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on April 12, 2021
James Whalan was determined to find his stolen bullock bows and chains. He was even hopeful of retrieving one, maybe even two, of his missing horses, which he was certain had also been pilfered. He started his search near the small cave where he and his men had recently captured that thieving scum, McKeown.

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men - The Royal Visit of 1927

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne & David Hay on March 29, 2021
When the Duke and Duchess of York visited Jenolan Caves in 1927, not everything went as planned!

Wilson's Delight - Absurdly Vulgar

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on March 24, 2021
An 1893 newspaper printed the following rude comment about Jenolan Caves, “perhaps there has been no more striking instance of absurdly vulgar and inappropriate naming than the calling one of the beautiful caves recently discovered in the Jenolan series 'Wilson's Delight.' … Preserve us from such a, to say the least of it, snobbish name.” What terrible thing had happened? Find out more.

How a Shortcut Became an Endurance Challenge

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on March 12, 2021
This is the story of how a humble bridle track nearly disappeared, but then became famous as a marathon track.

Women of Our Past Inspiring Women of the Future

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on March 10, 2021
When we think of the history of Jenolan Caves, we imagine treacherous subterranean waters, ancient, unforgiving rock and impenetrable darkness, as brave men risked death to explore the alien underworld. And yes, this aspect of Jenolan’s history is so exciting! Such exploits inspire and fire the imagination of each generation. But it’s a little-known fact that from way back in the 1860s, there have been just as many women working at Jenolan, supporting the men and the business. Their work was not glamourous.

Animal Sanctuary for 100 years

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on March 9, 2021

The Intrepid Webbs of Bathurst and Jenolan Caves

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne & David Hay on February 17, 2021
140 years ago this month (February), Katie’s Bower was discovered at the Fish River Caves, as Jenolan Caves was known back then. Katie’s Bower is the last enormous cavern on today's Chifley tour. But how did it come to be called Katie’s Bower?

In the Words of Coco Chanel - A Girl Should be 2 Things - Classy and Fabulous

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on February 12, 2021
Jenolan Caves has been a honeymoon destination for more than a century. Very recently, we ran a competition, where we asked entrants to tell us about their best Jenolan memory, in 25 words or less. Out of the 600 entrants, almost 10% mentioned weddings or honeymoons. And because Valentines Day is nearly here, it’s fun to imagine honeymooning couples coming to Jenolan 100 years ago. What did the brides wear when they arrived? Let’s talk about the ‘going-away’ outfit.

Who Was the First to Ride a Motorcycle Up the Jenolan Zig Zag?

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on February 10, 2021
February is a great time of year for bikers to tour the regions of NSW, including Jenolan - a popular destination for bikers since motor-cycles first came to Australia. In the beginning, motorcycles were quite different to those you see today, and side-cars were really popular. One of the great challenges was the zig-zag road that connects Jenolan to Oberon.

The World is a Dangerous Place to Live – Quote by Albert Einstein

Posted by Kath Bellamy & Carolyn Melbourne on January 25, 2021
Albert Einstein is probably not the first or last wise person to say, "The World is a Dangerous Place to Live In." One of the dangers is the bushfire season. As in many rural, wild and leafy regions, over the years, the inhabitants of Jenolan have had to defend their homes and facilities from destruction on several occasions, sometimes unsuccessfully.

The Jersey Cave – “Emulating the Sinuous Fashion Common to Corkscrews”

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne & David Hay on January 20, 2021
The strange and enigmatic Jersey Cave, with its thylacine bones and crystal fir trees, was discovered in January 1891. Start losing weight and getting flexible now, so you can experience one of our weirdest cave tours, when social distancing is over.

“I Don’t Like Cricket. Oh No, I Love It!” ~ Quote from 10CC song, 'Dreadlock Holiday'

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on January 14, 2021
It’s summer, the season of cricket. Every year, this age-old sport allows us to set aside the world’s woes and partake in the drama, the excitement, the saga that is cricket. Cricket appeals to young and old, and it is played in even the most isolated regions of the world. Even Jenolan Caves once had its own cricket club, which competed again other clubs from the villages around the Central West of NSW. Read its story - and ponder its mystery.

Not Fit to Live on Land

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on January 12, 2021
Sailing was his lifelong passion. In fact, he was the first to circumnavigate the world in a private yacht. To whom do we refer? Adventurer and philanthropist, Lord Thomas Brassey, First Earl Brassey and Governor of Victoria from 1895 to 1900. Lord Brassey travelled all around Australia, visiting Jenolan Caves in January 1898.

A Mighty Cave, Named for a Mighty Man of Vision

Posted by David Hay and Carolyn Melbourne on January 5, 2021
Even today, with technological aids such as mapping and digital survey equipment, caving is an inexact science. Cave exploration is still a case of wriggling down a hole and hoping to find something! In 1860 it was far more dangerous!

The Strange Jenolan Paradox of 1917

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on December 14, 2020
This month, on 27 December, one-hundred and three years ago, the stunning Orient Cave opened to the public, to great fanfare. Yet 1917 was also the most terrible year in Australia’s history! Paradoxically, it was one of the best years in Jenolan’s history. Perhaps historians can tell us how it happened.

His Name is Spoken with Respect

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on December 9, 2020
His obituary described him as “quiet and unassuming”. Although he seems to have shied away from attention, nearly a century after his death, Robert Bailey's name is spoken with respect at Jenolan. Find out why.

Jenolan Christmases Last Century

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on December 7, 2020
What do you usually do on Christmas Day? How do you think your great-grandparents might have answered that question? These days, because we all lead extremely busy lives, convenience is king. An increasing number of Aussies want to get together with loved ones, to savour delicious wine and memorable Christmas feast, where someone else does all the work. It’s interesting to go back through newspapers to the world of 1900 to 1950, and discover the different ways that Christmas Day was handled in the old days of Jenolan, when the world moved more slowly.

Lord Hampden's Verdict - Weird and Wonderful

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on December 3, 2020
One hundred and twenty-four years ago, on December 2, 1896, Lord and Lady Hampden, Aide De Camp Captain Sloane Stanley and others set out on an official visit, to marvel at the subterranean wonderland of Jenolan Caves.

Wiburd on the Wireless

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on November 30, 2020
In November, one of Jenolan’s most well-known historical figures would have turned 154. In 1886, after his doctor had given him only 3 weeks to live, James Carvosso Wiburd came to Jenolan. Not only did the doctor’s prediction fail to come true, but Wiburd worked at Jenolan for 45 years. Wiburd experienced innumerable changes in the Aussie way of life, even at isolated Jenolan, where automobiles replaced horse and cart, electric lights replaced candles, and radio became a major form of entertainment. In fact, the miracle of ‘wireless’ was soon broadcasting the magic of Jenolan to the world.

Jenolan's Eerie Shortcut to Underworld Wonders

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on November 24, 2020
A well-meaning person once said, "There are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going." They didn't know what they were talking about. A shortcut always takes you to where you really want to be. Sixty-six years ago, at Jenolan we opened our own shortcut - a tunnel, named The Binomea Cut - allowing easy access to the caves. At 122 metres long, when it opened, it was “The longest man-made tourist access tunnel in Australia.” With so many natural tunnels at Jenolan, why was a manmade tunnel even necessary?

Quiet People Have the Loudest Minds ~ Stephen Hawking

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on November 9, 2020
One hundred and twenty-three years ago this week, Jenolan’s fabulous Aladdin Cave was discovered. This article pays tribute to the quiet and unassuming man who discovered it – Frederick John Wilson.

Spine-Chilling Stories from the Underworld

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on October 28, 2020
Maybe these strange incidents have logical explanations. Whatever! Don’t let these stories put you off visiting Jenolan and staying overnight. Jenolan is a place of fun, love and adventure. We can't help it people love to be scared.

The Bat – Creepy Symbol of Halloween

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on October 26, 2020
One day you may find yourself enjoying a fascinating cave tour, when out of the corner of your eye, you detect a flicker of movement, high up in the shadowy limestone formations. You as soon as you look, it’s gone. Microbats flit so fast that by the time your brain registers the movement, the tiny creature has vanished. People are often frightened of bats, and the poor little things are so ugly, no wonder they are associated with Halloween. But although they look creepy, bats help the environment.

Jeremiah Wilson - Can We Ever Really Know Him

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on October 24, 2020
Jeremiah Wilson, Jenolan's resourceful, charismatic first Keeper of the Caves, was born 180 years ago this week, on October 23. He proudly made Jenolan into a successful holiday destination. His enviable career culminated in unexpected disaster, that we still can't explain. Can we ever know what he was really like?

Birdwatching at Jenolan - How Tweet it is!

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on October 19, 2020
Jenolan has been a wildlife sanctuary for 100 years this month.

World’s Oldest Caves Never Stop Changing

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on October 14, 2020
October 11 to 18 is Earth Science Week. Our planet constantly changes, and Earth Science helps us understand why. Exploring Jenolan caves is not only fun, but a learning experience, so we can understand the land on which we live, and know a bit more about how and why it constantly changes. We were amazed in 2006, when scientists announced that Jenolan Caves has been existing and changing for at least 340 million years.

How Can You Measure the Ghosts at Jenolan? With a Spirit Level!

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on October 12, 2020
Halloween is coming up. It seems a very appropriate time to share a few of Jenolan’s ‘ghost’ stories. Our tour guides have heaps of them – tales of the unexplained - some have been passed down for years. We have so many ‘ghost’ stories, that it’s hard to know which ones to pick for a short article like this.

William Blakely - His Lifelong Love Affair with Eucalypts

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on October 6, 2020
Twenty years ago, on November 29, 2000, the Greater Blue Mountains Area was inscribed as a World Heritage site, mainly for the staggering number of eucalypt species. For such a thing to be of world-wide significance, worthy of being protected for all time, we can only imagine the years of field study, collecting and mapping. How did all this work even start? Is it too big a stretch to suggest that it started in the late 1800s, at Jenolan Caves?

Lord Fat Jack - A Legacy of Triumph and Tragedy

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on September 29, 2020
In 1902, a bushfire destroyed one of the staff cottages at Jenolan. Fortunately, no one was hurt. The occupants moved, and the bush slowly concealed the only clue that a house had ever stood there – a lone chimney. Recently, staff rediscovered the ruin, exposed by last year’s bushfires. We realised that it must be a piece of long-lost history – Jack Edwards’ cottage.

No Matter How Chaotic Life Is...

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on September 25, 2020
Delicate and often short-lived, wildflowers have come to symbolise joy, freedom and resilience. How many poets have compared beautiful women to wildflowers? Singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow said, “No matter how chaotic life is, wildflowers will still spring up in the middle of nowhere.”

The Ups and Downs of the Brush Tailed Rock Wallbies

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on September 24, 2020
September is Biodiversity Month. Biodiversity has been called the ‘web of life’. Spring is the perfect time to visit Jenolan, when biodiversity can be clearly seen. At Jenolan, if you explore one of our bush tracks ) you are likely to spot many birds and animals in the wild. Jenolan’s colony of Brush Tailed Rock Wallabies is a good example of a rare species that lives wild in the Jenolan valley.

Here Comes the Bull!

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on September 15, 2020
And then, (this is a little known fact) to meet the high standards of guests and to ensure an abundance of fresh meat, eggs, milk, fruit and vegetables for the Grand Dining Room, Jenolan started its own farm.

Those Bold Imperial Cave Explorers (Or Daring, Discovery and Dirty Deeds)

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on September 4, 2020
Cave exploration is difficult and dangerous. It's important for people to receive credit for their discoveries – at Jenolan even more so, because it contains many caves, each discovered by different explorers. But with the passage of time, confusion surrounds the discovery of at least one of Jenolan’s caves – the Imperial.

In Beer there is Freedom, In Wine there is Health, In Cognac there is Power ~ Anon

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on August 28, 2020
For such a refined drink, Cognac has humble history. So how did cognac become a symbol of excellence.

My Father had a Profound Influence on Me. He was a Lunatic. ~ A Quote by Spike Milligan

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on August 28, 2020
Generations of Aussie families have fond memories of Jenolan Caves.  With Father’s Day coming up, it’s a great time to reminisce.  Fathers influence kids in many ways.  Family visits to Jenolan left many children with such great memories that they now work at the caves.

1960s Memories of Jenolan's Blue Lake

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on August 24, 2020
Jenolan caves are amongst the most marvellous masterpieces of nature . However, Jenolan offers something else of great beauty, not made by nature - the Blue Lake platypus habitat.

1919 - Spanish Flu was an Unwelcome Visitor at Jenolan Caves

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on August 14, 2020
Back in 1919, while the Spanish Flu raged, one of our cottages was used as a hospital, and Caves House was used as a convalescent home for nurses recovering from Spanish Flu. It is a dramatic story.

Walter Liberty Vernon - If You Would See His Monument, Look Around!

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on August 14, 2020
To Vernon, it may have been just another of the multitude of public buildings in his impressive portfolio. But among all his creations, Caves House is certainly the building that has provided the most joy, romance and cherished memories for the last 123 years.

1895 - From the Ashes of Disaster

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on August 3, 2020
Confucious said, "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." Jenolan has a history of rising back up after overcoming disasters.

The Pest of Bathurst

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on July 31, 2020
When we read about the hard life of convict James McKeown, what sort of man do we picture? Sad? Tough? Stubborn? Independent? Unprincipled? Resourceful?

1917 - Unparalleled Wealth of Splendour

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on July 13, 2020
1917 was a bumper year for Jenolan, when the spectacular Orient Cave was opened, along with the new wing of Caves House.

The Bittersweet History of a Decadent Delight

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on June 24, 2020
Nowadays, when we order High Tea, we can usually choose from an assortment of tea or coffee, hot chocolate or even maybe sparkling wine! But in the past, tea boiled down to social status.

How to Make Peach Melba

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on June 15, 2020

A Powerful Drive to Explore the Unknown

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on June 10, 2020
184 years ago, Jenolan Caves were almost inaccessible. But humans are driven by a powerful need to explore the unknown, to experience what no one else has, and take away lifelong memories.

Miss Chisolm - Legacy of a Lovely Lady

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on June 3, 2020
Why does legend have it that a long-dead Scotswoman wanders the halls of Caves House and keeps an eye on Chisolm's Restaurant in particular?

The Dame Nellie Melba Mystery - Did She or Didn't She?

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on May 28, 2020
It has long been rumoured that one of the greatest opera divas that the world has ever known also sang at Jenolan Caves. Was it ever more than a rumour?

1922, When the Queen of Crime Visited the Dark Mysterious Underworld

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on May 22, 2020
Agatha Christie - To all those who lead monotonous lives in the hope that they may experience at second hand the delights and dangers of adventure.

Jenolan Caves House – the Honeymoon Hotel

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on May 18, 2020
Research of Jenolans honeymoon history has highlighted some wedding traditions that were considered important a century ago.

Memories of the 50’s – A Young Kiwi’s Trans-Global Adventure

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on May 7, 2020
While Jenolan Caves is closed for the pandemic, we have focused on the old days and stirring up fond memories. Wendy Turton contacted us because in 1950 her father worked at Jenolan for 2 months. Jenolan was the first leg of his huge adventure, a two-year working, cycling and hitch-hiking holiday that took him across the globe. Now at 92, we get to share his story...

Keeping Unique Heritage Alive at Jenolan Caves

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on May 5, 2020
Tiny and quaint, the old Jenolan Caves Post Office, is a relic of a simpler, bygone era. But the effort to protect the little building has brought together many committed people over the years, and has highlighted the importance of keeping alive mementos of a rich heritage.

Jenolan’s Brush-Tailed Rock Wallabies Win the Struggle to Survive

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on May 3, 2020
First tamed by doting staff and visitors, then hunted and decimated by predators, now Jenolan's colony of rare Brush-Tailed Rock Wallabies are thriving.

Cooking Lesson - Make it With Mark – Hollandaise Sauce

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on April 28, 2020
Eggs Benedict is a simple dish - toast, ham (or variations such as bacon, smoked salmon or spinach), and a poached egg, covered with creamy Hollandaise Sauce. But you can't just throw it together. Practice and patience are required to make a perfect Hollandaise Sauce from scratch. To learn how, watch MAKE IT WITH MARK.

You Don't Still Use Candles Do You?

Posted by David Hay & Carolyn Melbourne on April 17, 2020
Jenolan Caves was the first cave system in the world to have electric lighting and the first place in Australia to have hydro electricity. These amazing technological innovations have not only brought people together, but made it possible for people to view Australia's most spectacular caves.

Bats in our Belfry – Jenolan’s Underground Church

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on April 16, 2020
This Easter, popular Underground Church was cancelled due to COVID-19. What! You didn't even know about Underground Church?

NEW - The Governor's Getaway

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on March 12, 2020
Usually Jenolan, Australias most spectacular cave system, is open every day of the year, even Christmas. But in December 2019, it had to close for the first time in 101 years, when bushfire swept through the valley. Then in February, it had to close again, after a massive flood washed through Caves House hotel and the ticket office, bringing down tonnes of rock from the surrounding hills. Amazingly, it was a case of deja vu. Back in 1919, the exact same thing happened a bushfire, followed by a massive flood. Back then, to top it off, the destructive flood was followed by the Spanish Flu pandemic. Now, after a huge clean-up, we have reopened and are planning great experiences, such as The Governors Getaway.

Jenolan’s Weirdest Cave Experience – The Jersey

Posted by David Hay on November 26, 2019
As todays visitors to Jenolan explore the Imperial and Imperial-Diamond Caves, they pause at a steep and mysterious staircase that ascends from the pathway and appears to vanish far above their heads. A trick of the electric light makes it seem that these stairs lead to daylight above. But instead, they lead into a tomb-like labyrinth, the Jersey Cave.

The Webb Family of Bathurst and Jenolan Caves

Posted by David Hay on August 16, 2019
In a tiny alcove near the jawbone of a Tasmanian Devil, in the Imperial Cave, are two small names. These are of Edmund Webb and Catherine Webb, of Bathurst, who were intimately connected with early cave exploration.

1900 – Caves and Coal - Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows

Posted by David Hay on August 8, 2019
Deep within the farthest reaches of Jenolan Caves, there is a chamber called Cooks Cavern. Who was Cook? Not a cave explorer as you might expect. Modern visitors are shocked to learn...

“Superior to Anything Hitherto Found”

Posted by David Hay on May 17, 2019
The Commonwealth of Australia was barely 3 years old, when the winds of change blew through Jenolan Caves. New men were in charge, and new treasures were unearthed, starting with the amazing discovery of the labyrinthine River Cave, now one of the most popular caves at Jenolan.

'I am in no position to rebuild' The destruction of old Caves House - 1895.

Posted by David Hay on March 4, 2019
On the night of March 13, 1895, when all was quiet, in the darkness of the autumnal night, a disastrous fire broke out. With the buildings all made of wood, the conflagration rapidly took hold.

A Flooded Sanctuary!

Posted by David Hay on January 18, 2019
At Jenolan Caves, guides are often asked if the caves flood? Yes, they do, but infrequently, and only when enough rain has fallen to saturate the catchment areas around the caves. However, a hundred years ago in February, a calamitous deluge hit Jenolan, causing panic, the closure of both the hotel and the caves and a damage bill of over 5,000 pounds. It was a tremendous amount of money in 1919, worth around $150,000 today. How did such a disaster happen?

1860 Descent into the Blackest Midnight Darkness

Posted by David Hay on December 20, 2018
Even today, with technological aids such as mapping and digital survey equipment, caving is an inexact science. Cave exploration is still a case of wriggling down a hole and hoping to find something! In 1860 it was far more dangerous!

Over 200 Species Recorded at Jenolan Bioblitz

Posted by Anne Musser on December 20, 2018
At Jenolan, the main activity is exploring caves. So as visitors are often in a hurry, the enormous array of wildlife in the area around the caves tends to be overlooked. However, recently, Jenolan hosted a BioBlitz, organised by K2W Glideways, a local environmental organisation. In the full weekend of exploration, over 100 nature enthusiasts managed to spot and record a whopping 200 and more species.

His Lordship's 1896 Jenolan Adventure

Posted by David Hay on November 26, 2018
Jenolan Caves, near Oberon, NSW, first became a magnet for curious visitors in the early 1800s. These days, many thousands of visitors, from all over the world, can easily drive to the spectacular Jenolan Caves, through the Blue Mountains, along scenic, winding country roads. But in the old days, crossing the Blue Mountains was long and difficult, as this story illustrates.

Jenolan Caves BioBlitz - Its time to nurture your inner wildlife scientist

Posted by ary Bonet & Anne Musser on September 21, 2018
Ever wondered what goes bump in the night? Ever wanted to recognise one wallaby from another? Perhaps you have a budding environmentalist in the house, or plans for retirement as a would-be field naturalist? Well, your opportunity to exercise your inner wildlife scientist has arrived.

$8.5 Million for Jenolan Projects

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on April 26, 2018
Jenolan Caves is celebrating the news of a much needed $8.5 million grant! Deputy Premier, Hon. John Barilaro MP and Member for Bathurst, Hon Paul Toole MP made the exciting announcement on April 24 at the caves.

Random Act of Kindness

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on July 11, 2017
Pay it forward! You never know what the effect might be of a simple act of generosity.

A Walk in the Woods is Good for your Soul

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on April 20, 2017
May is a lovely time of year in the Blue Mountains, with perfect weather for enjoying the many bush tracks. The Blue Mountains is a famous bushwalking destination and Jenolan Caves has several excellent above ground walks, which cost nothing to enjoy.

C'est Magnifique, N'est Pas?

Posted by David Hay on January 24, 2017
In the closing stages of WW1, to thank its Australian allies, France sent a goodwill delegation to Australia (including Jenolan Caves). The delegation was headed by a 70 year old veteran of the Franco Prussian war, General Paul Marie Cesar Garald Pau.

The Quest for the Ring

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on November 18, 2016
Last week, a distraught young woman came into the Guides Office at Jenolan Caves and said that she had lost her engagement ring in the Blue Lake. The backpacking couple had only been engaged 2 days!

The Firepoker Challenge at Hartley Historic Village

Posted by Ron Fitzpatrick on October 26, 2016
Would you like to try your hand at the time-honoured art of blacksmithing?

2 Night Escape Itinerary

Posted by Administrator on October 20, 2016

Join the Search for Old Photos of Jenolan's Leffel Wheel

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on October 19, 2016
Do you have an ancient photo of Jenolan Caves’ Leffel Wheel or the associated infrastructure that sat on the bank of the Jenolan River from 1889 to 1906? If so, we would love to see it, because precious little of it remains to this day.

Koalas Spotted Near Jenolan Caves

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on October 18, 2016
Koalas have been photographed near Jenolan Caves.

Agatha Christie at Jenolan Caves, June 1922

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on September 16, 2016
New book, 'Agatha Christie The Grand Tour', reveals that the great British crime writer actually visited Jenolan Caves in June 1922, toured 2 caves and stayed the night in Caves House!

Delicious New Menu at Chisolms Restaurant, Jenolan Caves

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on September 16, 2016
Jenolan Caves historic restaurant, Chisolm's, has a sensational new menu!

Jenolan Caves - Where Science Rocks

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on August 16, 2016
From August 16 to 26, at the Australian Museum Science Festival, teachers and students can find out how much science they can learn at Jenolan Caves.

The Norman Invasion of 2016

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on August 16, 2016

1950s Jenolan Caves Photos Found

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on August 16, 2016
Souvenir photos of Jenolan Caves, from the 1950s, have been found, and donated to Jenolan.

Kidney Kars at the Kaves

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on August 16, 2016
On Saturday, August 13, 70 cars from The Kidney Kar Rally visited Jenolan Caves for lunch in Chisolm’s Restaurant, upstairs in Caves House.

Square Poop and Winter Wildlife in the Blue Mountains

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on July 8, 2016
Even in Winter, the area around Jenolan Caves is home to native birds and wildlife. Only a short walk from the caves, especially early morning, late afternoon and when fewer people are around, you are likely to spot wild animals and many birds.

Win a Blue Mountains Holiday worth over $4,000!

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on April 18, 2016
Win a seven day Ultimate Blue Mountains Holiday Experience valued at $4,400!

Strollin at Jenolan

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on April 14, 2016
Why is strollin' at Jenolan so good for you? From Internet research, we have compiled a long list of reasons.

Go Ye Therefore Into All the World

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on March 30, 2016
Dwayne Jeffries shared the Easter message at Jenolan's annual Underground Church.

Fire poker challenge forges friendships

Posted by Ron Fitzpatrick on February 23, 2016
More than 60 people took part in the Firepoker Challenge, under the tuition of Blackheath metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick and his Lithgow-based colleague Steve Cunningham, between Christmas and New Years Eve.

Spellbound Underground

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on February 15, 2016
One moment, deep underground, the man was gasping, sweating and shaking. Next moment, he seemed...spellbound!

Gain First Hand Insight into Ancient Aboriginal Culture

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne & David Hay on December 5, 2015
Starting December 13 and continuing through the NSW school holidays, visitors to the Jenolan Caves, in the Blue Mountains of Australia, have the opportunity to learn about the Gundungurra, the local ancient Aboriginal culture, first hand.

Underground Ecstasy

Posted by Lisa Sampson on December 5, 2015
Find out what happened when a member of an unusual fan club entered the underground Cathedral Chamber.

Tiny Sleeping Village Awakens

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on November 11, 2015
About 40 minutes north of Jenolan Caves sits the historic village of Hartley, one of the finest collections of historic buildings in Australia. In 1869, after the town was bypassed by the railway, Hartley sank into a deep slumber. But now, thanks to state government funding, the beautiful little town is undergoing a reawakening, with delightful surprises for the curious.

Crying Happy Tears

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on October 15, 2015
Something about the Jenolan Caves inspires marriage proposals. But in the course of their work, cave guides have to take such unexpected things in their stride.

Stones & Bones Treasure Hunt

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on September 18, 2015
During the NSW school holidays Jenolan Cave’s popular kids-only tour, Bones & Stones is running every day at 2pm. We have interviewed one of our long term cave guides, for answers to some frequently asked questions.

Are You a Day Breaker or a Night Crawler?

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on September 15, 2015
Free during the NSW school holidays, Jenolan Caves is offering new morning and evening guided bush walks - Day Breakers and Night Crawlers. They are designed to give overnight guests the chance of spotting some of the native birds and animals that thrive in the Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve.

Toot! Toot! All Aboard for Jenolan Caves!

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on July 8, 2015
At Valley Heights, you can step into history - an authentically restored First Class Buffet Carriage from the original 'Caves Express'. This really is a 'hidden gem'!

The RW Mystery

Posted by David Hay & Carolyn Melbourne on June 18, 2015

Basking in the Sunshine of Royalty

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on May 29, 2015
The king slept here! Yes it's true, although at the time, he wasn't the king yet.

She Didn't Bat an Eye

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on April 14, 2015
Would you keep your cool if a bat flew down your shirt?

Kissed by a Nun

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on March 11, 2015
Overexcited nuns, polar bear taggers and ghosts! The tour guides at Jenolan Caves have great stories.

Mysterious Origins of a Blue Mountains Icon

Posted by David Hay & Carolyn Melbourne on February 20, 2015
Who started the 1895 fire that destroyed the original hotel at Jenolan Caves? Why, in 1897, did the New South Wales Government replace it with a grand hotel, seemingly in the middle of nowhere?

Ghost or Geological Phenomenon?

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on January 22, 2015
Long time cave guide, Geoff Melbourne, tells how he believes he had a conversation with a ghost in Jenolan Caves. But could it have been a geological phenomenon experienced in 'haunted' locations all over the world?

Insight into the Oldest Culture in the World

Posted by David Hay & Carolyn Melbourne on December 17, 2014
For only 4 days in January 2015, visitors to the Jenolan Caves, in the Blue Mountains of Australia, have the opportunity to learn about the Gundungurra, the local ancient Aboriginal culture, first hand.

5000 Year Old Christmas Present for Jenolan Caves

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on December 11, 2014
An honest citizen recently returned a piece of broken stalactite crystal to Jenolan Caves. Staff were overwhelmed by the gesture. Why was it a big deal? A rough estimate makes the piece 5,000 years old. How do we know that?

Ecotourism the Focus of International Conference

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on November 19, 2014
Recently, Jenolan Caves hosted 98 delegates for the International Show Caves Association 7th Congress. Delegates came from 18 countries. Regardless of their location, when a cave system, or other natural wonder, opens to the public, similar challenges arise - how to protect its features and delicate ecosystems while continuing as a profitable tourist attraction and educational venue.

Caves House Secret Art Collection

Posted by David Hay & Carolyn Melbourne on November 5, 2014
Jenolan Caves House, one of the most iconic Blue Mountains hotels, contains a collection of historic photographs and a smaller but interesting collection of modern, Australian paintings, by Blue Mountains artists. Visitors to Jenolan Caves can easily view these collections.
4655 Jenolan Caves Road, Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains NSW. Ph: 1300 76 33 11 or +61 2 6359 3911

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