Jenolan Caves

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

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?

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?

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.

How to Make Peach Melba

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on June 15, 2020

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.

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 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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
4655 Jenolan Caves Road, Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains NSW. Ph: 1300 76 33 11 or +61 2 6359 3911

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