Jenolan Caves

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?

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.

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!

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.

“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.

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.

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.

1926, When “The Empire’s Greatest Living Soldier” Visited Jenolan

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on January 29, 2021
In January 1926, Australia was honoured by a visit by the 'Bloody Bull', British Field Marshall Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, First Viscount Allenby, GCB, GCMG, GCVO - career soldier and hero - dubbed 'The Empire's Greatest Living Soldier'.

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.

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.

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?

1895, When Prince Franz Joseph of Battenberg Visited Jenolan

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on February 18, 2021
127 years ago, an illustrious visitor came to Jenolan, to explore the caves and stay a couple of nights. The day we welcomed His Serene Highness Prince Franz Joseph of Battenberg was the pinnacle of Jeremiah Wilson's career. What! Never heard of Prince Franz Joseph? Find out more here.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Orient Cave – Nature’s Bridal Dress

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on July 16, 2021

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?

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.

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.

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. 

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?

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 - Exploring Strange New Worlds

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on September 20, 2021

Behind the Scenes - Caring for the Caves

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on September 29, 2021

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.

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.

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

Darlin' Don't Ya Know?

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on November 10, 2021

Bell’s Talking Telegraph

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on November 18, 2021

The Lucas - A Mighty Cave Named for a Mighty Man

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

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.

Jenolan Christmases of Old

Posted by Carolyn Melbourne on December 24, 2021
4655 Jenolan Caves Road, Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains NSW. Ph: 1300 76 33 11 or +61 2 6359 3911

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