New South Wales
The Three Sisters sandstone rock formation, one of the region's best-known attractions
|• Density||6.93/km2 (17.95/sq mi)|
|Area||11,400 km2 (4,401.6 sq mi)|
|Location||50 km (31 mi) NW of Sydney CBD|
|State electorate(s)||Blue Mountains & Penrith|
|Federal Division(s)||Macquarie, Lindsay & Calare|
|Blue Mountains Range|
The characteristic blue haze,
as seen in the Jamison Valley
|Peak||unnamed peak(north-east of Lithgow)|
|Elevation||1,189 m (3,901 ft) AHD|
|Length||96 km (60 mi)NW/SE|
|State||New South Wales|
The Blue Mountains are a mountainous region and a mountain range located in New South Wales, Australia. The region borders on Sydney's metropolitan area, its foothills starting about 50 kilometres (31 mi) west of centre of the state capital. The public's understanding of the extent of the Blue Mountains is varied, as it forms only part of an extensive mountainous area associated with the Great Dividing Range. Officially the Blue Mountains region is bounded by the Nepean and Hawkesbury rivers in the east, the Coxs River and Lake Burragorang to the west and south, and the Wolgan and Colo rivers to the north. Geologically, it is situated in the central parts of the Sydney Basin.
In the state of New South Wales, Australia, there are many areas which are commonly known by regional names. Regions are areas that share similar characteristics. These characteristics may be natural such as the Murray River, the coastline, or the Snowy Mountains. Alternatively, the characteristics may be cultural, such as a viticulture land use. New South Wales is divided by numerous regional boundaries, based on different characteristics. In many cases boundaries defined by different agencies are coterminous.
A mountain range or hill range is a series of mountains or hills ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure, and alignment that have arisen from the same cause, usually an orogeny. Mountain ranges are formed by a variety of geological processes, but most of the significant ones on Earth are the result of plate tectonics. Mountain ranges are also found on many planetary mass objects in the Solar System and are likely a feature of most terrestrial planets.
New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In September 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 8 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.
The Blue Mountains Range comprises a range of mountains, plateau escarpments extending off the Great Dividing Range about 4.8 kilometres (3.0 mi) northwest of Wolgan Gap in a generally southeasterly direction for about 96 kilometres (60 mi), terminating at Emu Plains. For about two-thirds of its length it is traversed by the Great Western Highway and the Main Western railway line. Several established towns are situated on its heights, including Katoomba, Blackheath, Mount Victoria, and Springwood. The range forms the watershed between Coxs River to the south and the Grose and Wolgan rivers to the north. The range contains the Explorer Range and the Bell Range.
Emu Plains is a suburb of Sydney in the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is 58 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Penrith and is part of the Greater Western Sydney region.
The Great Western Highway is a 201-kilometre-long (125 mi) state highway in New South Wales, Australia. From east to west, the highway links Sydney with Bathurst, on the state's Central Tablelands.
The Main Western Railway is a major railway in New South Wales, Australia. It runs through the Blue Mountains, Central West, North West Slopes and the Far West regions.
The Blue Mountains area includes the local government area of the City of Blue Mountains.
The City of Blue Mountains is a local government area of New South Wales, Australia, governed by the Blue Mountains City Council. The city is located in the Blue Mountains range west of Sydney.
Following European settlement of the Sydney area, the area was named the Carmarthen and Lansdowne Hills by Arthur Phillip in 1788. The Carmarthen Hills were in the north of the region and the Lansdowne Hills were in the south. The name Blue Mountains, however, was preferredand is derived from the blue tinge the range takes on when viewed from a distance. The tinge is believed to be caused by Mie scattering which occurs when incoming light with shorter wavelengths is preferentially scattered by particles within the atmosphere imparting a blue-greyish colour to any distant objects, including mountains and clouds. Volatile terpenoids emitted in large quantities by the abundant eucalyptus trees in the Blue Mountains may cause Mie scattering and thus the blue haze for which the mountains were named.
Admiral Arthur Phillip was a Royal Navy officer and the first Governor of New South Wales who founded the British penal colony that later became the city of Sydney, Australia.
The Mie solution to Maxwell's equations describes the scattering of an electromagnetic plane wave by a homogeneous sphere. The solution takes the form of an infinite series of spherical multipole partial waves. It is named after Gustav Mie.
The terpenoids, sometimes called isoprenoids, are a large and diverse class of naturally occurring organic chemicals derived from terpenes. Most are multicyclic structures with oxygen-containing functional groups. About 60% of known natural products are terpenoids. Although sometimes used interchangeably with "terpenes", terpenoids contain additional functional groups, usually O-containing. Terpenes are hydrocarbons.
When Europeans arrived in Australia, the Blue Mountains had already been inhabited for several millennia by the Gundungurra people, now represented by the Gundungurra Tribal Council Aboriginal Corporation based in Katoomba, and, in the lower Blue Mountains, by the Darug people, now represented by the Darug Tribal Aboriginal Corporation.
The Gundungurra creation story of the Blue Mountains tells that Dreamtime creatures Mirigan and Garangatch, half fish and half reptile, fought an epic battle which scarred the landscape into the Jamison Valley.
The Gundungurra Tribal Council is a nonprofit organisation representing the Gundungurra traditional owners, promoting heritage and culture and providing a support for Gundungurra people connecting back to Country.
Gundungurra Tribal Council Aboriginal Corporation has a registered Native Title Claim since 1995 over their traditional lands, which include the Blue Mountains and surrounding areas.
Examples of Aboriginal habitation can be found in many places. In the Red Hands Cave, a rock shelter near Glenbrook, the walls contain hand stencils from adults and children. 170 On the southern side of Queen Elizabeth Drive, at Wentworth Falls, a rocky knoll has a large number of grinding grooves created by rubbing stone implements on the rock to shape and sharpen them. There are also carved images of animal tracks and an occupation cave. The site is known as Kings Tableland Aboriginal Site and dates back 22,000 years.[ citation needed ]:
Glenbrook is a suburb of the Lower Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. It is located 70 kilometres west of Sydney in the local government area of the City of Blue Mountains. At the 2016 Australian census Glenbrook had a population of 5,051 people.
Wentworth Falls is a town in the Blue Mountains region of New South Wales, situated approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) west of the Sydney central business district, and about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) east of Katoomba, Australia on the Great Western Highway, with a Wentworth Falls railway station on the Main Western line. The town is at an elevation of 867 metres (2,844 ft) AHD . At the 2016 census, Wentworth Falls had a population of 6,076.
Arthur Phillip, the first governor of New South Wales, first glimpsed the extent of the Blue Mountains from a ridge at the site of today's Oakhill College, Castle Hill. He named them the Carmarthen Hills, "some forty to sixty miles distant..." and he reckoned that the ground was "most suitable for government stock". This is the location where Gidley King in 1799 established a prison town for political prisoners from Ireland and Scotland.
The first documented use of the name Blue Mountains appears in Captain John Hunter’s account of Phillip’s 1789 expedition up the Hawkesbury River. Describing the events of about 5 July, Hunter wrote: "We frequently, in some of the reaches which we passed through this day, saw very near us the hills, which we suppose as seen from Port Jackson, and called by the governor the Blue Mountains."During the nineteenth century the name was commonly applied to the portion of the Great Dividing Range from about Goulburn in the south to the Hunter Valley in the north, but in time it came to be associated with a more limited area.
The native Aborigines knew two routes[ citation needed ] across the mountains: Bilpin Ridge, which is now the location of Bells Line of Road between Richmond and Bell, and the Coxs River, a tributary of the Nepean River. It could be followed upstream to the open plains of the Kanimbla Valley, the type of country that farmers prize.
European settlers initially considered that fertile lands lay beyond the mountains, as was China in the belief of many convicts, but that this didn't matter much, since the mountains were impassable.This idea was, to some extent, convenient for local authorities. An "insurmountable" barrier would deter convicts from trying to escape in that direction.
A former convict, John Wilson, may have been the first European to cross the Blue Mountains. It is also believed that Mathew Everingham, 1795, 76–77may have also been partly successful based on letters he wrote at the time which came to light in the late 1980s. Wilson arrived with the First Fleet in 1788 and was freed in 1792. He settled in the bush, living with the Aborigines and even functioning as an intermediary between them and the settlers. In 1797 he returned to Sydney, claiming to have explored up to a hundred miles in all directions around Sydney, including across the mountains. His descriptions and observations were generally accurate, and it is possible that he had crossed the mountains via the southern aspect at the Coxs River corridor, guided by the Aborigines. :
Governor Hunter was impressed by Wilson's skills and sent him on an expedition with John Price and others in January 1798. The party crossed the Nepean River and moved southwest towards the present site of Mittagong. There they turned west and found a route along the ridge where today the Wombeyan Caves Road is located. In the process they found a way to go west of the mountains, by going around them instead of across them. In March of the same year, Wilson and Price ventured to the Camden area, and then continued further south until they discovered Thirlmere Lakes, finally almost reaching the present site of Goulburn.
It is possible that the accomplishments of this expedition were suppressed by Hunter, who may not have wanted convicts to know that there was a relatively easy way out of Sydney. 83 Wilson was killed by Aborigines after abducting an Aboriginal woman "for his personal use", but he had accomplished much as an explorer. He was never recognised as the first person to cross the mountains, possibly because his Coxs River journey could not be verified, while his route west of Mittagong may have been the "long way around" for a colony that had its eyes fixed on the sandstone fortress west of the Nepean.:
Between 1798 and 1813, many people explored various parts of the mountains, from the Bilpin Ridge to the southern regions, today the site of the Kanangra-Boyd National Park. Still, they did not find a definite route across the mountains. The 1813 crossing of the Blue Mountains by Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth is officially credited as the first successful European crossing.Blaxland set out with Lawson and Wentworth on 11 May 1813 and succeeded in crossing the mountains by 31 May. They ventured as far as to what is now Mount Blaxland, just west of Coxs River.
In November 1813, Macquarie sent the surveyor George Evans on an expedition to confirm the discoveries made by Blaxland and his party. He was also told to see if there existed enough arable land to justify settlement. The issue had become more urgent because the colony was in the grips of a drought.
Evans and his party reached the Fish and Macquarie rivers, and the site of Bathurst. 145On 7 July 1814, construction of a road across the mountains was begun by William Cox. The work was at the behest of Governor Macquarie. 30 convict labourers and 8 guards completed the road on 14 January 1815 after 27 weeks of hard work. :
Since the Blue Mountains are rich in coal and shale, mining for these resources began in Hartley Vale in 1865. J.B. North ran a shale mine in the Jamison Valley in the 19th century, 243 and other operations were set up in several places. Locations for mining activities included the Jamison Valley, the upper Grose Valley, Newnes, Glen Davis and the Asgard Swamp area outside Mount Victoria. Shale mining failed in the long run because it was not financially viable.:
The climate varies with elevation. At Katoomba, (1,010 m or 3,314 ft) the summer average maximum temperature is around 22 °C with a few days extending into the 30s (80s–90s °F) although it is quite common to see maximum temperatures stay in the teens when east coast troughs persist. Night-time temperatures are usually in the teens but can drop to single figures at times. During winter, the temperature is typically around 10 to 11 °C in the daytime with −1 °C or so on clear nights and 3 to 4 °C on cloudy nights. Very occasionally it will get down to −3 °C or slightly lower but usually the coldest air drains into the valleys during calm, clear nights. The Blue Mountains is not known for particularly cold mornings compared to other areas on the Central Tablelands, such as Oberon, Bathurst and Orange. There are two to three snowfalls per year, although settled snow has become less common in recent decades. In the lower mountains, however, the climate is significantly warmer.
Annual rainfall is about 1,050 millimetres (41 in) in the Upper Blue Mountains with many misty days.
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The predominant natural vegetation of the higher ridges is eucalyptus forest. Heath-like vegetation is present on plateau edges above cliffs. The sheltered gorges often contain temperate rainforests. There are also many hanging swamps with button grass reeds and thick, deep black soil. Wollemia nobilis , the "Wollemi pine", a relict of earlier vegetation of Gondwana, is found in remote and isolated valleys of the Wollemi National Park.
The main natural disasters to afflict the area are bush fires and severe storms. In recent years the lower mountains have been subjected to a series of bush fires which have caused great loss of property but relatively little loss of life. The upper mountains had not had a major fire for some decades until December 2002 (the Blackheath Glen Fire) and November 2006 when an extensive blaze in the Grose Valley threatened several communities including Bell and Blackheath (the Lawsons Long Alley Fire). This latest fire burned for almost a month but was extinguished, mainly due to a change in the weather, without loss of human life or property. A program of winter burning seems to have been successful in reducing fires in the upper mountains.
The Blue Mountains Range contains smaller mountain ranges: the Bell Range near The Bells Line of Road and north of the Grose River; the Explorer Range, south of the Grose River extending west towards Mount Victoria; the Caley Range, Erskine Range, Mount Hay Range, Paterson Range, and the Woodford Range.The major recorded peaks are:
The Blue Mountains are a dissected plateau carved in sandstone bedrock. They are now a series of ridge lines separated by gorges up to 760 metres (2,490 ft) deep. The highest point in the Blue Mountains, as it is now defined, is an unnamed point with an elevation of 1,189 m (3,901 ft) AHD , located 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) north-east of Lithgow. However, the highest point in the broader region that was once considered to be the Blue Mountains is Mount Bindo, with an elevation 1,362 m (4,469 ft) AHD . A large part of the Blue Mountains is incorporated into the Greater Blue Mountains Area World Heritage Site, consisting of seven national park areas and a conservation reserve.
The Blue Mountains area is a distinct physiographic section of the larger Hunter-Hawkesbury Sunkland province. This is in turn a part of the larger East Australian Cordillera physiographic division.
The Greater Blue Mountains Area was unanimously listed as a World Heritage Area by UNESCO on 29 November 2000, becoming the fourth area in New South Wales to be listed. 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 sq mi), including the Blue Mountains, Kanangra-Boyd, Wollemi, Gardens of Stone, Yengo, Nattai and Thirlmere Lakes National Parks, plus the Jenolan Caves Karst Conservation Reserve.The area totals roughly
This site was chosen to be included on the World Heritage list because:
|“||"Criteria (ii) and (iv): Australia’s eucalypt vegetation is worthy of recognition as of outstanding universal value, because of its adaptability and evolution in post-Gondwana isolation. The site contains a wide and balanced representation of eucalypt habitats from wet and dry sclerophyll, mallee heathlands, as well as localised swamps, wetlands, and grassland. 90 eucalypti tax (13% of the global total) and representation of all four groups of eucalypts occur. There is also a high level of endemism with 114 endemic taxa found in the area as well as 120 nationally rare and threatened plant taxa. The site hosts several evolutionary relic species ( Wollemia , Microstrobos , Acrophyllum ) which have persisted in highly restricted micro sites."||”|
The Greater Blue Mountains Area is inhabited by over 400 different forms of animals. Among them are rare mammal species like spotted-tailed quoll, the koala, the yellow-bellied glider, and long-nosed potoroo. There are also some rare reptiles, like the Blue Mountain water skink.There are also some dingos in the area, which form the top predators and hunt for grey kangaroos.
The Blue Mountains are a popular destination for rock climbers, mountain bikers and hikers as well as canyoning and other adventure sports. These sports are well catered for by guiding companies and equipment stores located mainly in Katoomba.
Popular climbing destinations include the Centennial Glen cliffs near Blackheath, Mount Victoria, Mount Piddington and Mount Boyce. Climbing is currently banned on The Three Sisters.
Mountain biking takes place mainly on the many fire trails that branch away from the main spine of the Great Western Highway, such as Narrow Neck, Anderson's Fire Trail and others.
Likewise many of the fire trails are popular with day hikers, though many dedicated walking trails exist away from the fire roads.
Canyoning in the Blue Mountains is a popular sport and caters for various skill levels. It carries inherent dangers, yet for those with the appropriate skills or those looking to take a guided trip there are many great opportunities to experience a different view of the Blue Mountains.
There are numerous abseiling options available in the Blue Mountains including single and multipitch routes. There are some restrictions though with certain areas being closed for abseiling.
Cricket is a popular sport in the Blue Mountains, with the Blue Mountains Cattle Dogs representing the district in the Western Zone Premier League, Country Plate and Presidents Cup competitions.
Katoomba is the chief town of the City of Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia, and the administrative headquarters of Blue Mountains City Council. Katoomba is situated on the Great Western Highway 110 km (68 mi) west of Sydney and 39 km (24 mi) south-east of Lithgow. Katoomba railway station is on the Main Western line.
The Blue Mountains National Park is a protected national park that is located in the Blue Mountains region of New South Wales, in eastern Australia. The 267,954-hectare (662,130-acre) national park is situated approximately 80 kilometres (50 mi) west of Sydney, and the park boundary is quite irregular as it is broken up by roads, urban areas and inholdings. Despite the name mountains, the area is an uplifted plateau, dissected by a number of larger rivers. The highest point in the park is Mount Werong at 1,215 metres (3,986 ft) above sea level; while the low point is on the Nepean River at 20 metres (66 ft) above sea level as it leaves the park.
The Kanangra-Boyd National Park is a protected national park that is located in the Central Tablelands region, west of the Southern Highlands and Macarthur regions, in New South Wales, in eastern Australia. The 68,660-hectare (169,700-acre) national park is situated approximately 180 kilometres (110 mi) south-west of Sydney and is contiguous with the Blue Mountains National Park and the Nattai National Park. The park was established in 1969.
The Jamison Valley forms part of the Coxs River canyon system in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. It is situated approximately 100 kilometres west of Sydney, capital of New South Wales, and a few kilometres south of Katoomba, the main town in the Blue Mountains.
The Three Sisters are an unusual rock formation in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia, on the north escarpment of the Jamison Valley. They are close to the town of Katoomba and are one of the Blue Mountains' best known sites, towering above the Jamison Valley. Their names are Meehni (922 m), Wimlah (918 m), and Gunnedoo (906 m).
The Budawang Range, commonly called The Budawangs, a rugged mountain range within the Budawang National Park and the Morton National Park, are part of a spur off the Great Dividing Range and are located in the South Coast region of New South Wales, Australia.
The Megalong Valley is part of the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. It is located west of Katoomba. On its eastern side, the valley is separated from the Jamison Valley by Narrow Neck Plateau. The Shipley Plateau overlooks part of the valley.
The Jenolan Caves are limestone caves located within the Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve in the Central Tablelands region, west of the Blue Mountains, in Jenolan, Oberan Council, New South Wales, in eastern Australia. The caves and 3,083-hectare (7,620-acre) reserve are situated approximately 175 kilometres (109 mi) west of Sydney, 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of Oberon and 30 kilometres (19 mi) west of Katoomba.
The Narrow Neck Plateau, an eroded remnant of a sandstone layer situated at an elevation of 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) above sea level that is part of the Blue Mountains Range which is a spur line off the Great Dividing Range, is situated immediately south-west of Katoomba in New South Wales, Australia, located within the Blue Mountains National Park. The neck separates the Jamison Valley from the Megalong Valley.
Catalina Park is a disused motor racing venue, located at Katoomba, in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia, and is recognised as an Aboriginal Place due to the long association of the local Gundungarra and Darug clans to the area.
Mount Solitary, a mountain that is part of the Blue Mountains Range, a spur off the Great Dividing Range, is situated within the Blue Mountains National Park, New South Wales, Australia. Mount Solitary is located approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) west of Sydney, and a few kilometres south of Katoomba, the main town in the Blue Mountains.
The Grose River, a perennial river that is part of the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment, is located in the Blue Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia.
Mount Hay, a mountain that is part of the Mt Hay Range of the Blue Mountains Range which is a spur off the Great Dividing Range, is located in the Blue Mountains National Park, New South Wales, Australia. It is located approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) west of Sydney and 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) north of the nearest town, Wentworth Falls. Mount Hay is approximately 944 metres (3,097 ft) AMSL and is one of several basalt caps located within the UNESCO World Heritage Greater Blue Mountains Area.
The Kings Tableland is a plateau, located in the Blue Mountains in Wollondilly Shire, New South Wales, Australia. The ridge is an eroded remnant of a sandstone layer that is approximately 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) AMSL, situated immediately south of Wentworth Falls. The Tableland is the major southerly spur of the main spine of the Blue Mountains Range and forms the beginning of the Southern Escarpment, an unbroken series of tall sandstone cliffs which fringes the Jamison, Megalong, Kanimbla and Hartley Valleys.
The Kedumba River, a perennial river that is part of the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment, is located in the Blue Mountains and Macarthur regions of New South Wales, Australia.
The 1813 crossing of the Blue Mountains was the expedition led by Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth, which became the first successful crossing of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales by European settlers. The crossing enabled the settlers to access and use the land west of the mountains for farming, and made possible the establishment of Australia's first inland settlement at Bathurst.
The Coxs River track is a heritage-listed former walking track and road and now walking track at Cox's River Arms, Lake Burragorang/Warragamba Dam, City of Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia. The property is owned by the Sydney Catchment Authority, an agency of the Government of New South Wales. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 18 November 1999.
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