Note from Editor Des’ guardian Pauline Conolly…..As you will see at the bottom of the story, fire has swept through the area he wrote about. He is very sad, as we all are.
A Double Bunger Day Out, by Editor Des
Hello down there! Here’s my first travel /history article and yes I have had a little help from my friend Dr Bob. I am stepping into the breach (that’s a cliché, but a good one) for my guardian Pauline Conolly. She is busy doing other things. or so she says.
OFF WE GO!
Well from dear old Blackheath village you drive to the end of Hat Hill Road then follow the signs to Anvil Rock. There are a few of K’s of unsealed road, but the surface is very good and even the smallest (or most expensive ) cars can proceed with confidence….that’s a good phrase if I say so myself!
The magnificent Wind Eroded Cave is only a couple of minutes walk from the parking area and the native flora is something to behold. Depending on the season you will see wild boronia, flannel flowers, erica, mountain devil, banksia, grevillea, scribbly gums, wattle, and probably a hundred other flowers, shrubs and trees (Pauline told me this bit). The cave is more correctly a giant overhang, with extraordinary honeycomb formations in appropriately honey coloured sedimentary rock. See how tiny Pauline looks? That’s her, standing in the bottom left hand corner in a black cardy. She looks like an ant.
Now Follow Me To The Next Stop.
When you return to the parking area, a short walk in another direction will take you to Anvil Rock, overlooking the Grose Valley. You can pause to admire the view from a beautiful, rustic seat in memory of a lady called Joyce Brister (1916 -2010). The plaque reads, ‘At home in the bush’. I don’t know what wood it’s made from but it’s all burnished and knotty and very lovely . Let’s hope philistines (Dr Bob’s word) don’t hack their names on it.
The rock itself has been carved by the elements over millions of years into the rough shape of a blacksmith’s anvil . In 1940 Bradford Kendall , who operated a foundry business, presented Council with a 6 cwt ( that’s 305 kg) steel anvil, which was cemented to the top of the rock. Some people still consider this a umm, desecration (thanks Dr Bob) , but let’s not get into environmental politics!
There is an almost 360 degree view; right over to the spectacular escarpments above the tree canopy. Look down (don’t fall whatever you do!) to the flashes of water from the snaking Grose River way, way down in the valley. The best time to visit is on a clear autumn or spring day, preferably mid week. Odds are you will be alone except for scurrying lizards, bees sipping nectar from the flowering banksias…. and birds. King parrots, kookaburras and cockatoos soar across the valley with raucous calls, but the most magical sound is that of distant bellbirds.
Hundreds of them feed in the foliage of gums; Pauline says their tinkling notes create a chorus that lifts the heart. I think she is right. A man called Henry Kendall wrote a poem about them;
Mystery at Anvil Rock
In the 1970’s the steel anvil suddenly vanished. When they spotted some scratch marks on the cliff face, the National Park rangers realized that vandals had managed to wrench it from the rock and push it over the cliff into the valley; a drop of about 300 metres. Aren’t there some wicked, wicked people in the world? Difficult terrain and the problem of hauling up something so heavy prevented National Park staff from carrying out a search, and the missing anvil became part of Blackheath folklore.
Then , on February 26 2005 the Police Rescue Squad had to search the area below Anvil Rock by foot. It was a sad business as they were trying to find and recover the body of a suicide victim. The body was found, and also the missing anvil! It was lying completely intact at the base of a tree, which had broken its fall. Afterwards, approaches were made to the National Parks people who agreed to try and lift it out by helicopter. This was eventually done and the iconic (rare and wonderful) anvil has since been cemented securely back in place.
PS – Below is another part of Anvil Rock. Can you see me in this pic?! I’m very well camoflagued in the fork of a tree..
PS, I really like this bare bottomy gum tree nearby! See if you can find it when you visit.
It’s a little bit rude and Pauline told me not to put it in but Dr Bob said I could – do you know why? Because he likes it too! Ha ha! The lady seems to have some nasty boils on her back , but they’re really…GUM BOILS!!
A SAD UPDATE – DECEMBER 2I 2019. A terrible bush fire has swept through the Grose Valley and up to Anvil Rock, destroying native shrubs, flowers and wildlife. The flora will regenerate I know, but my heart is very broken.
Here is a story Pauline wrote about Blackheath. It’s not nearly as good as this one though.
Leave a comment if you like my first travel article! Thanks…. Editor Des Bear
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