Sunday, 11 August 2013

The view from the train window

While the nearby Blue Mountains attract most of the tourists, the Capertee district has stunning landscapes which are the equal of its better known neighbour. The local tourist office tries its best to promote the district, and recently described the Capertee Valley on its website, as an area of ‘spectacular scenery and timeless beauty’. Surprisingly  talking about the charms of the region is not a recent development. One of the first people to promote the tourist potential of the area was a letter writer to the Sydney Morning Herald in 1888. This anonymous correspondent took exception to an earlier report in the paper that ignored the scenic qualities of the Capertee area in a story about railway tourism within the state. 

Crown Ridge looking East, watercolour by Conrad Martens
Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW


To a sub-leader of October 29 you make mention of the scenery along different lines of our railways, but I notice with regret that you omit mention altogether of the Mudgee line from Ben Bullen to Ilford, a distance of about 20 miles, the railway skirts the vast depression of the Capertee Valley, and as the train winds around the Crown Ridge, near Capertee Station, and further on by Carlos Gap and Brogan’s Creek, the view is in my opinion unequalled on any line of railway in the colony. The tremendous masses of Hawkesbury sandstone, in many cases showing a perpendicular unbroken face of 300ft., towering higher and yet higher in the distance, until the Bulga Mountains overlooking Singleton can be distinctly seen, and the lofty cone-shaped Tien Peak with its trigonometrical station at its summit, present all weathers one of the finest spectacles of rugged mountain scenery in Australia.

To those tourists who are tired of the beaten track of the Blue Mountains, as represented by Katoomba, Blackheath, and Mount Victoria, I would recommend a visit to the Capertee district. There is a hotel close to the railway station, where good accommodation can be obtained. I am confident that the beauties of this place are but to be seen and explored to be appreciated, and I predict a future before it second only to Katoomba. To the geologist it presents special features of interest. At few places in New South Wales are there so many or such a variety of fossil and petrefactions [sic] obtainable. The late Professor Denton spent some time at the place, and expressed great interest in all he saw. He gave it as his opinion that the vast depression was at one time one of the largest fresh-water lakes in the colony.

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