Blue Mountains National Park
The Blue Mountains National Park is one of the most well-known parks in Australia, it is a part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. The Greater Blue Mountains was announced as UNESCO World Heritage Area on 29 November 2000. The Blue Mountains area is around 1436 square kilometers. It’s recognized for its geographic, botanic and cultural value. Aboriginal Dharug, Gundungurra, Wanaruah, Wiradjuri, Darkinjung and Tharawal Nations are acknowledged as the traditional owners of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.
The Greater Blue mountains Area is made up of seven national parks: the Blue Mountains, Wollemi, Yengo, Nattai, Kanangra-Boyd, Gardens of Stone and Thirlmere Lakes as well as the Jenolan Caves Karst Conservation Reserve.
1770 – Captain Cook landed at Botany Bay
1788 – Captain Phillip established the first settlement at Sydney Cove
1813 – Blaxland, Wentworth, and Lawson crossed the Blue Mountains
The foothills of Blue Mountains start 65km inland from Sydney, rising from the Cumberland Plain in the east to encompass some of the central portions of the Great Dividing Range and rising to an 1100m-high sandstone plateau with its valleys.
The wide range of habitats includes wet and dry sclerophyll forest, mallee heathlands, localised swamps, wetlands and grassland. The area represents a significant amount of Australia’s biodiversity with ten percent of the vascular flora as well as significant numbers of rare or threatened species, including endemic and evolutionary relict species, such as the Wollemi pine. Approximately 100 species of eucalypts occur in the Greater Blue Mountains Area. More than 400 animal species inhabit the area. These include threatened or rare species of conservation significance, such as the spotted-tailed quoll, the koala, the yellow-bellied glider and the long-nosed potoroo as well as rare reptiles including the green and golden bell frog and the Blue Mountains water skink.
The Superb Lyrebird is almost a mascot of the Blue Mountains: a bit of luck and watchful eye and you can spot lyrebirds on a bushwalk.
They are very shy, they feed by scratching around the leaf-litter for insects and spiders.
They mimic a huge variety of sounds, but are particularly fond of putting whip-bird songs into their repertoire.
Bushwalks where you can spot Lyrebirds include the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, which runs between Leura and Katoomba; between the Three Sisters and Scenic World; and around Katoomba Falls.
The Legend of the Three Sisters
ACCORDING TO GUNDUNGURRA DREAMING, three beautiful sisters named Meehni, Wimlah and Gunnedoo once lived with the Gundungurra people in the Jamison Valley. The maidens were in love with three brothers from the neighbouring nation of the Dharruk people, but marriage was forbidden by tribal law. The brothers were warriors and decided to take the maidens by force. Tribal war forced the Kuradjuri (clever man) of the Gundungurra people to turn the sisters into stone. He intended to restore them after the danger had passed and the war had ended. Unfortunately, the Kuradjuri (clever man) was killed in the battle and to this day nobody has been able to break the spell and turn the Three Sisters back to their natural form.
Legend reproduced with permission from:
- Sharon Brown Burragurrang Clan, Gundungurra Nation
- Merv Trindal, Chairperson Gundungurra Tribal Council
Please note this is one of a number of versions of the legend.
Three sisters, Meenhi, Wimlah and Gunnedoo had a father who was a witch doctor. His name was Tyawan.
Long ago there was a Bunyip who lived in a deep hole who was feared by all. Passing the hole was considered very dangerous, therefore whenever Tyawan had to pass the hole in search for food, he would leave his daughters safely on the cliff behind a rocky wall.
One fateful day, Tyawan waved goodbye to his daughters and descended down the cliff steps into the valley.
Meanwhile at the top of the cliff, Meenhi was frightened by a large centipede which suddenly appeared before her. Meenhi took a stone and threw it at the centipede. The stone continued on its journey and rolled over the cliff, crashing into the valley below which angered the Bunyip.
The rocky wall behind Meenhi, Wimlah and Gunnedoo then began to split open and the three sisters were left stranded on a thin ledge at the top of the cliff. All the birds, animals and fairies stopped still as the Bunyip emerged to see the terrified girls.
As the Bunyip began to approach the girls, to protect them from harm, their father Tyawan used his magic bone to turn them into stone.
Angered by this, the Bunyip then began to chase Tyawan. Becoming trapped, in order to flee from the Bunyip, Tyawan changed into a magnificent Lyre Bird, yet in the process dropped his magic bone. Tyawan and his three daughters were now safe from the Bunyip.
Once the Bunyip had disappeared, Tyawan returned in search of his magic bone, yet this was never to be found.
The Lyre Bird has been searching for this magic bone ever since. Remaining in rock formation, The Three Sisters stand silently overlooking the valley hoping that one day he’ll find the bone and turn them back to former selves.
When visiting The Three Sisters, if you listen carefully you may be able to hear the Lyre Bird, Tyawan, as he continues his quest for his lost magic bone.