Long Weekend – Sunday

The second day of our long weekend in the Blue Mountains area.

In and Around the Town of Lithgow

The weather was OK. At least it didn’t rain and the skies were mostly clear. We decided to explore the Lithgow area. There was a conveniently located tourist information office just a little further up the Great Western Highway from the motel. Better than that, it was open. All the tourist information offices are now open I am glad to report. The helpful man in the office pointed us to an easy walk for a six year old plus a couple of local historical sites.

Hassans Walls Lookout

The first stop was the Hassans Walls Lookout. An easy drive-walk with a little bit of fun rock climbing for Dani at the end of it. This escarpment overlooks the Hartley valley and the Blue Mountains.

Steel History

Lithgow became an important staging post for trips to the west once the railways arrived. Also there was already a thriving steel industry in the town and there has been an attempt to make the site of the old works into a tourist attraction. Not a great deal of fun for all I will admit, but having worked in the steel industry I wanted to take a look. There is very little left of the old buildings and even if Dani was not too impressed his old dad found it quite interesting.

The curved shape is the left overs from one of the furnaces. Mostly a “slag” and iron mix showing the shape of the furnace.

Gun Emplacements

This was probably Dani’s favourite of the day. These anti-aircraft guns were set up in 1937 to protect the area from enemy fire. Lithgow was a target during the second world war as it is also home to a small arms factory (the museum of which was still closed). It is free to enter and you can wander in and out of the bunkers and climb all over the guns. Surprisingly well kept considering.

Old Hartley Village

Just off the Great Western Highway between Mount Victoria and Lithgow is the old abandoned village of Hartley. This was once a thirving staging post especially during the gold rush for those making their way to the western goldfield towns. Then along came the railways and Lithgow became the natural stopover of choice. This village has been well kept with the old court house a museum (closed though – the coronavirus thing still affecting tourism). The sites include the perfectly preserved St. Bernards church and fully restored Presbytery which now acts as accommodation. Or at least it would do if it wasn’t for – you guessed it – that pesky coronavirus.

Old Courthouse
St. Bernard’s church and Presbytery

People used to stop for a photograph outside the old court house before continuing their journey.

An early “bus” trip via Hartley village

As usual there was not enough tome to visit all the places we wanted to. Plus some are still not open. One of these attractions is the famous Zig-Zag Railway which as the name suggests winds through the mountainous region. It was surpassed by the newer train lines which tunnelled through parts of the route to make the journey more direct. The Zig-Zag is not open right now but not (only) because of the virus thing. It is being refurbished. So, another time for the Lithgow area… maybe for a little camping trip on one of the area’s lakes?…

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