The Grand Canyon Track near Blackheath, and now in Blue Mountains National Park, was opened in 1907 by NSW Premier Joseph Carruthers. It quickly grew in reputation as one of the great attractions of the area and was even compared to Jenolan Caves. The enchanting track traverses a deep and spectacular gorge filled with ferns, dark overhangs and running water.
Just over 100 years later, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service embarked on an ambitious restoration project. In nine years they replaced 2000 stone steps and many hundreds of metres of handrail and stairways. The 19th century construction was visionary but rough; the 21st century version, with helicopter assistance, is a masterpiece.
The track is now visited by 90,000 people a year, and was officially re-opened in October 2017 to wide acclaim. Part of the celebration involves a travelling exhibition exploring the history and heritage of one of the best walks in the Blue Mountains. The exhibition includes many historical photographs displayed for the first time.
As part of my ‘day job’, I was delighted to work on the research and content for the exhibition. Local designer Heath Killen turned it into something special. This evocative exhibition can be seen at the Blue Mountains Heritage Centre (NPWS), end of Govetts Leap Road, Blackheath, until the end of November (7 days, 9.00 to 4.30) and will hopefully at other venues later.