The Blue Mountains


Aboriginal Perspective:

A long time ago in The Blue Mountains there lived three beautiful Aboriginal sisters. They were Meenhi, Wimlah and Gunnedoo, whose witch doctor father was called Tyawan. Only one creature was feared by all - the Bunyip who lived in a deep hole. When Tyawan had to pass the hole, he would leave his daughters safely on the cliff behind a rocky wall. One day he accidentally disturbed the Bunyip who awoke to see the three beautiful sisters playing in the valley. Tyawan saw the Bunyip close to his daughters so he pointed his magic bone at the girls and turned them into stone. They would be safe there until the Bunyip had gone and then Tyawan would return them to their former selves.

The Bunyip then chased Tyawan who found himself trapped. A fight ensued in which the Bunyip gained the upper hand. Tyawan then knew that he could not win the fight so he turned himself into a lyrebird and fled.

The Bunyip searched the valley for Tyawan and the girls but could not find them. Tyawan searched and searched for his magic bone so that he could change his daughters back. Sadly to this day he has not been able to find it.

The Three Sisters stand silently watching from their ledge, hoping he will find the bone and turn them back to Aboriginal girls. As you look at The Three Sisters you can hear Tyawan - the Lyrebird - calling his daughters as his search for the bone continues.

Geographical Perspective:

Archaeological studies indicate that the Blue Mountains were formed around one million years ago as part of the Kosciusko Uplift during the Pliocene Epoch.

Pressure from the east raised the area upwards in a monoclinal fold, reaching an elevation of around three thousand feet to the top of the Blue Mountains where Mount Victoria is today.

Weather was partly responsible - the effects of wind, rain, and heating and cooling. But gravity takes the most credit for this spectacular landscape. Water must always travel downhill, forming rivers as it does so. These rivers, which look absurdly small from the cliff-top lookouts, have carved out the magnificent valleys they meander through.

But this hasn't simply been a case of water gradually wearing its way down through the layers of rock - otherwise the mountains would be rounded, not chiselled. Sandstone is relatively resistant to erosion, but the shales and coals underneath it are much softer. These lower layers wear back relatively easily, undermining the sandstone. Weakened by vertical joints and the softer layers of shale within them, massive blocks of sandstone break off and topple down the slopes. Sheer cliffs are left behind, gradually retreating with each dislodged block.