Where did Darwin walk?

By | Category: Travel destinations
The Darwin Walk

The Darwin Walk

You might think that the question above could be answered by the Galpagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. But no, it refers to Wentworth Falls.

And, before you ask, Wentworth Falls isn’t in Galapagos (as far as I know) but is to be found in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales.

As you drive up the Great Western Highway into the Blue Mountains each of the towns has a nameplate advertising the fact that you have reached it and each has a phrase explaining it. So Wentworth Falls has “where Darwin walked” and Lawson is called “the original Blue Mountain” which suggests that somewhere, there is an unoriginal one.

Wentworth and Lawson were two the three original pioneers – Blaxland was the other – who in 1813 crossed the mountains and opened up the plains beyond to Australia’s farmers.

To return to Wenty for a moment, what is this Darwinian link? In January 1836, Charles Darwin visited Sydney and ventured out into the Blue Mountains via Wentworth Falls on the 17th/18th of January, exactly 180 years ago today. There is a track, two kilometres long, that Darwin walked and that track is still used today. Signposted as the Charles Darwin Walk by the authorities of the Blue Mountains National Park, today it is an easy 60- 70 minute walk. In Darwin’s day it would have taken longer. And in his day, Wenty was known as Weatherboard because the buildings were constructed in this material. It wasn’t until long after Darwin left that the name changed to reflect the waterfall that is outside the town and on the Charles Darwin Walk.

But that doesn’t answer my original thought. Why should Wentworth Falls claim to be where Darwin walked rather than Emu Plains, Faulconbridge, Leura or even Bathurst. When I asked, nobody seemed to know. Maybe Wenty was just the first to grab the name.

Whatever the reason, today, Wentworth Falls draws tourists form all over NSW, Australia and beyond. The Falls are the biggest draw, the countryside and the rugged terrain that the settlers faced are additional draws. So remote are some parts that it wasn’t until  1994 that the Wollemi Pine was found which had previously only been known from fossils. They are big trees growing up to 40 metres high. If that has only been found in the last 22 years what else is there that hasn’t been found yet?

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