The Walks of Mt Wilson

 

 

 

Allow 3 hours return, 2 hours if you just walk without many pauses.

 

The Village Walk was made in 2004 by the Mount Wilson Progress Association to encourage walkers to walk on the verge beside the road, rather than on the narrow roads throughout the village.

The Village Walk goes from just in front of Breenhold (near the entrance to Silva Plana) to Cathedral Reserve or in the reverse direction. It is about 3.5 km long but is an easy walk with gentle grades. It passes many of the points of interest in Mt Wilson. It includes the Anniversary Walk past Wynstay and also the walk entitled 'A walk along the Avenue'. It can be done in its entirety or just portions of the Village Walk can be selected. If the full length is walked, it is advisable to park a car at the far end unless a 7 km walk is planned. If you intend to start the walk at Cathedral Reserve it is suggested going to the end of this article for the start.

  • The Village Walk from Breenhold to Cathedral Reserve

    The Village Walk from Breenhold to Cathedral Reserve

 

If the Village Walk is started on The Avenue from outside Breenhold (opposite Silva Plana) the walk is on the left side of The Avenue towards the Fire Station and Village Hall.

Walking past Breenhold which is on both sides of The Avenue for much of this portion, you will come to Marcus Clark Reserve at the end of Breenhold. You can walk through Marcus Clark Reserve and experience the type of bush which is growing on sandstone and is atypical of the rainforest for which Mt Wilson is known.

A little further on, the road on the left is to Du Faurs Rocks and Chinamans Hat and a detour can be made to see this wonderful lookout. At this intersection is the Mt Wilson Fire Station and opposite is the Mt Wilson Village Hall.

Continuing along the Village Walk past the Fire Station is a little bridge over a culvert and on the far side is the Old School House and the Old Teachers Cottage which together the Study Centre. Until 1987 these were the Public School and teachers cottage.

A little further on along The Avenue is the Mt Wilson, Mt Irvine and Bell War Memorial built in 1919 after the First World War. Continuing along the walk there are some old rhododendrons and a patch of rainforest and near the exit of the rainforest is Sloan Reserve on the opposite side of The Avenue.

Continuing along the walk on the left side of The Avenue you walk past Nooroo, one of the well known gardens in Mt Wilson where the original entrance onto The Avenue has recently been restored. Just past Nooroo is Withycombe and opposite is Bebeah.

Bebeah and Withycombe

Both these houses represent the first European settlers in Mt Wilson. Both were built for descendents of William Cox, the builder of the road across the Blue Mountains in 1815.

Edward King Cox served in the NSW Legislative Council from 1874 until his death in 1883. In 1878 he bought 30 acres of land in Mt Wilson and built Bebeah to a design by Ambrose Thornley Junior. This was a fine country house with a massive central fireplace of brick and an 8 foot wide verandah all around. The garden had sweeping driveways, English shade trees and masses of flowers. In 1902 the Sloan family bought Bebeah from the Cox estate and this family remained the owners until the death of their youngest daughter, Marjorie in 1984. Marjorie Sloan was a great benefactor in the community and her name is perpetuated in the Sloan Reserve which she gave to the community in c.1960. 

Withycombe (originally Beowang c.1919)

George Henry Cox, Edward King's cousin, after 1875 purchased land at the corner of The Avenue and Church Lane. Here he had built between 1878 and 1880 a substantial house Beowang (possibly an Aboriginal name for one of the tree ferns in Mt Wilson). The original building had a main gabled roof contained within symmetrical chimneys and a verandah overlooking spacious gardens with a tennis court where local people gathered.

Just past Withycombe is Church Lane on the left and just down Church Lane is Wynne Reserve.

Wynne Reserve at the corner of Church Lane and the Avenue 

This small reserve was given by Jane (nee Wynne) and Bill Smart in the early 1970's, following the tradition established by Colonel Wynne, Jane's father. It was also given to maintain open space beside the Church.

On the The Avenue at the intersection of Church Lane is St Georges Church.

St George's Church

Henry Marcus Clark came to Mt Wilson in the first decade of the 20th Century. Following his unexpected death in 1913 the Clark family funded the building of the Church to be a Memorial to Henry Marcus Clark. Again Colonel Wynne provided the land on which the Church stands.

The massive trees and undergrowth on the block were cleared with a bullock team, while the tree ferns were preserved. The building material was transported from Bell Railway Station. Fibro was the choice; Henry Marcus Clark had been most interested in this new building material. He admired its lightness, its ease of construction and its resistance to fire was another vital quality.

The walls are fibro with battens to cover the joins. The roof too is fibro cut into tiles, painted and then nailed carefully. The inside of the roof is lined with Baltic pine from Northern Europe and the structural timbers are Oregon from North America. It is believed that the windows were made in Sydney and there is a fine stained glass window dedicated to Henry Marcus Clark. The pressed tin surrounds at the base of the building were popular at the time as a cheap imitation of sandstone.

The Church was consecrated in 1916 and is now included in Blackheath Parish. It is open on the second Sunday of each month for a 3.00pm service. Residents from Mt Wilson and Mt Irvine support and maintain it.

Continue along The Avenue past St Georges Church and you will see the cemetery in the church grounds (feel free to wander through the church grounds).

The Cemetery

Here are many familiar names: Wynne, Gregson, Clark, Kirk and many others. Many residents who have left Mt Wilson choose to have a plaque placed beneath a tree in their memory when they pass on.

Just further on adjacent to the cemetery is the Post House.

The Post House 

This building goes back to the early 1920's. From 1890 until 1921 the Post Office had operated in a small rustic building in the grounds of Withycombe. It was decided by local residents to donate the capital required to form a private company. Colonel Wynne donated the land, about 1 acre in area and the building was designed by a well known architect of that time, John Moore. From 1922 until 1986 it was used for the purpose for which it was built. In its early days it included a small tearoom, even acting as a small general store. All this time it was also the telephone exchange and it became an important centre for the village community. In 1986 all that changed when the phones became automatic and the Post Office closed. The property was sold and converted sympathetically into a cafe. A cafe operated here until 2003 when it became a private residence.

The Avenue from St George's Church to Founders Corner is seen as one of the main areas of Mt Wilson. It is here that visitors frequently park to enjoy the beauty of the trees, to catch a glimpse of spectacular gardens and to picnic or just enjoy the peace and tranquility. Picnic tables have been placed here by the local community for the benefit of visitors.

Past the Post House at the intersection of The Avenue with Mt Irvine Rd is Founders Corner.

Founders Corner

This corner was set aside from land given by Lieutenant Colonel Richard Owen Wynne, grandson of Richard Wynne, in 1932. Today it contains a basalt seat with a plaque carrying the names of the original settlers. The plaque was unveiled in 1968 as part of Mt Wilson's Centenary celebrations.

Read the plaque to the founders of the village on the stone seat then across Founders Corner and walk up the steps opposite the Wynstay Gatehouse, cross Mt Irvine Rd to the Anniversary Walkway. Here you are just outside Wynstay and The Lodge.

The Lodge, Wynstay gates and crenellated stone walls. 

All part of the fine heritage property Wynstay established by Richard Wynne from 1875, and known then as Yarrawa.

The Lodge, or Gatehouse as it was sometimes called, is hexagonal in design, built around 1890 of basalt and sandstone with a central chimney serving fireplaces in three of the four downstairs rooms.

Wynstay gates were very likely built at the same time as The Lodge. The pillars of dressed local sandstone and the wrought iron gates and fences are thought to have all been fabricated on the estate.

Stone walls of local random basalt with dressed sandstone crenellations are a distinguishing feature of Wynstay.

Continue along on the right above Mt Irvine Rd just below the Turkish Bath Museum which is up on the slope above you. Keep on along below the Turkish Bath Museum and you will reach a seat dedicated to the Kirk family where you get spectacular views north across the Wollongambe River and Wollemi National Park.

Above you on the right is Wynstay one of the early houses at Mt Wilson.

Continue along Mt Irvine Rd, cross Davies Lane, then underthe wonderful copper beeches with golden elms opposite, along each side of Mt Irvine Rd. Then along Hillcrest Aveto the T intersection with Stephen Lane and turn left down under the power lines to Cathedral Reserve.

If the Village Walk is started at Cathedral Reserve, there is a sign denoting the beginning, but it is not particularly clear just where you walk. Walk across to the power lines and uphill following the track below the power lines. Cross the gravel road leading to Bisley and Bryn Mawr and continue uphill under the power lines until you come to the intersection of Hillcrest Ave and Stephen Lane. Turn right along Hillcrest Ave and then follow the Village Walk notes above in reverse order.

Approximate time is three quarters of an hour. This is a very pleasant short walk through the centre of the village. The section through Gregson Park is a little steep.

 

From the Study Centre, walk up the road to the Church. One can walk off the road on the left through the Memorial Reserve then cross over the road and walk beneath the cherries and down into Sloan Reserve. Here a delightful stone bridge has been built across the tiny stream. Set amongst the green tree ferns, it is a lovely place to linger. The path takes you back to the road which you can then cross and steps lead you to the bank above the road. You walk beneath horse chestnut trees beside Nooroo and then under the towering elms beside Withycombe.

It is always interesting to wander through the church grounds before continuing past the old post office to the castellated fence of Wynstay then turn right at the T intersection along Waterfall Rd. As you come down the hill note Rimon and Chimney Cottage (for other walks). Keep close to the fence at Chimney Cottage and you will find the track that leads over the bridge into Gregson Park. At the top of Gregson Park is Wyndham Avenue. Turn right into this and return to the Centre. As you pass the obscured fence of Yengo, on the left as you come along Wyndham Avenue, you may get a glimpse of wallabies and emus.

A short extension can be taken at the Church by turning left and walking to the end of Church Lane and return. (Add twenty minutes for this extension).

Another extension is to turn left at the Wynstay T intersection along Mt Irvine Rd. Keep beside the stone wall of The Lodge and then on to the Anniversary Walk. Above you, on the right, is the Turkish Bathouse which is restored and used by the local historical society as a museum. Pause on the seat in memory of the Kirk family and look out at the splendid view of the endless ridges and gorges to the north of Mount Wilson, before continuing to and then down Davies Lane. When the road ends keep coming along the track till you arrive at Rimon. This passes through some dense rainforest and past some lovely gardens. (Add 25 minutes for this extension).

This leaflet is compiled from extensive material developed in 2000 by Mary Reynolds, Research Officer and Public Officer for the Mt Wilson and Mt Irvine  Historical Society Inc.

It is intended to be a guide when one starts from The Lodge, at the T-intersection of The Avenue and Mt Irvine Road, and walks west down The Avenue to the War Memorial. The walk, of course, can also be undertaken in the reverse direction.

 

The original leaflet was published by the Mount Wilson & Mount Irvine Historical Society Inc. in 2008.

 

The Lodge, Wynstay gates and crenellated stone walls.

All part of the fine heritage property Wynstay established by Richard Wynne from 1875, and known then as Yarrawa.

The Lodge, or Gatehouse as it was sometimes called, is hexagonal in design, built around 1890 of basalt and sandstone with a central chimney serving fireplaces in three of  the four downstairs rooms.

Wynstay gates were very likely built at the same time as The Lodge. The pillars of dressed local sandstone and the wrought iron gates and fences are thought to have all been fabricated on the estate.

Stone walls of local random basalt with dressed sandstone crenellations are a distinguishing feature of Wynstay.

Founders Corner

This corner was set aside from land given by Lieutenant Colonel Richard Owen Wynne, grandson of Richard Wynne, in 1932. Today it contains a basalt seat with a plaque carrying the names of the original settlers. The plaque was unveiled in 1968 as part of  Mt Wilson’s Centenary celebrations.

The Avenue

The Avenue from Founders Corner to St George’s Church is seen as the central part of Mt Wilson. It is here that visitors frequently park to enjoy the beauty of the trees, to catch a glimpse of spectacular gardens and to picnic or just enjoy the peace and tranquility. Picnic tables have been placed here by the local community for the benefit of visitors.

The Post House

This building goes back to the early 1920’s. From 1890 until 1921 the Post Office had operated in a small rustic building in the grounds of Withycombe. It was decided by local residents  to donate the capital required to form a private company. Colonel Wynne donated the land, about 1 acre in area and the building was designed by a well known architect of  that time John Moore. From 1922 until 1986 it was used for the purpose for which it was built. In its early days it  included a small  tearoom, even acting as a small general store. All this time it was also the telephone exchange and it became an important centre for the village community. In 1986 all that changed when the phones became automatic and the Post Office closed. The property was sold and converted sympathetically into a café. A café operated here until 2003 when it became a private residence.

St George’s Church

Henry Marcus Clark came to Mt Wilson in the first decade of the 20th Century. Following his unexpected death in 1913 the Clark family funded the building of the Church to be a Memorial to Henry Marcus Clark. Again Colonel Wynne provided the land on which the Church stands.

The massive trees and undergrowth on the block were cleared  with a bullock team, while the tree ferns were preserved. The  building material was transported from Bell Railway Station. Fibro was the choice; Henry Marcus Clark had been most interested in this new building material. He admired its lightness, its ease of construction and its resistance to fire was another vital quality.

The walls are fibro with battens to cover the joins. The roof too is fibro cut into tiles, painted and then nailed carefully. The inside of the roof is lined with Baltic pine from Northern Europe and the structural timbers are Oregon from North America. It is believed that the windows were made in Sydney and there is a fine stained glass window dedicated to Henry Marcus Clark. The pressed tin surrounds at the base of the building were popular at the time as a cheap imitation of sandstone.

The Church was consecrated in 1916 and is now included in Blackheath Parish. It is open on the second Sunday of each month for a 3.00pm service. Residents from Mt Wilson and Mt Irvine support and maintain it.

The Cemetery

Here are many familiar names: Wynne, Gregson, Clark, Kirk and many others. Many residents who have left Mt Wilson choose to have a plaque placed beneath a tree in their memory when they pass on.

Bebeah and Withycombe

Both these houses represent the first European settlers in Mt Wilson. Both were built for descendents of William Cox, the builder of the road across the Blue Mountains in 1815.

Edward King Cox served in the NSW Legislative Council from 1874 until his death in 1883. In 1878 he bought 30 acres of land in Mt Wilson and built Bebeah to a design by Ambrose Thornley Junior. This was a fine country house with a massive central fireplace of brick and an 8 foot wide verandah all around. The garden had sweeping driveways, English shade trees and masses of flowers. In 1902 the Sloan family bought Bebeah from the Cox estate and this family remained the owners until the death of their youngest daughter, Marjorie in 1984. Marjorie Sloan was a great benefactor in the community and her name is perpetuated in the Sloan Reserve which she gave to the community in  c.1960.

Withycombe (originally Beowang c.1919)

George Henry Cox, Edward King’s cousin, after 1875 purchased land at the corner of The Avenue and Church Lane. Here he had built between 1878 and 1880 a substantial house Beowang (possibly an Aboriginal name for one of the tree ferns in Mt Wilson). The original building had a main gabled roof contained within symmetrical chimneys and a verandah overlooking spacious gardens with a tennis court where local people gathered.

Wynne Reserve at the corner of Church Lane and the Avenue

This small reserve was given by Jane (nee Wynne) and Bill Smart in the early 1970’s, following the tradition established by Colonel Wynne, Jane’s father. It was also given to maintain open space beside the Church.

C.W.A Memorial Seat

This was built to recognise the contribution made by the Mt Wilson / Mt Irvine C.W.A. from 1929 - 1993. Over those years the C.W.A. played a very important role in the community being responsible for The New Years Sports Day on Silva Plana, and many other social and practical activities in the district. Among its Life Members were Marjorie Sloan, Mariamne Wynne, her daughter Jane Smart, Hanny Huber and Isa Valder.

Approximate time is half an hour. This is an easy, level walk suitable for all ages and all weather.

 

From the front of the Study Centre turn down the road past the Village Hall towards the highway. Take the second turn on the left into Queens Avenue at Silva Plana Reserve. The wonderful old home on the left is Yengo and now includes a wildlife refuge as well as one of the lovely gardens of Mount Wilson. (Look for wallabies under the pine trees). Continue on past Cherry Cottage, Windy Ridge and Wyndham. By the time Wyndham Avenue meets the Avenue again you are almost back at the Study Centre.