This small 5 hectare remnant is all that remains of what used to be known as the Yarrawah Brush. It once covered around 2,500 ha and, lets be thankful that someone with foresight proclaimed this small piece a public park in 1878.
One can clearly see just how thick it was and how difficult it must have been for the early settlers to shift vegetation this dense.
These days the Roberston Environment Protection Society looks after the encroachment of foreign plants though the park itself is funded by the National Parks and Wildlife service.
The easy walk is a short 600 metres and it has signs indicating plant varieties.
Charles Throsby was passing south from the Moss Vale area to Kangaroo Valley in 1818, en route to Jervis Bay and he sent his servant Joseph Wild off with some local Aborigines to have a look at the area east of Moss Vale which became known as the Yarrawa Brush. With the help of local Aborigines Throsby later found a route up from the Illawarra.
Surveyor Robert Hoddle and a gang of convicts cut a bridle path down the slopes in 1830 as part of a track intended to join the Cowpastures (Camden) to Kiama and Gerringong. He described the Yarrawa Brush as 'the most formidable brush I have ever seen. The vines so thickly entwined around the huge trees and small as to render the sun obscure at the time it shone with great brilliancy'.
It was the town's rich soil which fostered the dense rainforest which once covered the entire plateau and which kept the settlers away for so long after it was discovered. But, in the end, they destroyed nearly all of it to establish their homes and farms.
You can see just how thick it used to be by visiting the Roberston Nature Reserve just behind the main street (Hoddle).
It was the 1861 Land Act of Sir John Robertson (former Premier of NSW) which cleared the way for the establishment of the town which took his name. It provided for free selection before survey of unreserved blocks of crown land at £1 per acre with a 25 per cent down payment and the rest to be paid at leisure provided the owner lived on the land for three years and made certain improvements to it.
In 1862 Kiama alderman John Hanrahan and his brother-in-law William Davis investigated the Yarrawah Brush, found and followed Hoddle's track, located some excellent land and selected it. This was reported in the Kiama Independent newspaper, encouraging others from Jamberoo and Kiama to follow. Land was reserved by the government that year as 'Three Creeks'.
A basic track from Kiama was cut in 1862, another from Albion Park in 1863, and the new settlement was joined to the Old South Road via Kangaloon in 1867. The townsite was surveyed in 1863 by Surveyor Campbell who was so impressed he reserved land for himself and built 'Rossgol' which is still standing. He drew up a town plan which was approved in 1865. By that time there were 1200 selectors who had taken up 30 000 acres of land, despite the fact that it was a three-day ride for supplies and 30 km to the nearest doctor.
The first lots were sold in 1865 when Roberston was called 'Yarrawa'. The first school in the village was built in 1872 and what was probably the first store in 1876. A slab building for Methodists went up c.1870, to be replaced by a church proper in 1888. The Anglican church opened in 1876.
Steam-driven sawmills opened up in the district in the 1870s to supply the demand for local timber. Shops and houses began to appear in the early 1880s. A post office appeared in 1884 and a school of arts in 1886. By the following year the town had two hotels, two bank branches, three stores, a baker, a bootmaker, a chemist and five butchers. A police station was built in 1887. After the depression of the 1890s growth ceased until the 1920s.
The Burrawang Farmers Club was established in 1878 to promote the improvement of roads, facilities and farming techniques. This organisation evolved into the Robertson Agricultural and Horticultural Society and fostered the first Agricultural Show which was held at Burrawang in 1880 and was transferred to Robertson in 1886.
Macquarie Pass was opened in 1898 facilitating commerce and connections with the coast and with Sydney as the Southern Highlands railway had not extended to Robertson. A motor service carrying passengers and goods commenced operations in 1912. The railway did not arrive until 1932 despite agitation which commenced in 1872.
The lady at the NPWS at Fitzroy Falls had tipped us off. Keep your eyes peeled because the sign is easy to miss. They don't even advertise what's here.....which is actually good because much of the growth beside the river has been downtrodden due to over use.
What she told us was that this was a good place to camp, and so we did.
Yet, she had waxed lyrical about other stuff and it wasn't till the next morning (after a horrible and scary windy night) that I ventured out down to the gurgling stream.
It looked nice but, as I explored downstream, it got better and better until I reached its piece de resistence, the Blue Pool.
It is idyllic but I imagine it must get crowded in summer. I had it all to myself but certainly wasn't going to have a dip in the chill winter air.
If you turn off the Illawarra Highway, around 2kms east of Robertson where the highway bends to the left and there's a famous pie shop, go right onto the Jamberoo Rd, then, after 10 km, you will come to a signposted turnoff to the right which takes you to Nellies Glen Picnic Area and Carrington Falls. After 2 km this sealed branch road forks. The road on the right leads to Nellies Glen and that on the left to Thomas' Place Picnic Area. A track (2 km return with disabled access) departs the latter and leads to three lookouts over the beautiful falls which tumble over 50 metres off the Kangaroo Valley escarpment.
One section of track (pics 3 & 5) has steps through an exciting and dramatic crack in the sandstone escarpment. For the wheelchair dependent you can go around it.
A local family, the Missinghams, had a lot to do with preserving this area and their extraordinary tale is told on posters at the picnic spot.
As a viewing spectacle they are better than the famed Fitzroy but the walks and other possibilities aren't anywhere near as good, which isn't to say they're bad either.
Belmore is one of many that simply plunge off the sandstone escarpment into the valley below. The first drop is the furthest with the following falls becoming less in height, as you can clearly see in the opening shot. The water plunges an impressive 78 metres into the valley below.
The next photo is a more close-up view of the second cascade.
Barrengarry Creek is what feeds these falls and the Myra Vale loop road goes from Robertson (8kms) around to Fitzroy Falls.
Of the four carparks available, Hindmarsh is probably the best place to stop. From here it's only a relatively short walk to all four of the lookouts.
Hindmarsh doesn't look onto Belmore Falls but instead has extensive panoramic views down the valley (opening pic).
While you're there, keep your eyes peeled for the beautiful colours of the lichen (pic 2) on the nearby rocks and you should see wattle in bloom (pic 3) in winter and early spring.
It's also worth a stop, if you're into photography, at the top of the falls and walk a little way upstream. That's where I took the last two pictures.
Myra Vale Road is the name of the way you should be looking for when coming from Fitzroy Falls.
It's signposted on the main road that runs through Robertson and you head south, approx. 6 kilometres from Roberston. The last couple of kms is dirt.
Ok this is kinda weird. The store that once accompanied the big potatoe has since closed. But the big potatoe still stands, just smack band in the middle of a vacant lot. I had to have a bit of a lugh at it to be honest, and took a photo just to prove it!!!
The whole potatoe thing is due to Robertson being one of the biggest potatoe growing regions!
This is a country style guesthouse set on 15acres. You can go there and take a stroll through the gardens, and maybe have a cup of tea?
They hold events here such as weddings, birthdays etc.
I have been told that this is one of the most haunted houses in the country. After doing a few searches I have yet to find any info that confirms this, so I dont know??? Maybe someone can fill me in...
There are a number of places to walk out onto the rocks at the top of the falls, and they are inviting places to sit and sun, to maybe dip a toe into the water, (but be careful!), or to look at the strange patterns formed by wind and water during eons past and present.
You can clearly see what a drop-off there is at the top. So when you feel like wading around in a mountain stream..... be careful it doesn't end in a precipitous fall like this! And don't rely on your ears to warn you of danger, as you might not hear much of a rush or a roar at the top, especially depending on the volume of water going over at any particular time. During these days of drought in eastern Australia, many of these waterfalls are just thin, wispy veils of water, dropping oh-so-many meters...
Like so many of the waterfalls we've seen in the Southern Highlands or in the Blue Mountains.... what you see at the top is deceptive of what you see from the bottom or from a lookout point across the valley!
Carrington Falls is about 50 meters tall, and because this picture was taken on October 23, 2004, just after nearly a week of rain in NSW, the waters were really running at that time.
The park has a nice picnic area and wheelchair-accessible boardwalk, but I am not sure if you can see the falls from the boardwalk, and some of it is pretty steep. But you don't have to pay to get in here, either.
Sometimes you also see a little bit of wildlife on the boardwalk...
If you head down the hill toward the "right" you come directly to the water and the rocks along the river. Upstream, the water is still and calm, shimmering in the sun....