I can not believe it has already been one year since I first visited Mt Wilson last autumn. This year I went on Friday as I wanted to dodge the weekend crowds and so I did. It was so peaceful and autumn like, I felt like I was back in Europe, but funnily I was in the middle of bushland all the way across the globe in Australia.
Mt Wilson, the heritage garden village, is completely surrounded by the Blue Mountains National Park only 2 hours from Sydney. The area has magnificent natural bushland and rainforest, walks and canyons as well as historic houses and gardens.
I am very happy with the photos I took inside a couple of the private gardens. It was little different to last years visit and most of the leaves seemed to already fallen off, having said that there was still plenty to look at.
If you get a chance, I highly recommend visiting this autumn wonderland. You need to take some cash money if you want to have a stroll around the gardens as all of them are privately owned without any ATM machines. They cost around $8 per person. There is a lovely little cafe nearby, but I think its only open during the weekend. Having a picnic in one of the many picnic spots in the area is a great way to enjoy this experience even more.
Here are some of my photos from the day:
About Mount Wilson
Mount Wilson and, nearby, Mount Irvine, are two basalt capped peaks on the northern edge of the Blue Mountains. Blessed with rich volcanic soils, these two peaks were heavily timbered with temperate rain forests of sassafras, coachwood, lilli pilli, tree ferns and a thick understorey of ferns. The forests are teeming with wildlife and birds.
European settlers had difficulty reaching Mt Wilson and Mt Irvine, however there is much evidence that indigenous people camped in the area. There are many rock carvings and paintings, implement-sharpening grooves, and stone axe-heads to be found among the caves and forests, and chips of chert, a rock not of this district, have been found along creek banks.
By 1880, eight houses had been built for use as retreats from the summer heat of lower altitudes, creating at what was known at the time as a ‘hill station’. Many of these early landholders had made their mark already on NSW society, business and government. While laying out their extensive gardens in the rich volcanic soil, they never lost sight of the magnificent environment of luxurious native rainforest and bushland which surrounded them at Mt Wilson. Eucalypts and tree ferns are still featured among the exotic trees and shrubs which make Mt Wilson famous as a ‘heritage garden village’.
Among those early settlers were familiar names from NSW history, including Eccleston Du Faur, a foundation member of the NSW Academy of the Arts, later President of the NSW Art Gallery, and also responsible for the establishment of Kuringai Chase. Richard Wynne, first Mayor of Burwood and benefactor of the Wynne Art Prize for Landscape bought several of the original portions. Three grandsons of William Cox, who built the road over the Blue Mountains, were among the first landholders, and GH Cox’s property ‘Beowang’ was purchased by Mr & Mrs V. White, parents of Nobel Prizewinning author Patrick White, who spent time here as a boy.
Not only did these and other settlers establish extensive gardens but they also planted the magnificent avenue of trees from Sefton to Wynstay Lodge. They built the School and Cottage in 1891 and later St George’s Church, built as a memorial to Henry Marcus Clark by his children, and consecrated in 1916. Land was donated for Founder’s Corner, a sports ground named Silva Plana, and almost 3000 acres of native bushland, including some rainforest, was placed in Crown Reserves.
Mt Wilson remains a fascinating and charming village with many English-style houses, gardens and avenues, now over a century old, in a setting of Australian bushland and rainforest.
Website for Mt Wilson and Mt Irvine : www.mtwilson.com.au