Tag Archives: Nelson

Trove Tuesday – Aladdin’s Cave

While holidaying at Nelson recently, we went on a guided tour of the nearby Princess Margaret Rose Cave.  It is a fascinating collection of stalactites and stalagmites formed over millions of years from water seepage from the Glenelg River.

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The story we heard of the discovery of the caves could have been straight from a Boys Own Annual.  It was found in 1936 by two young men.  One was lowered into a 17 metre dark hole with only a candle, matches and string.  When he returned to the top his comment was something like “I think I have found Aladdin’s cave” .

Because it is such a great story, I though I would search Trove for articles from the time of the cave’s opening to the public in 1941.  I found two worth sharing from the Border Watch of Mt Gambier and the Horsham Times.

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New Cave Opened Near Sandy Water Hole. (1941, January 18). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78138417

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The story from the Horsham Times, claims Jack and Keith as Horsham men, but that is not indicated at all in the Border Watch article that states Jack Hutchesson had lived all his life at Caroline, near Nelson.   I did check the Electoral Rolls and there were Hutchessons living in Horsham over the years.   The Horsham Times does give a good account of the discovery of the caves.

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GLENELG RIVER HAS ATTRACTIVE CAVES. (1941, February 14). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 14, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72689203

What I did learn from the articles was that Jack and Keith were quite a bit older than the impression given on the guided tour.  We left with a picture of two lads, maybe 15 or 16,  when in fact they had Jack’s sons with them.   Otherwise it was a fun and informative tour and highly recommended.


Thinking of the Far S.W.

Today I planned to write a post about our trip to Nelson in the far south-west of Victoria, that we have just returned from.   We drove down last Wednesday, through towns such as Digby, Dartmoor and Drik Drik, tiny communities which feature in my blog particularity the Passing of the Pioneers posts.  As we turned into the Winnap/Nelson Road and entered the Lower Glenelg National Park, the beauty of the area was obvious.  I was particularly taken by the number of wild flowers on the side of the roads, pink, white and yellow .

THE GLENELG RIVER

THE GLENELG RIVER

I also made a note of the Drik Drik cemetery which I hoped to visit on our way home.  Ian Marr on his Cemeteries of  S.W. Victoria site describes the cemetery -

The most notable feature is the rather impressive entrance. On each side of the gates are honour rolls for both World Wars. The graves are mostly centred in one area, with a small grouping in the far right, front corner. 

Drik Drik cemetery is the resting place of many of the pioneers I have written about.  They include  William Mullen and his wife Emma Holmes, Robert Arthur Lightbody, Mary Hedditch and her husband James Malseed and the McLeans.  Descendants of these families still live in the area.

The temperature quickly reached 43 degrees Celsius Friday leading to an itinerary shuffle.  Friday afternoon, while at Nelson we received a CFA text message warning us that fire was 18 kilometres east of Nelson at Kentbruk.

On Saturday, the fire was still out of control and as we hadn’t made our planned trip to Mt. Gambier, rather than head back toward the fire we would go home via nearby Mt Gambier.

Today, four days after it started, as I sit here at home, smoke from the fire is beginning to become visible to the south.  The fire is still out of control and threatening the community of Drik Drik and the town of Dartmoor.  You may remember Dartmoor and the fantastic Avenue of Honour I posted on back in April.  Again we were going to stop on the way home and take some photos.  Also the road that led us into the area, the Winnap/Nelson road is now closed

Instead of posting about our holiday, I would like to wish everyone living in the area well and hope that soon life can return to normal.  While they are no strangers to bushfire that never makes it easier to deal with.   But they are from hardy stock down that way, it’s in the blood.  My thoughts  are also with the wonderful firefighters working hard in difficult terrain.

In these times, I also think of the wildlife which is abundant and diverse through the Lower Glenelg National Park and the adjacent Cobboboonee National Park.  May serenity soon return to their lives and they can graze again among the wildflowers, pink, white and yellow.

Postscript:  Since I started this post, a fire is now burning out of control at Chepstowe and Carngham around 20 kilometres from home.  There are reports of homes lost including an unconfirmed report that the historic Carngham Station homestead has been destroyed.  I will keep you posted.

Further Update on Carngham Station: Tonight it was confirmed that the homestead at Carngham Station was lost in today’s fire.  A photo released on Twitter tonight reveals the devastation.  .


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