Mv052 : Track Engineer's Cascade and Henry Lawson Walk | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Mv052 : Track Engineer's Cascade and Henry Lawson Walk

Item details

Name of item: Mv052 : Track Engineer's Cascade and Henry Lawson Walk
Other name/s: Henry Lawson Rock; Henry Lawson Lookout
Primary address: Off Beaufort Avenue, Mount Victoria, NSW 2786
Local govt. area: Blue Mountains
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Off Beaufort AvenueMount VictoriaBlue Mountains   Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Criterion (c) Aesthetic
The view from Sunset Rock across Kanimbla and north to Victoria Pass and the walk along the heathland atop the escarpment are very pleasing at a local level.

Criterion (d) Social
The importance of the local memories that Henry Lawson had taken some of his earliest inspiration for his verse from Sunset Rock and the walk along the Kanimbla escarpment was sufficiently strong in 1941 to persuade the Mount Victoria Trustees to name the track through the heathland Henry Lawson Walk. Although this belief may be open to challenge, since Lawson took inspiration from a wider acquaintance with places around Mount Victoria, it has given potency to the escarpment walk.
Date significance updated: 17 Jan 05
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Physical description: Access to Sunset Rock is along a pedestrian track at the end of Beaufort Avenue: parking in the street is deemed to impede residents and cars should be left at the north end of Beaufort Avenue. Sunset Rock is an extensive rock shelf on the edge of the escarpment, with excellent views into Kanimbla and across Mitchell's Victoria Pass.

Because of the construction of five 1980s houses on the escarpment immediately to the east of Sunset Rock, the original line of Henry Lawson Walk is now blocked, but resumes beyond the houses as far as the descent to Engineers Cascade (MV 004). It is a clear path through the heathland with attractive views into Kanimbla.

It is possible to do a circular walk by leaving the track just short of Engineers Cascade and taking a narrow track up to Kenny Street which leads back to the end of Beaufort Avenue.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good
Date condition updated:30 Dec 04
Modifications and dates: Five houses were built in the 1980s on the escarpment just to the east of Sunset Rock, blocking the western end of Henry Lawson Walk
Current use: Walk
Former use: Walk

History

Historical notes: Although Sunset Rock already had this name in the late nineteenth century (Fox, Upper Blue Mountains Geographical Encyclopaedia, 154), its alternative name Henry Lawson Rock or Lookout and Henry Lawson Walk are much later. Henry Lawson Walk was named only in 1941 by the Mount Victoria Trustees, while the Henry Lawson Lookout on Sunset Rock was never adopted as an official name at all. (Woods, Yellow Rock to Green Gully, 80, 152)

Henry Lawson, born in 1867, became a prominent figure in Australian letters through the short stories and ballads which he wrote in his earlier years of adulthood, before twenty years of serious decline after 1902. . After some years of eduction and farm-work at Eurunderee near Mudgee, Henry at the age of 13 came to the Blue Mountains with his Norwegian father, Peter Larsen (who had become known as Lawson when Henry was born in 1867). During the early 1880s the marriage between Peter and Louisa Lawson finally broke up: Peter was already working at Rylstone and then at Mount Victoria (where his father-in-law was a caretaker for a daughter of Sir Henry Parkes), while Louisa moved to Sydney in 1883. (Mutch, Journal of Royal Australian Historical Society, 18, 1932, 275-316; Henry Lawson by his Mates, 31)

Henry remained close to both his parents, though it was through his mother that the impulse to write was fostered. Although he went to Sydney in 1883, he continued to visit the Mountains and to share a small hut with his father until Peter died in 1888. Henry's friend Arthur Parker recalled how in 1887-8 he and Lawson were in Mount Victoria intermittently for about twelve months. He helped his father with contract building in the Mountains and was responsible for painting a number of houses, including Larsens Cottages in Montgomery Street, Mount Victoria (MV 019). Henry was now writing poetry for the Bulletin and the Lithgow Mercury and on long tramps with Parker, down the Little Zigzag, or on Shipley Plateau, or on Mount Blackheath, or going to Jenolan Caves, Lawson would recite his poetry and spin yarns. How much time Lawson spent on Sunset Rock at twilight or walking along the edge of the escarpment is not clear, but Mountain themes are clear enough in his poetry of this time. (Henry Lawson by his Mates, 17-27; Matthews, Australian Dictionary of Biography, X 18-22; Radi, ibid, X 23)

Lawson was still offering contributions to the Lithgow Mercury from Mount Victoria in May 1889 (Mitchell Library, Al 29/25/3: CY 2213), but he does not seem to have much to do with the Mountains after that time. His affection for Mount Victoria was remembered by local people, however,. In 1941 the Mount Victoria Trustees named the track through the heathland from Sunset Rock west to Engineers Cascade the Henry Lawson Walk, but another proposal to name Sunset Rock the Henry Lawson Lookout was not brought to fruition. The Blue Mountains City Council showed less respect to literary association in the 1980s when it permitted the construction of five houses on the escarpment just to the east of Sunset Rock, blocking the western end of Henry Lawson Walk. (Smith, How to See the Blue Mountains, 34, 88; Woods, Yellow Rock to Green Gully, 80)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation (none)-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The view from Sunset Rock across Kanimbla and north to Victoria Pass and the walk along the heathland atop the escarpment are very pleasing at a local level.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The importance of the local memories that Henry Lawson had taken some of his earliest inspiration for his verse from Sunset Rock and the walk along the Kanimbla escarpment was sufficiently strong in 1941 to persuade the Mount Victoria Trustees to name the track through the heathland Henry Lawson Walk. Although this belief may be open to challenge, since Lawson took inspiration from a wider acquaintance with places around Mount Victoria, it has given potency to the escarpment walk.
Integrity/Intactness: High
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

Meaningful signage is a high desideratum.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanLEP1991MV05227 Dec 91 183 
Heritage study MV052   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Blue Mountains Heritage Study1983MV052Croft & Associates Pty Ltd & Meredith Walker  Yes
Heritage Study Review, Blue Mountains1992MV052Tropman and Tropman  Yes
Blue Mountains Heritage Review2003MV052Jack, Hubert, Lavelle, MorrisIJ, PH, CM Yes
Technical Audit BM Heritage Register2008MV052Blue Mountains City CouncilCity Planning Branch No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 1931Henry Lawson by his mates
WrittenBlue Mountains Family History Society2000Our Past Blue Mountaineers, Volume 1
WrittenBrian Fox2001Upper Blue Mountains Geographical Encyclopaedia, 2nd edition
WrittenBrian Mathews1986Lawson, Henry (1867-1922) in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10
WrittenChristopher J Woods1999Yellow Rock to Green Gully: Place Names in the Blue Mountains
WrittenHeather Radi1985Lawson, Louisa (1848-1920), in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol 10
WrittenJames Ryan of the Lithgow Mercury1889Letter to Henry Lawson at Mount Victoria, 10 May
WrittenJim Smith1989How to see the Blue Mountains, 2nd edition updated
WrittenT D Mutch1932The Early Life of Henry Lawson, in Journal of Royal Australian Historical Society, Volume 18

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1170699


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