(header photographs by Harry Waite 1912-2011)

The Myth of the Sacred Brumby






Davies' Canyon

by R. ELSE MITCHELL (The Warrigal Club of N.S.W.)

In the most rugged part of the mountains between the gigantic heights of Guouogong and Paralyser the Kanangra River takes its course sheltered in a gorge close on 3,000 feet in depth. This stream, according to the map, is the true Kanangra River, and though compared with its tributary, Kanangra Creek, it has a short course, it is nevertheless a merry one.

The river rises by the granite tops of Krunglebungle, and, before reaching major proportions, cascades over faces of rock till it reaches the quartzite beds, when it descends rapidly over a series of falls to meet a sister stream emerging from the shady depths of Davies' Canyon. Together these streams form the Kanangra River as we know it, and as it happily pursues its boisterous path to join Kanangra Creek and the Cox's River.

The Canyon Source

But most attractive of all is Davies' Canyon, which supplies the greater part of the water in the river. Its waterway does not possess an official name, but its main source is Sally Camp Creek, whiqh rises near Cunyng-hame's on the Kanangra Road, and, in company with one or two other creeks, cuts a northerly course across the Thurat Tops. Its career is short, but chequered; from a height of 3,500 feet it drops in four miles to 1,200 feet, where it meets Kanangra River, and throughout it presents an endless variety of delightful and exciting aspects.

Altogether the creek has some ten or twelve falls, ranging from 30 feet to 150 or 200 feet in height, which have been formed by erosion of surface rock laying bare the tilted quartzite which forms bars across the creek bed. Tumbling down long series of cascades, the creek swirls into mirrored pools graced by cedars, kurrajongs and tangled vines, its impetuous course temporarily interrupted till it leaves the lower end by a narrow torrent, which gaily bounds amongst the boulders scattered in the rocky creek bed. In places it wells up like water in a sand hole and, overflowing the rocky barrier which nature has provided, it falls helplessly to deep pools below. The water here, icy even in the summer, is uninviting; its grey-black depths do not attract, but rather are ominous and repel the walker who fain would take a plunge to cool his heated body.

Waterfalls Galore

Yet around the next bend the stream develops another mood. It comes to falls of beauty, delicate as the tracery of fine lace or Madeira work, the water spreading like a film over the glossy wet surface of the rocks down which it slides to peaceful reaches of the creek. The spirit of the creek here seems to reflect the soft gaiety of the vegetation and the colour of the bird life which abounds so plentifully; its beauty and charm are irresistible.

Above the creek the eastern side is crowned with the rocky ramparts of the ridge out to Paralyser, crumbling here and there to long avalanche slides, while the western side slopes up towards the heights of Krunglebungle. Rain forest, brush, cedars and monkey ropes adorn the banks and the mountain sides till the rocky slopes above deprive them of a hold for their tenuous roots.

This is a paradise in summer, where the sun makes a short visit each day during the midday hours and where nature can be seen in her every mood—fierce, beautiful, and calm. Here can be enjoyed in summer those delights of the bush which we seek without the oppressive heat of January days and nights. Though it is one of the less known parts of our mountains, the Canyon is well worth a visit, and to those of a pioneering or hardy spirit it will prove an adventure in itself.