(header photographs by Harry Waite 1912-2011)

The Myth of the Sacred Brumby







by Dorothy Lawry /Sydney Bush Walkers, The H.H. Club)

from The Bushwalker 1939

APPARENTLY it is high time that the origin of this name was recorded. Recently the founder of one of the younger walking clubs said to me: "I think 'Singajingawel' is the most musical and pleasing of all the aboriginal place-names I have heard; don't you?"

"Sorry," I replied, "but it is not aboriginal. It is a corruption of 'Sing-a-jingle-well,' and it was so named by my friends, the Taylors, in October, 1930."

This is the story of the naming:

In October, 1927, Evan Taylor, his wife, Dorothea, and I set out to try to clamber on to, and over, Mt. Solitary, but the fourth member of our party became ill on the Saturday night and had to rest on Sunday morning, and Evan stayed in camp to look after him. Dorothea and I just took a light lunch and explored up the "Knife-edge" and along the top of the mountain, finding water in two creeks before we turned back to camp. We all returned to Katoomba across the Jamieson Valley.

Our second attempt on Mt. Solitary was made on the Eight-hour Week-end in October, 1930, when Evan's sister, Dorothy R. Taylor, took the place of the man who had been ill.

Between these two trips our small group of walkers, "The Wraggle-taggle Gypsies," had scattered to the ends of the earth, literally; the Sydney Bush Walkers had been formed; and I had joined it and had obtained from the club a little songbook which contained many old favourites. On the 1930 trip I took this book, as Dorothy was one of our "Wraggle-taggle" songsters, and she sang to us most of the way along the old tram-track such "jingles" as "Some Folks," "Funiculi Funicula," etc., etc.

The Actual Naming

We clambered up the Knife-edge, crossed the knob of Mt. Korrowall, passed the big cave, proceeded along the top of the mountain, saw—and named—"Squirm Cliff," and camped in the hidden valley at the eastern end of the mountain. This was a pleasant camp, with more singing, and, when we had to return there for the second night because we could not get down on to Korrowall Buttress, Dorothy decided we must name the camp-site and the valley; she suggested "Sing-a-jingle-well," which we adopted. On the same day we had named "Point Repulse" above the Buttress, but I do not think that name has become generally known like Singajingawel.

Nowadays bush walkers dash over Mt. Solitary and do the trip from Katoomba to Wentworth Falls, or vice versa, in a short week-end, which seems a pity, for there is a surprising variety of country in the three or four square miles of that mountain-top, and many happy hours can be spent in exploring the various small valleys.

In 1930 and 1931 there were fewer walkers and much less knowledge of the country available, so, as one who had actually been over Mt. Solitary, I was frequently asked for directions. Naturally, I always mentioned the best camp-site, in the hidden valley of "Sing-a-jingle-well," on the best of the three creeks in which one could be fairly sure of finding water.

Mrs. Taylor and I certainly were not the first people to get on to Mt. Solitary. There were very faint signs of a track up the Knife-edge in October, 1927, and the first thing we saw when we reached the top was an empty sardine tin! Someone had eaten sardines on a mountain that was reputed to be waterless!!