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Daily Archives: August 4, 2014

Glen Davis, Capertee Valley: Mine Abandon


Between towering sandstone escarpments in the Capertee Valley, lies a curious ruin.

A shale oil mine, first founded in 1891as the MP1 Mining Development, was later revived as National Oil Proprietary Limited, from 1940 to 1952. What remains is a series of ruins, a testament to a failed vision and also to the endurance of those who persevered with the troubled conditions, logistical, financial and political.

I toured the mine ruin on a visit to the Capertee Valley, west of the Blue Mountains. It was a beautiful, crisp winter day. The light was intense, emphasizing the sheer craggy walls of the escarpment, which enclosed the mine ruins with almost a sense of claustrophobia.

Our guide was affable, loquacious and informed. A storyteller, he regaled us with curious stories of these curious ruins; shocking workplace accidents, awful living and working conditions and a spectral figure caught on film.

My companions described the landscape as post apocalyptic, Planet of the Apes, a moonscape –  some apt descriptions.

However I can’t quite put my finger on the atmosphere. There was no doubt that the pristine day only served to accentuate the foreboding of the valley: there was indeed an other world sense, shadows and intuitions of past difficulty and trouble, hard times and futility.

What was evident was the encroach of nature, the land reclaiming its own. Entropy had set in.

A fascinating and startling landscape to visit.

There is plenty of material to read on the internet. Some interesting photos, some historical, can be found at:

Below are some photos. I have not tried to order or to name, but rather to give the “feel” of the place. The above website is helpful in identifying some of the ruins.


The Saffron Kitchen Rylestone – Hidden Gem


The quiet town of Rylestone west of the Blue Mountains in rural New South Wales has a hidden gem – a fabulous cafe/store which specializes in locally grown saffron and saffron infused products.

The Saffron Kitchen Rylestone was a real find for a group of travelers initially looking for a good coffee but delighted to find a stylish cafe which sold some lovely saffron products – Caramelised Saffron White Wine Vinegar, Saffron Dukkah, Saffron Granola, Fig and Cardamom Paste with Saffron, among others. The Saffron Dessert Syrup was amazing!IMG_4766IMG_4767

The proprietor was charming, friendly and helpful. She gave us some tastings of a range of products and told the story of the development of her saffron farm.

The Saffron Kitchen visits farmers’ markets on the weekends – for Sydney-siders, Eveleigh Markets at Carriageworks is the place to catch them. You could contact them direct to find out where they are and when:

Well worth a visit! If you are in the area you can take in the wine growing area of Mudgee, too.

Oh and the coffee was really good, as well as the treat this quirky writer indulged in – a Snickers milkshake! Delish!




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