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: http://web.aanet.com.au/bayling/glendavis.html
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.