Friday, 30 January 2009

Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains

Above is my attempt to capture part of the Blue Mountains in a 180-degree panoramic photo. I took about six or seven pictures [hand-held] and used Canon's Photo Stitch program to seamlessly combine into a panoramic view.

The World Heritage listed Greater Blue Mountains Area is about 10,000 square kilometres and consisting of seven National Parks and one conservation area. It is located about 50 kilometres west of Sydney metropolitan in the state of New South Wales. "Consisting of a sandstone plateau, the area is dissected by gorges of up to 760 metres in depth, and has high points up to 1,190 metres above..." [Source: Wikipedia].

The name Blue Mountains came to be for the obvious reason that when seen afar, the mountainous range has a bluish-green-greyish tinge. Some believe that it is because of eucalypt oil given off by the eucalyptus trees or by light reflecting off the eucalypt leaves that populate the area. Another explanation is that it is caused by ultraviolet radiation scattering and filtered by particles in the atmosphere, similar to differing colours of sunsets.

One of the major attractions is the Three Sisters rock formation near Katoomba. Like most rock formations, they were created by erosions. "They" have Aboriginal names: Meehni [922 metres], Wimlah [918 metres], and Gunnedoo [906 metres], and according to some "quarters" the legend goes this way:

"The Aboriginal dream-time legend has it that three sisters, 'Meehni', 'Wimlah' and Gunnedoo' lived in the Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba tribe.

These beautiful young ladies had fallen in love with three brothers from the Nepean tribe, yet tribal law forbade them to marry. The brothers were not happy to accept this law and so decided to use force to capture the three sisters causing a major tribal battle.

As the lives of the three sisters were seriously in danger, a witchdoctor from the Katoomba tribe took it upon himself to turn the three sisters into stone to protect them from any harm. While he had intended to reverse the spell when the battle was over, the witchdoctor himself was killed. As only he could reverse the spell to return the ladies to their former beauty, the sisters remain in their magnificent rock formation as a reminder of this battle for generations to come."

Some quarters belie this legend as the creation of modern tourism industry and not Indigenous Australian legend as such. What is certain is that due to further erosion, the Three Sisters would crumble and be no more in perhaps another millennium or so.

The series of photos were taken at Echo Point at the town of Katoomba. One can see the enormity of the formations, seen above; the people climbing and crossing the bridge to one of the first Three Sisters and compare that to the second photo above. The experience can be likened to seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time, except that these are populated by trees!

This is just a couple of attractions in these parts, not to mention the Jenolan Caves [a series of caves with wonderful calcite formations.]; and The Wollemi National Park, which "... contains the only known wild specimens of the Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis), a species thought to have become extinct approximately thirty million years ago, but discovered alive in three small stands in 1994."


the donG said...

kakatuwa yung mga bato. parang mukha ng tao.

JayAshKal said...

Come to think of it, oo nga ano...

Sidney said...

Beautiful... I think I am also in love now with the Three Sisters... ;-)

JayAshKal said...

Lol - I am sure when you see these formations in person you would truly fall in love.