Binoomea, Issue 135, August 2008

Binoomea, Issue 135, August 2008

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Binoomea, Issue 135, August 2008
Series Title:
Jenolan Caves Historical and Preservation Society
Jenolan Caves Historical and Preservation Society
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Jenolan Caves (New South Wales, Australia) ( -33.820556, 150.021444 )
Resource Management ( local )
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-33.820556 x 150.021444


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Contents: James McKeown -- Happy Birthday Blue Lake -- Hidden Stories about Jenolan.
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The Newsletter of the Jenolan Caves Historical & Preservation Society. Binoomea No 135 August 2008. Page 1 BINOOMEA The Newsletter of the Jenolan Caves Historical & Preservation Society. Issue 135 August 2008 ISSN 0310-7248. YOWIES AT JENOLAN. Presidents Column August 2008 In a modern context, Yowie is the generic term for the unidentified hominid reputed to lurk in the Australian wilderness. It is the Australian version of the Himalayan Yeti or the North American Bigfoot. The yowie is also a fearsome, hairy creature of Aboriginal mythology. Also called Doolagahl ("great hairy man"), it is venerated as a sacred being from the time of creation which the Aborigines call the Dreamtime. An alleged sighting by a hunting party of settlers in 1795 was followed by increased reports from the mountainous regions of New South Wales in the nineteenth cent ury. What does all this have to do with Jenolan you ask? Well in the 19701980s there were several Yowie sightings reported in the Blue Mountains area, infact some even just up the road in the Kanangra Boyd National Park. The school children at Jenolan Caves Public School aged between 5-12 years old, wrote a story about the Yowie that hibernated in their caves in the winter. Fact or fiction, I dont know? Time marches on and sadly we will be saying our goodbyes to John Callaghan and partner Phyllis Calvert. Thankfully its not a permanent goodbye as they are retiring to the North Coast and I hope we can keep in contact with them in the future. John was one of the founders of JCH&PS and has been our most constant supporter and guide (no pun intended!) over the 36 years of our existe nce. He is an Honorary Life Member and one of our Trustees, and was instrumental in saving the Post Office, and in obtaining Harold Coates as our patron in the early days. As you are probably aware, Jenolan Caves Reserve Trust has organised a farewell dinner (in association with JCH&PS) for John on Friday 15 th August, to which I hope many members will be able to attend. Phyllis Calvert has also been a stalwart supporter of the Society, with major efforts in renovating the Post office in 1993 and subsequent service in various official positions. Among those, she has served as Newsletter Editor and JCH&PS Secretary and has organised many fund raising schemes, as well as appearing in period costume at a number of our Historical Weekends. Our JCH&PS August meeting will be held on 16 JCH&PS has recently reprinted a limited number of these books, and will have them available for sale at the August meeting. WHAT DID YOU MISS ??? The usual author of this column, ( the editor) was not in a ttendance at the JCH&PS May meeting, so unfortunately cant give an accurate report this time. I heard that items discussed were planning for the display at the Slow Food weekend held 31 May. Also discussion relating to and the decision to reprint the book Close Encounters of the Yowie Kind book, as featured on this page. th so please come along to add your farewells as John and Phyllis leave for a warmer climate and a relaxing retirement. On another note, I would like to thank David Cook and Jimmy Lim for organising and mounting a historical display at the Slow Food exhibition as part of the Jenolan Chocolate Indulgence weekend at Caves House on 31 st May. All publicity (well almost all) is good publicity in bringing JCH&PS before the visiting public. I look forward to seeing you all at Jenolan on 15 th and 16 th August. Arthur Gray 2008 President Jenolan Caves Historical and Preservation Society


SOCIETY SPOTLIGHT. The Newsletter of the Jenolan Caves Historical & Preservation Society. Binoomea No 135 August 2008. Page 2 y This month's society spotlight is on member Michael Collins. His first trip to Jenolan was a week long trip with his grandmother when he was about 10 years old, spending a week at Caves House, and doing all the show caves. In 2001 he returned as a novice caver on a speleological trip with Jenny & Gary Whitby, and visited some of the caves up the valley, including Mammoth Cave. He says it took him two weeks to recover from the trip. DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA FOR AN ARTICLE FOR THE BINOOMEA? You dont necessarily have to write the article, just tell me what you would like to read about. Articles, suggestions, letters to the editor, complaints, and stories are welcome, and can be forwarded to the editor. Since then he has certainly been bitten by the cave bug. He is a now also a cave diver, leading dive exploration trips into the depths of Barralong cave. On a diving trip in June 2006 he discovered Capt Cooks Cavern in Barralong Cave. Weekdays he runs his own business as a pool builder, and now he has added Cave Guide to his repertoire. He is also a member of Sydne University Speleological Society. His favourite cave is Barralong for obvious reasons. His first tour as a casual guide was the Lucas Cave at Easter this year. It had 60 people and they had a blackout! When asked what made him decide to become a guide, he said he wanted to share knowledge if his cave diving exploits with people. Please contact: Jenny Whitby at: 48 Park Street Charlestown 2290 Ph (02) 49432265 or send your email to: CONTACT DETAILS: JCH&PS Locked Bag Jenolan Caves 2790. Please send your membership chqs or g eneral corres p ondence to this address. SCAFFOLDING AT JENOLAN PAST & PRESENT. Now that the scaffolding has all gone, with the new roof tiles, and a fresh coat of paint Caves House is looking very clean and schmick. Gone is the lichen on the roof tiles, but Im sure it wont take long for th at rustic weathered look to return. The Gateho use also got a coat of paint, but have you noticed anything different abou t it? It has changed colour, as it is now painted the same colour as Caves House, whereas it previously was white Here is a photo sent in by member Sandi Bartlett of the painting taking place back in April. 1976. The scaffold ing would not pass Workcover standards today! Caves House repaint 1976. Photo by Sandi Bartlett. Gatehouse repaint 2008. Photo J Whitby


James McKeown ~ From fact to folklo re to legend to fableand back again! Part 1by Dan Catchpoole. The Newsletter of the Jenolan Caves Historical & Preservation Society. Binoomea No 135 August 2008. Page 3 It is well known that all historical facts about Jenolan Caves have been passed on from guide to guide over the years. In this manner, much of what is spoken by guides about Jenolans early history is considered folk lore or legend, principally as most have never actually seen any original documents from those years. In typical fashion, the story of the first Europeans to enter the arches an d caves, James and Charles Whalan, following their attempt to hunt down the notorious bushranger James McKeown somewhere around the late 1830s, early 1840s, is generally told by guides as a pieces of theatre to entertain the tourists, or brushed over with a degree of sceptical uncertainty. The first Jenolan guides to tell this story where the Charles Whalan and his family themselves. Indeed, all historical accounts, published and private, appear to emanate from the Whalan clan and those immediately associated with th em. As the original guides were the actual reported captors of James McKeown, the story would have been relayed as factual eyewitness accounts, reliving the exciting day of his capture. Over time, as the story was told and retold by many guides, the Whalan family became more distantly associated with the Caves and the eyewitnesses to the McKeown episode died, it appears to have taken on a more theatric telling For several years this desperado carried on his depredations, retiring to the security in these, at that time, unvisited, mountain fastnesses. During the hunt for McEwans den his pursuers saw the great black caverns, now called the Grand Arch and the Devils Coach-house. (J.J. Foster, The Jenolan Caves, New South Wales, 1890, Pub: Charles Potter, Government Printer, Sydney). However, as the telling of the story became entrenched as part of a guides script, the realitie s of the story were lost in time, relegating to being considered folklore. Over time, hi storians and interested publicists tried to conduct research so as find evidence of the acc ount to back up what was spoken of by the guides, but with little success. Ward L. Harvard in The Romance of Jenolan Caves, (1933) states. The problem is to determine just when and how white man first happened here. No authentic records are available, and our deductions, if we make them, are based upon tradition.and it is unbelievable that there is not extant and contemporary with it some record of their discovery Later books designed for tourist sales state openly that the story of McKeown is none but a romantic tale to entertain the tourist. There is no James McKeown in contemporary court records and the first newspaper account appeared 50 years later in Charles Whalans obituary in a Bathurst newspaper, not by itself convincing historical evidence .( Julia Horne, Jenolan Caves, When the tourists came., 19??) Most recently, the very existence of James Mc Keown has even been brought into question. Many believe that the bushranger McKeown did not exist. There is no clear record of McKeown's imprisonment at Hartley or Bathurst or his supposed transportation to Norfolk Island..." (Nigel Price, An Inve stigation of the European History of the Tuglow Caves Area prior to 1900. 20th April 2007 ( )) The very absence of tangible documentation relating to the McKeown account, even beyond the reports of eyewitness account published by the Whalan family, has cause many speculations about the ve racity of what is commonly still used by Jenolans guides as a history lesson during their tours of the caves. So how complete has the research been? It appears that th e scepticism relating to the McKeown story has not been built on their being tangible evidence which contradicts the story or specifically raises doubt abou t it. Rather, its the absence of any records at all, which are indepe ndent of the Whalan accounts, which has le ad to the factual basis of the story being questioned. The research that has been undertaken to da te has neither proven that the story is true or false. Yet, this absence of information has caused some to extrapolate their own conclusions about what they considered to have really happened, such unsubstantiated statements being inte grated into our telling of the story with the result that we move further away from the truth. It needs to be born in mind that when researchers find nothing, they have not necessarily proven anything. With the increasing availability of information on the intranet, the chance of finding useful new information about McKeown will greatly increase. Such a find was made through a website called which has led me on an intriguing journey, gathering records and documents relating to a James McKeown (McKeon) which I believe could well be the McKeown of Jenolan fame. It is hoped that at the end of the journey, the truth of this mans life will be retold accurately, with out bias or heresay and with veracity. Because if you consider the story as told by the Whalans, James McKeown had one very interesting life!


Most early newspaper articles and tourist books indicate Ja mes Whalan is said to have captured James McKeown around 1838. Hence, are there any independently generated records of a James McKeown around Bathurst/Oberon/Lithgow/Hartley around the late 1830s? Figure 1 shows a record from a 1846 ledger listing convicts following a muster, who were listed as having been on a ship called the Lady Franklin which returned in 1844. This James McKeown was noted to have been tried in Bathurst NSW 1836 and sentenced to Life. He had also received a TK of Leave or ticket of leave, which gave him freedom to live and work in a given district, having served out his sentence time or receiving some suita ble favour for good behaviour etc. Figure 1 Extract from Convict Muster ledger of 1846. (Source: ) A later document, from a similar muster in 1849, also lists James McKeown (number 13073) as arriving on the Lady Franklin in 1844 from Norfolk Island (see Figure 2). The Lady Franklin was a barque built by convicts at Port Arthur specifically for the transportation of conv icts between Norfolk Island and Hobart (see Figure 3). Interestingly, this record lists the Dates of Trial for not only James McKe owns conviction which sent him to Norfolk, but also his original conviction which saw him transp orted in the first place. It notes (Fig ure 4) that not only was he tried in NSWales 1836, but also was tried in Down 1824, that is County Down, Ireland. Note that his original sentence was for year, the standard amount given, whilst lifers required a further 8 years, making the total 5 which has also been noted. The Newsletter of the Jenolan Caves Historical & Preservation Society. Binoomea No 135 August 2008. Page 4 Figure 2 Extract from Convict Muster ledger of 1849. (Source: Figure 3 Stamp from Norfolk Island illustrating the Lady Franklin.


Knowing that this James McKeown originally came from County Down Ireland, further searching of the internet led me to the website for the County Down Museum, which provides an online database for convic ts who had been transported from there to the colonies. A brief scan of this database ( ) identified the following information. Surname McKEOWN Forename James Alias McKEON DOB c1793 Place of Trial Downpatrick Date of Trial 24 Mar 1824 Sentence 7 years Native County Downpatrick Occupation Ploughs, shears Age 32yrs Religion Catholic Crime Robbing houses of worship Ship Asia 1 (3) Departure Date Cork 29 Oct 1824 Arrival Date 21 Feb 1825 Assigned to Work Parramatta. R.SMITH at South Creek. Certificate of 31/260 34/1299 Freedom District Bathurst If this is the James McKeown of Jenolan history it correct s three pieces of information which have variously been quoted and misquoted in reports about him. Firstly, his name is spelt McKeown not McEwan (which is Scottish in origin!). Secondly, for James McKeown to be tried in 1836, his capture by James Whalan would have been before then, making the discovery of the caves around 1836 or even 1835 as quoted in John L Horrockss Handy Guide Jenolan Caves chapter (Pub 51 Market St, Sydney, Year 1890++???). Finally, indeed James McKeown was sent to Norfolk Island, but he did not die there as was stated in Fosters account (J.J. Foster, The Jenolan Caves, New South Wales, 1890, Pub: Charles Potter, Government Printer, Sydney) but more in keeping with the report in The Argus newspaper on 1899. Whilst such leads are intriguing, before we can conclude that this James McKeown is the one of Jenolan fame, we need to verify many more things. Of most importance, we need to determine what he was tried for which had him sent to Norfolk Island? Only by uncovering this information will we potentially find a link between him and the Whalans, and indeed Jenolan. Till the next exciting episode! Dr Dan Figure 4 Close up of Date and Place of Trial column from Figure 2 above. The Newsletter of the Jenolan Caves Historical & Preservation Society. Binoomea No 135 August 2008. Page 5


HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLUE LAKE. by Jenny Whitby. Did you know that the Blue Lake celebrates its centenary this year! The Jenolan Blue Lake (the Lake) is one of the Reserves more prominent features, and it provides a visually spectacular entrance to the Grand Arch Precinct while co mplementing nearby features including the Reserves diverse Eucalypt forest communities. In addition to its aesthetic qualities, the Lake and its surrounds provide habitat for terrestrial and aquatic fauna and flora. The Newsletter of the Jenolan Caves Historical & Preservation Society. Binoomea No 135 August 2008. Page 6 s ed 00 people in 1909 to 64245. In the 1870s visitors to the caves camped in the Grand Arch or Devils Coach house using the Jenolan River as a source of fresh water. The first reservoir on Surveyors Creek was constructed in the late 1880s on the site of the present childrens playground above Caves House. Ten years later thi reservoir proved insufficient to meet the demand of the increased numbers of visitors to Caves House Precinct, and a larger reservoir was constructed upstream by placing a weir across the creek. The reservoir was later in filled to form Car Park no 1 but the original weir remains. In 1908 a third weir was built near the Leffel Wheel on the Jenolan River below the Grand Arch and the Blue Lake was created. But by 1920 even this was insufficient to cater for the visiting population, which had increas from 70 The Lake is an artificial construction created in 1908 by building a dam 40 m upstream of the Leffel wheel to supply a more constant head of water for the hydroelectric turbine. The cylindrical dam wall is of a type that was built for small-town water supplies between 1896 and 1908 by the Public Works Department (NSW), and is believed to be the last of its type built. The Leffel hydroelectric turbine was replaced with a newer dynamo in 1916 at a location one kilometre downstream of the dam wall, a system that is still in use today. A 10 m high dam wall retains water in the Lake, which currently covers an area of approximately 4000 m2. The Lake is fed by: Camp Creek from the south, Su rveyors Creek from the west, and the Jenolan River from the north. Dam wall in the 1970s after draining of the Blue Lake. Photo by Noel Rawlinson.


The Newsletter of the Jenolan Caves Historical & Preservation Society. Binoomea No 135 August 2008. Page 7 The engineering structures around the Lake include DeBurghs Bridge, the curved masonry dam wall that retains the Lake, and a trout pond. DeBurghs Bridge is an arched limestone road bridge, constructed in 1896 to span the Jenolan River and provide visitors with easy and constant access to the Grand Arch and the cave systems. At the foot of this bridge is a small reservoir, created in the late 1880s from the resurgence of the Jenolan River to provide a water supply for the water -dri ven Leffel wheel, a hydroelectric turbine generator (located 180 m downstream of the Jenolan River Spring). This is thought to be the first hydroelectric system built in Australia and supplied the Jenolan Caves with its electricity from 1889 until 1916. Building the Leffel Wheel. Photo from JCH&PS collection. Trout pond and fish ladder. Photo by S Whittlestone A trout pond, consisting of a low masonry wall and fish ladder below the wall that is filled by flow from the hydroelectric plant was built in 1906 in the hope of attracting sport fishermen to the area. As with the hydroelectric system, the fish stairs at the trout pond are believed to have been the first of their kind built in Australia. 2005 draining of The Blue Lake to remove debris. Photo by Dave Rowling. Ernst Holland driving a tractor in the drained Blue Lake 1975. Photo from of JCH&PS collection. Debris in the Blue Lake, photo taken in 2005 from the dam wall. Photo by Dave Rowling. References: The Blue Lake Management Plan JCRT 2006. The Auxiliary Precincts Jenolan Caves Reserve Conservatio n Plan (Built Environment) Supplementary Volume 1988.


The Newsletter of the Jenolan Caves Historical & Preservation Society. Binoomea No 135 August 2008. Page 8 by Jenny Whitby. k oes not appear to reveal any connection to Jenolan, one of the three short stories inside the book certainly does. e John Dunkley told me about this book, here are some of eir comments. ncluding amongst others his sons sculptor Maurice and usician Constant. gblins lery with his copy of the book. g es from 1898. Depending on this date, Mammoth (discovered 1882) had then been known for about 15 to 30 years. en f ed to are in the subdued tones. by IDDEN STORIES ABOUT JENOLAN H Following the reprint of the book Close Encounters of the Yowie Kind, here is the first article about some of the lesser known books written with references to Jenolan Caves in them. Whilst the title of this editions feature boo d The Spirit of the Bushfire. (Vol. 4) by Whitfield, J.M, 1916. Illustrations by George Lambert. Edward Lee & Co, Sydney. This book is on in a series of four, and says Book IV on the cover. JCH&PS members Elery HamiltonSmith & th Elery said Little is known of author, Jesse Whitfield. Illustrator Lambert was destined to recognised as one of Australia 's great artists and virtually founded an artistic dynasty, i m John Dunkley r ecently gave this summary. It is a fairy tale full of hobo keeping kangaroos and wallaroos out of their homes in the caves, E because men are now entering and changing them. The story is set in several arches, caves and the underground river, and the repeated references to Mammo th Cave lead one to wonder whether perhaps the author visited it. The publication date was 1916 but several clues suggest the story may have been written somewhat earlier. The only tourist caves not mentioned are Jubilee and those on the south side beyond Lucas Cave, leaving the inference that the story may have predated the Sk eleton / River / Baal / Orient discoveries. Then at one point Hobgoblin is shot on top of the Devils Coach House, from where he falls through the hole in the roof. Shootin was common in the early days, even promoted, but was banned in the Reserve in the mid-1890s. Finally, an earlier book in the same series dat Here is an extract from the book. "The cause of this 'crank' of the Hobgoblins was that of late m had come to the caves much more frequently. They talked o putting up iron gates at the entrances, and of protecting the stalactites; in fact, they behaved quite as if the caves belong them." This made Hobgoblin furious. Had he not been in possession for the last hundred years? What right had those wretched men to be constantly poking their noses in. ... "The men mean to take the caves" he said grumpily. "What shall we do?" ... "Kill them!" squealed all the goblins ... ... "Well", he said savagely, at last, "if the men come in the kangaroos shan't!" ... "The men are in the Mammoth!" they yelled. "The men are in the Mammoth!". Even hobgoblin sat up at this distressing piece of news, and looked about bewildered. The entrance to the Mammoth was so far away from the other caves that they had hoped to keep it." ... ... "The men are in the Mammoth, Hobgoblin don't forget that. The men Mammoth!"... ... "The men are in the Mammoth" they replied in .. A Hobgoblin is a term typically applied in folktales to describe a friendly or amusing goblin. Illustration from the book. See the Hobgoblin It is also a pale ale brewed in the top left corner. Wychwood Brewery, in Oxfordshire UK


The Newsletter of the Jenolan Caves Historical & Preservation Society. Binoomea No 135 August 2008. Page 9 by John Dunkley. ncludes 16 wonderful original photographs of Jenolan, all dating from e 1880s. n the 0. ry dote to city life in the Blue Mountains, Fitzroy alls and increasingly at Jenolan. .au io, OF JENOLAN CAVES IN THE EXHIBITION CHARLES BAYLISS PHOTOGRAPHS, ational Library of Australia, Canberra. N Until 26 October the National Library of Australia in Canberra is hosting an exhibition: "A Modern Vision: Charles Bayliss, Photographer 1850-1897". The exhibition i th Bayliss set up business in Sydney in 1876 and may have visited the caves i late 1870s on one of his photography expeditions to the Blue Mountains. Specialising in landscapes, his views of them probably date from the 1880s, after the discovery of the Imperial Cave in 1879 and the Left Imperial Cave in 188 Bayliss photographed both caves, issuing two sizes of prints and these were available for purchase by clients eager fo r views of unique aspects of the scene of New South Wales. Improvements in transport enabled an ever-expanding number of middle-class Sydneysiders tourists or excursionists, as they were often called to experience an anti F Hill End circa 1870. Charles Bayliss (left) in Photo from 16 of the photographs (about 10% of the whole exhibition) are from Jenolan, including the Garden Palace, Lots Wife, Pinnacle Rock, Devils Coach House, Gem of the West, Grecian Bend, Brides Ve il, Architects Stud Carlotta Arch, The Mysteries, Nettle Cave and the Bathing Pool on the river. Entry is free and more information can be obtained at The Exhibition Catalogue ($34.95) has full-page reproductions of som of the cave photos. If anyone particularly wants one I will get it from the Library and deliver at the August JCHPS Meeting, but it can be downloaded from the web-si e te contact at me ). From Nettle Cave, New South Wales 1880s by Charles Bayliss Photo from National Library of Australia. nla.pic-an24680762 The exhibition also includes several stunning panoramas of Sydney in the 1880s, up to 10 or 11 panels joined together. Adjoining this exhibition is Wild Places, another magnificent series of modern photograph s of northern Australi Richard Green on panels up to 2.7m long, including one of the ubiquitous a by boabs on the limestone karst terrain of regory National Park, NT. Both exhibitions are highly recommended. G


The Newsletter of the Jenolan Caves Historical & Preservation Society. Binoomea No 135 August 2008. Page 10 Bruce Welch. ow s. e area. The infestation is severe but opefully with at least two weedbusting weekends per year it can be reduced. YCAMORE WEEDBUSTING AT JENOLAN S The first Jenolan Caves Sycamore Weedbusting weekend was held on 10 th & 11 th May. It was hosted by the Lithg Oberon Landcare Association with the NPWS & Jenolan Caves Trust. Accommodation, tools and training were provided. The weekend was attended by a small group including a cave guide, NPWS staff, a specialist trainer, and volunteers. Among the volunteers was recently rejoined JCH&PS members Bruce Welch. The first day was spent on the hillsides just upstream of the dam on Surveyors Creek. This was followed by a fabulous BBQ at the playing field Sunday was spent working down from the top of the 2 mile h ill towards the sam h T he group having lunch near the top of the 2 mile hill. Photo by Bruce Welch. lso interested if anyo ne out there has photos of John in action at Jenolan. (esp ecially from his early days ere!) of ebrities e od cancer by attempting to raise over $20,000 for the Childrens Hospital at Westmeads ncology Research Unit. so Head of e Tumour Bank, Oncology Unit, discuss how JCH&PS members can get involved in this great event. ast meeting for the year is on 8 November 2008. Normal meeting Saturday night. y) Bi g annual get together for members, AGM Dinner, and more! Put this date in your calendar now, so not to miss it! If you have any good stories or memories you would like to share with us about John Callaghan, please forward them to the editor Jenny Whitby (contact details page 2) who is compiling th em to present to him on the evening. We are a th CAROLS IN THE CAVES On the 13th December 2008 Jenolan Caves will be hosting The Jenolan Caves Christmas Festival" a day full Yuletide festivities set within the caves precinct and around the historical Caves House. Community, business and school groups from the local area and across the Blue Moun tains will participate in the activities and entertainment. The centrepiece of the event will again be the Carols Concer t held in the spectacular Grand Arch, with both cel and local community artists joining together in the production. Most importantly, the Festival will promote the Christmas spirit of goodwill and charity with the focus of the day being to raise much-needed funds for research into th causes and cures of childho O So come along to the August meeting and hear Dr Dan Catchpoole our very own casual Jenolan Guide & al th CHANGE IN MEETING DATE THE NEXT S MEETING WILL BE HELD ON SATURDAY 16TH AUGUST 2008 JCH&PAT PM COMBINED EVENT OF JOHN CALLAGHANS RETIREMENT FAREWELL DINNER 3 AUGUST MEETING IS ONE WEEK LATER THAN NORMAL DUE TO THE L Then February 7 th 2009 AGM HISTORICAL WEEKEND 2009. (One week earlier than normal due to Valentines Da

Contents: James
McKeown --
Happy Birthday Blue Lake --
Hidden Stories about Jenolan.


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