This week, with Easter upon us, Roy decided it was time to visit one of his favourite places in the Blue Mountains. There are many places Roy loves, but the Cathedral of Ferns is one which has always entranced him. With Mt Wilson also just starting to sport beautiful Autumn colour, Roy thought it was the perfect time to visit this unique 'Cathedral'.
If you would like to visit the Cathedral Of Ferns, it is located in Mt Wilson, along the road to Mt Irvine. To get to Mt Wilson take the Bells Line of Road and turn where the sign indicates to Mt Wilson. The road is a little bendy, but the scenery is spectacular. There is also plenty to see in Mt Wilson with lovely heritage buildings, beautiful gardens and streetscapes and several walks. The Cathedral of Ferns is one of these walks and in total takes about 30 minutes if you walk slowly. If you want to stop for a picnic though, you need to take your own food and drink, and make sure to remove all your rubbish too!
Mt Wilson is a village which sits on top of a volcanic basalt cap off the Bells Line of Road. Being away from the road there was little exploration of the area in the early 1800s and it was not until 1868 that the town area was surveyed. In 1870 the lots were sold off, and by 1876 all were sold. The village was essentially a summer retreat for wealthy residents of Sydney and they each owned large properties on which were established lush, exotic gardens. Much of the indigenous vegetation was cleared when the village was established with the gums and sassafras being removed. The tree ferns however were often left alone. Their beautiful sculptural shape and lush foliage seems to have been appreciated and today the tree ferns remain an important aspect of the village.
Driving along the road to Mt Wilson, you will see many of these beautiful ferns standing alone or in groups, but if you want to see the ferns in their 'natural state', as part of the lush rainforest which once covered the basalt cap, you will want to visit the Cathedral Of Ferns. This pocket of rainforest escaped development and here you will see tree ferns, sassafras, coachwood, mountain ash and a variety of gum trees in their natural splendour. Unfortunately the giant gum was hit by lightening and has died, but now there is a new race on to find out which tree will take its place. Roy has been unable to find out when the area was named the Cathedral of Ferns but it must have been early in the 1900s or even earlier, as there are historic postcards which show the area and use the name. Roy has also been unable to find out why the name was given to the area, but feels it is likely to refer to the peaceful, tranquil and almost ethereal feeling of the area, giving it the feeling of a place which would be appropriate for quiet contemplation and prayer. If you know the reason, please let us know!