Bathurst Cataract, on the River Apsley, New South Wales.

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Bathurst Cataract, on the River Apsley, New South Wales.


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Bathurst Cataract, on the River Apsley, New South Wales.

THE sublimity and grandeur of the Scene Which it is here attempted to represent, surpasses all description. Mr. WENTWORTH, in his “Account of Australia,” describes it as “a Cataract far surpassing BECKETT's FALLS in sublimity; one, in fact, of which few countries can boast a parallel.”

We cannot convey, in any other words, so accurate a description of this stupendous work of Nature, as Mr. OXLEY, Surveyor-General of the Colony, has presented to the public; and whose description we shall therefore, on this occasion, take the liberty of extracting from the interesting Journal of that intelligent and enterprising individual who first discovered it.

“After travelling five or six miles, we arrived at that part of the River at which, after passing through a beautiful and level, though elevated, country, it is first received into the Glen. We have seen many fine and magnificent Falls, each of which had excited our admiration in no small degree, but the present one [BATHURST CATARACT] so far surpasses any thing which we had previously conceived even to be possible, that we were lost in astonishment at the sight of this wonderful natural sublimity; which, perhaps, is scarcely to be exceeded in the Eastern World. The River, after passing through an apparently gentle-rising and fine country, is here divided into two streams, the whole width of which is about seventy yards. At this spot the country seems cleft in twain, and divided to its very foundation: a ledge of rocks, two or three feet higher than the level on either side, divides the waters in two, which, falling over a perpendicular rock, two hundred and thirty-five feet in height, forms this grand Cascade. At a distance of three hundred yards, and an elevation of as many feet, we were wetted with the spray, which arose like small rain from the bottom. The noise was deafening; and if the River had been full, so as to cover its entire bed, it would have been, perhaps, more awfully grand, but certainly not so beautiful. After winding through the cleft rocks about four hundred yards, it again falls, in one single sheet, upwards of one hundred feet, and continues, in a succession of smaller Falls, about a quarter of a mile lower; where the cliffs are of a perpendicular height, on each side exceeding one thousand two hundred feet; the width of the edges being about two hundred yards. From thence it descends, as before described, until all sight of it is lost, from the vast elevation of the rocky hills, which it divides and runs through. The different points of this deep Glen seem as if they would fit into the opposite fissures, which form the smaller Glens alternately on either side. The whole is, indeed, a grand natural spectacle; and is an indubitable mark of the vast convulsions which this country must at one period have undergone. The Rocks are all slate, the upper laminae of which are of a light-brown colour, rotten, and easily separated. Nearer the base, or surface of the water, they are of a dark-blue, and of a firmer texture. The waters are quite discoloured, owing to the nature of the bed over which they run; the soluble particles of coal among the slate tinging them a dark brown.

This most magnificent Fall, and the River itself, were respectively named BATHURST and APSLEY, in honour of the noble Secretary of State for the Colonies.”

The genius of a SALVATOR ROSA could scarcely render justice to such Scenery as this; in attempting to copy or describe which, the utmost stretch of human art can merely produce a faint and feeble outline of that superlatively magnificent and awfully sublime Landscape, which the hand of Nature has produced in this wild solitude of AUSTRALIA.

The general features of the adjacent Country, and the chief natural productions, are precisely the same as those described in the Second Number of this Work, as appertaining to the vicinity of the Cataract named BECKETT'S FALLS.

Accompanying text, 1825.