The Cliffs of the Blue Mountains

In the deeper valleys patches of rainforest and tall open forests can be found. One of the most common trees in the area is the Scribbly Gum. Other common trees include the yellow and red Bloodwood, the Sydney Peppermint, the Round-leafed Blue Gum, various varieties of Angophora and Ironbark trees. 

The area has also plenty of grass trees (Xanthorrhoea).  These were used by the Darkinjung for spears and gum.  They chewed the leaves for their moisture content and when the stalk flowered the children would lick its honey (highly recommended).  The leaves of some Fig Trees were used as sandpaper to smooth spears and tools. Banksia flowers were another sources of ‘candy’ – soaked in water it provided a lemonade drink, not as sweet as modern lemonades.  Bracken was cooked and used as a vegetable and so were the roots of many other plants. 

Wildlife is plentiful in Bucketty and includes wombats, wallaroos, swamp wallabies, grey kangaroos, koalas, possums, goannas and sugar gliders.  Signs have been erected by the community along George Downes Drive asking drivers to take care, but every year – especially during spring and summer – dozens of animals are killed.  The swamp wallaby is by far the most frequent casualty. 

Wombats have an additional problem that is threatening their survival – an appalling disease called sarcoptic mange – and the community has joined forces to address this problem. 

Birds are another feature of the area and include gang gangs, yellow- and red-tailed cockatoos, lyre birds, wedge-tailed eagles, king parrots and dozens of other bird species that are particularly attracted to the profuse wildflowers that are the consequence of the geology of the land. 

Frogs are still alive and well in Bucketty – just come and listen after a day of heavy rain.

Next see: The Darkinjung

Climatological changes between 20,000 and 15,000 years ago resulted in a drier inland while temperatures dropped some 5°C.  With a rise in sea level the Aboriginal people had to move from what was previously a seashore to higher areas inland.  The early Australians had to adapt to these changes in order to survive.  It is believed to be around this time also that the inland areas including the Watagans and Wollemi became occupied.

A further remarkable change took place between 10,000 and 5,000 years ago.  Within a very short period, new stone tool technologies spread all over the country. This may have been related to a change in religious and social life, but so far it is a mystery why and how this happened.