School excursions are an important part of a student’s education. They provide an opportunity to explore the world beyond the classroom and gain hands-on experience of new and different environments.
NSW offers the closest connection to colonial history in Australia. It is in the Blue Mountains, we can learn the stories of how the small colony of Sydney was able to grow, past the Nepean River border, commonly known as the “Impassable Sandstone Curtain”.
As soon as the First Fleet arrived in 1788, the new arrivals tried to cross this mountain range, believing an inland sea, or fertile land lay on the other side. Exploring a way across the mountains was postponed for many years, as concentration was given to establishing the fledgling colony.
In 1810 the arrival of a new Governor, Major Lachlan Macquarie, combined with a drought lead to concerns of food supplies, and another expedition being launched.
In May of 1813, Gregory Blaxland, William Charles Wentworth and Lieutenant William Lawson forged a path across the mountain’s watershed, successfully finding a path across this barrier.
By engaging a local historian and guide for your school excursion, students can hear, see, and feel the stories of the early explorers. Bringing history to life, ensuring an engaging and memorable lesson.
What did they eat?
Where did they collect their water supply?
How did the laden horses pass through the heavy bush?
In November 1814 at Mt York, William Cox and his 30 convict workers, built the road down off the mountain. Here through roleplay, we can learn the continuation of this story and see where the convicts carved a road into the hard sandstone. The pick marks are still there for students to see.
A local historian and guide can provide a deeper understanding of this story of our history, and help students appreciate the challenges and opportunities faced by early colonists.
Students can engage with a local guide and each other, sharing their thoughts whilst building a sense of shared understanding, creating a positive and enriching experience for all.
My name is Sue Collins, I am the owner and operator of Mountains Tales, based in Leura. I am a Blue Mountains host, guide, historian, and storyteller; who has a passion for sharing stories and delivering an amazing genuine experience.
Mountains Tales offers a tailored tour for your school group. Whether this be following the path of the diaries of Gregory Blaxland, or a walking tour of the Mt York convict path or both. We recommend a stop at the iconic Gundungarra Indigenous site of the Three Sisters for lunch, where our tour explores the local First Nations story.
The next time you are planning a school excursion, consider Mountains Tales, and the benefits of using a local historian and guide.
Call Sue on 0410 600 224, or check out our site mountainstales.com