|Natural Attractions - BURRAGORANG VALLEY|
|BURRAGORANG STATE RECREATION AREA.|
Burragorang Valley has attracted visitors by its beauty since the first Europeans discovered it in 1798 (Wilson, Bass and Knight ).
Of course its plentiful fauna had led to frequent visits by indigenous peoples from time immemorial.
From their words "Burru" meaning kangaroo (or "Booroon", small animal) and "Gang" - hunting it derives its name.
Other famous explorers also visited (Barralier 1802, and Caley - discoverer of Thirlmere Lakes in 1806, but it was not until the time of Governor Macquarie that the inland was opened up for settlement that Burragorang became renowned as an idyllic valley.
|Rich Farming and Mining Area.|
An access road was surveyed to the valley by Hoddle in 1824 and the first European settlement followed in 1827.
A township grew up in the valley (Burragorang) in 1833, with a church (1839). and Post Office (1859) the centre of a thriving dairy farming area.
Later in the century Burragorang was a major coal mining area.
In 1878 the Nattai Mining Company was established, which took 1000 tons of coal out of mines in the face of the valley wall up to 1896.
When the seam ran out a small but rich deposit of silver and lead was mined up until 1927.
|A Century of Coal Mining.|
For most of the 20th century Burragorang was a major coal producer.
At the lookout towards the north there is a monument to the men who worked in the coal mines directly below.
These included the Camden (later Nattai-Bulli) and Oakleigh Collieries (1932-92), the Wollondlly, Wollondilly Extended, and Nattai North Collieries (1930-88) and the Valley 1, 2 and 3 Collieries (1957-84).
These collieries mined a rich seam which extended all the way to the South Coast near Wollongong, and some 72 million tonnes were extracted from it until the last mine closed down in recent times.
Between farming and mining Burragorrang was a major contributor to the economy of the Wollondilly for over a century.
What we see today is the result of another major development dating back to 1960 - the damming of the Warragamba River and construction downstream of a new dam (Warragamba) which was to provide the majority of Sydney's water supply.
In the process was created Lake Burragorang - which can be seen from the two lookouts today.
The villagers and farmers were evacuated and the once fertile valley, its dwellings and town, now lie beneath the waters of the lake.
The entire area is now a national park.
The valley itself is over 80km long and the lake as you see it is 600 metres above sea level.
The area is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.Trout, perch, carp and eels abound in the lake - although fishing is prohibited.
The bushland is home to ring tail and brush tail possums, swamp wallabies and grey kangaroos.
Bird fanciers can spot the glossy black cockatoo, gang-gang cockatoo, yellow tailed black cockatoo, king parrots, rosellas, kookaburras, pied currawongs and robins.
|Lookout, Recreation and Picnic Area.|
Burragorang is a pleasant spot for a picnic or a few quiet hours closer to nature.
The views from the lookouts are spectacular, the silence of the bushland almost deafening.
There are tables and benches - seating up to 24, with a wood BBQ.
Another 7 - seating over 60 - are scattered around a small park, which has a children's playground and another 4 wood BBQs. There are clean men & women's toilet blocks. The kiosk is now closed.
How to get there.
From Picton: take Barkers Lodge Road through Mowbray Park then north to Oakdale; thence west to Burragorang.
From Camden: Take Burragorang Road through Mt. Hunter, The Oaks and Oakdale.
The Burragorang State Recreation Area is open from 9.00am to 5.00pm seven days.
PUF applies - $7.00. There is ample parking for cars, and even coaches.
Tables and benches for picnics, wood BBQs (wood supplied) - except in bushfire alerts; children's playground; short bushwalks; lookouts.