Once upon a town…

Between Lithgow and Mudgee in NSW lies the Capertee Valley, the widest canyon in the world. Part of it narrows spectacularly to the old shale oil town of Glen Davis.

From 1938-1952, a shale mine, shale oil works (for gasoline) and a nearby purpose-built town of up to 1800 people occupied the valley.

It’s hard to imagine, as the the three buildings in the top photo are the only ex-commercial ones left.

There are a few houses occupied and new ones built, but a walk around the back roads that would have been streets shows the more common situation: crumbling or long-crumbled (or cannibalised) walls, now gentled by regrowth bush, and always against stunning escarpment backdrops.

It’s a little eerie, as all that life and bustle and industry was suddenly stilled.  It’s officially no longer classed as a town but  a ‘community.’

Glen Davis has a quiet open camping area, with no caretaker, but a donation box for the use of its hot showers and flushing loos.

I was there for work, so I was delighted, if astonished, that in that narrow ‘glen’ I could get mobile and email reception.