Blue Trail 48: BRACEY’S LOOKOUT, Hassans Walls Plateau

The Hassans Walls Plateau, named by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1813 for its similarity to landforms in northern India, offers an eclectic selection of Blue Mountains scenery.

A curtain of Exocarpos cupressiformis (Native Cherry) on the slope north of the lookout [photo © Christine Davies]
In Hassans Walls (according to Col Bembrick in Coxs Road Dreaming 2015), we have a sandstone plateau rising above Permian deposits.  Many of the formations appear as outliers of the pagodas and other sandstone structures which characterise the Gardens of Stone district, one reason that Hassans Walls has been recommended to be included in Gardens of Stone reserved area Stage 2.

Pagodas, outliers of the many thousands of such formations found in existing reserved areas of the Gardens of Stone and proposed extensions.
[photo © Christine Davies]
Across the totality of Hassans Walls, there is evidence of major damage to surface features by now defunct underground coal mines but the area around Bracey’s Lookout (in the north-east of the plateau), is by no means the worst affected.  Bracey’s Lookout is connected to the Pottery Estate precinct within the Lithgow urban area by a steep foot track of only a few hundred metres but it is a dead end of more than two kilometres for motor vehicle access.  It is very popular with bushwalkers, dog walkers and cyclists.

The lookout offers one of the best overviews of the Lithgow urban area including the central business district, evoking memories of the Inch brothers, Pillans and the Bracey family themselves.

The section of Lithgow CBD containing the former Bracey’s Department Store, looking north from the lookout.
[photo © Christine Davies]
Horace and Alice Bracey arrived in Lithgow in 1886 and set up a retailing business in Excelsior Arcade.  Horace became Mayor in the 1890s and the business continued under his descendants, eventually ceasing trade in 2007 by which time it was operating in a substantial purpose-built department store in Main Street.  Generations of the Bracey family yielded some of the most outstanding philanthropists in Lithgow’s history, especially in meeting the cost of developing Hassans Walls for public recreation and appreciation of nature.

Inch Street (named after the founders of Lithgow Brewery), a north-eastern view from the lookout; a corner of Lake Pillans Reserve, named after another former mayor, is visible at the far right.
[photo © Christine Davies]

© Don Morison