Carlotta Arch, Jenolan Caves.

Colonial engraving of Carlotta Arch, Jenolan Caves. The generally accepted story of the discovery of the caves is that in 1838 or 1841, James Whalan while in pursuit of an ex-convict and active local thief was tracked to the area. … Read Full Description

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S/N: PAA-NC-1149A–197243
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Full Title:

Carlotta Arch, Jenolan Caves.




In good condition.


Hand coloured engraving.

Image Size: 

x 274mm

Paper Size: 

x 310mm
Carlotta Arch, Jenolan Caves. - Antique View from 1886

Genuine antique



Colonial engraving of Carlotta Arch, Jenolan Caves.

The generally accepted story of the discovery of the caves is that in 1838 or 1841, James Whalan while in pursuit of an ex-convict and active local thief was tracked to the area. During the  pursuit, James discovered the cave system and reported its existence to his brother Charles who further explored the caves. The caves came under the control of the NSW Government in 1866. The following year, Jeremiah Wilson was appointed as the first “Keeper of the Caves”. Wilson not only explored the already known Elder and Lucas Caves but later discovered the Imperial, Left Imperial (now known as Chifley), Jersey and Jubilee Caves. The caves were opened to tourism early. In 1884 the name Jenolan Caves was adopted.

The road to the caves originally went via Tarana, which meant that travellers from the south had to a take a long, roundabout route of about 140 km from Katoomba to Oberon, and, from there, to Tarana. In the mid-1880s, hotel keepers in Katoomba wanted to improve business by constructing a road to the Caves from their town, but the steep, rough ground between the caves and town was a major obstacle, and several attempts failed. Further representations were made to Premier by Peter Fitzpatrick of Burragorang, who was connected to some mining operations near Katoomba. In April 1884, William Marshall Cooper, Surveyor of Public Parks for the State Government, was assigned the job, and worked out a horse-and-carriage track in a 10-day trek from Katoomba to the Caves. The route was 26.5 miles from the Western Hotel in Katoomba and he stated; “… Anyone accustomed to walking can do it comfortably in 12 hours … when the proposed horse track is completed, it will be a very enjoyable ride of five hours.” It became known as the Six Foot Track. By 1885, Parliament had approved A£2,500 for the construction of Cooper’s bridle track, with the work starting at the most difficult area, the Megalong Cleft, where a zig-zag had to be cut, partly in solid rock, to reduce the grade. The first recorded passage of the completed bridle track from Katoomba to Jenolan was by the Governor, Lord Carrington, in September 1887. Lord Carrington also made the first official visit to the caves at the completion of his journey, accompanied by Wilson.

Ferguson, J. A. Bibliography of Australia Volumes 1-8, Canberra 1976 9829g.
Hughes-d’Aeth, T. Paper Nation : The Story of the Picturesque Atlas of Australia. Melbourne 2001.

National Library Australia: Bib ID 1654251
National Gallery Australia: LEGACY ID 34588
Royal Collection Trust UK: RCIN 1046852
Getty Museum Los Angeles: Object name: 1218593
State Library New South Wales: RECORD IDENTIFIER 74VvDRQZXzWd
State Library Victoria: CCF 919.4 G19

Frederic B. Schell (1838 - 1900)

Schell was an American employed as the senior artist on the most ambitious colonial publication ever attempetd, The Picturesque Atlas of Australasia. He arrived in Sydney with two other American artists, W.T. Smedley and W. C. Fitler, plus a number of engravers including Horace Baker. When Phil May returned to England in 1888 Schell accompanied him. The Grafton Gallery 'Exhibition of Australian Art in London’ 1898 included F.B. Schell, cat.250, 'Junction of the Murray and Darling Rivers, N.S.W.’, cat.254, 'Hamilton Reach, Brisbane’, cat. 255, 'Sydney Harbour, N.S.W.’, lent by the Trustees of Sydney Gallery. He is represented in a number of institutional collections.

View other items by Frederic B. Schell

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