Monday, 1 August 2016

Federal Falls, Mount Canobolas, Orange, NSW

A long single drop on the Boree Creek, with a cave behind the base of the falls.
Notes: Both base and top of falls is accessible. The falls are a fairly long walk from the car park near the summit of Mount Canobolas. This can become a trickle in hot dry weather.
There is a far closer marked road (the Federal Falls Road) which appears to be at the top of a series of Forestry tracks. I have not followed this way in as the tracks become steep and very rough.

Waterfalls each have their own names for themselves.  This one is HssssShhhFerrr which she sings day and night to those who will listen. 

I travel to Orange frequently and love coming back to these places. Near the top of the old volcano, a couple of kilometers from the summit road is this high waterfall.  The walk is worth it; at the bottom is a pool to relax in and a dark cave is behind the falls to explore. No phone signals either, although there are plenty of towers on top of the summit.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, when I was younger, I learned about hills and women.  

I spent the last couple years of school exploring Mount Canobolas and the nearby caves at Borenore (near Orange in central New South Wales). Kicked out of the state school, I ended up doing my final two years, with a kilt, at a Presbyterian Ladies College. The circumstances are all a bit confused now, but I think the state school probably made the right decision.  

The Principal of the local state school was also in politics at the time. He supported a plan to convert the small city of Orange into a mega-city; as part of a scheme to move part of the population of Sydney into the interior parts of the state. It was a good idea and one, in real life, I strongly support. But the way they went about it was catastrophically wrong, and the errors in approach eventually saw the scheme collapse.  At the time I was very young and naive and got caught up in opposition to the proposal.  Initially, opposition was restricted to making population predictions (where I picked up some seriously good applied mathematics) and looking at the impact on local farming and water resources (which, perhaps unexpectedly, got me mixed up a theater company). Then it escalated to pamphlet drops and signs in public areas (where I learned basic revolutionary tactics, how to screen print and how to mix paste). Then the Principal responded by calling a series of public meetings, where I made my first and last mistake. He recognized me heckling him. I do not blame him. He was an excellent Principal and did well for the city. So, it was my fault; I had no defense.

So I went looking for a new school. I applied to a couple without success. Then a local girls college advertised bursaries for the coming year (a bursary is a grant, awarded to someone to enable them to study at a college.) I applied, and they allowed me to sit the test. I do not think they were too upset when I won the bursary; the school was considering going co-educational.

Over the next two years, I learned many strange, terrible and beautiful things about women and the world. 

I knew some of the women at the school. Back when I was three, she and I had climbed a tall haystack and spent an afternoon trying to work out what a hill would be like.  Neither of us had seen one, but she was older than me and had been to far-off Nyngan, and thought we might be able to see one from the top of the stack. I was a little bit worried about the adventure because she had unexpectedly kissed me the day before after a desert rainstorm with a beautiful sunset. But I wanted to find out about hills, so I threw caution to the wind.  I need not have worried, when we could not see a hill, we lay on top of the stack, hand in hand, and imagined what being on a hill would be like.  She never kissed me again but when we met again at school she remembered and told all her friends.  But, to me, she was cold and distant. She was far to grown up and far too busy to talk to the new boy at school.

I worked out very quickly that I did not ever want to become "one of the girls." I was teased mercilessly but, sometimes, rescued. I took up some new sports. I attempted, briefly and unsuccessfully, to form one person rugby and cricket team. I did better at acting, fencing, kayaking and mountain climbing - about which I still have a life passion. I particularly like playing with mountains.  
Once you get the hang of hills, it was difficult to go back to the flat lands.  Hills are as exciting as being on top of a haystack with a girl who kissed you yesterday.  And just as dangerous and unforgiving.

The trail to the falls is well signposted.

Back to Australian waterfalls and cascades page

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