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Lithgow Mercury March 31st 1899

The Discoverer of Jenolan Caves

To the Editor

Sir, In your issue of the 17th instant I see a scrap from Mr John Dobbie J.P., re- the discoverer of the Jenolan Caves. He says that the person credited with the discovery was not the actual discoverer. So far he is right. Mr James Whalan, my uncle, as far as is known was the first to see the limestone cliffs at the Jenolan Caves, while in search of the bushranger McEwan, who he knew was located in the vicinity, having been tracked near there by a man named Jerh. Beale. My uncle, being too intent in his pursuit of McEwan, did even go down the hill to the archways. On his return, knowing my father, Mr Charles Whalan, was fond of scenery of that kind, he told him as near as he could where the caves lay. My father then started with a servant named Nicholas Urwin and rode all day looking for the place described. Just at nightfall they saw the entrance to the Grand Arch. The hill below them being too rough to get down, they decided to camp where they were and make the descent in the morning, which they did, exploring the Grand Arch, Devils Coach-house and Nettle Cave. This was in the early forties as I remember seeing my father's name in the Grand Arch dated 1842. After that time my father and brothers, Charles and Edwin Whalan, conducted parties to the Caves for many years. Now, Mr Editor, if my father was not the actual discoverer of the far-famed Jenolan Caves, he was certainly the first to explore them and bring them before the public. Trusting you will insert this letter, I remain yours, etc.,

ALFRED S. WHALAN
Norway, via Oberon March 25