News – 9th January 2014

Following the successful Open Days of 2013, despite the Gardens being closed for 3 days due to the bushfire threat in the area, we are now in the process of building a new wheelchair friendly lookout where the old ‘lookout’ has been for many years. As can be imagined, the vegetation in this area has grown over the years, with the view gradually being blocked out. The Blue Mountains City Council has given the Society approval to build a new lookout and viewing platform, extending over the slope below the Lodge, with the end of the platform about 5 meters above ground level. This will provide visitors with much better views over the valley area and the lake (and more opportunities for photos!).

Work has commenced, with the platform to be finished in a couple of months. This will mean that our 2014 Open Days visitors will have yet another area in the Gardens in which to be able to relax and enjoy the views.

We look forward to seeing you all in October/November this year.

News – 26th October 2013

Now that the main bushfire threat has eased, thanks mainly to the sterling efforts of the many RFS volunteers in fighting the major fires at the top of the mountains, we are pleased to announce that the Campbell Rhododendron Gardens are once again open for business from today.

We are hoping to see many visitors return to Blackheath, and the Gardens, as there has been no damage done to the Gardens, and the Rhododendrons are at their best right now – and our volunteers are waiting to serve you with our renowned Devonshire Teas in the Lodge.

Once again, our thanks to all the RFS volunteers for their outstanding efforts over the last long week in protecting homes and properties at the top of the mountains.

News – 24th October 2013

Two weeks after our Open Days started this year, various areas of the Blue Mountains started suffering from the most intense bushfires seen up here for many years. Parts of Springwood, Winmalee and Yellow Rock, further down the mountains, have had losses of about 200 homes, while a very large fire just north and east of Lithgow has burnt out nearly 50,000 hectares of bush, burnt down 3 homes and has been threatening settlements down the Bells Line of Road as far as Bilpin. In addition, a fire at Mt Victoria which caused the loss of 6 homes has only been stopped from moving down to Blackheath by the efforts of the firies – with an audacious backburn along fire trails linking the two villages, and a controlled burn along the Darling Causeway which linked the Lithgow and Mt Victoria fires and stopped them possibly joining up with the Springwood fire.

Because of all these problems, it was decided to close the Rhododendron Gardens from last Tuesday 22nd October – in the interests of public and visitor safety – at least until Friday 25th. However, the date of reopening will only be determined when we can be assured that there will be no further threat to Blackheath, the Gardens, and our visitors.

We hope that you will understand why we have taken this action and also hope that you will come back when all is safe – and continue to support us in future.

As an aside – two years ago the Gardens had to be closed for a couple of months following a night of 170 km per hour winds in July that brought down 200 trees and many branches; last year we closed for a day in October following 15 cm of snow; this year we had to close because of bushfires; next year, a flood??? Oh, the joys of living in Blackheath in the beautiful Blue Mountains!