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Monday, July 21, 2008
Catalina Park Katoomba
Would you believe this was originallly a privately-funded amusement park with an ornamental (and actual bathing) lake? Later to include a Catalina flying boat (in the centre of the lake, hence the name) that was presumably trucked in?
Later still (around 1950) a motor racing circuit was built around the edge of what was known as "the Gully" north and west of this shot, to the dismay of residents, many indigenous. Thousands of years of aboriginal Australian culture was disturbed or destroyed in the process of creating a track for car racing. Great work, guys. Mind you, that was how things were done - with fewer regulations, less concern for the past (or for safety!) and a very different understanding of our shared history, development just "happened" and the consequences were dealt with much later. Sadly we all pay for this loss of history; even motor sport pays the price because they lose a track that, if better placed, could have remained viable.
Mind you, if you take a walk around the old track you can't help but be amazed. It's still walkable, even rideable by bicycle. In many places it's walled by wooden safety railings with little or no safety run offs for cars.
It was still in occasional use when I was lap-dashing with a car club in the early '80s and whilst I didn't give it a go myself I can say that margin for error was close to zero. Brave. Dangerous. Exciting. Take your pick. The inner mudbath/dust bowl was also used for rally cross.
More info and another pic here.
My list of tracks.