Blue Mountains News

How Did The Lucas Cave Get Its Name?

Source: Jenolan Caves Reserve Trust
Archived 11 Dec 2018 - Posted: 14 Oct 2018
Lucas Cave
The mighty Lucas Cave is usually the first of Jenolan's many caves that visitors come to see. Generations of school children remember the Lucas Cave from their school excursion to Jenolan. It is definitely the best known of all Jenolan's caves, humbling visitors by its magnitude.

The Lucas Cave is incredibly spectacular, featuring Jenolan's highest chamber, the 'Cathedral', which is approx 54 metres high, and also Jenolan's widest chamber, the 'Exhibition', which is the size of a small football field.

The Lucas is famous for mind-boggling calcite crystal formations, such as the 'Broken Column', which are massive rather than pretty.  But you also see some beautiful cave shawls. 

If your tour group is small and your guide has time, he or she may take you into the 'Mafeking Branch', which is one of the most beautiful sections of the whole Jenolan system. (To have a chance of seeing the Mafeking Branch, come to Jenolan at a quiet time of year, such as November and December prior to Christmas.) The Lucas Cave even gives you a tantalising glimpse of the pure, blue underground river. 

The Lucas cave was found in 1860 by George Whiting and Nicholas Irwin. It was one of the first few caves to be discovered at Jenolan and was originally called, simply, the New Cave.  If this cave had been discovered in recent years, it probably would have been glorified with a name that  reflects its majestic proportions. However, it was renamed The Lucas Cave, after a politician!  MP John Lucas, was passionate about the caves and worked tirelessly to protect them.  His work resulted in the whole cave system, and surrounding region, being declared a reserve in 1866, making it one of the very earliest places in Australia to come under government protection.  It was a major achievement.

This article appeared in the October 2018 Jenolan Caves email newsletter and has been republished here with permission.

 
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