7 January, 2023
74th anniversary of the crossing of the Warrumbungles
This month marks the 74th year since the Warrumbungle National Park’s first crossing. It was just before Easter in March 1947 when the principle investigators Jack Renshaw MLA, Len Stockings, as well as Mr and Mrs Keith Blackman, the Hon Frank Finnan, George Searle and Mr N Moody, made the pioneer crossing.
In the 1930’s, local residents were eager to open up a track through the park, into the mountains, but it took over 10 years for this to eventually happen.
A party of volunteer district landholders took it upon themselves to use the newly invented four-wheel drive Jeep, and spend many weekends clearing a path by hand for the vehicle. These volunteers included Mr Stockings’ brothers Herb, Claude and Bill, Mr Blackman, Bruce Knight and the Waterford brothers, Paul and Peter. It was hoped that this formation of road would encourage the authorities to proceed with the work.
The expedition followed the Wambelong Creek from Belougery through Strathmore, near Tannabah, then along the Belah Creek to Coonabarabran.
Sadly, a week after this exhibition, Mr Stockings was dead. It is thought that he contracted tetanus throught a wound in his foot at the time of the crossing. It was not until 1953 that the Warrumbungle National Park was gazetted. Work on the road across the mountains commenced some 10 years after the original crossing, and it was finally completed in full in the mid-1960s.