Photo of the Day

photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum

Happy hikers

December 11th, 2012 by


The members of this cheerful group were about to set off on Palmer’s Mystery Hike No. 2 when Tom Lennon photographed them. Mystery hike No. 2  ran from Valley Heights in the lower Blue Mountains along the old Lapstone Road to Penrith on 10 July 1932. Four trains conveyed approximately 2,000 hikers and while some had to catch the ordinary train from Central Station to the Mountains.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that more than 2,900 people took part in the hike and that around 2,500 of those were women.

Many of the participants may not have been so enthusiastic towards the end of the hike. The distance covered was 12 miles and many of the hikers had trouble with their feet due to the distance and the hard ground. The ambulance officers in attendance reported a particularly busy day.

In 1932 five mystery hikes around Sydney were organised by the railways, with the department store F.J. Palmer and Sons as the commercial sponsor. Hikers purchased a two-shilling train ticket and joined a train from Central Station to a mystery destination. The hikes, held on Sundays, were enormously popular. The third Mystery Hike from Cowan Station to the Hawkesbury River on 24 July 1932 used 12 trains to carry almost 8,000 participants.

This photograph is from the Tom Lennon Archive collection of photographs. Tom T. Lennon was a commercial photographer whose studio was at 64 Victoria Road, Drummoyne. The 1796 negatives in the Powerhouse Museum Tom Lennon archive include images of balls and dinners held in Sydney, weddings, funerals, work events, parties, portraits, pets, fashion, horse races, musicians, dance bands and various places and events 1927-1949. Many images from the Tom Lennon archive have been posted previously on Photo of the Day.


Database reference: Melissa Harper. The Ways of the bushwalker: on foot in Australia. Sydney, UNSW Press, 2007 pp. 179-192

Post by Kathy Hackett, Photo Librarian

Photography by Tom Lennon

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