photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum
These hikers taking part in Palmer’s Mystery Hike No. 2, which 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 man on the far right of the image is wearing an armband and, according to our collection records, this indicates that he may have been a hike marshal.
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.
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.
Database reference: Melissa Harper. The Ways of the bushwalker: on foot in Australia. Sydney, UNSW Press, 2007 pp. 179-192 and Canberra Times, 11 July 1932 p.3
Post by Kathy Hackett, Photo Librarian
Photography by Tom Lennon, 94/63/1-48/10
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