Apsley Falls - Oxley Wild Rivers National Park

Apsley Falls offers some of the most remarkable scenery in Eastern Australia, where untouched wilderness meets undulating farmland. After meandering gently across Walcha's High Country, the Apsley River rises rapidly here, and then plummets from sheer slate cliffs into depths below. Continuing its journey through the Macleay Gorges Wilderness area, the river eventually reaches the Pacific Ocean at South West Rocks.

This is where the rainbow serpent went underground, where Aboriginal people built fish traps and made kitchens on rockfaces.

When the first Europeans brought thousands of sheep into the area, the gorge became a site of intense conflict. It's a place of stunning beauty, home to rare and fascinating wildlife. But for some, Apsley Falls is also a place of unsettling melancholy, with a history that is still being reckoned with.

Take a walk along the gorge rim with scientists, artists, elders and rangers, as we journey beyond breathtaking views and into the deeper layers of meaning held in these rocks and waterways.

Before venturing out check the NPWS website for the latest park information.

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Credits and Contributors


This Soundtrail received grant funding from the Australian Government, brought to you by New England High Country tourism group in partnership with Soundtrails.

Produced by Nicole Curby 2020/21

With supervising producer Sharon Davis

Thanks to NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Patrick Luprica, Susie Crawford, Walcha Council, Amaroo Local Aboriginal Land Council, Walcha Historical Society, Bob Walsh, Piers Thomas, William Oates, Angus Nivison, Ross Laurie, Sue Green, Mark Davies, Garry Towney, Syreene Kitchener, Glen Morris, Colleen King, Cam Lay, Heath Milne, Bevan Quinlin, Keeping Place Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Don Noakes.

A Place to remember:
Valma (Sue) Green, Garry Towney, Syreene Kitchener, Glen Morris

An artist view:
Images, Ross Laurie (supplied) Lower Falls (supplied)

Apsley In Darkness:
Images: Angus Nivison in his Walcha studio (Nicole Curby)
Light into Darkness, and The Second Fall by Angus Nivison

Brushtail Rock Wallabies:
Piers Thomas (National Parks and Wildlife Service)
Images: Michael Van Ewijk/DPIE

Climbing the Falls:
Cam Lay (Director of Fresh Water Environment, Department of Primary Industries Fisheries, NSW)
Image: Long finned eel (Chris Murphy)

Culture is my drug:
Garry Towney

Falcon's First Flight:
Featuring: Heath Milne (ecologist and bird watcher)
Image: Anthony Belton/ DPIE

Kitchen remains:
Garry Towney and Valma (Sue) Green

Sheep Led the way:
Colleen King, Don Noakes, Piers Thomas (National Parks and Wildlife Service), William Oates (archivist)
Images: Stace's hut, Apsley Gorge (Noel Stace/NPWS)
O'Keefe brothers prepare to muster the gorge (O'Keefe family/NPWS)

The Serpent:
Valma (Sue) Green.
Image, National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Didgeridoo, Bevan Quinlin