Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

The Gardens of Stone: In Focus exploring a secret landscape

Lithgow Environment Group
Blue Mountains Conservation Society
The Colong Foundation for Wilderness

To bring attention to the amazing but threatened Gardens of Stone, a region that is the perhaps best-kept secret in Sydney's backyard, conservationists have devised an exciting new photographic competition.  This weekend groups of adventurous photographers will start to explore it.

Blue Mountains Conservation Society Senior Vice President Tara Cameron said: “The Gardens of Stone is a region with many hundreds of ‘pagodas’, which, unlike their better known cousins, the Three Sisters of Katoomba, reside in the forests of the western Blue Mountains. By bringing the best photographers to capture their range and beauty, these sculptured rock formations will be shared.”

“There are nineteen day walks are offered on weekends from June 20 to 19 July.  They have been heavily booked by enthusiastic photographers keen to explore the region. 

“Experienced volunteers will guide these participating photographers through this unique terrain.  In this way, the Gardens of Stone – In Focus will enable photographers to capture the best of this region through their camera lens. 

Colong Foundation for Wilderness director Keith Muir said: “There has been a great deal of interest amongst prominent photographers, with over twenty-five keen to lend their skills to the cause of promoting this region.  These include Henry Gold, Gary Hayes, Allan Chawner, Keith Maxwell, Richard Green, Jaime Plaza van Roon, Lewis Fogerty, Paul Chantler, Luke Tscharke and Jochen Spencer.”

“And, in a unique partnership run by the Sydney Morning Herald in Sydney, CLIQUE will host a Gardens of Stone a photography odyssey. This photographic weekend workshop will be guided by award winning Fairfax photographers Nick Moir and Wolter Peeters.”

Lithgow Environment Group Vice President Chris Jonkers said: “Using photography the Gardens of Stone Alliance1 will, through a dramatic exhibition later in the year, bring to Sydney the scenic grandeur and biodiversity of this irreplaceable and threatened region.”

“Whether professional, nonprofessional, or junior photographer, all participants will have a chance to exhibit in the exhibition.”


  • The Gardens of Stone Alliance was formed in 2014 by the Blue Mountains Conservation Society, the Colong Foundation for Wilderness and the Lithgow Environment Group.
  • These groups have been working toward reservation of the 40,000 hectare Gardens of Stone region on the western side of the Greater Blue Mountains near Lithgow.
  • As a number of coal mines exist in the region, the Alliance proposes reservation of most of this beautiful region as a state conservation area.
  • The Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) recommended that the Coalpac open-cut coal mine proposal be refused, because ‘the highest and best use of this land was for conservation purposes’.
  • A large underground coal mine extension proposal, which could damage many nationally endangered swamps and discharge up to 50ML/year of saline mine effluent to Sydney’s drinking water supply, is currently being reviewed by the PAC.

Colong Foundation for Wilderness                   Director Keith Muir                                             0412 791 404
Blue Mountains Conservation Society             Senior Vice President Tara Cameron                   0419 824 974
Lithgow Environment Group                              Vice President Chris Jonkers                           6355 1179

Go to the Gardens of Stone In Focus Photographic Competition