|Mt Wingen nicknamed "Burning Mountain" is at Scone NSW on the New England Highway|
On the way back down the highway my friend and I stopped here at Burning Mountain, being a burning coal seam we thought it was only fitting we stop and look given we had just come from protesting the building of another coal mine in a beautiful forest out west near Boggabri.
Burning Mountain, the common name for Mount Wingen, is a hill near Wingen, New South Wales, Australia, approximately 224 km north of Sydney just off the New England Highway. It takes its name from a smouldering coal seam running underground through the sandstone.
The underground fire is estimated to be at a depth of around 30 m (98 ft). The scientific estimate is that the fire has burned for approximately 6,000 years and is the oldest known coal fire.
European explorers and settlers to the area believed the smoke, coming from the ground, was volcanic in origin.It was not until 1829 that geologist C.P.N. Wilton identified it as a coal seam fire.
This is the Dreaming story from the National Parks Information board located at the base of the walk up to the mountain.
The fire is generally moving in a southerly direction at a rate of about 1 m (3 ft) per year. The combustion has caused soil discolouration and an uneven ground surface in the area.
“One day, the Gummaroi (or Kamilaroi) people to the north sent a raiding party to Broke to steal Wonnarua women for wives. The Wiradjuri to the west, who were friends of the Wonnarua, told them of the Gummaroi plans.Images @ Eminpee Fotography
The Wonnarua gathered all of their warriors and sent them to do battle with the Gummaroi.
The wives of the Wonnarua warriors waited for their husbands to return. All came back, except one. The wife of that one started to worry. She went up high and sat on top of a rock cliff overlooking the valley to the south to wait for her husband. She waited and waited, but when he did not return she knew that he had died during the battle.
She cried until she could cry no more. She could not live without her husband, so she asked Baayami, the great sky god, to kill her.
Baayami could not kill her so he turned her to stone. As she was turning to stone she wept tears of fire which rolled down the hillside and set the mountain alight.”