Please note: the Mt Widderin Caves are now closed to the public.
Cave Formation (Ollier, Brown)
Lava flows downhill due to gravity, and a crust
forms. Layering occur, separated by vesicles and more liquid lava. Thickness of layers will increase with increasing velocity of lava, the flow is determined by ground slope also. The greater the rate of movement the thinner the flows, thus the lava becomes
layered. The more congealed lava goes into the layers and the more liquid is concentrated between the laminae, which forms tubes. This mobile liquid eventually becomes concentrated in a few channels where the heat is the greatest. With solidification and remelting,
flow and hydrostatic pressure are all working together, the end result is cylinders of liquid lava escaping due to a breach in the toe of the flow or other various reasons. Thus a cave is left such as Mount Widderin
The final forms of lava depends on the viscosity of the liquid lava before withdrawal, rate of solidification and pressure changes in the liquid both before and after withdrawal.
A Hole in the Ground
"The Widderin Caves are under the extinct Mt Widderin volcano just out of Skipton in the Western District, which is the highest point on the surface of the historic merino stud of the same name.
Below the surface is a wonderland of fractured volcanic rock chambers, the third one containing a lake of crystal clear, pure water that has never been fully explored.
Without lanterns and torches the caves are in absolute darkness and absolute silence, apart from the regular plop of large drops of water that have seeped through 100m of volcanic rock from the world outside.
But it hasn't always been as quiet as the grave under Mt Widderin. Decades ago the main chamber, called the Ballroom because of its vast size and fairly flat floor, was the venue for New Year's Eve parties and jazz concerts.
"I had my 21st birthday party there in 1970, and the caves were popular in the 1890s and through the turn of the century for parties and balls," Mr Geoff Notman (the owner of the property) said.
"These days I open them up once a year as a fundraising day for local projects."
The location of the caves has been known for well over 150 years, but they have always been shrouded in mystery.
"Locals were told about them by Aboriginal people of the district when Skipton was founded in 1839, but the Aboriginals never went into them," Mr Notman said." - this was an extract from an article written by Herald-Sun reporter, Mike Edmons 05/12/2007.
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