While holidaying at Nelson recently, we went on a guided tour of the nearby Princess Margaret Rose Cave. It is a fascinating collection of stalactites and stalagmites formed over millions of years from water seepage from the Glenelg River.
The story we heard of the discovery of the caves could have been straight from a Boys Own Annual. It was found in 1936 by two young men. One was lowered into a 17 metre dark hole with only a candle, matches and string. When he returned to the top his comment was something like “I think I have found Aladdin’s cave” .
Because it is such a great story, I though I would search Trove for articles from the time of the cave’s opening to the public in 1941. I found two worth sharing from the Border Watch of Mt Gambier and the Horsham Times.
The story from the Horsham Times, claims Jack and Keith as Horsham men, but that is not indicated at all in the Border Watch article that states Jack Hutchesson had lived all his life at Caroline, near Nelson. I did check the Electoral Rolls and there were Hutchessons living in Horsham over the years. The Horsham Times does give a good account of the discovery of the caves.
What I did learn from the articles was that Jack and Keith were quite a bit older than the impression given on the guided tour. We left with a picture of two lads, maybe 15 or 16, when in fact they had Jack’s sons with them. Otherwise it was a fun and informative tour and highly recommended.