As we approach the Blue Mountains, I’ve been wanting to revisit places that I knew from my childhood. Although I grew up overseas, my relatives lived in the area around Bathurst and Lithgow, and so we’ve been planning stops to reconnect me with past memories of brief visits.

Sunny Corner, October 2011
We spent one night at Mary's Park outside the little village of Sunny Corner. Although we were the only campers that night, in the morning a family arrived and set up their tent.

Sunny Corner, October 2011
Previous campers left big logs half-burnt, so we used some fresh kindling to get them roaring again then pulled in close to enjoy the warmth.

We also enjoyed a brief stop in the town of Bathurst, walking around the city centre and enjoying a restaurant meal. I have fond feelings towards this town because it’s where my sister Renée and her husband Craig met and married.

Girls bathing in tubs, October 2011
The next night in Bathurst, the girls asked for tub baths. Although she's sitting in her own tub, Brioni is wrapped in a towel to ward off the air's chill.

Rest area outside Bathurst, October 2011
We're thankful for the facilities provided by the Lions Club at Bathurst.

Our first destination down memory lane is “Bona Dea”, a small property outside the village of Yetholme. My aunt June Byles and my grandmother Babette Byles lived here for a number of years after the death of my grandfather in 1985. I have a few memories of visiting Bona Dea in 1988 when I was eleven years old. The most formative one is when June’s English Boxer Anna ate the over-sized bar of Cadbury chocolate that Dad had stored away in a suitcase.

This was the house that I first came to when I arrived back in Australia as a nineteen-year-old in 1996. June Byles picked me up from Lithgow train station and helped me get settled into life in Australia, even driving me down to Leeton for a job interview! (I got the job and met David a couple of days later.)

Bona Dea, October 2011
A few cows are still kept in the paddocks that adjoin the property.

Bona Dea, October 2011
The new owners have kept the property's original name.

Bona Dea, October 2011
Out with the old — the demise of the previous letterbox was one of the only signs that Bona Dea has new owners.

Bona Dea, October 2011
Approaching the house, everything seemed exactly as it was when we last visited it in 1999.

Bona Dea, October 2011
The original cottage which was my grandmother's residence has been restored as a guest suite or artist's studio.

Bona Dea, October 2011
This house was built by June and Bill in the 80s and 90s to specifically take advantage of passive solar heating.

My main desire in returning to Bona Dea was to take pictures for other family members who also remember the property fondly. Getting there, David and I took the scenic routes through local national parks, nature reserves and forest tracks. When the roads turn to dirt, we just slow down and spend more time enjoying the views!