Photographic competition run by Rotary

History is made up of many moments of beauty, terror and chance. We’re aware of this because so many people have chosen to record these moments in writing or visual art. For a mere 18 days in 1815, for example, the village of Blackheath was named Hounslow. We know this because, on his way to Bathurst, Governor Macquarie recorded the naming in his diary.

As chance would have it, however, on his way back from Bathurst it appears he may have forgotten his original recording. His new diary entry, 18 days later, says: “This place having a black wild appearance I have this day named it Black-heath.” In almost the blink of an eye Macquarie create the name, and the character for the village that ‘Black heathens’ cherish to this day.

Who knows what Blackheath would have become if it had retained the name Hounslow.

Blackheath’s Rotary Club is now celebrating this serendipitous moment of chance by resurrecting Macquarie’s original diary entry to name its inaugural Hounslow Photographic Prize. It opens on February 15 February in the Gardners Inn Hotel, Blackheath.

The $1000 prize has two categories: Beauty and Terror of the Blue Mountains, and Built Heritage of the Blue Mountains (with additional $500 prizes for each of these sections).

According to club president Larry Howard: “We thought it was important to provide an opportunity for the many photographers in the Mountains to showcase their work, and at the same time to make history by documenting this era for future generations.

We thought it was important to provide an opportunity for the many photographers in the Mountains to showcase their work.

Larry Howard

“We’re very aware that there are still many old structures in the Blue Mountains which need to be recorded before they disappear and that’s why we’ve included the Built Heritage category. We also know that the dramatic wild beauty of the Mountains has a dark side and we’re keen to tap everyone’s imagination to record that as well.”

Rotary is keen to make the exhibition an annual event with a different theme each year.

So, if you’re relaxing over this holiday season, why not start exploring the Mountains with your camera to discover its beauty, its terror and/or its built heritage. The closing date for entries is February 1. Entry forms on the website at

As the Rotary Club’s first fundraiser for the year, the photographic prize will help to fund many activities in the local community as well as the six international areas that Rotary clubs around the world focus on: promoting peace; fighting disease; providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene; saving mothers and children; supporting education; and growing local economies.

Blackheath Rotary meets at 6.45 for 7pm every Thursday night at Blackheath Golf Club (resuming mid January). All visitors welcome.