Glen Davis in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales: the shale oil ghost town and its people 1938-1954 by Leonie Knapman

Book Review (submitted by Kay Shirt)

Massive ruins tower in silence above the scrub of the remote and beautiful Capertee Valley. But 60 years ago, streets in Glen Davis bustled with shopkeepers and schoolchildren. Workers hurried to mines and fire-belching retorts that operated day and night to supply the National Oil refinery.

Leonie Knapman was one of these children…. after years of research, she reconstructs the colourful past of Glen Davis, built on the world’s richest oil shale deposits…..

…..This is not just the history of the community and its characters. It also reveals an industry and the technology behind it: the plants, mines and railways, powerhouse, laboratory and pipelines essential to Australia’s pioneer domestic petrol production. (Knapman, L Glen Davis in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales: the shale oil ghost town and it’s people 1938-1954 back cover)

This is a wonderful book with stories, information and a comprehensive history of the community of Glen Davis. It is made even more special by the extensive donation by Leonie to the library of her research files, maps, posters, notes, and letters from contacts.

These include school records, company records, original land grants and some amazing original and copied photographs from the her Glen Davis biographical research.  Highly recommend this book to anyone interested in local, technical, mining and family history.

Leonie Knapman is one of our future guest speakers and is planning a give a talk on her childhood at Glen Davis and her memories and search for a special car with Royal connections that she finally tracked down to a Bowral car yard.