The Mountain Babbler has a colourful but poorly documented history. Having served quality content to the Blue Mountains and Sydney’s west for many years – sometimes with a hint of journalistic integrity – the Babbler takes pride of place as the Blue Mountains’ premier news source. But the storyteller often neglects to tell its own story.
What little is known about the Mountain Babbler was carefully preserved and promptly lost by a clumsy unpaid intern. As a result, the Babbler has tried to piece together its story using its crack team of journalists, who pretend to work for pretend pay.
Back in 1813, three intrepid explorers by the names of Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth, bravely traversed the mighty Great Dividing Range after being priced out of Sydney’s booming property market. Four convicts accompanied the free men, because bags back in the 1800s were heavy and convict labour was cheap.
One of those convicts, Arthur Babblington, was tasked with documenting the journey alongside his bag-carrying duties. The role of scribe was a rare usage of convict labour, as most convicts had the literacy of a potato, and the explorers initially doubted his abilities. However, Babblington convinced Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth that his command of Her Majesty’s English was unrivalled, and he was promptly appointed as the party’s scribe.
Unfortunately, a dispute between Babblington and the free men resulted in Babblington destroying the meticulous notes he had taken of the explorers conquering the Mountains. In retaliation, Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth omitted Babblington from their accounts of the expedition.
Upon the party’s return, Babblington was disowned by his fellow explorers and branded a ‘liar’, ‘scoundrel’ and ‘not a very nice bloke’. But from the fires of this condemnation rose a mighty phoenix – the newspaper to become known as the Mountain Babbler.
Ever since, the Babbler has championed the plight of the Blue Mountains resident, delivered news to the Fish and Chips commuters, and challenged parody news empires such as the Blue Mountains Gazette. By reporting on the pressing issues of the day, the Mountain Babbler remains faithful to the penal (heh… penal) history of Arthur Babblington and his publication.