It all began with the Irish...
A small group had come to The Blue Mountains in their search
for the crisp, clear winter climate that they were accustomed
to back in Ireland. The year was 1980.
As they relaxed at the Mountain Heritage, warming in front of
the roaring log fires, they glanced out through the frosted window
panes and saw snowflakes dancing on the wind. Their thoughts turned
to home. "Celebrating Christmas in Australia during the heat
of summer just doesn't feel quite the same", one of the group
explained to Garry Crockett, their host and the owner of Mountain
Heritage. It was a defining moment on that cold and crisp wintry
As he quietly listened to his guests, an idea crystalized in
his mind. Garry recalled his childhood and the stories his own
Irish father Bill, used to tell him, of a white Christmas. He
thought about the traditional Christmas cards that so many Australians
send and receive, depicting the images of a Northern Hemisphere
Christmas. There were sleigh rides, and frosted windows, and
Christmas feasts of turkey and hams and mince pies with steaming
plum pudding and choiristers joining together singing the joys
of the festive season. And of course, there was always a snowman.
With these images in his mind, Garry offered to re-create for
his Irish guests a similar festive Christmas atmosphere at Mountain
Heritage... they were excited and very enthusiastic about the
Preparations for the great feast were in full swing, with the
hanging of decorations throughout the hotel, even a Christmas
tree found and trimmed. Over the weeks of planning, many curious
guests enquired as to all the activity... they thought it was
some kind of Irish joke - you just don't have Christmas in the
middle of the year!
Garry explained the significance of the occasion, that a traditional
Christmas feast with all the trimmings, was soon to happen for
a group of homesick Irish people. Word began to spread far and
wide of this most unusual "out-of-season" festive
event at Mountain Heritage and enquiries from other interested
parties, who also wanted to enjoy such a wonderful original
occasion, began flowing in.
Thus it came to pass, "Christmas in July" was born
on a cold wintry night at the Mountain Heritage!
Today the tradition has become known as "Yulefest"
and lives on throughout the Blue Mountains in the winter months
of June, July and August. Although many other regions have tried
to imitate none have suceeded like the Blue
Mountains, the only region that can truly offer the opportunity
to experience the excitement of a traditional northern hemisphere
Christmas Celebration at The Mountain Heritage - the home of