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The Gates of Hell

The Gates of Hell

Hell's gates must be horrible – a the door to the underworld, where eternal torment awaits. Doesn't seem to be the sort of place with a cheery, red glitter door sign that says, “A sexy devil lives here,” and a welcome mat. Well, not unless an angel's been there…

So what was my inspiration for the gloomy gates of Hell in Mel Goes to Hell? Ah, that's where I take you back to the caves in the southern parts of Western Australia, which bear an eerie resemblance to Gustave Dore's picture of Hell's gate in Dante's The Divine Comedy.

All hope abandons ye who enter here

That's what the sign over the gate says, anyway.

Now, I think Dore's picture of the entrance to Hell looks a lot like the entrance to Abrakurrie Cave on the Nullarbor Plain.

Abrakurrie Cave entrance (Source: Flinders University Speleological Society Inc)

Admittedly, it's not the only scary cave entrance in Western Australia. There's Old Homestead Cave and Weebubbie Cave, too.

North entrance to Old Homestead Cave (Source: Flinders University Speleological Society Inc)
Entrance to Weebubbie Cave, Nullarbor Plain
Entrance to Weebubbie Cave, Nullarbor Plain

 

And there are Mammoth Cave and Lake Cave, which are closer to home:

Entrance to Mammoth Cave, Western Australia
Entrance to Mammoth Cave, Western Australia
Entrance to Lake Cave, Western Australia
Entrance to Lake Cave, Western Australia

Now, I haven't had the opportunity to visit any of the Nullarbor caves, but I imagine the view from the bottom of the doline in Old Homestead or Weebubbie Caves might look a little like that from the bottom of Mammoth Cave.

Looking up the doline at the bottom of Mammoth Cave
Looking up the doline at the bottom of Mammoth Cave

Australians really take the cake for signposting the gate to Hell, though.

Entrance to Crystal Cave, Yanchep, Western Australia
Entrance to Crystal Cave, Yanchep, Western Australia

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About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish. She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray-drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below. Sensationalist spin? No - Demelza tends to take a camera with her so she can capture and share the moment later; shipwrecks, sharks and all. Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world.

Demelza Carlton

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