The Great Western Road illustrated by Frank Walker FRAHS

The Great Western Road illustrated by Frank Walker FRAHS

The Great Western Road illustrated by Frank Walker FRAHS


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Illu s tra te d .

By Frank Walker.F.R.A.H.S



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The Great Western Hoad.

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----------- F O R E W

O R E -----------------

The Ji5th April,x815,was a"red-letter day" in

the history of Hew South Wales,as it signalled the throwing open

of the newly“discovered western country to settlement,and the

opening of the new road,which was completed by William uox,and

his small gang of labourers in January,of the same year.

The discovery of a passage across those hitherto

unassailaole mountains by ulaxland,Lawson and wentworth,after

repeated failures by no less than thirteen other expeditions;the

extended discoveries beyond Blaxland s furthest point by ueorge

William Evans,and the subsequent construction of the road,follow

-ed each other in rapid sequence,and proud indeed was i.acquarie,

now that his long cherished hopes and ambitions promised to be

realised,and a vast,and hitherto unknown region,added to the

limited area which for twenty-five years represented the English

settlement in Australia.

Separated as we are by more than a century of

time it is difficult to realise what this sudden expansion meant

to the tfeen colony,cribbed,cabbined and confined as it had been

by these mysterious mountains,which had guarded their secret so

well, '^-'he dread spectre of famine had once again loomed up on the

horizon before alaxland s successful expedition had ueen carried

out,and the starving stock required newer and fresher pastures

if they were to survive. All these things were of the past now,

and a well made road,extending from the Nepean to the site .of the

future city of Bathurst,invited traffic,and the virgin country

into which it led,stood expectantly open,with waiting arms,ready

to welcome the first settler willing to posess it.

The construction of that first road,wiiich oy

reason of the wild and rugged country.through which it passed,

presented almost unsurmountable difficulties to that inexperienced

band of road engineers,was,in itself,a remarkable undertaking,and

may be classed as one of the most wonderful pieces of

engineering in Australian history. With a working strength of

only thirty,and having to face the rigours of a mountain winter

for the greater part of the time,the story of this work as told

in the pages of William Cox s juiary,is not only interesting,but

it calls forth admiration for the pluck and perseverance of the

leader and his band. Ho hardship was too great;no disappointment

too keen,and though failures were frequent,and almost superhuman

difliculties presented themselves,uox•s dogged perseverance alone

carried him through,and success was his reward at last.

The road was commenced on July 7,lol4,and on

the 14th January in the following year uox was able to report to

o.e ..Oi scqaarie that his .task was finished,and the road ready;

j.0- ora.;.lie, A few months were allowed to intervene when,as men

Cloned above,the official opening of the road took place on the

ensuing &oth April,1S15. The following extract from Cox’s Diary


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2 The Great Western Hoad

as contained in his "Memoirs" is worth recording ,as it gives ap.

exact idea of the names of those who composed the party,of

which Governor Macquarie was the leader.-

»...... .On April £5th of that year (1815)

Governor macquarie drove his car^- iage across

it (the road) ,from Sydney to eathurst.....

accompanied by Mrs wlacquarie. The following

gentlemen composed the Governor's suite;-Mr

Campbell,secretary.,Captain Antill ,Major of

Brigade.,Lieutenant Watts taide de ■campj.,Mr

Oxley,Surveyor General, ,Mr-Meehan,Depmty-Surveyor

General.,Mr Lewin,painter and naturalist,

and Mr G. W.Evans,Deputy-Surveyor of Lands..."

The importance of this expedition,it might

be thought,*oula be heralded with a flourish of trumpets,in th£

press of the day,but beyond a short and concise notice in the

"Gazette",stating the fact of the Governor s departure,and the

names of those who accompanied him,the opportunity for the ais}-

play of a little pardonable rhetoric is not made use of. Probably

optimism on the part of the staff of the Government organ

was not encouraged,even if it existed,and the great possibilities

of the opening of that first Western road,and its effects

on posterity were list sight of.

The Governor in an official letter,which i$

also a G0vernment Proclamation,remarks that "....the tour was

"undertaken for the purpose of being enabled,personally,to

"appreciate the importance of the tract of country lying to th$

"west of the Blue Mountains...." further on he expresses "his

astonishment and regret that amongst so large a population no

one appeared within the first twenty-five years of the establishment

of this settlement,possessed of sufficient energy of

mind to induce him fully to explore a passage over these mountains".

This was rather rough on the courageous men who had

already made repeated attempts to accomplish this very thing,

but had failed. The Governor certainly makes reference to bass

and Caley,two of thse very men,but he seems to have been surprisingly

ignorant of the very existence of such men as tfarral

lier,Tench,^rose,Wilson,and others,not to speak of Governor

Phillip,to whom the problem of the mountains,and what lay behind

them,appealed very early in his career.

Macquarie s journey from day to day is very

graphically told in Cox s Memoirs,which contained the text of

the above mentioned proclamation. At most of the halting place*;

Lewin,the painter,secured lasting mementoes of the Governor's

visit,and thse,in the form of a series of exquisite paintings,

now in the possession of the Antill family,at Picton,are of th

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The Great Western Road 3

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rendered with a fidelity to nature,which must be seen to be

appreciated,and in some of the views there are portraits of the

members of the party which may readily 'be distinguished.

When the party reached the neighbourhood of Lin

-den,a curious heap of stones was found at the side of the road

to which Macquarie,never at a loss for a name,decided to call

"CALEY'S REPULSE”,after the explorer of that name. As a matter

of fact,although Macquarie was unaware of it,ualey was never

within miles of the place,but "caley s Kepulse" it remained to

the end of the chapter. In 1916 a number of members of the then

Australian Historical Societyiof which the writer was one,j

when searching in this locality for this particular relic,had

the good fortune to discover it,or rather what remained of it,

the position in which it was found corresponding exactly with

the description given in many contemporary works. It has now

been restored and a suitable inscription placed thereon.

Macquarie;s favorite hobby,the bestowal of

names upon the various places met with during the tour,was freely

exercised,consequently we have such appellations as the "Kir

"King's Tableland".,"Prince Regent;s Glen",,"Mount York".,"val€

of Clwydd".,Biackheath""Clarence Hilly Range".,"Cox s Pass",

etc.,etc.,names which have wisely been retained to the present

day. The arrival of the party at Mount York is described,and

Macquarie's admiration of the pass which Cox had formed down

the steep end precipitous sides of this famous mountain,found

vent in^eulogistic terms. "As a tribute justly due to him",says

Macquarie,"his name was given to this grand and extraordinary

pass". The old road is still in existence,and during the Centenary

Celebrations in lS13,was visited by crowds of sight see

rs. Mount iilaxland,the terminal point of the first explorer s

expedition was pointed out to Macquarie,as also the two sugarloaf

peaks standing near,which have been called after the two

other members of tflaxland s expedition. The first named now

bears an inscription, setting forth the fact that at this point

Blaxland terminated his journey,and in years to come this ueie

brated mountain will,without doubt,prove attractive to visitors

with a taste for Australian History.

On Thursday the 4th i»ay ,xiacquarie and party

reached the site of the future city of oathurst,and an encamp^

ment was formed on the left bank of the Macquarie River,somewhere

in the vicinity of the present iioly Trinity uhurch at

Kelso. On the 7th May the Ggvernor fixed on the site of the

town,to which the name of uathurst was given in honor of the

then Secretary of s*ate for the uoionies.

,J-'He road measured 101-| miles from Emu Ford

to the site of the proposed town,which the Governor divided up

into easy stages .averaging about 12 miles each,"at all of which!1

so runs tne account,"the traveller may assure himself of good

grass and water in abundance". The return was made to Sydney on

-l^ux scay ,11th AViay,the party reaching their homes on Friday,the

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4 The Great Western Road.

19th inst.

In this manner the first available route to -the

newly discovered western districts was officially opened, it

was an event far reaching in its effects,afid as the years progressed,

the immense gain to the country at large,became more

and more apparent, vast areas of magnificent grazing ground

became available,the rich lands were rapidly peopled by a sturdy

and industrious race,whose descendants still reside,in some

cases,in the very homes built by their progenitors,and on the

lands reclaimed from the wild bush by some of Australia s most

worthy sons.

The foregoing pa&es will deal exhamstively with

the history of this great road,from its inception,down to the

present day,and numerous illustrations,specially taken along

the mountain route,will be used in order to show something of

the present day conditions of what must always be regarded as

the most important,and the most historic highway in Australia.

i;-rank Walker ,F,R.a .H.£

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The Great Western Road 5



The First Koaamaker in Australia

WILLIAM 0 OX, late of ularendon,Ii.S.W. ,was

born at \,imbourne minster,Dorset,England,on December 19th,1764j.

he was the second son and fourth child of Robert Cox,and was

educated at Q,ueen Elizabeth’s Grammar School. ne married Kebecca

Upjohn,of Bristol,in I789,at the age of 25. Re was a man

of good estate,and served in the Wilts Militia,in the service J

where the country geitleman showed both his will and ability

to serve his country. During the French War he got a taste of j

the anxifcies of hostility,but he longed for action,and on July:

8th,1795,at the age of 51,he received his commission as ensign^

in the 117th Foot. A year after k0une 20th,1795),he exchanged

into the 6bth .root,and on February 17th,1797,was made lieuten

ant. But there came a woful time of peace,and his opportunity

for war was not. On September 28th,1798,he was appointed paymaster,

and was ordered to work nar’oour. In that year the famous

■98-of song and story,Ireland was in a ferment. Rebellion had

raised its head,and the two races,English and Irish,were at

deadly enmity. The rebels were being deported to "Botany aay",

and Lieutenant cox was ordered to await the filling up of the

transport "Minerva" iwuptain Salkeld) .with rebels,and take thei^

to Australia. Re took with him to cork,Lieutenant Maundrell,of

N.S.Wales corps,and 50 men of the rank and file,and there he

waited for the ship s complement of rebels who were being ex ~

patriated for doing what they held to be a stern and holy dmty.

On January 11th,1800,the good ship "Minerva"

dropped anchor in Sydney Harbour,after a voyage of nearljj

five months. They left Cork Harbour on August 24th,1799,and

arrived in January,1800. William Cox at once settled on the larid

and in a very short space of time had acquired some very consicj

erable properties,on which his flocks and herds developed with

wonderful rapidity. Mr Cox laid the foundation of one of the

finest flocks of Saxony merinos in Australia,and the industry

has been in the family ever since. Within a very few years he

possessed an ideal home at Clarendon,near Windsor,and here somej

of his numerous family were born.

The modientous discovery of a passage over!

the mountains by Blaxland,Lawson and Wentworth,in 1813, led the

Governor to determine to construct a road along their tracks,^

the likliest man to superintend the work was the chief magistrate

of the district,Mr william uox,of Clarendon. Re had already been

responsible for the construction of the road from Parramatta to

3nru,and with his characteristic activity he at once set about

the preparations of this great work.

William Cox died at clarendon,on Larch

J.btn,loc7,a^ed 72 years,and is'buried in St Matthew’s churchyard



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6 The Great Western Road


To obtain an adequate idea of how this great

engineering feat was accomplished,there is left to us an imperishable

record in the shape of William Oox's Diary,contained

m a volume of Memoirs,published by & member of the family,in

1901,one hundred and one years from the date when the founder

of the family landed on these shores.

Cox was a careful and methodical man,and

the record of his daily progress,ever westward,whilst struggling

against fearful odds,in the shape of wild and ragged

country,makes inspiring reading, iiis workers were convicts,

carefully chosen,it is true,with the promise of suitable rewards,

if they performed their part in the work,and when it is

remembered that in those early times the facilities for efficient

road making were of the most primitive character,and the

country about the worst that could have been possibly selected

for this purpose,the wonder is not so much that he was able to

successfully accomplish his task,but that he actually completed

his task in the incredibly short period of six months.

His Journal begins at the date uuly 7,lbli

when he records a conversation with Governor ^cquarie relative

to the proposed work,the entry concluding with the words,"! to$k

leave of him this day". The "turning of the first soa" took

place on July 18,near the Nepean river,the simple record read

ing,.Began work at 10 a.m.to make a pass across the Ne~

“pean Riverj the banks very steep on the east side". Just a

nundred years later the first centenary of this important event

was celebrated at Penrith,and a suitable memorial marks the

spot where the workmen began their difficult undertaking. The

next day the road was finished down the right D a n k of the rive^

and in the afternoon operations were oegun on Emu Plains. Two

or three days later we are informed that "good progress was

being made on the Plains,and this day's record gives the account

of the first accident,when one of the men was hurt through the.;

limb of a tree falling on him. Next day he writes "....examine-

"ed the ground leading from nmu Plains,and fixed on the spot tp

"cross the creek,as well as one to begin ascending the mountain"

uox followed very closely in blaxlands ]

tracks,as the latter observes in his own Journal,published after

the road was made,that the new road was almso identical with

the path that he and his companions had made in lfalS. On July

26 the road party were beginning to work up the mountain,the ;

ascent being very steep,the soil chiefly iough and stony,and

the timber mostly ironbark. fclox had by this time established aj

depot on the summit of the first range,which he stated,was

five and three-quarter miles from the river. On August 5rd he

had cleared the road to the entrance to a thick brush,tfo and ;

a half miles ahead. The next day the depot was removed to seven

and a half miles forward,the men being at work in a very thick


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The Great Western Road 7

troublesome bush”. For the next two days the same condiions prevailed,but

fair progress was made as on the evening of August 6

uox states that "the people all moved forward to the end of nine

miles”. On August 27th,sixteen miles of road had been completed,

when the working party came to "a high mountain”. 'rhis would be

the range of hills immediately beyond the present Linden station,

and which slaxland described in his Sournalas the second ridge

of the mountains”. Two days later operations were commenced on

the mountain with all available hands. An immense quantity of

rock had to be removed,Doth "in going up the mountain and on

the pass leading to the Dluff on the west or it", uox s engin- .

eer-ing skill was put to the fullest use at this stage of the

work,as instead of winding round the bluff to the east of the

ridge he decided to make a road across the valley by means of a

causeway. This causeway,or "bridge" as uox called it absorbed

the labour of the greater portion of his working party for several

days. By September 12th the ^bridge" was completed,the

dimensions given being,bO feet l^ng,15ft wade at one end,and lid

feet wide at the other,35ft of it being planked,and the remainder

filled up with stones. Cox remarks that the "bricge and pass

"have cost me the labour of 12 men for three weeks....it is now

"complete- a strong,solid bridge,ana will,I ’nave no doubt be

"rekoned a good-looking one by travellers that pass through the

"mountains”. This is the first bridge erected west of i^mu Plain's,

and it is a strange circumstance that no subsequent road-makers

in this vicinity ever mentioned the work. The railway ^epartmenjt

when constructing the great embankment a few yards west of Linden

station,must have destroyed the old structure,as the embankment

bisects the original site. In later years,that is between

1614 - 1850,some buildings were erected at about the centre of j

the bridge,one being known as the "Toll liar Inn”. A toll gate

also existed at the western end.

The mention of "Oaley s pile”,shows that the

working party were now in the vicinity of Linden,and viaxtoro

to this locality ,anc. ivs irmueuiate neignoourhood will be able

to inspect portions of Cox's road,which crosses the present

road beyond linden,and continuing on the southern side,turns

almost due west in the direction of Woodford.

By September 13th,twenty-one miles of road

had been completed,but the next five miles through very rough

and rocky ground took a further eleven days. The 26th mile

brought _them to the ”foot of a steep mountain",which may be

identified as the high ridge beyond Lawson,near the present 57th

mile post. The second depot,which was erected almost on the

site of the old HV«eatherboard Inn”,at Wentworth Tails,was completed

on October toth. excellent progress was now made as v»e

learn from Cox's Journal tnat 3& miles had been completed by

oeptember 23. One of the party was sent forward to examine the

country beyond,and returned with the information that the

mountain (I-ount York),was nearly half-a -mile down,and that it

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The Great Western Road

seemed scarcely possible to make a road down,and that there

were no facilities for making a good descent to the north.

Forty-two miles of road had been completed by

September £S, most of the last few miles being constructed

amidst constant rain. On November 3rd,we have a vivid description

of the characteristics of the country in and around the

four mile ridge which terminates at Mount York. The difficulty

of constructing a road down its precipitous sides was most

apparent,but Cox was not the man to be dismayed by tasks of

this description,and after a close examination he at last decides

upon the place at which to commence the descent,which

was begun on November 7th. This undertaking v,as ae£ not completed

until December 6th,but in the meantime,some of the working

party were employed in constructing the road on the lower

levels,though the pass down the mountain occupied exactly 24

days before it was prounced fit to travel upon.

Cox was invariably a kind master to his men,but I

in the entry for December Sth,he writes several of the

"men appear to be inclined to give in and shirk work,the great-

"er part of whoqi,in my o*inion,are quite as well as myself.Gave

"them a reproof in earnest.which I expect will make them well

"by to-morrow". The "reproof in earnest" evidently partook of

the nature of the usual means adopted in these times when infraction

of discipline threatened,and no doubt was effectual,as

we hear no more of the incident.

wThe road was now completed as far as Mount Blaxland.and

the Cox river had been crossed by means of a fairly

substantial bridge,the remains of which existed up to a few

years ago,and even yet some traces of the work raajs still be

found,a little to the right of the present bridge.

From this portion of the Diary until it ends

abruptly on January 7th,the record gives an interesting description

_of_the progress of the work,the bridges built,the continued

difficulties Presented by the rough nature of the ground

and the hilly conditions which almost universally prevailed.The

complete road was finished ^n January 14th,1815,its terminal

point being the flagstaff,opposite the principal house in the

infant settlement at,what is now known as Kelso. The official

opening of the road by Governor Macquarie and party in April

of the same year will be dealt with in its turn.


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The termination* o f Cox's Hoed,from various authorities


Cox»t J&urnali- Ut-tid completed January L is t ,lo l5 , (vide Macquarie's

letter,*^ 10 e .I . The Governor encamped on tho southsrn

bank o f tho fcaoquarle Kiver,and on Sunday,7th iaay,fixed

on a s its suitable fo r the erection o f e to w n ..... to

»»hlch he gave the none o f Bathurst. •. . . . "

IN H 7x. In •numerating the various atages,the

Governor gives lv% miles from tho Gom^beli hlver (7th

stagel to the s ite o f the future town, i . e . the fla gs t o ff

This measurement ends In the v ic in ity o f Holy Trinity


Iflftlvr AatrlU’ s Clary 4p* c&) .and the remainder o f the

party..........dres u* In lin e ..* ,..a n d advanced in this

order towards tho huts situated on ,0 l i t t l e risin g

£X&&fc(on the banks o f the riv e r" (The only risin g

ground on the southern sld eof the riv e r Is close to

holy- l'fln lty Church,flat ground Intervening between

tho Church and the riv e r, ‘ihe old road Is s t i l l v is -

Ib le, forming, la ter on, tho main street o f the f ir s t

town o f Bathurst,one or two venerable buildings,alm ost

In ruins, a tending en tho Kargin. There were between

60 &nd 70 houses on this s ite in 1855. F.W. J

Lowin’ s drawing,of the "Bathurst Pie Ins'*

reproduced on 36 o f A n t l l l s Clary,shows no buildings

hhL-tavar.cnd Is taken frXTa a s*ct at or near *elsc

looking west,*1th the riv er In the middle distance.

, ljw£7) *he s , at which was chosen fo r

the Governor s large tent was u*on

i.rounc.about~threa hundred yards free, the man's huts.

A smal„ tent sas placed on each side with a clear space

in front,u*on which e s i l o 1 1 fla g s ta ff *tas erected.^his

was a most suitable spot fo r a town, coxaaanding a vie*

of the surrounding country fo r a considerable extent”

+M, SWL.M. These were evidently

plaoed elwse to the river,w hich is about three hundred

yards,at the nearest point from the Church at Kelso.(SW


At no other spot

in this v icin ity c&n a better view o f the surrounding

country be obfftained. (FWI.

(pp 38>. * ................... future ch u rch ...?

Theee words are *rovhetlc. holy T rinity Church must

stand a linos t on the spot where the Governor s tent was

* laced. It must also be remembered that a previous

building,used as a church,occupied the site,and may

have been so placed there to •ommemoiete the f ir s t

service held in the Bathurst district,Sunday 7th,

Hate. Ant i l l gives the distance fro® Cwm*-

b e li river to Bathurst, (K elso) ,as 11 m iles. Ccx aukes

the distance,10».

The Great Western rioad


R O A D — C A F T A IH B U I iI j'S A D M IN -



I con tin u e M r. R . S . R aym on d ’ s letter

(see “ T ru th ” , 5.6.’ 2 1 ):— “ My

gran d fath er h eld the p osition o f captain

in the S eaforth Highland


- ••-------


10 The Great Western Road

vere the on ly tw o p la ce s w h ich stood

n the top o f La.l>stone H ill. The old

rigin al P ilg rim Inn w as standing there

5 years a go to m y k n ow ledge. I w as

lien 10 years o f a g e ; it w a s n ot k ep t

2.£ [blank]*

v - -

The Great Western Road

was rather ta ll ami stout, w ith a very

p leasing m anner, though not a handsom

e w om an. The p a rty le ft that day,

continuin g th eir Journey to Bathurst,

and th ey w ere to stay w ith Sir. W illiam

Law son [th e explorer] at M acquarie

j Plains fo r three days. Captain andsMrs.

|Bull w ere a ls o invited to join in the

I festiv ities.

| • .

ON T H E G R E A T W E S T E R N R O A D —

A L A N D M A S K — B U L L ’S CAM P—


G A N G S — W H A T ‘‘T R A D IT IO N ”


M O U N T A IN ’ L E G E N D S .

I have to thank m any correspondents

fo r letters and telegram s con ­

veyin g good w ishes on havin g passed

the- 81st m ile post on L ife ’s H ighw ay.

'* * *

W h e n -M r . Sydney C unyngham e made

his first trip over the Blue M ountains

with his unoies. C harles and Jam es

W halan, o f Oberon (see "T ru th ”

16V5/’ 2I), in the year 1841, they p assed

a lan dm ark on the Bat hurst-road

m ilea ge 50, then know n as IS Milo

H o llo w ; to-d a y as B u ll’s Camp,

and w h y so nam ed? W ell, it was this

>.ay. i n . i.icre cv.u o to Sydney

w ith the 9»th Regim ent. Captain J.

H . N . Bull. w ho was Im m ediately detailed

fo r d u ty with 50 n on -com s and

p rivates o f his regim ent. to take

charge o f a road-m aking gan g, cam ped

V, IS M ile H ollow , in w hich charge

he su cceeded Captain Day, who w ent

*vith the B arn ey expedition to P ort '

'u rtis to fou nd a n ew settlem ent,

w hich did n ot then becom e "fou n d ed ” .

Captain Bull cam ped w ith his fa m ily

it the spot now known a s B ull’s Camp,

w hile a hou se was bein g built for

his accom m od ation at 'Blackheath, so

named b y G overnor M acquarie on his

trip over the M ountains in 1S15. Captain

Bull w a s appointed a m agistrate

and engineer in ch arge o f the G reat .

W estern R oad from the R iver Nepean

to B ath u rst. The headquarters o f the

road gan g w as at Blackheath. a very

health y loca lity , and somew’ liat ch illy

in w in ter. Captain Bull was on these

hills fron j 1842 to 1848. ‘and we have

heard mjeny legends and* 'tradition s

con cerning h im and his treatm ent o f

the helpless convict w retch es under

his com m an d W e have heard o f Captain

B u ll’s b a th cut in solid rock, and

Captain B u ll’ s arm chair a lso cut in

the solid rock, in w h ich the Captain

used to reclin e, “ m onarch o f all he

su rveyed ” . T he “ ba th ” and “ the

ch a ir” have been w iped out by the

railw ay line. It has been said also, and

by som e alleged historians. I am sorry

to say. that a certain corru gated stone

near Linden was used as a "su refo

o tin g ” fo r the (logger when plyin g

his dreadful office; it w'as said, also,

that certain "du g-ou ts” were punishm

ent cells f o r w rong d oers. W ell, X

have the testim ony o f an eye witness,

a lad y now in her 91st year, who

states that the alleged c ells o f punishm

ent were stone hou ses for tools

and explosives, used in road m aking.

and, as C aptain m ill never had a man

w hipped, the sto n f in qu estion could

n ot have, been put to the use su g­

gested b y th e leg en d . To m y m ind the

stone m entioned w a s the site o f a

b la ck sm ith ’ s forge, bu t we w ill com e

to that p resen tly .

* * *

A s I h ave said. Captain B u ll w as

on these h ills from 1S42 to 1848. In

1843 we g o t a Parliam ent, a m ixed

c h a m b e r , o f G overnm ent officials,

nom inees an d electives, there being 6

official m em bers, G nom inee m em bers,

and 24 e le ctiv e s. A m on gst those who

lvad seats in that H ou se w ere W . C .

W en tw orth , Dr, Bland, W . H . Suttor,

s e n r., ot B athurst, R ob ert Low e,

C h arles C ow per, D r. Lang, Sir T hom as

M itchell, D r . N ich olson , R oger T herry,

John B la xla n d and m any o f sim ilar

tem peram en t and sta n d in g . Som e o f

these w ere c o n s ta n t' tra vellers betw een

th e m e tro p o lis and the country, not

flyin g b y ex p ress tra in as to-d ay, but

■In their ow n h orse-draw n g ig s and

coaches. T h e y m ust have d a ily passed

the gan gs o f road-m akers under Captain

B ull, and it m a y fa irly be asked

w ou ld it b e possible fo r the Captain

to so b ru ta lly ill-u se his helpless

ch arges a s tradition has d ebited him

w ith ? W ere he so guilty, you v e ry soon

w ou ld hear o f som e o f the A ustralian

p atriots I have nam ed ta k in g P a r '

Ijam entary a ction to b rin g him to book.

W ith P a rlia m en ta ry representation

even in a lim ited degree, the old dark

3ayS o f p en al h is to ry had p assed aw ay

fo r e v e r .

s * *

W hen I first heard o f C aptain Bull

and B u ll’ s Camp, the site o f which,

b y the w ay, I am ov e rlo o k in g as X

w rite, I little th ou gh t that I knew

him , n o t certa in ly when he w as in

com m and on the M ountains, but in

the ea rly six ties in V ictoria , where

he w as a Captain o f V olun teers, and

I a fu ll p rivate 'in one o f th e com ­

p an ies. C aptain B u ll w as the second

son o f C olon el Bull, a C om panion o f

the Bath, a K n igh t o f H anover, w ho

had served in the P eninsular and

W a terloo cam paign s, in the R oy a l

H orse A rtille r y . Our Captain Bull w as

born in the centre o f Ireland in the

yea r 1S06; he entered the M ilitary

C ollege a t Sandhurst in 1820; he received

h is first com m issio n iiN the

78th H ighla n d ers in A p ril 1825: he

purch ased his lieu ten a n cy in June.

1826, and w a s fo r tw o years on the

sta ff o f the Q uarterm aster-G -eneral’ s

D epartm ent in K an dy, which sw eetlynam

ed tow n w’ as a t one tim e the

cap ital o f th e islan d o f C eylon, w'here

B ishop H eb er has told us “ T h e sp icy

breezes b lo w ’’ . In O ctober, ,1838, L ieu t­

enant B u ll obtain ed his cap tain cy, and

in ■1840 .was appointed D eputy-Ju dge

A d voca te o f the N orth ern D istrict o f

E n glan d. In January. lS4t2. t e e x ch a n g ­

ed into th e 99th, com m anded b y C olonel

D espard, who. w h ile occu p y in g the

old. G eorge-street B arrack s in Sydney,

•earned th e sobriqu en t of. “ K eep oft

the grass D espard” from the fa ct th at

he w ish ed the green sw ard in fro n t

o f the b a rra ck s b e kept fo r the use

o f his fa m ily cow .

* m *

T he 99th arrived in Sydn ey in O c­

tober. T.842, aijd Captain B u ll w a s

T - -Hsr

The Great Vestern Road.

ordered to take' charge o f a stockade

on the B lue M ountains, w ith a detachm

ent o f 50 soldiers; he 1was, a s

I have said, appointed m agistrate and

engineer in charge o f th e W estern

Hoad from P enrith to the C ity o f the

P lain s. A fte r six years so em ployed,

he rejoin ed headquarters, and soon

a fte r retired from the serv ice on being

prom ised civil em ploym ent; he had

an appointm ent at N ew castle, where he

su pervised the con stru ction o f the

breakw ater from N obby Islan d to the

m ainland. In O ctober, 1851, on application

o f the the G overnm ent o f V ic ­

toria. then new ly-esta blish ed on separation

from N ew South Wa,les, he

resigned the N ew castle appointm ent,

and becam e Com m issioner o f Crown

Lands, M agistrate, and W arden at

B en d igo. On the fam ou s g old field he

m et som e o f his old college m ates,

who had passed through the M ilitary

School, “ O rion” Horne, the poet,

am ongst them , and without m uch au ­

th ority these ex-collegia n s changed

the nam e B endigo to Sandhurst. Some

years ago, how ever, the people returned

to their allegian ce, and the

fa m ou s old gold tow n is again known

as B endigo.

* * *

On the P olice M agistrate leaving

Castlem aine; Captain B ull w as instru

cted to p erform his duties, which,

w ith that o f Goldfields W arden, he

continued to d isch arge until D ecem ­

ber 31, 1869. when he w as placed on

the retired list on account o f age,

63— quite a you th it m ay be said.

On the form a tion ,o f the Volunteer,

C orps in C astlem aine in I860. he wsfs

nom inated Captain. The Corps con sisted

o f three com p an ies. On Septem ber.

3, 1863, he w as prom oted to the rank

o f Xiieut-colonel in charge o f the V olunteer

C orps in the northern district,

w ith headquarters at Castlem aine. rem

aining until the abandonm ent o f the

volu n teer system . Subsequently he

'w a s, fo r a sh ort tim e, connected with

the m ilitia, bu t retired on his rank o f

C olonel. (T o be resum ed next w eek.)

* * *


• ' ‘ -j *





P en rith w ill celebrate to-d a y the centenary

ot the com m encem ent o f a great w ork —the

m aking of the first road over the m ountains.

T he prin cipal celeb ra tion s w ill be to-m orrow ,

bu t there w ill be certain festiv ities fo r the

sch ool children to-d ay.

It is not ex a ctly the cen ten ary o f P enrith

itself. The site on w hich P en rith stands had

been to som e exten t explored w ithin three

y e a r s o f the a rriva l of the first settlers In

A u stralia—tw en ty-five years before th e road

w as begun—and it w as n ot nam ed P en rith unt

il m any years a fter th e road w as finished.

"What is celebrated to-d a y and to -m o rro w is

the centenary o f the G reat W estern road.

It w as on July 17, 1814—on e hundred years

ago to-d ay— that W illia m Cox, the retired

arm y officer, w ho had taken up land a t C larendon,

and had offered to build th is road,

m ustered his m en a t Captain W oodriff’s

farm . near the bank o f the

N epean, w here the great w ork was

to begin. A t 10 the n ext m orning, to o ls

and rations havin g been issu ed to the party,

the first p iece o f actual w ork, the cu ttin g of

a pass down the steep bank o f the river to the

ford , w as begun.

It is difficult to rea lise to day that a t the

tim e when th e se m en w ere w ork in g on the

road w hich was to take them o v er the m ountains

m any p eople in A u stralia fu lly b e ­

liev ed th at it w as leading them p art th eir way

tow ards a great sea. It w as know n th a t no

sea would be reached fo r a con sid erable d istance

beyond the end o f the road at the M acqu

arie R iver, becau se Evans had been beyond,

and had found no se a ; but m any w ere c o n ­

vin ced that there w as a sea at the back o f it


O f course, the road in tim e show ed them their

error. The road poured out settlers on to

vast inland spaces. T he road brought back

their w ool, and in later tim es th eir gold.

T h ey had, at one place, to ro ll th eir w ool

bales up it, because the grade was 1 in 4, and

load them again at the top. W ith all its im ­

p erfection s, it w as the road th at m ade this


I__ ________


' I •

The Great Western Koad.

The road follow ed alm ost exactly along the

trees that had been m arked by the party

w hich first crossed the m ountains. And the

railw ay follow s generally the track of the

road. In certain places the old road has long

been abandoned—is overgrow n and barely distinguishable.

But for a great part it is still

the road to-d ay. The railw ay traveller, when in

the intervals of his m agazine he n otices a

road winding beside him up the m ountain,

m ay w ell close for a m om ent that engrossing

serial. H e is looking on one o f the m ost im ­

p ortan t w orks that w ere ever undertaken in

A ustralia. T o-day, perhaps, he w ill spare a

thought both for tha w ork and for the men

who made it.



The h istory o f Penrith, or, m ore properly

speaking, o f the Nepean R iver district, began

soon a fter the foundation o f the settlem

ent at Sydney Cove. No sooner had

G overnor P hillip founded the colony than he

and his officers set about the work, in teresting

and exciting to them , no doubt, of exp

lorin g the surrounding country. To the

north the H awkesbury R iver was discovered,

but to the w estward tho great barrier of the

Blue M ouotains effectually closed the path.

B efore the actual attem pts were made the

task seem ed to these ea rly settlers one of

1'ttle difficulty. Little did these good people

think of the arduous task which awaited

them . Captain Tench and Lieutenant Dawes

had both undertaken expeditions in the


The know ledge of this district increased

year by year, but it is a curious rem inder of

the state o f society in the colony at that

tim e, when in 1806 G overnor Phillip issued

an order that “ no person whatever, except

officers, do a t any tim e resort across the

R iver Nepean on any p retex t." As years

w ent on the country in the vicin ity o f the

N epean began to be settled, and after the

B lue M ountains had been su ccessfully crossed

and settlem ents form ed in the west Penrith

becam e a place of som e im portance. Long

before the name o f P enrith was bestowed

upon the township it received the name of

“ E van,”-, and by such appellation was marked

on the early maps. H ow it cam e to be

designated in this w ay is obscure, but a reason

able supposition would be that the Und

er-S ecretary for the H om e Departm ent was

fu rther honoured by the use of his Christian

as w ell as his surname.

The road over the m ountains was begun

in 1814. T o the present day enough o f C ox's

road down M ount Y ork rem ains to convince

the sp ectator o f the m agnitude of the task.

True, the grade was about 1 in 4, and it

was alm ost a m atter o f im possibility to

t ■

g e t a loaded team from the bottom ttf the

top w ithout the n ecessity o f m aking several

jou rn eys. It is on record that when the wool

team s began to bring the golden fleece to the

seaboard, and the fo o t o f the pass was

reached, the bales had to be unloaded from

the drays, and rolled up the m ountain by


F or upw ards o f 28 years a ll the traffic to

and from th e w est passed up and down this

m ountain, until in 1832 M ajor (afterw ards Sir

T hom as) M itchell con stru cted the V ictoria

P ass, and the old road by M ount Y ork was

abandoned. G overnor M acquarie was so

struck w ith the clever w ork carried out at

M ount Y o rk th at he ordered it to be named

“ C ox’s P ass,” in honour o f the m an who had

d evised it.

On January 1, 1856, the first bridge, a

w ooden stru ctu re over th e N epean, was opened

b y G overnor F itzroy, bu t this stood only until

A ugust, 1857. On the night o f the wreck

o f the D unbar a flood cam e dow n the rive:

and w ashed away every vestige o f the bridge.

I t is in terestin g to note that this was the

first severe flood sin ce 1809. T he company

w hich bu ilt the bridge re -e re cte d it, but in

1860 it w as again sw ept away. The district

then reverted to puntage, and this method

o f crossin g the river rem ained in vogue until

1867. T here w as anoth er flood in 1864, but

in 1867 the severest visita tion in the way of

floods th a t had ever devastated th e district

bccurred, and on this occa sion the water

reached to w here the centre o f th e tow n now

stands. T he punt, o f course, w as carried

away, and on ce m ore the bridge question began

to agitate the tow n sfolk . The building

o f the third bridge w as accom pan ied by a

su ccession o f m isfortu n es to the contractor,

five fresh es in th e river w ashing away an

equal num ber of coffer dam s, w hich cost

som e thousands o f pounds. The contractor

ow ing to th ese m isfortu n es, w as obliged to

throw up the con tra ct, but the construction

o f the brid ge being let to an oth er contractor

he, n ot b ein g trou bled by floods, com pleted

th e work, and realised a handsom e profit on

the job .

In the early days bushrangers from the m ountains

com m itted occa sion a l rob b eries around

the d istrict, and it w as a fa irly com m on sight

to see b od ies of tow n sfolk, “ arm ed to the

teeth ,” as one old residen t puts it, settin g out

from Penrith to escort the m ail coach over the

w orst p ortion o f the range. H orse racing

w as a grea t a ttra ction at P enrith in the good

old tim es, racin g b ein g carried out on the

flat now called H ornsey W ood up to 1865,

m any o f th e b est h orses in A ustralia com peting

D escendants o f G overnor K in g becam e large

landow ners around P enrith, w here som e of

th e fam ily s till possess interests. Governor

K in g ’s w idow is bu ried in old South Creek

i C em etery, and the d istrict o f K ingsw ood p erpetuates

in nam e the m em ory of one of our

early G overnors.

A bout 5 o ’clo ck on July 6, 1859. the first

sod of the P enrith railw ay w as turned by Mr.

R. T. Jam ieson, the m em ber fo r the Nepean,,

in the p resen ce of ab ou t 300 sp ectators. The

'6 ZVpWntcl




--,----- ---------- - - ----;-----

4 The Great Western Koad.

line as far as South Creek (now St. Marys)

was opened on May 1, 1862, the addition to

the line being required by the Government

to be com pleted in flve months. The English

contractors, how ever, refused to take it up,

but a Mr. Gibbons started the w ork in the

second week in Jtjne, 1862, the com plete line

from Sydney to Penrith being opened for

traffic on July 7, 1862. F or five years the

terminus rem ained at Penrith, and until the

railway was continued over the mountains the

town was the starting place for the coaches

for the w est. These were stirring days, and

the sight o f the coaches, with their flvehorse

teams of greys and bays, going at full

gallop through the tow n was one worth w itnessing.

H ow different to-d ay are the con ­

ditions o f travel, seated in an u p -to-d ate rail-i

way car, compared with the journey in the'

rattling coach, its passengers m ostly exposed

to the cold and wet, and the ever-present

chance o f their vehicle being held up by "the

gentlemen o f the road.” A t this tim e Penrith

was a busy centre, for not only was it a

starting point fo r the coaches and teams

bound for the w est, but it was also the resting

place o f traffic to and from the m etropolis,

a fter the descent or before the ascent

o f the m ountains

Penrith was proclaim ed a m unicipality in

1871, the late Mr. Jam es R iley being the first

Mayor. A few years ago the fair average

rental o f im proved land with buildings thereon

in the m unicipality of Penrith was estimated

at nearly £20,000, the cap ital value ofi

all rateable p roperty being set down at

£270,000. The first inn erected in the town!

was in 1831, by Mr. Josephson, and called

the G overnor Gipps Inn. A few relics of the

old days still exist in and around Penrith,

and there arA many other rem inders o f past

days scattered about the district. To the

historian this pleasing locality w ill always

contain m uch that is interesting and instruc-j




(BY I.L .)

On the seventeenth day of July, exactly

one hundred years ago, W illiam Cox, of

Clarendon, entered upon^ the construction of

the Great W estern-road.

His task was undertaken at the, request of

G overnor M acquarie, to whom Cox subm itted

his plans for approval. .The choice of

his w orking-party was left to him self. H t

inform ed the district constables what sort

o f men he wanted, and directed them to givo

notice t o the convicts w orking w ith settlers

in their districts that the num ber needed

would be allow ed to volunteer, and, if they

behaved to h is satisfaction, w ould be r e ­

warded by em ancipation. W ell-in clin ed , hardy

men, who had been som e years in the coK>ny,






and accustom ed to field lab ou r w ere chosen,

and the com pleted party consisted o f thirty

m en; a superintendent, a guide (b oth free

men, w ho had crossed the M ountains before

w ith the su rveyor), a storek eeper, a d o c­

tor, con stable, overseer o f tools, carpen ter,

blacksm ith, m iner, tw o b u llock -d riv ers, 20

labourers, and a sergeant, corp oral, and six

p rivate sold iers o f the R oyal V eteran s as a


On July 17, all the p arties assem bled on the.

banks of the N epean, opposite Emu Plains.

Cox had a caravan fo r his sleep in g berth,

with a tilt and lock ers fo r sm all stores and

baggage. At 5 p.m- the p eople w ere a s­

sem bled, and h a lf a w eek’s ration o f bread

w as issued to each. On. Monday, the 18th,

a start was made at daylight. T ools and

rations w ere issued, and at 10 a.m. w ork b e ­

gan at the east side o f the Nepean, cutting

down the bank, and m aking a carriage-w ay

across a passable ford to Emu Plains.

On W ednesday, all hands crosSed the river.

and Cox noted that they were 1beginning to

understand their labou r, and to w ork well.


On Tuesday, the 26th, the crossin g place

to the fo o t of the m ountains w as finished,

and the ascen t began. C ox's caravan was

rem oved across the river, and he slep t in

the M ountains for the first tim e.

The first labour trou ble cam e now, when

Burn, the forem an, ob jected to re ce iv in g

orders through the superintendent, and left

the party. The oth ers w ere given an o p ­

portunity o f follow in g him if th ey w ished to

do so, b u t ’ it is n ot recorded that anyone


On A ugust 3, n a tives were m et w ith, a n i

the sold iers were distribu ted am ong the w ork ­

ing gangs. On the 9th, when alm ost ten

m iles o f road had been made, Mr. Evans, the

surveyor, a r riv e d ,' by direction of the G o­

v e r n o r ,'t o give inform ation to Mr. Cox re la ­

tive to the difficulties he m ight expect to

m eet as he penetrated fu rther into the m ountains.

' P rovision s w ere running out, a n i

a m essenger w as sen t back to Clarendon,

Mr. C os’ s residen ce, w hence he returned w ith

a side o f beef, 60 cabbages, and corn, and

sugar. F rom the 11th to the 13th m u';

the tim ber is d escribed as ta ll, large, and

thick; a dead tree felled by the party m easured

81 feet to the beginning o f the head,

and a blood tree w as found m easuring 15

feet 6 inches round.

By Septem ber 3 the road was com pleted to

C aley’s pile of ston es, afterw ards called

Caley’s R epulse, a d istance o f 17J m iles.

"T h e m ountain h ere,” w rites Cox, “ is little

else but solid perm anent rock, and it w ill

not be possible to m ake good roads on U

w ithout great expense. In bad w eather this

m ust be a dreadful w ild look in g place, anJ

if it was so when C aley was here, I do not

at all w onder a t his being appalled and re -

turning.” On the 15th the bridge was c o m ­

pleted a ll but the h a nd-rails and battening

o f the planks. It w as 80 feet long, 15 feet

24 (jplainWl






», i

u i- .'.- .....54V .... f.

The Great Western Road.

wide at one end, and 12 at the other, 35

fe e t o f it w as planked, the rem ainder filled

Op solid w ith stone. “ It is now com ­

pleted,” w rites the road-m aker, “ a strong and

solid job , and w ill, I dare say, he also r e ck ­

oned a good look in g one by travellers. The




- ................... ' .........

1 i ;


-------- * . ^ 4 -------------------------- ---------------- ---

16 iSie Great Western Road.

W illiam Cox among them, and rem a in ed , in

the colony, where they had established hom es

Even in those lon g-a go days the valley of

the M ulgoa had its .’ ttractions, and in 1810

the first grant of land there was made to

Edward Cox, the seVe .th son o f the pioneer

W illiam , but the first born in Australia. As

he would be only 5 years old in 1810, it was

in his name only. W illiam Cox had a m anager

at Mulgoa, James King, who watchcd

the interests of his em ployer.


Cox'b diary tells that on July 17 the party

left Clarendon at 3 a.m., and arrived at noon

at the farm of a certain Captain W oodriff.

, As Captain W oodriff was closely m ixed 'jp

with the land on which Penrttn' stanas, the

follow in g facts about him m ay be interestin

g :—

W hen P ort Phillip was discovered by Acting

Lieutenant Murray in the “ tin d er-box” Lady

N elson in 1802, Governor King reported the

discovery to the E nglish Governm ent, who

im m ediately fitted out an expedition to found

a settlem ent there. Tw o vessels were selected

to convey it to the destination. One,

H.M.S. Calcutta, was commanded by Captain

Daniel W oodriff, an officer who, as a m idshipman,

had been in these w aters b efore; the

other vessel was a tra n sp oit and store ship.

Colonel David Collins, A ustralia’ ^ first h istorian,

was in command of the settlem ent

party. Collins, being unable to find a su itable

site, took his settlers in '.he Ocean, the

transport, to' the Derwent, and there founded

H obart, the Calcutta com ing on to Sydney,

When in Sydney early in 1804 Captain Daniel

W oodriff receives from G overnor K ing a grant

of 1000 acres of land, "in a si uation of his

own selection ;” 600 acres were given by directions

received from Lord Hobarc, and 400

acres at Captain W oodriff’s own request. A

great portion ot the town of Penrith is on

this grant.

Captain W oodriff’s after-career has nothing

to do with Sew South W ales, but w hile he

was fighting French frigates or lingering in

a French prison, his crops were grow ing on

his farm on the banks of the Nepean, cu ltivated

with tools and m en supplied by the


It was from this farm that, on the m orning

o f July 18, 1814, just 100 years ago, that W illiam

Cox issued forth to com m ence the road

which fo r ever Was to be associated w ith his

name. W here the farm -hou e stood Is now

the site of a modern cottage, ju st fter H igh-

, street, Penrith is left, and on the roaff. to

Mulgoa. The bed of the Nepean has changed

since those da^s, and w here Emu Island was

is uncertain, but the banks of the river

w ere high and steep opposite the ford , and

had to be cut down to allow the bullock

teams and the horses to cross the river.

Here it was that the first sod was turned in

the m unicipality of Penrith, which then was

an undream ed-of institution. Cox follow ed

as close as possible Blaxland’s track, to r the

latter, w riting an uncle in England In 1823,

says: "The road which has since been made.




deviates but a few rods in som e places from

the line cleared of the s : all trees and bushes

and marked by us.”


] The citizens of Penrith will be obeying

n wise instinct when to-day and to-morrow

they commemorate the hundredth anniversary

o f the beginning of the road which

leads from the foot ofi the Blue Mountains

to the city o f Bathurst. Their festival is

the logical and chronological sequence to

the ceremonies which were held at Bathurst

and at Mount Victoria, on the ceuteuary

o f the achievements o f Blaxland.

Lawson, and Wentworth. These three men

] ij&ved a young and isolated colony from

j prospects which threatened it with intermittent

famine, and possibly with extinction.

Their discovery of a path across the

Hlue Mountains proved to the first settlers

that the range o f hills which surrounded

them was not impenetrable, although it had

defeated- many earlier explorers. The work

which they had begun was carried farther

by Mr. Evans under the auspices of an

active and resourceful Governor. He first

proved that beyond the hills was a wide

and fertile tableland, possessing a climate

keener and more healthy than that o f the

sea coast. But the tfick o f making the mountains

and the tableland accessible was carried

out by William Cox, who, since his

arrival in Australia, had lived in his home

at’WinUsor, at the extremity of the coastal

settlement. But for his presence in the

colony Macquarie would have had to wait

a long time before finding a man capable

of carrying out such a work with such

njaterials as were at his disposal. It will

be no part of the object o f these celebrations

to compare the merits of the different

pioneers, or the difficulties whicn each of

them overcame. They all, we take it, will

share in the honours of the pageant tomorrow.

Blaxland and his colleague accomplished

what others had often tried tc

do and failed. They deserve, moreover

the credit o f original work, for they succeeded

by substituting methods o f theii

own for those which former explorers had

copied from English precedents. Evans followed

on their tracks, and adequately carried

out the duty entrusted to him. But

the heroes of this centenary should be

Lachlan Macquarie and William Cox.

All through a difficult time Macquarie

proved himself the right man for a crisis. He

had the three great qualities, enthusiasm,

confidence in the future, and unbounded

energy which were needed for the develop-


------,.vi - .jr...

- ■

The Great Viestern Road. j.

ment o f a new settlement. Their product i

was a determination not to acquiesce in

difficulties which other Governors were,

ready to accept as insuperable. Their result

is seen throughout New South Wales

and Tasmania, which abound in monuments

of a great roadmaker and townplanner.

Fortunately Macquarie had besides

his other gifts the gift o f being able

to choose the right rtmn for a given task.

William Cox had shown both on his voyage!

from England and in the management ofj

his farm, that he could preserve discipline,!

and at the same time secure the goodwill

of his men. h e treated his servants as if

they were human beings, each with a

normal share o f self respect, and in consequence

was rewarded by an astonishing

amount of work. The success with which

he carried the road over the Blue Mountains

is attested by the letter written to

him after Macquarie, with his w ife and

Cox, had driven to Bathurst. The difficulties

of the task are shown without exaggeration,

and with great modesty in

Cox’s journal, which is, fortunately, still

j preserved. It was an astonishing achievement

to build a road 101 miles long within

six months, over an uncleared range of

hills, and with only thirty men. most of

them unskilled. The pioneer Had to contend

with a wet season, and with much

sickness among his few men. The chart

he had to use was in some places defective,

and his appliances for blasting and bridging

were extremely primitive. His difficulties

were properly appreciated by Macquarie

as he drove over the road down

what he describes as a rugged and tremendous

descent executed with skill and

stability, or on to the ridge which he called

Mount York. We do well to honour today

the memory of these two devoted public

servants. They neither o f them could

anticipate the vast and fertile areas which

the new road would open up. But their

labours are the foundation o f the greatest

industry in this State, and their examples

are such as should perpetually be kept alive

by a people who wish to understand and

take pride in their history.


W E S T E R N R O A D — C A P T . B U L L ,



I continue m y rem in iscen ces o f C olonel

Bull (see ‘ ’T ru th ’' 2 2 /5 /2 1 ).

C olonel B u ll’ s con n ection w ith the

Im perial and local fo rce s in A u stra ­

lia leach ed close upon fo r ty y ea rs.

I .joined the V olunteer F orce in M elbourne

in 1862— there w as no, standard

m easurem ent then—rand w as present

w ith C olonel B ull at the first encam p­

m ent on the W erribee, in April, IS 62,

and a w et encam pm ent it w a s; and

at a sham fight, at B.ed Bluff, w h ere

I nearly lost the num ber o f m$r m ess

through the error o f a rear rank m an

w ho discharged his m usket w ithout

! g o in g through the n ecessa ry cerem on y

o f w ithdraw ing the old -fash ion ed ram ­

rod. N o breech-loaders in those d ays.

* * •

Such is the life sto ry o f C olonel Bull

as I knew it. But, I cou ld n ot a llow

su ch an h istoric figure to be sim ply

a record, w ithout m aking an effort

to gain som e fu rth er p articu la rs as

to his adm in istration on the Blu©

M ountain s. Through the kind offices

o f M r. P ascoe, T ow n Clerk o f Castlem

aine ( V ic .) I g ot into com m u n ication

w ith a son, M r. W illia m M cL eod

Bull, o f Bendigo, and through him to

other m em bers o f the fa m ily, w ho su p ­

plied me w ith in terestin g ' hiatter con ­

nected w ith the C olon el's w ork on

the M ountains in the forties— seven ty

Todd years a g o . Colonel B ull died at

G oulburn, N ew South W ales, in 1900,

aged 95 years, lea v in g a w idow , aged

92, w ho died three years later (r e ­

g isterin g the sam e a ge as her late

husband, 95 y e a rs4, and s is children ,

or rather, three sons and three d a u g h ­

ters, lon g past child h ood a g e. C olonel

B ull w as in receip t o f tw o pensions,

Im perial and C olon ia l. T he C olonel’ s

d om estic record is, perhaps, unique in

fa m ily h istories. M r. M cL eod B u ll

w rote in D ecem ber last, “ I f you warn

a n y dates re m y fa th er's life, le t m e

know , and

I w ill find them fo r yott^

H e arrived in N ew South TVales in

IS 42, and took ch arge at 18 M ile H o l­

lo w (first), and then on to B lackheath,

a s soon as the house w as bu ilt, reliev

in g Captain D ay— SOth R egim en t.

I w as born there in 1847. T h ere a re

s ix o f us still alive, X b ein g the

y o u n g e s t".

*• • •

T h e old su rv eyors o f the thirties,

S ir T h om as M itchell— then know n as

M ajor M itchell— W illia m R om aine G o-

vett, . w ho d iscovered the fa m ou s

“ G ovett’ s Leap, and others, in the

absen ce o f d istin ctiv e landm arks, gave

the h ollow s or valleys, w ith t h e -m ile ­

age, in all their road su rveys. T hus

“ 17 M ile H ollow ” is now Linden, “ 18

M ile H o llo w " B u ll's Cam p, “ 20 M ile

H o llo w " W ood ford , and “ 24 M ile H o l­

lo w ’ * L a w son .

* * •

M r. M cL eod B u ll w as so good as to

send m e the nam es, ages, and addresses

o f his fa m ily . Please, in th is c o n ­

n ection, rem em ber th at Colonel B u ll

, V


— .................. - • .......... - - ’ ■*: '

1 1


The Great Western Road

la n d his w ife w ere each 95 years old

at the tim e o f death; the w ife su rv iv ­

ing her husband three y ea rs. They

are interred in G oulburn cem etery. •

* * •

The list is as fo llo w s .

Mrs. Raym ond, G oulburn, New South

Wales^ aged 90 y ea rs.

Airs. A dair, N ew castle, N ew South

W ales;, aged 88 y ea rs.

M r. E . L . Bull, Castlem aine, V icoria

; aged 80 y ea rs.

M r. F . E . Bull, Sydney, N ew South

iVales; aged 78 y ea rs.

M rs. W illiam son , Goulburn, N ew

South W ales; aged 76 years.

M r. W illiam M cL eod Bull, Bendigo,

V ictoria; aged 74 y ears .

• ,• *

The venerable M rs. R aym ond Is the

widow o f M r. Sam uel Raym ond, barrister-at-law

, who held legal" ap p oin t­

m ents in the Suprem e Court o f N ew

South W ales, and w ho w as the son

o f M r. Jam es R aym ond, P ostm aster-

G eneral o f this State in the m id years

o f last century, and w ho lies' under

a handsom e m onum ent in S t. P eter's

A nglican Cem etery, C ook's R iver Road,

S t. P eters.

• • «

M r. B a irs letter con tin u es:— “ F ather

named th6 tow n Sandhurst a fte r the

C ollege at H om e w h ere he w ent to

sch ool. M y eldest sister, M rs. K ate

Raym ond, lives at Goulburn, and m y

you n gest sister, M rs. W illiam son , is

stayin g w ith her. I am not sure o f

the m onth that fa th er cam e to V ic ­

toria ; it m igh t have been the e^id o f

1851, o r the beginning o f 1852. He

ibok charge o f Sandhurst goldfield first,

and then, to C astlem aine. W e w ere

burnt out at C astlem aine on fa th er's

90th birthday, and that is w hy I cannot

give you a better account o f the

early days, as w e lo st everyth in g *

Father, m other, one o f m y brothers,

and m yself only had the cloth in g we

were w earing. It w a s 'a cruel fate for

him, as he lived on the past m em ories

m ore than present-day a ffa irs. I

agree w ith you about the cells in the

rocks being storeh ouses fo r tools, e tc.

As fath er never had a prisoner flogged

we don’ t know w h y those m arks are

on the stones you speak o f . T here

were no proper bu rials un tjl fa th er

took ch a rg e. A nyon e who had died

were ju s t buried like d ogs; no coffin

or services, or an y th in g . F ather and

m other w ent to liv e w ith m y sister,

M rs. Raym ond, a fte r our hom e w as

destroyed by fire, fo u r years before

he died” .

• • •

The “ m arked ston e” m entioned by

M r. Bull is a flat corru gated rock .

G ossip and tradition say that the

corru gation s were m fd e in order to

give the scou rger a better footh old

w hile perform in g his odious office. A

w hipping post w as said to have been

alon gside. The p ost disappeared, but

j the flag stone, or rock, rem ains. My

|ow n im pression is that the rock was

, the site o f a sm ith y, and the cor-

|-ligations were m ade to give the anvil

i‘ 'a footh old ” , not th6 fla gella tor.

* • «

I M rs. W illiam son , w ritin g fo r her

sister, M rs. B aym ond, to M r. M cLeod,


( Bull, sa y s:— “ B lackheath w as fa th er’s

perm anent cam p. T w en ty M ile H ollow

Wijsj. know n b y that nam e when fath er

lived there. F ather w ent up to T w enty

M ile H ollow from Sydney soon a fter

his a rriva l in the C olon y. K ate (M rs

R aym on d ) thinks th a t fath er lived at

20 M ilo H ollow tw o or threo years.

F red w as born there, s o that would

be about 1S42. K ate was, at that time,

dow n at school at W ollon g on g w ith

A u n t K atie and M aggie, and so can-

'n o t give correct dates or tim es. She

think3 it quite lik ely that 20 M ile

H ollow is now w hat is called 'B u ll’ s

Cam p’ from tilings she has heard from

several people who have visited thoso

p a rts. The ‘d u g-ou ts’ m entioned as

cells fo r the punishm ent o f p rison ­

ers is m ost untrue. K ate also rem em ­

bers the ‘Old P ilgrim In n ’ quite w e ll.

There w as a flogger a t T w enty M ile

H ollow when fa th er w ent there, but

fa th er abolished all floggin g . He never

had a man flogged, and a t the end o f

tint y ea r he w rote to the G overnm ent

and advised the rem oval o f the flogger,

as he had no use fo r his services!

and they m igh t save his salary, so

he le ft . F ather never had an y trou ble

w ith the prison ers, except w hat a

g o o d talk w ou ld cu re” . (T o be resum

ed n ext w e e k .)

• • .

A n in terestin g letter from M isa R osa

resp ectin g a 90 year-old* gra n d fa th er’s

clock m ade b y Jam es O atley, •w ill have

atten tion p resen tly. C oncerning the

Question resp ectin g M r. R . H . H orne

the rwet c f the fiftie s and six ties

’n M elbourne. I have no aou ot He is

the B&mc m entioned b y a co rre sp o n d ­

ent. B ut the m atter w ou ld n ot in '

le re st ou r readers.


A L A N D M A R K — B U L L 'S CAM P—


G A N G S — W H A T “ T R A D IT IO N ”

D O E S P O B H IS T O R Y — S O K E

M O U N T A IN L E G E N D S .

1 have to thank m any corresp on d ­

ents fo r letters and telegram s co n ­

veyin g good w ishes on h a vin g passed

the 81st m ile post on L ife ’s H ig h w a y .

. . .

W hen M r. Sydney Cunyngham e m ade

his first trip over the B lu e M ountains

w ith his uncles, Charles and Jam es

W halan, o f O beron (see ‘‘T ru th "

15 /5 /’ 21), in the year 1844, they p a ssed

a landm ark on the B athurst-road,

m ileage 50, then know n as 18 M ile

H o llo w ; to-day as B u ll’ s Camp,

and w h y so nam ed? W ell, it w as this

w a y . In 1842 there cam e to Sydney

w ith the 99th R egim en t, Captain J .

H . N . Bull, who w as im m ediately detailed

lo r duty w ith 60 n on -com s and

p rivates o f h is regim ent,, to take

ch arge o f a road-m aking gan g, cam ped

at IS M ile H ollow , in w h ich charge

he su cceed ed Captain D ay, who, w en t

w ith the B arney expedition to F o rt

C urtis to fou nd a new settlem ent,

w h ich d id not then becom e "fou n d ed ” .

Captain B ull cam ped w ith h is fa m ily


The Great Western Road. 19

at the sp ot now know n as B u ll’ s Camp,

w hile a hou se w as being' b u ilt fo r

his accom m od ation a t Blackheath, so

named by G overnor M acquarie on his

tr ip ’ over the M ountains In 1815. Captain

B ull w as appointed a m agistrate

and engineer in ch arge o f th e Great

W estern R oad from the R iv er Nepean

to B ath u rst. T he headquarters o f the

road gang w as at Blackheath, a very :

health y loca lity, and som ew hat chilly !

in w in ter. Captain B ull w a s on these j

h ills from 1842 to 1848, -apd we have

heard m any legen d s and traditions

con cern in g him and his treatm ent o f

the helpless co n v ict w retch es under

his com m an d W e have heard o f Captain

B u ll's bath cu t in solid rock , and

Captain B u ll’ s arm ch air a lso cut in

the solid rock, in w hich the Captain

u sed to recline, “ m onarch o f all he

su rveyed ” . T he “ bath’ ' and “ the

ch air” have been w iped out b y the

railw ay lin e. It has been said also, and

b y som e alleged historians, I am sorry

to say. that a certain corru gated stone

j near Linden w as used as a “ sure-

. fo o tin g ” fo r the flogger when plyin g

! his dreadfu l office; it was said, also,

1that certain “ d u g -ou ts” w ere punishm

ent cells fo r w ron g d oers. W ell, I

have the testim on y o f an eye w itness,

a lad y n ow in h er 91st year, who

states that the alleged cells o f punishr

m ent w ere stone houses f o r tools

|and explosives, used in road m aking,

|and, as Captain B u ll never had a man

w hipped, th e stone in qu estion could

: n ot have been put to the use su g­

gested b y the legen d . T o m y m ind the

stone m entioned w a s the site o f a

b la ck sm ith ’ s fo rg e , bu t we w ill come

to that p resen tly.

* • *

A s I have eald, Captain B u ll was

on these h ills from 1842 to 1848. . In

1843 we g o t a Parliam ent, a m ixed

cham ber o f G overnm ent officials,

nom inees and elecfiv es, there bein g 6

official m em bers, 6 nom inee m em bers,

and 24 e le ctiv e s. A m on gst th ose who

had seats in that H ou se w ere W . C.

W entw orth, Dr. Bland, W . H . Suttor,

s e n r., ot B athurst, R ob ert Lowe,

Charles C ow per, D r. Lang, Sir Thom as

M itchell. D r. N icholson , R oger Therry,

John B laxlan d and m any o f sim ilar

tem peram ent and standin g. Som e o f

these w ere con stan t tra vellers between

the m etrop olis and the cou n try, not

flyin g b y express train as to-d ay, but

in their ow n horse-draw n g ig s and

coaches. T h e y m ust have d a ily passed

the gan gs o f road-m akers under Captain

Bull, and it m a y fa irly be asked

w ou ld it be p ossib le fo r the Captain

to so b ru ta lly ill-u se his helpless

charges a s tra dition has debited him

w ith ? W ere he so guilty, you v ery soon

would hear o f som e o f the A ustralian

p atriots I have nam ed takin g P arliam

entary action to brin g him to book.

W ith P arliam en ta ry representation

even in a lim ited degree, the o ld dark

days o f penal h is to ry had passed aw ay

fo r ev er.

• • •

W hen I first heard o f Captain Bull

and B u ll's Camp, the site o f which,

b y the w ay, I am overlook in g as I

w rite, I little th ou gh t that I knew

him , n o t certa in ly •when lie w as in

com m and on the M ountains, bu t in

the early s ix tie s in v ictoria , w h ere

Tie w as a C aptain o f V olu n teers, and

I a fu ll p riv a te in on e o f the co m ­

p a n ies. Captain B u ll w a s the second

son o f C olonel B ull, a C om panion o f

the Bath, a K n ig h t o f H anover, w h o

had served in the P en in su lar and

W a te rlo o cam paign s, in the R oyal

H orse A r tille r y . O ur C aptain B ull w as

b orn in the cen tre o f Ireland in the

y ear 1S0C; h e entered the M ilitary

C ollege at San dh urst in 1820; he r e ­

ceived his first c o m m issio n ii^ the

78th H ighla n d ers in A p ril 1825; he

p u rch ased his lieu ten a n cy in June.

1826, and w as f o r tw o y ears on the

sta ff o f the Q u arterm a ster-G en eral's

D epartm ent in K an dy, w h ich sw e e tly -

nam ed tow n w as a t on e tim e the

cap ital o f the islan d o f C eylon, w h ere

j B ishop H eber h a s told u s “ T he sp icy

! breezes b lo w ” . In O ctober, 1838, L ie u t-

i enant Bull obtain ed his cap ta in cy, and

in 1840 wan appoin ted D ep u ty-Ju dge

A d voca te o f th e N orth ern D istrict o f

! E n g la n d . In January, 1842. h e exch a n g ­

ed in to thp 99tb, com m an ded by C olon ­

el Des'pard, w ho, w h ile o ccu p y in g the i

old G eorg e-street B arra ck s in Sydney,

earned the so b riq u e n t o f, “ K eep off

the g ra ss D esp ard ” fro m the fa c t that

he w ish ed the green sw a rd in fron t

o f tho b a rra ck s be k ep t f o r the use

o t h is fa m ily cow .

• • •

T h e 99th a rrived in S ydn ey in O c­

tober. 1S42, and C aptain B ull w as

ordered to take ch a rg e o f a stock ade

on the B lue M ountain s, w ith a d e ­

tach m en t o f 50 sold ie rs ; h e 1w as, as

I h a ve said, ap p oin ted m a g istra te and

en gin eer in ch a rg e o f th e W estern

R oad from P e n rith to the C ity o f the

P la in s. A fte r s ix y e a rs so em ployed,

he rejoin ed hea dquarters, and soon

a fte r retired fr o m the s e r v ice on b ein g

! prom ised c iv il em p loym en t; he had

an a p p oin tm en t a t N ew ca stle, w h ere he

su pervised th e con stru ction o f the

breakw ater fro m N ob b y Isla n d to the

k m ain lan d . In O ctob er, 1851, on a p p lica ­

tion o f the the G overn m en t o f V ic -

, toria, then n ew ly -esta b lish ed on sep ­

aration fro m N ew South W ales, he

resigned the N ew ca stle appointm en t,

and becam e C om m ission er o f Crow n

Lands, M agistrate, and W a rd en at

B en d ig o. On th e fa m o u s g o ld field he

m et som e o f h is old c o lle g e m ates,

w ho had passed th rou gh the M ilita ry

S chool, “ O rion ” H orn e, the poet,

am on gst them , an d w ith ou t m uch au ­

th ority these e x -c o lle g ia n s changed

the nam e B en d igo to S an dh urst.

Som e

i y e a rs ago, h ow ever, the p eople returned

to th e ir x alleg ia n ce, and the

fa m ou s old g o ld tow n is again know n

as B en d igo.

* * .•

On the P o lice M a gistra te leavin g

C astlem aine, C aptain B u ll w as instru

cted to p e rfo rm his d u ties, w hich,

w ith that o f G oldfields W arden , he

con tin u ed to d isch a rg e u n til D ecem ­

ber 31, 1869, wrhen he w a s placed on

the retired lis t on a cco u n t o f age,

€?— qu ite a you^h It m a y be sa id .

On the fo rm a tio n o f th e V olu n teer ,

C orps in C astlem a in e in 1860, he w as ‘

rom in a ted C aptain. T he C orps c o n s is t- j

ed o f three com p a n ies. On Septem ber. «

3. 1863, he w a s p rom oted to the rank *

o f L ieu t-colon el In ch arge o f the V olu n ­

teer C orps in the n orth ern d istrict, j

4 4



The Great Western Road.

------------------V --------------------------------------

w ith headquarters at Castlem aine, rem

aining until the abandonm ent o f the

volunteer sy stem . Subsequently he

w as, fo r a sh ort tim e, connected w ith

the m ilitia, bu t retired o n his rank o f

j Colonel.


“ Caley’s Repulse’’

An Old-time Cairn

FR A N K W A L K E R , F.R.A.H.S.

This interesting memorial, referred

to by all the early explorers, originally

stood in the vicinity of Linden,

close to the old line of road tc

Bathurst. It was w rongly named

“ Caley's” or “ K eeley’s Repulse,” by

Governor Macquarie, during his

official tour along the newly constructed

W estern Road, in 1815.

The first, and most definite reference

to this mem orial is made by

Gregory Blaxland, in his journal

(reprint, 1913, F. W alker, pp. 2 4 ).

Previous to this, on pp. 23. he says:

"... On Wednesday. 19th May, the

party moved forward along this path,

hearing chiefly west, and west-southwest.

They now began to ascend

the second ridge of the Mountains.

The "second ridge” here referred

to is identical with the one running

I north and south, due west of Linden

station, having a deep valley before

it, the latter bisected by the present

railway embankment. Blaxland and

party, up to the night o f the 18th

May, had travelled about 16j miles

from the Nepean. Linden is about

51 miles from Sydney by road, and

deducting 341 miles (Sydney to

Penrith) leaves 16^ miles, thus

agreeing with Blaxland’s figures. On

the high ground east o f Linden station,

where the present road curves

round a rocky bluff, traces of Cox's

road (alm ost identical with Blaxland’s

track ), can be distinctly seen,

and on reference to Cox’s journal

(pp. 63-4), it w ill be noticed that

Cox found it necessary to throw a

causeway, or bridge, as he called

it, across the valley mentioned above.

Between 1815 and 1830, some buildings

were erected about the centre

o f this “ bridge,” one being known

as the “ Toll Bar Inn.” A toll-gate

was also erected at the western end.

All traces of this causeway have disappeared,

which must have been

obliterated when the railway em ­

bankment was made, but the old

road can still be traced on the far

side, where it com m ences to ascend

the ridge.





Continuing Blaxland’s references

(pp. 23) he further states: “ . . . .

and from this elevation they obtained

for the first time, an extensive view

of the settlements below . . .

A further corroboration that the

ridge m entioned by Blaxland is the

one beyond Linden station, lies in

the fact that from the high ground I

the first and best view of the tow- 1

lying country to the east o f the

Mountains is obtained.

Again referring to Blaxland’s jou r­

nal, pp. 23-4, are these w ords: "...

Mount Banks bore north-west;

Grose Head, nor-east; Prospect Hill,

east by south; The Seven Hills, eastnorth-east;

W indsor, north-east by

east. . . .”

The writer, in the year 1903. when

exploring this locality, took compass

bearings from the highest point of

the ridge o f the prom inent headlands

enumerated above, and found them

to agree exactly with Blaxland’s results.

Thus identification o f the

ridge (called by Blaxland,' “ the

second rid ge,” is carried still further,

and placing it beyond doubt. On

page 24 o f Blaxland’s journal, is the

follow ing: “ . . . . At a little distance

from the spot at which they

began the ascent they found a pyra- i

midial heap o f stones. ...”

In searching for this relic in 1 9 1 2 .

the party o f members o f the Royal

Australian H istorical Society engaged

in exploratory work in this

locality, kept in view the first few

words o f Blaxland’s reference ( “ at

a little distance from the spot at

which they began the ascent, etc.,

etc.” ) — deducing from this that the

mem orial, or the remains o f it,

would not be found on the summit,

but som ewhere about midway between.

F ollow in g Cox’s road, plainly

visible, which first ran due west, the

track as it ascended curved to the

left, or south. A t about 100 yards

from its com m encem ent, the garden,

or boundary fence o f the private

property in this locality, bisected it.

Still bearing to the south, and ascending

m ore gradually, a further

advance o f about 50 yards, brought

the party to what was unm istakably

the foundations of what had been a

pile o f stones, close to the old line

of road, on the left-hand side. Its

location, bearing, distance and appearance

left no other reasoning but

that here was all that remained of

"C aley’s R epulse.” ■ Cox's journal

(pp. 64) under date September 3,

reads: "... Augm ented the men at

w ork on the pass at the bridge to 10.

both yesterday and to-day. The road

finished to Caley’s heap of stones,

172 miles. . . .” (Blaxland esti- '

mates the distance at 18 miles

This is a further p roof that the

m em orial was close to the old line

o f road, other wise Cox would not

have referred to it in these terms.

The distance given, i.e., 17$ miles, i



SSS f f — r


The Great Wastern Road

from the Nepean, places the m em o­

rial about 1 mile from the high bluff

east of Linden, which added to the

161 miles o f Blaxland’s statement,

agrees exactly.

Surveyor George W illiam Evans,

in his journal, states (November 21,

1 8 1 3 ): “ . . . .at about 11 o ’clock

I passed the pile of stones alluded to

by the form er party. . . (i.e.,


Here again we have evidence that

the cairn was visible from the road,

and, apparently, close to it, as the

discovery of the foundations proved.

Evans had no time for exploration

work, outside Blaxland’s track, us

he was eager to press on to the latter’s

terminal point, where his own

work would begin.

M ajor Antill, in his diary of Governor

Macquarie’s trip in 1815, also

refers to the pile o f stones, placing

it at “ about 5 miles from Springwood.”

This measurement all but

coincides with the position o f the

memorial as fixed by others, and with

the remains discovered in September.

1912, there belnjg a difference o f only

three-quarters o f a mile.

The name “ K eeley’s” or “Daley's

Repulse,” was bestowed by Macquarie,

who was even ignorant o f

the man’s very name. That Caley

had aught to do with it is out of

the question, as his tour of exploration

was conducted on the northern

side of the Grose Valley, so that he

could never have even aet foot upon

the ridges over which Blaxland first

-travelled, let alone erected the memorial.

W ho its builder really was

is only problematical. It may have

been Bass, though his direction was

much further south, or W ilson, probably

the latter, as he was known

to have penetrated nearly as far as

this. On the other hand, Quartermaster

Hacking, o f the “ Sirius,” was

also in the vicinity, aim the nature

of the memorial is like what a sailor

would accomplish in fixing his mark

in newly-discovered country. After

this lapse o f time it is very unlikely

that the name o f the original builder

will ever be known.


— «------


(By fr a n k w a l k e r.)

July IS, 1814.— "A t daylight, gave out the

tools to handle and put in order. Issued

half a week’s provisions to the whole party.

Began work at 10 a.m to make a pass

across the Nepean; the banks very steep on

the east side. . . . W eath er fine, clear,

and frosty.”

The above extract Is taken from W illiam

C ox’s Journal, and is rem iniscent of the turning

of the Erst sod of the great road to the

west. T o-m orrow , the corresponding date in

the present year, the centenary of tblB event

w ill have been reached, and now that the

question of new roads and railw ays is con stan t­

ly before the public eye. It may profit us to

forget the present century for a sh ort time,

and project our minds Into thd past, when

W illiam Cox, under Governor M acquarie's

orders, Bet him self the task ot carrying a road

across those mountain solitudes, which but

lately had been conquered by the Intrepid explorers,

Blaxland, W entworth, and Lawson.

M ost people are, or should be, fam iliar with

the circum stances which necessitated the Im ­

m ediate discovery of new lands, in which the ;

starving cattle would have a chance to procure

sustenance, and the strenuous efforts that were

made between tho years 1789 and 1SJ3 to force

a passage across the Blue Mountains, beyond

w hich, it was felt certain, unlim ited pasturage

lay. A ll this was brought about by the su c­

cessful expedition of the abovenam ed ex p lorers,

and the subsequent discoveries o f thetr

successor, George W illiam Evans.

Those discoveries could not be put to any

practical use until m eans o f acces3 had been

provided, and this was the problem which

faced Macquarie when the conquest o f the

heights had at last been accom plished. He

was fully alive to the great possibilities that

lay before this sudden acquisition of unbounded

territory, whose richness and beauty had been

so graphically described by Evans, and, thanks

to the magnanimous offer of that sterlin g clti- i

zen and soldier, Captain W illiam Cox, to su perintend

the construction o f the road that -the

Governor had determ ined must be made, there

seem ed an early chance o f M acquarie's hopes

and aspirations being realised.

A ccordingly, the Governor issued a General

Order, doted from Government House, Sydney,

July 14, 1814, in which, with the greatest

m inuteness, he gives instructions as to the

m ethods to be em ployed in carrying


vt-j»#•*£ erfi












The Great Western Hoad

delivered, Cox had selected his men— 30 in

num bef—and, with a guard o f eight soldiers,

ia d already started work.


The Journal

subsequently kept by W illiam

Cox reads like a rom ance. E very detail in

the construction of that great highway is set

down. Nothing of any im portance seem ed to

have escaped his eye, and, accordingly, we are

perm itted to have a close insight Into the

carrying out of what m ust be considered as

on e o f the greatest engineering feats o f its

tim e. W ith a mere handful of men, a good

practicable road, com plete w ith bridges, w atertables,

culv.erts, gradients, etc., etc., waB con ­

structed and finished in the rem arkable space

o f time of six months. Only those who are

acquainted with the wild and rugged nature

o f parts of the mountains, practically the

ssyne as they were in C ox’s time, can realise

the magnitude o f this great undertaking. There

•were no labor-saving devices such as we are

fam iliar with at the present day, and, although |

gunpowder was em ployed throughout the length I

o f the roadway, the bulk of the iabor required

w as necessarily that of human hands, and the

exertion of sheer brute force.

I f Cox ever allowed him self to be overcom e

w ith despair when confronted with som e particu

larly weighty problem , he never m entions

it in hiB diary. O ptim istic from the start, he

stack to his task, and conquered by sheer force

o f will. D iscom forts there were many. In ­

different food, exposure to the rigors o f a

m ountain winter, the cheerful acceptance of

poor accom m odation at night time, and the

frequent illnesses of individual m em bers of

his working party causing unavoidable delays—

a ll these were taken philosophically and as

part of the day’s work, for one never meets

w ith a com plaint all through his rem arkable


Added to the interest which his Journal w ill

qlw ays possess, is the fact that several section

s o f this very road are still in evidence,

and may be inspected with a very sm all amount

o f exertion on the part of the sightseer. B e­

ginning at Emu Plains, the first portion of

C ox's road, where it ascends the eastern slopes

o f the Mountains, with its successive “ traverses,”

seven in all, may still be seen, and

is easily accessible to the foot passenger. The

great stones which form the numerous em - |

bankm ents were gathered from the hillside, !

and, innocent of m ortar or other binding m a­

terial, are practically as firm to-day as when

they were placed in position a century ago.

Eeyond Lawson there is a section of about

h a lf a m ile running parallel with the present

road, and here the work o f these early road

m akers may be distinctly seen.

N ear Mount Blaxland there is a stretch of [

several m iles, beginning from the ascent jpf '

M acquarie’ s “ Clarence H illy Range,” and here

w ill be found exact duplicates of the stone em ­

bankm ents mentioned above. W hen Major

(afterwards Sir Thom as) M itchell carried out

hid deviations and alterations of the W estern

Road, in the ’ thirties, much o f C ox’s work

was obliterated, as in placos the original of

road could not be im proved upon, and the

newer work soon made short work of the old,

but in others an easier ascent or less dangerous

curve was decided on, and the old road was

left stranded in the bush, to becom e a thing

o f interest and historical value to future



From July 18, until Novem ber 14, Cox and

his party had been working through the m ountain

solitudes, slow ly but surely, and his jo u r - i

nal records som e places over which the road '

liad to be made, the negotiation of which ngccssitated

severe toil and hardship, consequent

upon the rugged and sterile condition Of the

country. On several occasions they had to descend

precipices some hundreds o f feet deep,

in order to procure the water required for

m eals and for the hosses. In one place, where

the only outlet westward was a narrow ridge,

between two deep valleys, one of which it was

necessary to cross, a low level bridge was con- I

structed, m easuring 80ft. in length, by 15ft. in ■

width at one end, end I2ft. at the other. A

rough stone wall, about 100ft. long was also i

required to keep the road in position, and the

labor expended on this portion of the road occu ­

pied the party for nearly 14 days.

On N ovem ber 14 the road had progressed as

fa r as that huge spur running out into the

valley beyond Mount V ictor!#, now known as

Mount Y ork, and the next problem , which faced !

this intrepid engineer, was how to make a !

practicable road down the rocky and precipitous !

sides o f the mountain. The descent was ex- |

am ined on ail sides, and finally the track made j

by Blaxland and party was chosen, along which j

to form the road. This was a trem endous un- j

dertaking, and taxed the ingenuity and re - i

sources of the road-m akers to the last degree, j

A fter 24 days of unrem itting toil, necessitating

the hurling a3ide of gigantic boulders and the i

constant use of blasting powder, a track was

literally carved out of the m ountain side, and j

on D ecem ber 8, the pass was finished.

This rem arkable piece of work may still be

seen, and is practicable fo r foot-p assen gers

from top to bottom . The m arks of the w orkm

en’ s picks are distinctly visible in the rock,

and in one place the local au th orities havo

had a copper plate prepared, and bolted to the

rock, upon which has been inscribed the fo l­

low ing w ords. ‘‘ Pick-m arks made by convicts

In widening the road, 1814.” This inscription

w ill serve to remind v isito is o f the work of

our first road-m akers, nearly a century ago,

and as long as the pass rem ains in existence

it w ill stand as a worthy m onument to the man

who so conscientiously perform ed the duty entrusted

to him , and carried out h is Instructions ,

so faith fully and well.

[ For upwards o f 2S years all the traffic to

the west passed up and down this m ountain,

and, though the grade, to m odern eyes, seem s

preposterous, and It Is on record that “ team s

conveying w ool to Sydney had to unload at

|the foot of the pass, and ro ll the bales up by

i hand,” few com plaints were made, the settlers !

& 4M $f J B S /I i u r x v H i i T So£ bf#nkJ





The Greet Western Roed

______________________________________________ ___________ —

being only too pleased to get som e sort oJ !

means of com m unication v.lth tlia city, or their j

dlBtant homes. Near the top o f the pass an ­

other notice has been erected, conveying the Inform

ation to visitors that here the descent begins,

and, further adding, that “ G overnor M acquarie

passed over this road in 1815."

M A C Q U A K IE ’ S T R I B U T E .

W hen the road was finished, G overnor Macquarie,

to show his appreciation o f Cox’s w ork ,'

sent him a letter, which was a public document,

end the original is, naturally, carefully

preserved amongst the fam ily archives. It sets

forth clearly the great services rendered to

the country by W illiam Cox, and the follow ing

is a transcript of those portions which directly

bear upon the first W estern R oad:—

"Governm ent House, Sydney, June 10, 1815.

“ W illiam Cox, Esq., Bathurst.

"Sir,—The Governor desires to com m unicate

for the inform ation of the public the result of

his late tour over the W estern, or Blue, Moun- I

tains, undertaken for the purpose of being !

enabled personally to appreciate the Im port- I

ance of the tract of country lying westward o f j

them, which had been explored in the latter j

end of the year 1S13, and beginning o f 1814, by !

Mr. George W illiam Evans, Deputy-Surveyor

o f Lands....................

“ To Gregory Blaxland and W illiam W entworth,

Esquires, and Lieutenant Lawson, o f the

R oyal Veteran Company, the m erit is due of

having effected the first passage over the most

rugged and difficult part of the Blue Mountains.

. . . The favorable account given by 1

Mr. Evans o f the country he had explored, induced

the Governor to cause a road to be con ­

structed for the passage and conveyance of

cattle and provisions to the in terior; and men

of good character, from am ongst a number of

convictB who had volunteered their services,

; were selected to perform this arduous task, on

j condition of being fed and clothed during the

continuance of their labor, and being granted

, em ancipation as their final reward on the com -

|pletion o f the work.

The direction and superintendence o f this

great work was entrusted to W illiam Cox, i

j Esq., the chief m agistrate at W in dsor; and to j

i the astonishm ent o f everyone who knows what

was to be encountered, and sees what has been ;

done, he effected its com pletion in six months ■

from the time of com m encem ent, happily w ith- 1

out the loss of a man, or any serious accident. ,j

The Governor is at a loss to appreciate fully

the services rendered by Mr. Cox to this colony !

in the execution o f this arduous work, which

prom ises to be o f the greatest public utility, j

by opening a new source of wealth to the industrious

and enterprising. W hea it is con- |

6idered that Mr. Cox voluntarily relinquished

the com forts o f his own house, and the society

of his numerous fam ily, and exposed him self to

much personal fatigue, with only such tem ­

porary covering as a bark hut could e$ord

from the inclem ency o f the weather, it is difficult

to express the sentim ents of approbation to

which such privations and services are entitled.

Mr. Cox having reported the road ' as com - ,

pleted on the 21st January last, the Governor,

accom panied by Mrs. M acquarie and

that gentleman, com m enced his tour on A pril

25 over the Blue Mountains, and was Joined

by Sir John Jamieson at the Nepean, who a c- :

eompanied him during the entire tour. The

follow in g gentlemen com posed the G overnor’ s

su ite:— Mr. Campbell, secretary; Captain Antill, |

m ajor of brigade; Lieutenant W atts, aid e-d e-

can p; Mr, Redfern. assistant surgeon; Mr. Ox- j

ley, Surveyor-G eneral; Mr. Mehan. Deputy Surveyor-G

eneral; Mr. Lewin, painter and naturalist-.

and Mr. G. W . Evans, Deputy-Surveyor of

Laads. . . _ . _

. . The road constructed by Mr. Cox flown

1thij ruggod and trem endous descent (M ount

Y ork) through all its windings, Is no less than

thr«»e-quarters of a m ile in length, and has been

executed with skill and stability, and reflects

mveh credit on him. The labor here undergo

* and the difficulties surm ounted can only be

ap reciated by those who view the scene. In ,

or er to perpetuate the m em ory o f Mr. Cox a

Feryices, the Governor deemed it a tribute ju stly

duf to him to give his name to this grand and

exi -aordinary pass; and he accordingly called

it ' 'o x ’s Pass. . . The G overnor gave the name

of Mount York to this term ination of the

ridgre, in honor of his R oyal Highness the Duke

o f 'fo rk . . . By eommand o f h!s Excellency the

G overnor, John Thom as Cam pbell, Secretary.’ *

M acquarie’s eugoliatic recogn ition o f C ox’s

services in connection with this fam ous piece

of engineering was richly deserved. The first

cent-nary of the turning o f the first sod is an

event which cannot be allow ed to pass w ithout

recalling the great d ebt we owe to

Australia’s worthy pioneers. _____








Penrith was early astir on Saturday, to

celebrate the centenary o f the tufn ing of the

first sod of the Old W estern-road. A blue

sky, flecked with fleecy clouds, and bright

genial sunshine auspiciously ushered in the

day’s proceedings. Num bers o f visitors a r­

rived by early trains from Sydney and the

j surrounding centres. In the streets the

display of flags and bunting made a pleasing

colour contrast with the deep green foliage

of the triumphal arches. H igh-street former!

a picturesque setting for the day’ s function,

an avenue of gum bushes stretching the fu ll

length, spanned by arclies at intervals,

i Festoons of flags fluttered in the m orning

; breeze. The decorations w ere a tribute to

the “ m ighty dead.” as the Prim e M inister

said at the official luncheon, and Penrith did

full ju stice to the occasion. The p rocessioa

and historic pageant which parded H igh-


The Great Western Hoad

street to the Nepean River was an im posing

spectacle. It was led by the mounted police

and the Royal Australian A rtillery Ban 3.

The Glebe Cadet Band was present, follow ed

( b y a detachm ent of the N.S.W . Lancers, and

the W in dsor and Penrith troop of the

Mounted Rifles, with the P enrith cadets fo l­

lowing. Then came the friendly societies,

w ith . their banners, and the local branch J

o f the N.S.W. Locom otive Engine-drivers, [

Firemen, and Cleaners’ A ssociation. M ost |

interesting of all was the historic pageant j

with representations in character of C over- j

nor M acquarie (Mr. Geoffrey Baker), G overnor

Bligh (Mr. P. Earp), Sir Joseph Banks j

(Mr. C. H ollier). Captain Cox ,(Mr. T. Dukes), |

Captain K ing (Mr. W. N agcll), Surveyor- I

General Evans (Mr. C- Thom son), the Rev.

! Henry Fulton (Mr. C. E. C larke), the Rev.

Sam Leigh (Mr. M. S. M ills), the Rev. Father

Brennan (Mr. Les. K eary). They wer-3

dressed in the picturesque costum es of the

period represented. Bringing up the rear

was the Penrith Fire Brigade and several

com ic turnouts were Included in the lony

procession. K ing Billy, representing an aboriginal

chief driving a grey horse whose J

harness was largely made of stringy bark, i

while on the vehicle was a “ m ia m ia" 3Q

wheels. The children of the local Public

school took part, the girls carrying garlands

of flowers, and m aking a strikin g effect in

the colour schem e. Another feature w-as an

historic coach driven by Mr. Thos. Hobby, a

grandson of Lieutenant H obby, who was

C ox’s right-hand man in the building o f the

road. W ith its leather springs and substantial

under-carriage, it showed how our

grandfathers travelled. In this coach K in?

George travelled to W indsor when In Australia

many years ago with his brother, th i

late Duke of Clarence- The Duke of E dinburgh

also travelled In it on the occasion

of his visit.


The procession on arrival at the Centenarv

Park, Riverside, form ed up in order close to

the spot where Captain W illiam Cox com ­

m ence operations on the W estern-road 10J

years before. A large number of people

assembled here. It must have been in vivid

contrast to the inauspicious m anner in which

Cox started his work on that m em orable

July m orning. Below was the river, near by

j the road bridge, and the railw ay bridge

J erected’ a few years ago. On the other side

were the foothills of the Blue Mountains.

The railway viaduct could be plainly seen iu

the distance, and a train puffing up the ,

mountains, follow ed much the same course

as the old road.

The Mayor (Alderm an Jones) presided, and,

after a brief reference to the im portance of

the occasion, introduced Mr. Frank W alker,

who delivered an historical address.


Mr. W alker was received with applause.

He recounted the incidents leading up to the

discovery of the track over the Blue Mountains

by Blaxland, Lawson, and W entworth,

mentioning that no less than 13 attem pts had

i been previously made. Then another brave

] and energetic pioneer in the person of George

W illiam Evans—whose grandson and greatgrandson

were now present to celebrate tnei

occasion— (ch eers)—had penetrated 98 m iles

beyond Blaxland’s furthest point. F lood and

[amine had threatened the settlem ent. G overnor

Macquarie was overjoyed when he heard

of the discovery. Then cam e the question of

building a road. There was no m oney, but

Captain W illiam Cox, w ith an absolute fo r­

getfulness of self, which did him infinite

credit, volunteered his services. He left behind

him the com forts of civilisa tion to sojourn

in the mountains for m onths to build the road.

This road was in use for 28 years, until M ajor

Mitchell made a new road. Concluding, Mr.

W alker paid a tribute to the men who had

made possible the benefits now enjoyed.

The R.A.A. Band played the N ational An-;

them, and cheers were given for the King. j

Afterw ards, at the Show Ground, a reception

was held, when the visitors and tow nspeople

met many of the descendants of the old

pioneers. Among them was Mr. H arley Cox,

shire engineer of the Blue M ountain Shire,

grandson of Captain Cox; Mr. W illiam Evans,

grandson of Surveyor-G eneral E vans; Mr. E.

J Fulton, grandson of the Rev. H enry F ulton;

and Mr. F. H. W oodriffe, whose fam ily first

pioneered the Penrith district.


The centenary luncheon was held in the pavilion.

The Mayor, Alderm an Jones, presided;

those present, including the Prim e M inister,

Mr. J. Cook, and Mrs. Cook, the State P remier.

Mr. W. A. Holman, and Mrs. H olm an;

the M inister for Railways, Mr. H. C. H oyle, and

Mrs. H oyle; Mr. E. S. Carr, M.P.. and Mrs.

Carr; Mr. J. T. W all, president Blue M ountains

Shire Council, and Miss W all; Alderm en F.

Brelt, Mayor o f St. M arys; and Mr. and Mrs.

Frank W alker.

After the loyal toast had been hqnoured, the

chairman said that they were celebratin g the

f turning of the first sod of the Old W estern -

road, and it was intended to erect a m em orial

at the riverside to the rfiemory of W illiam

Cox and his men. (A pplause.)

The Prim e M inister, who was received enthusiastically,

said that a nation was virtually

dead that neglected the m ighty heroes of the

past. The people o f to-day should cultivate

the m emory of the past. He was afraid that

they were inclined to forget this in the present

m aterialistic age. A fter all, it was the great

personality of the nation that counted. They

were to-day enjoying the fruits o f the la b ou r1

of these men, and the people of A ustralia had;

entered into a rich heritage. They were

the trustees of the grit and pluck

and perseverance that had made their an cestors

great, and would continue to m ake A u s­

tralia a great nation.


Mr. Holman, who on rising was received

with cheers, said that he shared in that spirit

of congratulation that had inspired the

remarks of the Prim e Minister. (C heers.)

There was feeling of heartfelt pride which

the great achievem ent of to-d ay called to

their minds. The Prim e M inister had refe r­

red to the achievem ents o f the past, of the

men who had blazed the track, but he could

not help referrin g to the progress they had

made since. The Governm ent o f which he

was the head was the direct su ccessors to the

Government that had ordered the first sod of

the W estern-road to be turned. In the Lands

Departm ent they had an uninterrupted su ccession

of records from that day to this.

(Cheers.) There was a certain added weight

of duty to preserve these records, and to

stim ulate the m em ory of these deeds. Cox

and his men made 101 m iles o f road over the

mountains in the face of engineering diffl-

Iculties of an indescribable character, and in

o n o h i . ’ i o i a e v ; t B v i C 9 4 1






1 1

The Groat Western Road

record tim e that had not since be?n eq u a lled .;

It was surprising to find that the G overnor i

who did this w ork had a body of critics, who

wrote to the home authorities, besm irching the

name of the Government, ju st as he found was

done to-day. (Laughter.)

Mr. Frank W alker said that Cox c o m -'

pleted the road in 6J m onths, it being 101£

miles in length.

Mr. E. S. Carr, who was well received, said

, as a westerner he could fully appreciate the

significance o f the function. Those who

belonged to the west could best understand

the w ork that had been opened to them by

their forefathers.

The toast of “ The V isitors” was proposed

by Mr. E. K. Bowden, and responded to by

Mr. T. W . K. W aldron. The Prim e M inister

gave the toast of the chairman.

In the afternoon a sp orts program m e was

carried out, and at night a p atriotic concert

was held. Y esterday special serm ons were

I,reached in the churches, and at St. Stephen’ s

Church of England a m em orial tablet was unveiled

to the m em ory o f the Rev. H enry

- Fulton. _ _____________________ ________

Mr Walker s Address.

Mr W alker, who is a gentleman of

distinguished personality, was received

with enthusiastic applause.

Mr W alker said he greatly appreciated

the invitation forwarded to him

by the committee of the Centenary

Celebra'.ions, and of having the opportunity

of helping in the functions.

No less than twelve attempts had

been made (saia Mr W alker)) to find

a pathway westward over the mountains

prior to toe finding of a track

by Blaxland, Lawson ana Wentworth

in 1813. Following on the trail of

the three early explorers, however,

which went as far as Hartley Vale,

another famous pioneer, Surveyor-

General Evans—whose grandson and

great-grandson were present that

aay (cheers)—took up the task of

extending the pathway, and penetrated

98 miles further than Blaxland,

Lawson, and Wentworth. Before the

day of Blaxland’s discovery, the explorers

who sought to find a w estward

track, followed the course of the

valleys instead of the ridges. Blaxland

and his confreres, however, followed

the riJges, and thus gained this

key to the passage of the mountains.

It was, of course, as they would note

from the history of early sett'.ement,

absolutely necessary to discover an

ou 'le', as deve’opment was cramped,

cabbined and confined in the narrow

limits of the coastal district surrounding

Sydney, so far settled (prior to

1814). Flood and''famine also frequently

threatened the settlement. So

Governor Macquarie was vastly delighted

to find that a practicable

route for a road had been discovered.

But there were, practically, no funds

for the building of a road. But at

Macquarie’s request Captain William

Cox, of Clarendon, agreed to take

up the duties of director of the proposed

road work, and without waiting

till such time as Government funds

would be allotted for the purpose, Cox

got his equipment together, and giving

up home comforts, and literally

his own convenience and' affairs,

started on the road-building prospect

before even Macquarie had posted

the letter formally giving him

authority as to stores, etc., some o f

which Cox defrayed at his own expense.

He left the comforts of civilisation

to dwell in the m6untains for

many a cold month to carry out his

great enterprise. Mr W alker briefly

de ailed the hardships borne by Cox

and Hobby and their men in the

course of building the road, and said

that Cox’s road was in use fo r 2S

years until Major Mitchell built a

new road, as necissitated by the vast

increase of Western settlement. Not

many yards from where they had

congregated Cox had had the bank

cut down on that (eastern) side of the

river to form the way for traffic, and

so on that side had turned the first

sod of the first Great Western Road,

in July, 1814. Mr W alker paid a

glowing tribute to the labours of the

early pioneers and concluded a very

interesting and sympathetic address

with the _ following lines by Will

Ogilvie (the Scoto-Australian poet)—

They are sleeping in the graveyards, in their

silent graves apart,

W ith empty arms and eager that w ould fold

them to their h ea rt;

The Statesmen of the buried years ; the

loyal men long dead—

Are i hey turning in their dreaming to the

dull tramp overhead ?

When they pin the stars and garters, when

they grant the titles rare,

The nun who earned the titles are the men

who wont be there.

A t th6 call of the Mayor three

cheers were given for Mr W alker,

and at the call of Rev J Tarn three

cheers were given for “ the day we

celebrate." Three cheers w ere then

called for the King, and the R.A.A.

Band played the National Anthem

amidst a scene of great enthusiasm

and rejoicing.


t ■ o H . j a i i . , i m - r . * - r r


The Greet Western Road

' n - 7 ’ * 4 -.



----------« ---------



5 1 -- ■ "


I?;-M i ---------

The centenary celebration to be entered

upon at P enrith to-d ay is th e third in con ­

nection w ith the opening up of the in terior

o f New South W ales to be held within a period

o f less than 14 m onths. The first took place

e t Mt. Y ork, in May of la st year, to m ark

the 100th anniversary o f the first crossin g of

the Blue m ountains, and the second at B athurst,

about six m onths later, in com m em oration

o f the centenary o f the d iscovery of the W estern

Plains. On the form er occasion, tribute

was paid to the m em ory of W entw orth, B la x­

land, and Lawson, who were the first to effect

a passage over the barrier o f the great dividin

g range, and on the latter tribute was paid

to that of W illiam George Evans, w ho was

th e first w hite m an to behold the w onderful

panoram a unfolded by the fe rtile plains b e ­

yond. T o-d ay It is the m em ory o f W illiam

Cox, under whose supervision th e Old W estern

R oad was constructed, that is t o ' be honored.

W entw orth, Blaxland, and L aw son biased the

tra ck across the Mountains, and Evans picked

up the trail w here they le ft off, and carried

It on Into the W estern P lains; but it rem ained

lo r Cox to bu ild a road by m eans o f which

this rich Interior was made accessible to the

people o f the coastal region. The story of

how, with 30 convicts, equipped w ith the crude

im plem ents o f the tim e, he accom plished this

in the rem arkably b rief p eriod o f six m onths

from the turning o f the first sod, is graphically

to ld by Mr. F rank W alker, president o f the

A ustralian H istorica l Society, in a sp ecia l a r­

ticle on an oth er page o f this issue. T he first

aod was turned on July 18, 1814, and the rood

was com pleted in January o f the follow in g year.

Although P enrith was founded som e years before

the con struction of the road, the d istrict

ow es m uch o f its grow th and prosperity to the

opening o f this gatew ay to the west, and it Is

because o f the fa ct that the s ite of the turning

o f the first sod is in close p roxim ity t o th e

tow n that the loca l people originated th e m ovem

ent which will cnlm inate in the celebration s

to be held to-d ay and to-morrow. L .



The genesis o f P enrith dates fro m soon after

th e settlem ent o f Sydney Cove. A ctin g under

instructions from G overnor P hillip , Captain

Tench and Lieutenant Daw es un dertook expeditions

in the d irection o f th e B ue M ountains,

and the form er, in June, 1*89, arrived

w ithin v iew o f the N epean R iver. T h e name

N epean was given to the g r e a t w atercourse

by P hillip, a fter his friend, Sir B von Nepean,

U nder-Secretary to the H om e D epartm ent, and,

although there is no definite in form ation on

record, it is believed that P hillip doubly honored

Nepean by applying t o th e tow nsh ip the

ap p ellation o f his Christian name, because for

som e years the place was called B ra a . H ow

th e town cam e to be named P enrith is not

cle a r but it is in terestin g t o n ote th a t in the

County o f Cum berland, England, th ere is a lso

a tow n o f Penrith. *


F o r many years a fter the con stru ction o f the

W estern Road, a punt was the principal m eans

o f tra n sp ort a cross the N epean. T h e first

bridge, m ade o f w ood, was opened by G overnor

F itzroy on January 1, 1856, but on the nigh t of

th e w reck o f th e Dunbar, In A u gu st o f the

follow in g year, it w as washed aw ay b y a

flood, the first o f a severe nature, it m igh t be

m entioned, sin ce 1809. A nother brid ge was

subsequently erected, bu t in 1860 it m et the

la te o f its predecessor. Puntage w as then

reverted to, and was continued u n til 1867, when,

in the m ost severe flood on record, th e punt

w as carried away. Soon a fte r this the third

brid ge w as built, but n ot until five fresh es in

the river had washed aw ay a sim ilar num ber o f

coffer dams w hich had cost som e thousands

o f pounds.


The first sod o f the railw ay lin e to P enrith

w as turned on the aftern oon o f July 6, 1859,

by Mr. R. T. Jam ieson, m em ber fo r the district,

in the presence o f ab ou t S00 sp ecta tors, and

the line was opened fo r traffic on July 7, 1862.

T he line, as fa r as St. Marys, then know n as

6outh Creek, was opened on May 1, 1862. The

rem ainder o f the tra ck t o P enrith w as required

by the G overnm ent to be com pleted

w ithin five m onths, b u t th e con tra ctors— an

E nglish firm—refused to d o the w ork, and it

was left to a Mr. Gibbons, w ho sta rted it in

the second w eek of June o f th e sam e year,

and finished it w ithin a m onth. N o further

exten sions w ere m ade fo r five years, and during

that period P enrith was the startin g place

fo r coaches and team s fo r the w est, as w ell

as a restin g place fo r traffic to and from S y d ­



R eference t o early Penrith w ould n ot be

com p lete w ithout m ention o f th e once fam ous

R egen tville H ouse, said t o have been planned

by a deaf and dumb arch itect nam ed K itch en,

to the orders o f the late S ir John Jam ieson.

I t was erected about 90 years ago, ab ou t three j

m iles from Penrith, but only a few stones now |

J b ls o H i r i e J - a © ' * o rC S S g [THank]







The Great Western Boad

rem ain to m ark th e h istoric site.

The property was described as follow s when

pnt up fo r sale in 1847:—

“ R egentville House, su bstan tially b u ilt of

stone, w ith a tasteful colonnade in fron t and

on each side, surm ounted w ith an iron balcony,

from which there is a d eligh tful p rosp ect of

the adjacen t country. It contains an entrance

hall and 15 room s, v i z , tw o draw ing-room s, j

one dining-room , tw o breakfast-room s, one

study, one library and cabinet, and nin e bedroom

s. The prinqipal stairca se is a lso stone

built and circular. A laundry and washhouse

are attached, and there are spacious cellars

under the house. The le ft w ing con sists o f an

im mense coach-h ouse w ith store above. The

left w ing contains the billiard -room . The outofflces

are a lso stone built, and con sist of two

kitchens and a bakehouse, com m unicating with

the house by a covered w ay—a servants’ hall

and seven bedroom s ad join in g; the w hole being

under one roof. A ll the ab ove offices a re con ­

tained w ithin an area o f 180ft. square, enclosed

by a substantial stone w all about 10ft.


" t o the rea r o f the foregoin g, adjoin ing the

walls, are the handsom e ston e stables, which

consist of on e 10-stall and on e 4-stall, with

three large boxes, and tw o harness room s. The

lofts a re over the above stabling, and are

160ft. in length by 15ft. in breadth. The stable

is enclosed by a paling fence, and contains also

three loose boxes, slab-bu ilt, w ith lo ft over


“ A djoinin g the stable yard, at the back, lies

the garden, coverin g abou t fo u r acres, fu ll of

choice fru it trees, vegetables, etc., and con ­

tainin g a gardener’ s house. In the rea r of the

garden a shed is partitioned off and railed in

to accom m odate about 30 c o lts ; it is well

secured by a substantial fen ce, and has a paddock

attach ed, w hich contains stockyards and

drafting yards. The vineyard is on the left of

the house, and contains about seven acres o f

terraced vines, and about three and a half

acres of field vineyard. It has also a stonebu

ilt house, containing fou r room s, a large

cellar for m anufacturing wine, w ith w ine press

and s tM ."

Then follow ed a d escrip tion of a large dam,

about 800ft. in circum ference, som e 10ft. in

depth, which had never been dry. It is also

stated that the vineyard w as let fo r £10O a

year, and a portion of the land (com prising

about 150 acres) for £100 a year. The property

Tom prlsed som e 1760 acres, about 600 o f which

were cleared and stumped.


R egentville is historic in an oth er way. There

the late Sir Henry Parkes was em ployed as

a laborer. He w orked in the vineyard for six"

m onths fn the year 1839-40, and was paid at

the rate o f £25 a year and rations. It is also i

a m atter o f historic in terest that R egentville

was the birthplace o f th e late Sir Thom as

Bent, a form er P rem ier o f V ictoria, w ho was

bom there over 70 years ago.


Sir John Jam ieson was reputed t o b e lavish j

in his hospitality at R egen tville H ouse. In

M arch, 1835, he gave a fancy dress ball, at

which m ore than 300 guests w ere entertained,

at a cost o f between £700 and £800.

An old resident o f P enrith rem em bers the

R egentville coach and fou r, w ith postilion s,

conveying S ir John Jam ieson and a com pany of

guests to the neigh boring ra ces a t Penrith,

W indsor, or Hom ebush, as the ca se m ight be.

The sam e gentlem an a lso reca lls that the s ta ir ­

case at R egen tville H ouse w a s a m arvel of*

staircases. H e says that he saw h orses ridden |

up the stairs on several occa sion s, b y s p o rtsmen

o f his tim e. The stables w e re also r e ­

m arkable in their way, accom m od atin g 40

horses, m ost of them blood stock , as Sir John

was a great horse-breeder and sportsm an . H e

also had a racecourse on th o p rop erty, and it

was h ere th at h e prom oted the first great race

m eeting o f any note in N ew South W ales. A

further instance o f Sir Joh n’s lavish hospitality

is supplied by the fa ct th at o n on e occa sion

he entertained a large gathering o f nearly

5000 persons w h o attended the races.

T he hospitable old knight died on June 29,

1844, and was buried in St. Stephen's ground

at Penrith. H is fam ous hou se w as destroyed

by fire 20 years later.


The grow th o f P enrith has b een o f a steady

nature. In the m id-fifties, accord in g to the

oldest living inhabitant. It com p rised “ not m ore

than 30 houses from top to b ottom ,’ ' but to-day

it has about 5000 inhabitants, w ith a d istrict

population considerably larger. The - staple industries

a re agriculture and fru it-grow in g. The

tow n itself is an im portant railw ay centre, and

num bers am ongst its residents a large p rop ortion

o f em ployees o f the R ailw ay C om m issioners.

The p roclam ation o f P en rith as a m unicipality

took p lace on May 12, 1871, and a t the

first election in the su cceeding m onth the

follow in g nine gentlem en w ere elected ald erm

en:—Jam es John R iley, E dw in Jam es W ilshire,

Austen F orrest W ilsh ire, Thom as Smith,

John M atthews, P eter Sm eaton, Thom as A n ­

drews, John Reddan, and D on ald B eatson. The

first m eeting o f cou n cil w a s h e ld on July 13,

1871, in a cottage (leased fo r cou n cil purposes)

at the top end o f the m ain street, w h ich is

now occupied as a private residen ce. Mr. R iley

was elected M ayor, and Mr. Joh n P rice cou n cil

clerk. A t this m eeting, M essrs. J. T. R yan,

ex-M .L.A ., and T. R. Smith, ex-M .L .A . (now

residing at St. M arys) w ere appointed valuers,

under w hose supervision the first road from

Penrith to Bathurst, a distance o f ju st over

100 m iles, w as constructed in six m onths.

Thirty con victs, under a guard o f eight

soldiers, w ere em ployed in th o work.

A t this tim e, the m unicipality took in M ulgoa

on the south, C astlereagh on the north, and

extended to the Nepean R iver on the w est and

K ingsw ood on the east. L a ter, M ulgoa and

Castlereagh seceded, and form ed m unicipalities

o f their own. The su ccessive M ayors o f P enrith

m unicipality have been A id. R iley, Jam es

M'Carthy (then residin g a t C ranebrook, three

f c e o . I e r e # * ® a r f T

U> [jp\ C'Y*-]

• -

. ■#

The Great Western Road


talles from P enrith), Donald Keatson, Alfred

C olless, G eorge B. Besley, M ichael L on g (nine

tim es M ayor; now residing a t Lam bridge, near

Penrith, in his 77th year), Jam es Evans, A. W .

Stephens, Arthur Judges, A. V. Reid (now r e ­

siding at M anly), W illiam P layer, W . C. F u l­

ton, F. D. W oodriff, F. M. V ine, Dr. H iggins,

H. J. F Neale, and Thom as Jones (present

M ayor). The second town clerk was Mr. H enry

Eager (a cousin of the Mr. Geoffrey Eager,

P.M .G.). Then follow ed Messrs. R obert Stuart,

sen., R obert Stuart, jun., Nash, Henry Fraser.

J. G. Bissland, W. H. W rench, and E. W .

Orth, the present occupant of the position. The

'aldermen in the present coun cil a r e :— Aid.

Thom as Jones (M ayor), Arthur Judges, W . S.

W alker, John Heaney, C larrie H ollier, J. T.

Huxley, Joshua Field, M ichael Coffey, and W a l­

ter I,ance. The tow n boasts a n ever-failin g

water supply and an u p -to-d ate e le ctric-lig h t­

ing plant. It Is 6aid to have been the third

place in A ustralasia to secure an electriclightina

service. The first h otel in the tow n,

known as G overnor GIpps’ Inn, was erected by

a Mr. Josephson, in 1831.


Amongst the historic trophies in the p ossession

of the Penrith people Is a silver bugle,

which t u presented by the Udlei ol Penrith

in 1861 to the old P enrith V olunteer Rifle Corps,

form ed on June 29 o f the preceding year. The

com pany was disbanded in 1878, and the trophy

is now a treasured possession o f the Penrith

Citizen Forces. The bugle, w hich was m anufactured

in London at a cost o f 40 guineas, bears

the follow in g in scrip tion :— "P resen ted to the

Penrith Volunteer Rifles by the ladies o f the

district of Penrith, to evince their cord ia l appreciation

of the loyalty and p atriotism shown

by the enrolm ent o f the corp s.”

The first record o f a place o f public entertainm

ent in Penrith refers to the D epot Inn,

1823-4. It was controlled by Sergeant B aylis,

and evidently under m ilitary su pervision ; but

it afterw ards developed into the K in g ’ s Head,

which house was situated near the Bite o f the

present court house.


Penrith boasts a number o f p u blic in stitu ­

tions, but pernaps m e old est is th e hospital.

The original building -was erected in 1857, at a

cost of over £1100. It was tw o -sto rie d and

j of brick, and was located at the eastern end

o f the town. A m ongst the first com m ittee of

m anagem ent w ere M essrs. George Cox, J. T.

Ryan, J. J. R iley, R . Copeland L ethbridge, E.

K ing Cox, R. T. Jam ison, John Single, John

Perry, the Rev. George V idal, Jam es M 'Carthy,

A. Fraser, R. Brooks. The m edical officers

were Drs. W illm ott and H aylock.

In 1872 there were no patien ts fo r a

period of over three m onths, and, in con sequence,

the building was closed. L ater, it was

pulled down, and the bricks w ere used in the

erection o f a cottage at Castlereagh. It waa

not until 1890 that it w as decided, a t a public

m eeting, to open an oth er hospital. Prem ises

w ere rented till 1895, and then the present

building was erected, the con tra ct p rice being

£1170. Since that tim e extensive im provem ents

and additions have been made. These include

an operating theatre, a fever ward, and nu rses’

quarters; and the institution now ranks as one

o f the m ost u p -to-d a te outside the m etrop olis.

Mr. S. E. Lees, ex-M .L.A ., was elected p resident

in 1895, and Has held the p osition ever






There are doubtless s till livin g in Penrith

d istrict a few scores of people w ho rem em ber

the days before the railw ay line w as extended

to that centre, but perhaps the old est of tbem

all is Mrs. Edward Cane, who resides a short

distance from the sp ot w here the first sod of

the Great W estern R oad was turned a cen ­

tury ago to-m orrow . This old lady is in her

93rd year, and still hale and hearty. She is

in alm ost p erfect physical health, and, apart

from a slight deafness, is also in fu ll possession

o f her facu lties. H er brain is as clear as

it was in the prim e o f her w om anhood, and

she is endowed w ith a rem arkably reten tive

memory, which enables h er to recou nt, in m ost

interesting fashion, rem iniscences o f the m ore

notable events in the history of th e d istrict

subsequent to her arrival in A u stralia over

h a’ a centurv at;o.

The Greet Western Road


Mrs. Cane is one o£ the few aged residents

of the Nepean Plains who is not a native. She

was born In London, and, w ith h er husband

and three children, cam e to A ustralia in 1857.

Their arrival was about a w eek a fte r the |

lived in the one house iu H igh Street, n ear

the Nepean R iver, ever since. H er husband

died 16 years back, at the age o f 80, but the

three children still survive. The eldest o f

these, Mrs. Haynes, o f L em on grove, has ju st

com pleted “ the allotted 8pan,, o f th ree-score


The old lady, w ho is 93 years o f age, rem arked to the cam era man that he w as

“ pretty qu ick " in photographing her, and added: “ T here w ere no jfhotographs in

my day. W e had to s it dow n w hile they painted ou r likeness.”

wreck of the Dunbar, and tw o of the children

secured som e relics from the w reckage, one or

two of which are still in the p ossession o f the

fam ily. A lm ost im m ediately after reaching

Sydney the Canes found their way t o Penrith,

and, up till about 12 m onths ago, Mrs. Cane had

years and ten, w hile the tw o oth ers—Mr. E d­

ward Cane, o f N orth Sydney, and Mrs. Jam es

Baker, o f Penrith— are 66 and 63 yeare o f age

respectively. There are also 13 g ran d -ch ild -

ren and 19 great-grand-child ren , o r 35 d escen ­

dants in all. Am ongst the gran d -ch ild ren is

Mr. E. G. Baker, G overnm ent P rin ter a t P o rt

« T i d w t i $ t i 7


The Great Western Hoad

Moresby. Mrs. Cane a lso has tw o surviving

brothers, the elder, the H on. Dr. J. S. H elm c-

ken, of Vancouver, who w as associated in the

m ovem ent fo r the F ederation of Canada, being

89 years of age: The oth er brother, who r e ­

sides in England, is 84 years of age.

O P E N IN G O F T H E R A I L W A Y .

“ When I first cam e to P en rith ," said Mrs.

Cane, “ settlem ent was very scattered, and there

were not m ore than 30 houses all told. It w as

not until five years later, about 1862, I think,

that the railw ay was opened here. Needless to

say, there was a dem onstration worthy o f the

occasion, and people Rocked from all parts of

the district to w itness the unique spectacle.

Some time afterw ards a sta rt was made w ith

the construction of the railw ay across the

Mountains. There was no bridge across the

Nepean in those days, although I understood

that there was a sort of one before I cam e,

but it was washed away. Teams, conveying

merchandise to the in terior, w ere conveyed

across on a punt. This punt was also used

to take over the m aterials em ployed in the

construction of the railw ay. I rem em ber the

first two engines taken across. One was

called “ The G overnor-G eneral,” and bore the

number 5—thus showing th a t there w ere few

engines in the colony at the time— and the

other was called “ The N ative Bear.” L ater

on, when the line had been pushed as fa r as

W entworth F alls, the station was about h a lf

a m ile further on than the present building,

and a bridge had been b u ilt across the river,

the line was thrown open to traffic. The flret

train consisted o f an engine and a brake van—

a very crude affair. Mr. C harlie K ellett, local

postm aster at the tim e, w ho had charge of

the mails, and m y son -in -law , Mr. Baker, who,

until his retirem ent som e tim e ago, had been

in the railw ay service fo r about 50 years, w ere

am ongst those who went on the first trip.”

T H E F L O O D O F ’ t>7.

“ It was rather a coinciden ce,” proceeded M r9.

Cane, “ that at Just about th e tim e the bridge

was com pleted a flood cam e and’ washed away

the punt, which was never replaced. The old

bridge—a stone one—still stands, and w ill

stand for years, tu t it is now used for vehicular

and pedestrian traffic, as the railway people

a few years ago built an Iron la ttice-w ork

bridge for the trains to tra vel over. The flood

to which I ju st referred w es the great flood o f

1S67. I rem em ber it well. There was one vast

sea from the foot of the Mountains to Fulton’s

shop, in the cen tre of the town. It w rought

terrible damage. Tfce w ater rose in our house

t o a depth o f a fo o t or tw o .' B oats passed right

alon g here rescuing people, w ho were taken to

the court-house. W e. w ere taken there, too.

There was another flood som e years later, but

I refused to go to the cou rt-h ou se on that occa ­

sion. I went to a friend’s place ju st up the


B L A C K S A N D C H IN E S E .

! Mrs. Cane has vivid recollection s of the

i blacks who inhabited the neighborhood in the

: early days, end o f the Chinese, who used to

| march along the road in sin gle file to the gold

diggings. “ When I first, cam e,” she said, “ I

was terrified by the blacks and roam ing cattle,

because in London I was unaccustom ed to

sights o f that kind. I did not relish the p resence

of the Chinese, either. They used to

com e along in droves, en route to the Turon

and other goldfields. and I have seen scores of

them camped opposite this very house. Nor

were the blacks enam ored o f the Chinese. One

old blackfellow . describin g the Chinaman, said.

It yabber like it cock a too; tail (p ig-tail) like it

yarraman (horse); w alk like it w obbler (duck)-

him think it kill sheep.’ ”

I could talk to you fo r hours.” said the old

ady, in conclusion, “ but I have told you enough

for one interview. I rem em ber lots about tho

bushranging days, and the ex ploits o f various

‘ esperadoes. but those things. I think, should

j be allow ed to remain buried in the oblivion of

the past.”

---■................. «- ............... - ...............

A N H I S T O R I C C O A C H .






86 •Mc+







This coach, which is to be driven in to-day's centenary procession at Penrith by Mr. Thomas H obby, grandson o f

Lieutenant H obby (who was associated with Captain W illiam Cox) was used to drive the late I>uke o f Clarence, then

Heir-Apparent, and the Duke o f York, now K ing George, around W indsor district, on tho occasion of their visit to

Australia many years ago. it was also availed of as a means of conveyance by the lute Duke o f Edinburgh, when

_____ ’ ’ ______ ___________ he was iu New South Wales iii 1S&S.

J b s o i l / i n * ’ -im*i x ) * * f f

------------------- — ---------- * — — •




4 ~ ■-

£.. —— ---------- ?------ *--- ------1-—— --------■¥*?*■■ ------------------------- ----------

The Great Western Hoad

Convict encampment at foot of Victoria Pass

The site of this stockade is at the foot

of the old Victoria ^ass,about a £ mile from the

road to the right. A swampy stream runs through

the valley here formed,and a series of mounds in

a cleared space on the near side of the stream,

marks the s^ot where the buildings formerly stood.

On the opposite side of the stream on

rising ground,was the Commandant's house,and at

the rear,was an old well,partly filled in when

visited in 1906.

The cleared space above referred to

measures 41 yards,east to west,and 75 yards,north

to south at its widest part.

This encampment was in use for nearly

three years,during the construction of the Pass

in 1852 - 1835,and contained about 200 prisoners,

working in chains. Late in the last century,

(circa,1890) the ring-bolts in the trees,to which

the convicts were chained could be seen,but an

extensive bush fire later on swept over the locality

and the trees were burned.

The remains of the powder magazine may

still be seen to the left of the pass,on the

Hartley side of the Causeway,and at the upper end

of the Causev

I ) » o H j j r i € i ' s * W J - j s t o - i D # r f f 7o [ b W k ]




The Great Western Hoad



Discovery, Survey, andConstractim


T h e h istory or A u stra lia , said M r. F ra n k

W a lk er, in the cou rse o f a p a p er th a t h*

read b efore the H isto rica l S o cie ty ,

con ta in s n o m ore in terestin g an d rom a n tic

story th an th at co n n e cte d w ith the d is co ­

very, su rv ey , and co n stru ctio n o f our m ain

W estern road— the g re a t th o ro u g h fa re w h ich

y ears b e fo re th e in tro d u ctio n o f ra ilw a y s

ca rried the traffic in to the h ea rt o f the

m ou n tain s, and b e y o n d them to the fe rtile

plain s a n a rich c o u n tr y in th e w est. N o

su ch sto ry o f p eril an d h a rd sh ip, o f in d o m ­

itable cou ra ge, of h e a rt-b re a k in g fa ilu res,

and fin ally ot rew a rd th at su cce ss brin gs, a rs

con n ecteu w ith ou r oth e r m ain th o ro u g h ­

fa re s— the G rea t N orth ern a n d S ou th ern

road s. T h e \\ estern road alon e ca n cla im

these, an d the sp len d id w o rk u n dertaken

by ou r h a rd y p ion eers in those fa r - o ff d a y s

at the b e g in n in g o f the n in eteen th cen tu ry

w ill stan d fo r all tim e.

F o r n ea rly 25 y e a rs a fte r the a r riv a l o f

the F irs t F leet that g re a t n a tu ra l barrier,

the B lu e M ou n tain s, su cce s s fu lly defied

e v e r y e ffo rt to su rm ou n t it. TBme a n d

a gain w ere a tte m p ts m ade, bu t a ll to n o

purpose, an d the e x te n t o f the c o lo n y w e s t­

w ard w a s but a b a re 40-m ile lim it from

S ydn ey. it is 0:1 re co rd that L ie u te n a n t-

G overn or F o v e a u x , in on e or his co m m u n i­

ca tio n s to' the H om e a u th orities, d esp a ired

o f e v er seein g the c o lo n y In co m e o f a n y

im p orta n ce. ‘ N a tu re,” he said ,, "h a d all

too rigid ly defined its b ou n d a ries, an d the

lim it o f settlem en t an d p ro d u ctio n w a s

le a ch e d w h ere th at fo r b id d in g c h a in (of

m ou n tain s u p reared its som b re c re s ts .”

T he p a p er then g a v e in d eta il the a ttem p t

m ade b y G overn or P h illip , in the m on th of

M ay. 1,8S. to find a p assa ge, bu t in v a in ;

and d ea lt w ith the su cce ssiv e e x p e d itio n s ot

L ieu ten an t D a w es in 1793, S u rgeon G eorge

B a ss in 17S6. M ilson (th e c o n v ic t ;, C a ley (th e

b ota n ist), and lastly, th a t o f E n sig n B a r-

allier in 1803, lead in g u p to the final d esp a tch

o f B laxlan d , W e n tw o rth , an d L a w so n in

M ay, 1813.

P o rtra its w ere then th row n upon the

screen o f th ose m en w h o w ere p rin cip a lly

resp on sible for the o p e n in g u p o f the rou te

to the w est, viz., M a jo r -G e n e ra l L a ch la n

M acqu a rie, G reg ory B la x la n d , W illia m

C h a rles W en tw orth , L ieu ten a n t L a w son ,

G eorge W illia m E v a n s (D e p u ty -S u r v e y o r -

G en era l), L ieu ten a n t W illia m C ox. and,

lastly. M a jo r (a fte r w a rd s Sir T h o m a s ) M itchell

T h e jo u rn e y o f B la x la n d an d p a rty w a s

then clo sely follow ed , a n d n u m erou s e x tra cts

from h is jo u r n a l w ere qu oted . T h e sta rt

w a s m ad e from E m u F ord , an d m en tion

w a s a lso m ade o f E m u Islan d , w h ich , o w in g

to the d eflection o£ the ch a n n el o f the r iv e r,

a t the p resen t d a y is n o w ob lite ra te d . I t

o r ig in a lly la y a sh ort d ista n ce to the n o r th ­

w est o f the ra ilw a y line w h ere it cro s se s the

river. V iew s w ere sh ow n o f L en n ox B rid g e ,

con stru cte d b y th e c o n v ic t s in 1839, a n d

a p ortion o f th e road on th e L a p sto n e H ill.

In the n e ig h b o rh o o d o f L in d en se v e ra l v ie w s

o f the o rig in a l road w ere th ro w n upon the

screen, taken from p la ces q u ite rem ote fr o m

the p resent h ig h w a y . T h e “ c a ir n o f sto n e s ”

m en tion ed b y B la x la n d in h is jo u rn a l, w'as,

the lectu rer said, p resu m ed to h a v e been

erected b y B ass, but n o tra ce o f it has e v e r

been fou n d , th o u g h se v e ra l e x p e d itio n s,

consistoi m em bers o f th e H is to rica l S o ­

ciety, h a ve been d esp a tch ed in se a rch o f

it. T h e fa rth e st p oin t rea ch ed b y B la x la n d

a n d p a rty w a s d escrib e d u n til the tim e

ca m e w h en th eir p ro v isio n s w e r e n e a rly e x ­

pended, th eir cloth es an d sh oes in bad c o n ­

d ition , an d the w h ole p a rty s u ffe rin g m ore

or less i fro m v a rio u s v o m p la in t s , a g g r a ­

v a te d b y the toilsom e w ork th e y w ere e n ­

g a g ed upon. On S u n d a y, J u n e 6, a fte r an

a b sen ce o f 27 d ays, the ex p e d itio n on ce m ore

crossed th e N epean, an d th e g re a t w o r k

th a t B la x la n d had set h im se lf t o d o w a s a c»

com p lish ed .

T h e n ext p h a s e o f the p a p e r d ealt w ith

the su rv ey o f the route, fo llo w in g B la x la n d 's

tra ck and b ey on d it to w h ere B a th u rst n o w

stands. T h is w a s p e r fo r m e d b y G eorg e W illiam

"E v a n s, an d on h is re tu rn he reported

in g lo w in g term s o f 'the m a g n ifice n t c o u n tr y

he had seen b eyon d the m ou n ta in s. M a c ­

qu arie had issu ed a G o v e rn m e n t ord er,

w h ich w a s g iv e n in d eta il, in w h ich d ue

a ck n o w le d g m e n t o f the g o o d w o r k p e rfo rm ­

ed b y B la x la n d an d p a r ty w a s m ad e, a n d

su b sta n tia l re w a rd s in th e sh a p e o f lan d

g ra n ts w ere m ad e to them . E v a n s a lso

ca m e in fo r h is share, and he w a s a p p o in t­

ed D ep u ty L a n d S u rv e y o r in V a n D ie m e n 's

L an d .

T h e third an d last sta g e o f the p ap er w a s

reach ed w h en th e c irc u m s ta n ce s w h ich led

to the c o n s tru ctio n o f the first r o a d by L ie u ­

ten an t W illia m C ox w ere given - It w a s a

v o lu n ta ry offer on his p a rt to su p erin ten d

the co n stru ctio n o f the road , an d M a c ­

q u arie g la d ly availed h im self o f it. A le t­

ter w ritten b y the G o v e rn o r to L ie u te n a n t

C ox -sets fo rth in d eta il the p a r tic u la rs c o n ­

cern in g th e m a k in g o f th e road, and w ith

a p a rty o f 30 c o n v ic ts an d e ig h t sold iers,

fo rm in g a m ilita ry g u a rd , th e w o rk w a s

com m erfced on J u ly 14, 1814. B la x la n d 's

h e ro ic task w a s one th a t d e s e rv e s e v e r y

com m en d a tion , bu t th*i w ork u n d erta k en b y

C ox w a s o f a fa r m ore a rd u o u s d escrip tion .

T h e fo rm e r h a d to cu t a tra ck th rou g h the

scru b , bu t to C ox fell the ta sk o f c o n s t r u c t ­

in g a p rop er c a r ria g e road, w ith brid ges,

cu lv erts, em b a n k m en ts, & c.. & c., an d t a k ­

in g in to a cco u n t the sm a lln ess o f the -workin

g p a r ty , and the sh ort s p a ce o f tim e, v iz.,

six m on th s, in w h ich the roa d w a s c o m p le t­

ed in e v e ry d eta il, too m u ch p ra ise c a n n o t

Be b estow ed upon the m an w h o a tte m p te d

and su ccessfu lly , a ccom p lish ed this h e rcu le a n

task. H is jo u r n a l o f each d a y 's progressm

in u tely and c a r e fu lly , w ritte n , a f d w ith

n o su perflu ou s m a tte r in it fro m b e g in n in g

t o end, is, d ecla red Mr. W a lk er, on e o f the

m a rve,!= o f the age. It is as in t e ­

re stin g as a n o v e l, -because it is a re co rd o f

.■ c°,0niRl u n d erta k in g up to th a t

tim e, and it is a record th a t will a p p ea l to

In r;;’ e , 1s ^ raI lan3 fo r ce n tu rie s to com e.

^ 0, ' T rK)r Mac

i3 0 ... S m o i 'J e x i l '









The Great Western Hoad


am e the great rou te t o .t h e w est.

d ia ry o f th is trip, kept by M a jo r A n till, is

still in existen ce, and is a m ost in terestin g

a n d h istorica l docu m en t.

In His con clu d in g rem a rk s the lectu rer

said he had en d eavored to a w a k en som e

little in terest in the h is to ry an d rom a n ce

con n ected w ith our grea t w estern .h ig h w a y ,

an d in th ose w o rth y p ion eers o f a p ast age,

t*\ w h ose self-sa crificin g la b ors this co u n try

ow es so m uch. O f su ch m en as B la xla n d ,

L a w son , and W e n tw o rth , G eorge W illia m

E van s. L ieu ten an t Wri!lia m C ox, an d M a jor

M itchell, an d n ot even fo r g e ttin g the a u to ­

cra tic b u t level-h ea d ed M acqu a rie, *any

cou n try in the w orld had reason to be proud.

H e tru sted th at the d a y w as n ot fa r d is ­

ta n t w h en A u stra lia n s w ou ld su ita b ly r e ­

cog n ise the w orth o f these m en b y the e r e c ­

tion o f som e m ore fittin g m em oria ls than

th ose w e can boa st o f to -d a y .

N ot the least in terestin g o f the m a n y la n ­

tern slid es th row n on to the screen w a s one

sh ow in g th at d u rin g a p eriod o f twelve, years

M r W a lk er had. w h ile on tou r, cy cle d a d is ­

tance o f 27.445 m iles. T h e lectu rer re m a rk ­

ed that su ch a m eans o f rap id, safe, an 1 in ­

expensive. locom otion a lon e m ade it p ossible

to v isit an d p h o to g ra p h all the p la ces that

a a a been p ictu re d th at ev en in g .


. .




The Greet western lload

i.esterti ttoad,nr Linden

This section of road

runs parallel with the

railway,at Linden,and

is not far from-the re

nowEted "oaley's impulse

discovered in iyi6,hy

a party of members of

the Australian iiis tor- i

ical Society. The fi^

ure in the illustration

is the late Dr nouison

for many years one of

the leading lights of

the above bociety.

J^iction of old

new roads

The figure in the foreground,Mr

J.L.Maiden,is standing

on a portion of Dox*s road

whilst below him,the present

road is also visible. In the

background is the railway line

the view thus giving in one

glance three separate highways

embracing a period,to the pres

~ent day,of 107 years.


r j > \ * M

The Great Western Road.



8 i f /

Mount Blaxland.

The cairn marks the

approximate site vvhere

Gregory blaxland stood

on May 51st,lbl£,and

came to the decision to

abandon further exploration

and return to Sydney.

At the time of

the Centenary Celebrations,

in 1S13, a tablet,

suitably inscribed was

carried up to the summit

of this mountain,and

firmly bolted to the



Mr Berghofer,has been right

ly described as the "Father of

the Centenary Celebrations"in

1913,and by his energy and inspiring

influence was mainly

responsible for the success of

the functions. He is here seen

standing under one of the old

swamp oaks,on the banks of Low

ther ureek,near the probable

site of the encampment of Blaxland

and party,in May,lbl3.

l 4 Z [ h k n k j


The Great Western Road.

H i

6 9 U

— --------------------------1

Hartley Vale Cemetery

This quaint old

burying ground is situated

near Mt.York House

close to the old line of

road which William Cox

constructed. Here are

buried many of the old

pioneers of the district

including Pierce Collitt

who erected his Inn on

the margin of the old

road,about 1622.The build

ing is still standing,i

is now known as "Mount

York House" or Farm.

William Cox's Bell

This bell,which originally

belonged to the warship "Astrea"

was in use at "Clarendon" and

LiUdgee,and was the property of

William Cox. It is elaborately

ornamented with "Coats-of-Arms",

and floral decorations,and if

still in existence,would be clos

on 120 years old.

The Great Western Road

"Evans' Grown",Tarana

From the summit of this remarkable mountain

Evans obtained his first view of the Bathurst


triage over tne Lett R.

The bridge which formerly carried the old s.estern Road

across the stream v.as close alongside.

The Great Western Road



The old & new Bridges.

'•‘•'his scene is taken in the neighbourhood of -^ittle Hartley

and shows a spot on the main Western road where one of Mitchell

!s bridges,on the old line of road,or what remains of the

structure,is still visible.

The great Western Road

Group picture of the three Explorers.


Parish of

Map-'of Blaxland* s ttoute

across the Mountains.

Map showing early

roads across the ^ount

--- -ains.



Paris/) of

Map showing the locality of "Caley's Repulse".

The Great v.estern Road

Remains of "Marked Tree" at the foot of Mount Blaxland.

A suitable inscription was placed on the stump after the top

had been cemented,at the time of the Centenary Celebrations,

in 1815.



. 3 l* -r M A Y 1813

J * w a s hahcd MOUNT BLAXLAND i n

§ #0*0* or T/tfSXPiO fifp „ N

Inscribed Tablet,placed on the summit of ^ount

Blaxland,at or near the s^ot where Gregory Blaxand

stood,on May 51st,1615.

The Great Western Road

VII i.f -

The "Flogging-stone",Gaptain t>ull1s Gamp,Linden.

View showing a portion of Cox's road,near Linden.

The Great Western hoad

uopper plate let into the rock on the old lino

of road at Mount York. The plate reads,"Pick-marks made

"by convicts in widening the road,1614”

View showing a portion of the first cathurst

^oad descending the mountainet Mount ^ork, This

was afterwards called "oox s Pass".


The Great Western noad


7 6

Signboard marking the beginning of the track down

Mount York,afterwards called "uox s Pass".

xhe Pass down Mount York. $his was on such a severe

grade that the Wool teams in the early days had to unload

their drays at the foot of the Pass and roll the bales up

oy hand ,&icerwarcs taking up the empty dray,and re loading

at the top.

The Great Western Hoed



These views,the only photographs in existence,show

the ruins of the famous "G-lenroy Stockade",near the uox

i^iver. They were taken in 1904,and not a vestige of the

old camping place(which was first erected in 1614,on the

completion of the first Western R0adJ is now tts be seen.

The Great Western Road

XI I of


"Horseshoe oend"

Mt victoria Pass.

J-his place was

the scene of many &

sticking-up incident

in the old coaching

days. The Pass is now

abandoned in favor of

a newer and easier

grade some distance

to the Worth. In the

centre of the roadway

in this view,the figures,

"1832" were chis

=elled in the rock,

recording the date

when the Pass was


This view shows

the site of the Convict


the foot of Mt Victoria

Pass. Previous

to a large bush fire

which swept the locality

about ten or

twelve years ago,the

iron rings in the

trees,to which the

prisoners were chain

'ed,were plainly visible.

This encampment

was in active

use for a period of

over three years.


The Great »'estern -^oad

H 3

x v i J 9

Mt Victoria Pass

This view shows the

massive embankments

constructed in 1832

by convict labour.A

hAge valley was entirely

filled up

with the material ec

excavated from the

mountain near by,ard

the road way formed

on top. Over three

years was occupied

in.this stupendous


Another view of the

embankment form the

bed of the valley.

The mass of

rock shown in the

upper left hand side

of the view is part

of the mountain whict

was quarried away to

form the material for

the causeway,and is c

of the hardest ironstone.





f/o w s in to Turon R iv e r

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