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Hartley Court House - 1837 to 1937

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f y c f y U j O i r

FORE W O R D .

Owe o / the most satisfactory developments in the cultural

life of the State is the increasing public interest in and the

value attached to the historical background of our nation.

Our national life is, of course, deeply embedded in the

historical background of Great Britain and, without that, it

would be impossible to appreciate or understand our people.

Remembering that, we also have in the early history of Australia

indications of the beginnings of our own divergent national

characteristics which will in the end make us a people, while

closely allied to, someivhat different from the parent stock.

It is well that as much of this early history as possible

should be recorded and set down while the material is still

available. We are, therefore, indebted to Messrs. W . C.

Foster, W . L. Havard and B. T. Dowd for the care and

industry devoted to the production of this brochure. The

subject chosen is worthy of the effort put into it.

It iw just 100 years since what is now known as the

Hartley Court-House was built and opened. What to-day,

with the attractive motor road, is a two hours’ trip from

Sydney, must have seemed to those early settlers a somewhat

arduous journey. They had not long known it— the road

having been built in 1814; but it is evidence of their courage

and their idea of the permanence of the occupation of the

district that so soon thereafter a Court-House, which stands to

this day as a monument of beautiful architecture and splendid

craftsmanship, should have been erected by them with resources

which icere almost as nothing compared with those of to-day.

They did their work icell and passed on their way,

leaving this monument to their descendants which, although not

noiv used for the purpose originally designed, is and will long

remain a feature of the landscape which it adorns— a memorial

to their skill and culture.

Sydney,

8th September, 1937.

L. O. M A R T IN ,

Minister of Justice.


Hartley Court-House, a monumental relic of the tow n’s early importance and expectations.


GEOGRAPHICAL IN TROD UCTION.

On one side of the Hartley Valley is the barren sandstone

plateau of the Blue Mountains; on the other are the stony,

scrubby ridges over which the old road to Bathurst climbed.

In past ages the sandstone extended ivest of the present cliffs

at Mount York right to the Main Divide but the streams,

cutting through it, exposed the granite pavement on which

the horizontal rocks had been deposited.

This fortunate accident called into existence the gentle

slopes by the River Lett and Cox’s River. Much of the granite

weathers into a deep soil that forms rounded hills, whilst the

massive plateau sandstone either splits off to form

perpendicular cliffs, or is fretted into great monuments that

mark the country near the railway line. The actual recession

o f the cliffs is due to the cutting away of softer rocks from

beneath, giving the level valley above Hartley at the same

time.

In the granite country of the valley, harder places cause

the streams to flow in steep little gorges making the roads

edge away from the streams or cross them at right angles, as

the Highway does at Hartley. But the gentle slopes were

quite sufficient to give an abundance of grass for transport

animals and travelling stock. Fodder and water were close

at hand to refresh the beasts worn with the westward journey

across the Blue Mountains, or to recruit those passing from

Bathurst to Sydney before their ascent of the same range from

the west. The traveller, also, was no less eager to rest in the

pleasant valley surroundings.

On the Blue Mountains themselves, only a few patches

o f moderate soil allow the growth of a little grass. Many

of these areas are used by modern towns, and in earlier times

they formed the sites of inns which alleviated the discomfort

o f travellers. The crossing of the Blue Mountains was,

however, looked upon as a trial.

Further to the west the old Bathurst Road, in its direct

line across the ridges to Fish River, had many severe grades,

and passed over much lonely and bleak country. Hartley

Valley ivas a sort of oasis in the desert. Now the glamour

of its early history recalls how significant it was once in the

topography and administration of the State.

Fr a n k A . Cr a f t .


HARTLEY AND ITS HISTORIC

COURT-HOUSE

B y W . C. F o s t e r , W . L . H a v a r d , B . T . D o w d .

A E T L E Y V A L L E Y was first seen by white man on May

28, 1813, when the explorers, Blaxland, Lawson and

W entworth, with their four servants, looked down from

Mount York and discovered to their great satisfaction that

what they had considered sandy and barren land below the

mountains was forest land covered with trees and good grass.

They went down into the valley and terminated their journey

at Mount Blaxland. In November of the same year, George

William Evans entered the valley and camped by the Eiver

Lett north-westerly from Mount York. He followed the course

of the river and crossed it just above the site of Hartley. Passing

the locality of Glenroy at the junction of the Eiver Lett and

Cox’s E iver he continued westerly over the Main Divide to the

Bathurst Plains. Evans referred to the valley as a fine part

of the country, some of it resembling the hills to the eastward

of the Cori Linn at Port Dalrymple.

Late in 1814 the first road into the Hartley Valley, at that

time unnamed, was built by William Cox. His primitive

highway crossed the Blue Mountains and descended Mount

Y ork b y a steep and rugged pass. Once in the valley the road

went northerly for a short distance, then south-westerly, running

about m idway between the river and the foot of the Blue

Mountains. It passed close to the site of Hartley Public School

and came in along a ridge to the junction of the two rivers at

Glenroy. Beyond the valley Cox took his road to the Bathurst

Plains.

In April, 1815, Governor and Mrs. Macquarie and suite

set out from Sydney for the newly discovered country to the

westward. A t Mount York, which Macquarie named, the

party stopped to feast their eyes “ with the grand and pleasing

prospect of the fine low country below . . . The “ beautiful

extensive Vale of Five Miles ” the Governor called “ The Vale

Clwydd ” , after a vale in Wales. This name has been supplanted

by the name Hartley Valley. The first tourists descended by

C ox’s Pass, so named by Macquarie, who described it as a


HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE. 5

B o w e n fe ls

H assan s

W a lls

Mt.York

Scale

4 i i Miles

R iv e r

of V ic to ria

M t V ic to ria

valleys about Hartley. The western edge of the Blue Mountains is shown by

cliffs of horizontal sandstone ; the valleys and ridges to the west are mainly

granite. 1. Old Bathurst Road. 2. M itchell’s Road.

(Diagram by F . Craft.)

“ frightful tremendous Pass They continued to the junction

of the River Lett and Cox’s Eiver, where they encamped on

the evening of April 29. Here the next day they held the first

Divine service west of the Blue Mountains.

The valley’s first white inhabitants were Government

stockmen and those of private individuals. Recognising the

value of the good pasture country for stock Macquarie lost

little time after his tour in establishing a stock station for herds

near Mount York, but W . Hassall, the Superintendent of

Government Stock, finding that a great number of the herd

had died through the severe cold of the winter, m oved the

station to Glenroy which was a sunnier situation. The following

year, 1816, stockyards and huts were built there. Possibly the


10

6 HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE.___________

usefulness of this good grazing valley for Government stock

was instrumental in retarding individual settlement prior to

1821. In that year Pierce Collits of the Nepean had temporary

occupation of an area near Mount Blaxland under what was

then called a Ticket of Occupation. It was in this year also,

the last of his term of office, that Macquarie issued the first

Orders for land to individuals in the Yale of Clwydd for

permanent settlement. These Orders were issued to Edward

Field, sen., of Evan, for eighty acres on Butler’s Creek, and later

passed to William Field, John Grant of Liverpool, fifty acres

known as “ Moyne Farm ” , near the foot of Mount Victoria,

and W illiam Orrell of Sydney, two hundred acres near Blaxland’s

Swamp. The areas were in three totally different parts of the

valley, the north-eastern, southern and western locations.

S e t t l e m e n t I n t e n s i f ie s .

W ith the advent of Governor Brisbane and altered

regulations regarding land grants, settlement in the valley

showed some activity. W ith a view to preserving land for

future Government purposes, action was taken about 1823 to

reserve a tract of approximately 4,000 acres extending three

miles up the Eiver Lett from a little south of Glenroy. It had

a, width of two miles and covered land on both sides of the river.

This reserve was not encroached upon for settlement until

after M itchell’s new road down the western side of the Blue

Mountains was opened in 1832.

The first of Governor Brisbane’s Orders for land in this

locality were issued in 1823 to J. Birt and E. Fellows, each

receiving one hundred acres at Blaxland’s Swamp. It was

late in the same year that John W ood of Bringelly obtained a

Ticket of Occupation for 3,000 acres about the same spot, only

a scrubby hill dividing it from Collits on the north. In 1824

promises by Brisbane were honoured by Orders for land to

Bobert Martin, sen., of Mulgrave Place, Eobert Martin, jun.,

o f Eichm ond, and John Hall of the Nepean. These were at

the Mount Y ork end of the valley. It was during this year that

penetration of the country down Cox’s Eiver from the vicinity

o f Lowther Creek began and Orders for large areas were given

to settlers. These were James, Nathaniel and John Norton.

W illiam Eedfern and Thomas Wills. The following year Pierce

Collits, wiio had already established his inn at the foot of Mount


HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE.

T

York, James Porchmouth, and Samuel Morris of “ Mount

Clarence ” farm, were given Orders for land about Mount York

and the River Lett. Near Cox’s River came Orders for Thomas

Wilsford, Rev. S. Marsden, W . H. Hovell and John W ood o f

Lowther. Orders followed for Simeon Lord in 1828, John

Maxwell in 1830 and Michael Flanagan in 1831. The latter’s

farm was near the foot of Mount Victoria.

In 1831 important changes in the regulations regarding

disposal of Crown lands were made. Under these regulations

all land applied for was advertised for sale and put up for public

auction. This did not affect settlement in the valley until

about 1837-1838 when the Town of Hartley was established.

The Government Reserve of 4,000 acres was gradually reduced

as settlers purchased large areas particularly in the vicinity o f

the town and down C ox’s River between 1837 and 1841. Amongst

the new land holders were John T. Hughes, Thomas Breillat,

William Lawson, sen., William Lawson, jun., Nelson Lawson,

John G. Bowman, Robert Granger, James Blackett, Michael

Finn, Michael Scott, Thomas Morris, B. Butta, Isaac Titterton

and Jeremiah Grant.

In 1829 Governor Darling had proposed to locate some o f

the N avy and Military Veterans on good land near the R iver

Lett. The Surveyor-General therefore recommended that a

Village Reserve be established between Martin and Porchm outh’s

farms and the River Lett and that any part of it would be

eligible for the Governor’s purpose. It was not, however,

used for the Veterans. This area, in the vicinity of Londonderry

Bridge, was surveyed in 1855 and later called the Village of

Clwydd. A cottage and office on the reserve at this time had

some years previously been used as the residence of the Police

Magistrate at Hartley.

T h e W e s t R o a d .

Of the difficulties presented by the old Bathurst R oad

the most-dreaded was the precipitous descent of Mount York.

Attempts to render this section of the road safe for travellers

were made, but to such little purpose that by Governor Darling’s

order a notice in the Sydney Gazette of August 17, 1827, promised

a reward for the discovery of a better route to Bathurst.

Hamilton H um e’s proposal to proceed along the Darling

Causeway, through Lithgow’s Valley, was not adopted.


\%

8 HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE.

Early in June, 1830, the possibilities o f a descent from the

Blue Mountains by the Pass of Victoria were seen by the keen

eye of Major Thomas Mitchell, Surveyor-General. Immediately

he set Assistant-Surveyor Philip Elliot to work. Since it was

on this occasion that Mount Victoria received its name, the

words of the Surveyor-General are interesting: “ The point

o f hill, b y which this descent may be effected, being parallel

to Mounts York and Clarence, I have named, for the sake of

distinction Mount Victoria.” On June “ 5 ” Mitchell proceeded

with the marking of his new road through the site of the present

town of Hartley to the River Lett, and subsequently continued

to Bowenfels, past G ould’s Hill, Rydal, Mount Lambie, H oneysuckle

Hill, to Bathurst, which was reached on June 20.

Mitchell's zest is revealed in his words : “ This is entirely my

road, too, that, although I marked it plainly on m y sketch

submitted nearly three years ago and Major Lockyer was

ordered to make it, still no one ever hit upon i t ; and yet it is

the only way by which the numerous steep hills at Mount

Blaxland, the Pish River, etc., can be avoided. I certainly

felt almost as well pleased with my ten days’ exertion and the

new line of road as a general could after gaining a victory.”

M it c h e l l C o m b a t s a n d O v e r c o m e s

G o v e r n o r D a r l i n g ’ s O p p o s it io n .

Colonial Secretary M ’Leay’s reply of July 21, to Mitchell’s

Report of June 23, 1830, was a strong refusal to permit the

construction of the Pass of Victoria, on which Mitchell, without

authority, had already set men to work. The Surveyor-General

was “ much vexed In an irascible mood he replied on

July 27 : “ . . . I trust that the work I have begun, on no

vague report of any illiterate clown, but after a general survey

b y myself and assistants, may be suffered to proceed . . .

but if, on the contrary, I am required to abandon what I consider

to be a work of permanent utility and importance . . . then

I must request that copies of the correspondence with plans

and sections of the Roads may be submitted to His M ajesty’s

Government . . . ”

Mitchell was defiant. He instructed Elliot to labour with

vigorous activity on the Pass of Victoria.

M ’Leay’s reply of August 23, 1830, confirmed his refusal

to sanction the work in progress, but Mitchell was determined


1

HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE. ‘J



Governor Darling, who opposed the construction of the Pass of Victoria, and Governor

Bourke who opened it on October 23, 1832.

' that the work should be done. He made vigorous personal

representation to Governor Darling and emerged from the

interview with the satisfaction of having prevailed over an

antagonistic Governor and an equally obstinate Colonial

Secretary.

T h e P a s s of V ic t o r ia i s B u i l t .

In November, 1830, Elliot informed the Surveyor-General

that 79 men were employed on the Pass in grubbing and rolling

off the timber, 39 in quarrying rock, and 6 masons in building

the wall. From January, 1831, Elliot was replaced by Assistant-

Surveyor John Lambie, who reported that in February, 1832,

there were employed 216 convicts in irons and 60 out of irons

on the Pass, 21 in irons and 39 out of irons on Honeysuckle

Bange, 43 in irons and 15 out of irons at Stoney Range, while

a Bridge Party of 62 in irons and 33 out of irons was stationed

at Mount Victoria.

In July, 1832, Surveyor John Nicholson succeeded Lambie.

On July 16 he informed Mitchell that “ the side cutting to

( finish the descent and render it practicable for traffic can be

finished by three weeks from this with the present force


If

10 HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE.

Pass of Victoria, when opened. The genius of Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell

made this gift to the nation. An outstanding engineering achievement, it opened

the gate for a flood of traffic to the west.

H owever it was not until October 23, 1832, that Governor Sir

Richard Bourke opened the Pass of Victoria— “ the crowning

glory of m y road ” , as Mitchell called it. A t the present time

a monument on Mount Victoria commemorates the opening

of this Gateway to the West— a constant reminder of the work

of a great nation builder, Major [afterwards Colonel Sir] Thomas

1jiving,stone Mitchell.

W ith the object of making the West Road one of his greatest

contributions to the advancement of the Colony Mitchell

persistently urged Nicholson and his successor in March, 1835,

Assistant-Surveyor L. V. Dulhunty, to proceed expeditiously

with the work. The result of their endeavours was that at the

close of 1836 the newr road to Bathurst was ready for traffic.

Ironed gangs were retained in subsequent years, however, to

make necessary alterations and repairs.

After the completion of Mitchell’s road the trek to the

W est was by the town of Hartley.


15

HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE. 11

Colonel Sir Thom as Livingstone Mitchell, brilliant Scottish military draftsman.

After distinguished service in Spain prom ise of exploratory work lured him to New

South Wales where in 1828 he succeeded John Oxley, Surveyor-General.


12 HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE.

N e w P o l ic e D is t r ic t o f t h e Y a l e of Cl w y d d .

Before the establishment of the Court-House and Lock-up

at H artley there was between Penrith and Bathurst no place

of security for prisoners excepting two military stockades.

A t the end of 1834 the Surveyor-General, Mitchell, was requested

by Governor Bourke to describe the limits of a Police District

which would contain the Court-House to be built by the River

Lett. The following year a Committee was formed to enquire

into and report upon the Police Force in all its branches. In

the course of evidence A. K . McKenzie, J.P., stated that a paid

magistrate was much wanted at Cox’s River. In accordance 11

with the findings of the Committee it was decided to form an

intermediate Police District between Penrith and Bathurst,

its limits determined by the description already furnished by

Mitchell, viz., “ District to extend eastward to the Weatherboard

Hut Stream on the Mountain Road ; bounded by that stream

to the River Cox, and southward to Mounts Colong, Murrain,

W erong, and the dividing Range between Werong and the

head of the Fish River, to be bounded on the ivest by the Fish

River, D ixon ’s Creek, and the Range which separates the

Counties of Roxburgh and Cook ; on the north by the Capertee

or Colo R iver to the junction of Bowen’s Creek, and including

the space west of that Creek, Mount Tomah, Mount Hay, and

the W eatherboard H ut Inn, as aforesaid As centre in this

District, first called Clwydd, the Court-House near the bridge

over the River Lett was built.

It was part of the duty of the Police Magistrate of each

District to “ make it his duty to become speedily acquainted

with the person, character, and general circumstances of every

individual within his District, so that he may possess (and be

known to possess) the means of at once correcting any t

erroneous statement, from his own knowledge, and so be better

able to carry into effect the Assignment of Servants, and other

important duties . . . Moreover he was to be familiar

with every part of his District, and every circumstance of local |

interest, so that being able at any moment to furnish accurate

information upon every point lie might thus act as intermediary

between the Government and the inhabitants, enforcing the

commands of the one and representing all lawful desires of the

«•

other. • i


17-

HABTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE._________13

The establishment recommended for the Vale of Clwydd

was : one Police Magistrate £250, one Clerk £100, one Chief

Constable £75, five Ordinary Constables £205 6s. 3d., and

one Scourger £31 18s. 9d. Accordingly in January, 1836,

Edward Denny Day was appointed Police Magistrate for the

new District of the Vale of Clwydd, and Henry Dal way, Clerk

of the Bench. As Day was receiving full pay as an Arm y officer

[retired], fifty pounds was deducted from his salary as Police

Magistrate.

Pending the building of the Court-House Day suggested

that one of the cells at the stockade at Hassan's Walls be used

as a Lock-up House and that a shed for the temporary accom ­

modation of the Bench be built near it. Fearing that the

regularity of the ironed gang might be affected by the

introduction into the stockade of a new class of criminal,

Governor Bourke directed that temporary arrangements be

made instead at some old huts at Mount Victoria.

T e n d e r s w e r e Ca l l e d f o r B u i l d i n g t h e C o u r t - H o u s e

B e f o r e t h e F i n a l S i t e w a s Ch o s e n .

It is interesting to notice in the call for tenders for the

building of the Court-House that security was required and

monthly advances made to the extent of 75% of the value

of the work performed. It was Governor Macquarie’s architect,

Francis Howard Greenway, who had introduced into the Colony

this system of guarantee of good faith. The time of transmitting

tenders was postponed from March 1 to March 31,1836, to enable

tenderers to visit the locality. On April 14 the tender of E o ss'

Coulter and Eobert Beddie was accepted and they were referred

to the Colonial Architect, Mortimer Lewis, to execute a bond for

the due observance of their contract and its completion within

a limited time. They sent twelve men and four horses to quarry

and cart the stone.

Since it was intended immediately to lay out a village

at the Eiver Lett, Mitchell gave instructions for a detailed

survey of the Village Eeserve there, the site for a Court and

W atch-H ouse to be fixed first of all. In July, 1836, when

Assistant-Surveyor Butler transmitted his “ Survey of the

proposed Scite for a Township at the Eiver Lett ” , Mitchell

was in Western Victoria with his third exploring expedition.

His deputy, S. A. Perry, considered the situation chosen by


14 HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE.

On October 3, 1837, the Police Magistrate, J. Blair, reported the contractor’s

notice of the completion of the Court-House at Hartley.

(From the original in the Mitchell Library.)


HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE. 15

Butler near the Eiver Lett too low and confined for the Court-

House. He suggested one in the principal street “ at a very

conspicuous point from the approaches to the Town on both

sides Day, to whom the Governor referred Perry’s suggestion,

found it impracticable owing to the rocky nature of the ground

and recommended the adoption of a third site. Meanwhile the

contractor who had been quarrying stone since the middle of

May, 1836, was impatient to begin the building. It was already

September, but within a few days Governor Bourke approved

of the site selected by Day. A t the same time ground lyingeastward

of the site was approved as a pound and a police

paddock. Day was notified in mid-September of the decision

and was requested to have the site shown to the contractor and

authorise him to begin the work without delay.

Day was now appointed from October la s Police Magistrate at

Maitland, being succeeded at the Y aleof Clw yddby JohnKinchela,

son of Judge Kinchela. W hen Kinchela was appointed Police

Magistrate for the District of Bathurst from March 1, 1837, his

successor at the Yale of Clwydd was James Blair. An Address

expressing regret at losing Kinchela and appreciation of his

zeal and efficiency was signed by E. J. McDonnell, J.P., John

Maxwell, J.P., W m . Hall Palmer, J.P., John W ood, Andrew

Brown, William Orrell, H. K . Hughes, Peter Workman,

Alexander Binning, Andrew Gardiner, James Morris, Pierce

Collits and E. P. Delany.

H a r t l e y C o u r t - H o u s e is B u i l t .

Meanwhile the foundations of the Court-House were laid.

About April, 1837, a traveller “ visited the New Court House,

now erecting, which is of a splendid character, and does infinite

credit in its architectural beauty and design, to the builder.

It is of fine cut stone, and is proceeding rapidly.” A t the

beginning of July it was expected that the building would “ be

completed in about a month Early in September Blair

represented the supposed “ insecure state of the Lock-up in

the new Court House, owing to a recess having been formed in

the wall of the Court room, which adjoins it, merely for

uniform ity’s sake . . . to correspond with the door of the

Magistrate’s room on the opposite side . . . ” . He alleged that

the wall had been so weakened that the mere hammering of a

carpenter in the adjoining lock-up had thrown down that part


16 HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE.

of the division. The damage had been repaired but he considered

it would be no stronger than the original wall. As a result of

investigation the Colonial Architect received a report from

Edward P. Delany, the Clerk of Works, who stated that it was

not stone work which had fallen, but plaster, about fourteen

inches square, which had broken bond owing to the mason

cutting off a header that projected beyond the bond timber in

the lock-up. Delany also stated in this report, dated September

16, that the building “ will be completed this week, as the cedar

to fit up Privy and some fastnings have come up from Sydney,

which caused the delay of completion.” On October 3, 1837,

according to Blair’s letter of that date, to the Colonial Secretary,

the contractor for erecting the new Court-House had that day

given him notice that the building was completed. Blair

however declined to receive the key until he had received

official instructions. Towards the end of December he was

anticipating moving the Police establishment into the new

Court-House within a few days. Following the Report of the

Board of Survey the Court-House was officially declared to be

satisfactorily completed and payment of Coulter and Reddie’s

account was sanctioned.

The change of site caused some inconvenience and extra

expense to the contractors. In making out their costs before

tendering they had calculated the cost of transporting the stone

to the site by the River Lett. The final decision regarding the

site was not made until September, 1836, and then it was

discovered that this entailed carting the stone forty-seven chains

beyond the site first intimated. This suggests that the quarry

was situated near Bowenfels ; the Court House is sandstone

but the local rock is granite. The quarry from which stone was

evidently brought across the River Lett must have been somewhere

in the sandstone tableland, and at no great distance, for

it was the practice of the Police Magistrate, Day, to ride quietly

b y it. Had the stone been brought from the direction of Mount

Y ork it would neither have been taken across the River Lett

nor beyond the site first proposed. After completing the

building the contractors applied for compensation and were

allowed £50 in addition to the contract price of £1,426.

G e n e s i s o f t h e T o w n of H a r t l e y .

Official records indicate that the name Hartley came from

the office of the Colonial Secretary or the Executive Council


l \

HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE. 17

but they give no reason for the name. According to Loughead’s

Dictionary of Given Names, it is of Teutonic origin and its

meaning [dweller by the] lea of the stays.

Hartley owes its establishment to Mitchell’s new line of

road. About the end of 1830 he had areas at various places

along this line reserved for village purposes. One of these,

about 610 acres, was provided at the crossing of the Eiver Lett.

Pierce Collits was granted three acres here, on which to erect

an inn, in part compensation for the altered position of the

Bathurst E oad which diverted traffic off the road that led by

his inn below Mount York.

Early in 1836 Governor Bourke approved of the laying

out of a village at the Eiver Lett Bridge and Assistant-Surveyor

Butler was instructed to make a preliminary survey of the

ground and at the same time fix upon a site for the intended

Court and Watch-House. He submitted his plan of the survey

in July, 1836, from which 8. A. Perry designed a village with the

principal frontages to the Bathurst Eoad through this village

reserve. Although Perry made provision for sites for various

public purposes, in some instances other sites were found later

in more suitable locations.

The village design embraced forty-one sections with sixteen

streets. H ow many know of such streets as Court Hill, Dawson,

Walker, Lett, Hartley, Wentworth, Windsor, York, Black,

Hume, Keate, White, Felix, Virginia, Yittoria and P a u l!

After a century of official recognition these streets remain

unformed and locally unknown.

Perry’s design for the village was approved by A ctin g-'

Governor Snodgrass on December 13, 1837, and gazetted under

the name of the Township of Hartley on January 1, 1838.

Collits’ grant of three acres for an inn was re-surveyed so as to

conform more with the layout of the township.

E a r l y L a n d S a l e s i n H a r t l e y T o w n s h ip .

Following an application b y F. Bohun early in 1838 to

purchase allotments in the township official notice was given

on March 27 of the sale of eleven allotments as soon as measurement

could be made. The survey of these areas, whose frontage

was on the Bathurst Eoad between the Court-House and the

bridge, was made by Assistant-Surveyor Davidson, and owing


18 HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE.

S. A. Perry, Deputy Surveyor-General, who was responsible for the design of the

town of Hartlev. Polish Count Paul Strzelecki who found gold in the Hartley Valley

in 1839.

to considerable delay was not commenced until December,

1839. The first purchases of land in the township were made

at their sale by auction on May 14, 1840. The upset price

of these allotments of about half an acre each was originally

fixed at £2 per acre but prior to the sale was altered by the

Governor to £8 per acre. Dougald McPherson bought three

lots averaging about £11 each, John Williams two lots averaginga

little over £16 10s. and the following buyers one lot each at

the price q u o te d : C. W . Eoemer £14, Donald McLennon

£13 3s. 3d., Philip Hart £13 16s., Benjamin and Moses £12 13s.,

and Archibald Campbell £14 6s. The unsold allotment was

bought a few months later by M. J. Davies. The highest and

lowest prices, £19 13s. 9d. and £10 5s., were given respectively

by John Williams and Dougald McPherson. The sale realised

nearly £134 and the average price of about £26 per acre shows

the faith H artley’s first land owners had in the township's future.

Buyers at the second auction sale on May 13, 1841, gave

an average price of a little less than £8 per lot. They were

Archibald Downie, Thomas McVittie, Hugh Gilligan and James

Ward. The prices at this sale therefore were considerably

lower than those given a year before. Others who bought


23

HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE. 19

land at subsequent auctions were James Tindale in 1842,

James McCoy in 1844, M. D. Lewis, Sam. Taylor, Michael

Finn, Evan Morgan, John Phillips and William Dempsey in

1845, William Blackman and Michael Cussen in 1846, Phillip

Tiglie in 1848, Morris Lynch, James Nairn and John Finn in

1849, John Aldridge, Pat and Mary Finn, Patrick Phillips,

George W ood, J. G. Jervis and John Blackford in 1853. Prior

to 1849 the police paddock was located opposite the present

Church of England a few chains back from the road, and the

pound and poundkeeper’s paddock between it and the Court-

House. Part of this latter ground when auctioned in 1849

was purchased by James McCoy. The pound and police paddock

were later placed on the west side of the river.

The building of the Pass of Victoria and the improvement

of the Bathurst Eoad encouraged traffic, while the increase of

travellers resulted in the erection of com fortable inns along the

highway. In 1830 the journey west was laborious and almost

impracticable either for a single horse or for a team. B y 1837

a coach and four was a matter of ordinary occurrence. Y et,

provisions were extremely difficult to obtain in the Hartley

district. There was no regular store and the charge for carriage

from Sydney was the same, with few exceptions, as to Bathurst,

fifty miles further. The following list shows the average prices

for the six months ending June 30, 1837 :

Flour

per 100 lbs.

£ s.

1 16

d.

0

Beef and mutton .. H lb. 5

Potatoes 11 cwt. .. 12 0

Butter (fresh) 11 lb. 2 0

Oaten hay 11 cwt. . . 15 0

Maize 11 bushel 10 0

Bran 11 bushel 3 6

Brandy and gin .. 11 quart .. 10 0

Eum 11 quart . . 8 0

Beer (colonial) 11 quart . . 1 0

Bottled porter 11 b ottle.. 2 6

Draught porter 11 quart .. 2 0

Draught wine 11 quart .. 6 0

Sugar 11 lb. 8 i

Tea (Hyson skin) 11 lb. 4 0

Tobacco (Negrohead) 11 lb. 8 0


20 HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE.

Cl e r k s of t h e B e n c h .

Henry I)alway, the first Clerk of the Bench at Hartley, was

succeeded at the end of November, 1837, by William Bohun

wlio.se career there was short but eventful. He arrived before

the Police Magistrate was aware of his appointment and Blair

refused to admit him on the establishment before receipt of

official notice. Bohun and his family with two assigned convict

women occupied the Court-House excepting the constables’

room . Before the Court could sit the Court-Eoom would

have to be cleared of the assigned servants, ironing boards, etc.

Blair naturally remonstrated. He objected also to the proxim ity

of the assigned women and the constables. Bohun declined

permission to reside in the old court-house near Mount Victoria

on the grounds that to reside at such a distance, “ about four

miles ” , would interfere with his duties as postmaster. As a

result of friction between him and the Chief Constable he was

reported b y Blair for impropriety. Finally he removed his

household to a residence near the River Lett Bridge. Here

in order to augment his salary he opened wliat was probably

H artley’s first store, and “ erected a sign board near the road,

facing it, with the words ‘ Provisions, Groceries, Clothing,

Ironmongery, Liquors &c.’ painted in capital letters ” . Bohun

was informed that this enterprise was incompatible with his

position as Clerk of the Bench. Consequently in July, 1838,

he tendered his resignation. In September, during his absence

in Sydney, a conviction was found against him for selling

liquor without a licence. His stock of liquors worth £80 was

confiscated, his assigned servants withdrawn, his property

assigned to his creditors, and he himself languished in Bathurst

Gaol while his fam ily was left destitute.

Bohun’s successor as Clerk of the Bench was James G.

Stuart who resigned at the end of March, 1839. John Arkins,

recommended by Sir Maurice O ’Connell, was appointed in May.

He applied to be made coroner but no appointment was made at

the time and the duty was later undertaken by the Police

Magistrate.

C o n s t a b l e s a n d T h e ir D it t y.

Sir John Jamison had stated in 1835 that great difficulty

was experienced in securing suitable men to act as constables.


9

HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE. 21

The early Police Magistrates at Hartley had full proof of this.

Many a constable was no sooner engaged than he had to be

dismissed for drunkenness, abusive language, or connivance

with prisoners. Because of the official hold on them, ticket-ofleave

holders were more satisfactory constables than free men.

The biography of such men would yield rich reading. For

instance one ticket-of-leave man, aged 43, active, intelligent,

able to read and write, who was recommended for the position

of constable, had been an overseer at Norfolk Island, then

constable at Liverpool, after which he was employed driving a

horse team between Bathurst and Sydney.

The course of events in 1839 gives some idea of the conditions

at the Court-House in its early days. In January the Police

Magistrate complained of the insufficient number of constables,

there being only two. Although the sheep shearing wTas over

it was impossible to induce anyone to enter the service, since

work in private service was much less and the pay much higher.

The district of Hartley had little to recommend it to a constable

for the necessaries of life were at least fifty per cent, dearer

than in Sydney and not readily procured. Moreover, although

the district duty was weighty, the escort duty was most severe,

the police at this station undertaking nearly all the escort duty

between Bathurst and Penrith. Arriving at Bathurst with

prisoners the constable from Hartley would be given any prisoners

for delivery at Penrith under warrant for Sydney or Penrith.

The two constables then on the establishment were constantly

on the road, one of them having marched seven hundred miles

within two months. Such duty incurred great fatigue and more

expense than the pay of 2/3 a day would admit. Only the

desire to obtain a conditional pardon prevented this ticket-ofleave

man from resigning. The Police Magistrate drew attention

to the inadequate pay and the inadequacy of the staff. The

staff in May, 1839, consisted of a chief constable in receipt of

£75 per annum, one ordinary constable receiving 2/9 per day,

two ordinary constables receiving 2/3 per day, a watchhouse

keeper who received 3 /- per day and a scourger 2/6 a day.

A n I n g e n i o u s E s c a p e .

A bout this time an ingenious escape was made from the

Lock-up. A dangerous prisoner was kept on a chain by the


22

HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE.

Part of the rear of Hartley Court-House. Through one of the windows of the Lock-up

a prisoner managed to escape in 1839 by soaping his body. The iron cross-bars

were added later.

Police Magistrate’s orders, and liis irons were examined at a

late hour by the Lock-up keeper. However he freed himself

by using a piece of hardwood as a hand-cuff key. He then

removed the window and by soaping his body succeeded in

forcing it out between the iron bars. The keeper heard the

chain rattling, got up, and went to the door to listen, but the

prisoners heard him and raised a shout to warn the man who

was out and who, in spite of an immediate search for him.

managed to escape owing to the darkness of the night. On

examining the window Blair found that some of the woodwork

had been loosened before, “ having been very badly put

together ” . He ordered strong hardwood lining and iron

crossbars for the windows.

Blair applied unsuccessfully for a convict to be assigned

as wardsman to the Lock-up. The Lock-up was cleaned and the


HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE. 23

prisoners served with rations by the keeper. Twice at least

the prisoners had planned to rush him as he entered and so

escape, but had been detected before being able to carry out

the plan. When there was a full complement of constables

one was always stationed in the passage to the Lock-up, but

such precaution was impossible when there were so few that

they were constantly absent on duty.

In July the Police Magistrate reported that although the

Mudgee Eoad for about ten miles beyond the boundary of his

District was infested with robbers, the district about Hartley

continued to be very quiet. The Court-House and Lock-up

were in excellent repair.

A t the end of October three mounted bushrangers attacked

the dwelling of a resident of the district named Brown. A

native called Jack Eccleston from Mr. Irving’s farm near Bathurst

not only tracked the bushrangers but pursued one of the most

daring, a powerful man who fired at the police and who from

his swiftness would have escaped had not Eccleston struck him

down with the butt of a gun and kept him at bay until the

police came up and secured him. Blair gave him and another

black-tracker a blanket each, but considered that something

more should be given for such courage and determination in

apprehending the bushranger— a circumstance of which he had

never before known an instance. Accordingly Governor Gipps

ordered a reward not exceeding £3 in value to be given at the

discretion of the Police Magistrate at Hartley or Bathurst.

It was the custom in some districts at harvest time to lend

convicts from the road gangs to the settlers. In November,

1839, Blair applied to the Governor on behalf of W . H . Palmer,

Esq., for a like indulgence. He stated that there was a good

deal of land in cultivation in the district and an unusual scarcity

of labour. The matter was referred to Major Barney in Sydney

who instructed Lieutenant Eussele at Hassan’s Walls to place

all disposable men under the orders of the Police Magistrate at

Hartley.

In November, 1839, the fire-place in the Lock-up keeper’s

room was reported so unsatisfactory that when a Are wTas

lighted the wooden lining of the Lock-up became in places

too hot to touch. On November 24 a fire in the Post Office

burned completely through into the Magistrate’s room, destroyed


24 HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE.

part of the wall and cedar skirting, and nearly burned through

one side of the ammunition chest which contained in addition

to the police ammunition a quantity of powder recently taken

from bushrangers. The Colonial Architect gave instructions

for the necessary repairs to be made and pointed out that large

wood fires for three winters without using dogs had probably

nearly burnt through the backs of the fire-places which, if such

were the case, would need renewing. He also suggested that a

safer place for storing ammunition would be in the Court Room

near the entrance.

The equipment of the constabulary at Hartley at the end

of December, 1839, was ten cut-down muskets— five beingunserviceable,

ten bayonets, nine bayonet scabbards, seven

pouches, seven belts, 120 musket cartridges and 137 flints.

The number of ordinary constables had diminished from five in

September to one.

Ce l l s a t t h e C o u r t-H o u s e .

Tenders for the erection of cells at Hartley were called in

1839. Contrary to popular tradition the cells there were not

reserved for prisoners who had received the death sentence at

Hartley. Those accused of major offences were merely detained

at Hartley Court-House until transferred, according to warrant,

for trial at a higher court. It is recorded that during the year

ending September 30, 1841, £322 5s. wras spent on building six

cells, and the Mounted Police Barracks were commenced.

A correspondent in the Sydney Herald of June 19, 1840,

stated that there was sufficient wheat and hay for two years

in the district even if no more were grown for that period.

The price of wheat was 1 6 /- per bushel and hay £12 per ton.

The district was too cold for maize. The farmers were all

beginning ploughing and extending the cultivation of their

farms. The quietness of the district was attributed to the very

active Police Magistrate [Blair]. The Mounted Police stationed

there were a very useful body. The Mounted Police, unlike

the constables, were not under the control of the Police

Magistrate, but formed a branch of the military, all matters

regarding those stationed in this district being referred to the

local military officer.


HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE.

25

In August, 1840, Blair was informed of his appointment

to the Police Magistracy of Portland Bay [Victoria]. In

September he was succeeded at Hartley by Heyward Atkins.

Early in October Atkins wrote to Lieutenant Eussele :

“ Prisoners are in the habit of taking off their irons and com ­

mitting robberies on the highway at night. I deem it m y duty

to bring the matter under your notice in order that you

make such measures as you may deem expedient. I have

every reason to believe m y informant, but as he is afraid of

becoming a ‘ marked man ’ if his name were brought into

question, I do not think it prudent that he should be brought

forward against those parties.”

There were many cases of stealing between the years

1839-1841, and in almost every instance the accused was a

convict. The early bushrangers and petty thieves in the

Hartley district were convicts, many of whom had spent long

years under a system of harsh brutalisation. The rigours of

the climate and the gnawing pains of hunger were incentives

that drove them to depredatory acts.

In November, 1840, Atkins applied, as Blair had done

without success, for an assigned convict to assist the over-tasked

Lock-up keeper. There were “ frequently 35 persons confined

in the Lock-up, some of whom [were] Bushrangers of the most

desperate character . . . Atkins was threatened with the

loss by resignation of a most efficient keeper, whom it would

have been difficult to replace. In addition to being active and

intelligent and able to read and write in order to make written

returns to the Bench and to keep accounts of the rations supplied

by the contractors, the Lock-up keeper had to be a man of

integrity. Cattle stealers of considerable property were often

confined at Hartley in transit to Sydney for trial before the

Supreme Court and would no doubt be willing to give a high

price for their liberty.

In December, 1840, at trifling remuneration, Thomas

Finn, the Chief Constable, was appointed inspector of slaughter

houses for the district. This appointment was made at the

instance of the PoUce Magistrate, not to assure a wholesome

meat supply, but in order to check the slaughter of stolen

cattle !


0

26 HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE.

A t the beginning of 1842 Atkins made a tour of the southern

portion of his District, the rich country watered by the

Abercrombie Eiver and its tributaries. Here he expected

to find runaways employed by the straggling settlers. Although

he met with none he found a great many persons in the illegal

occupation of Government land some of whom had large herds

of cattle and horses. As this wild unfrequented tract was

seldom visited by the police there were grounds for suspicion

that some of these people were cattle stealers.

A b o r ig in e s a t H a r t l e y .

According to Blair the aborigines of the district had always

been remarkably quiet. After the invasion of their territory

b y w'hite settlers and the depletion of their natural food supply

the tribe died out rapidly. The young men worked on the

farms and so managed to subsist, but as they received only

food and clothes for their services they were unable to assist

the old people who were in a pitiable state from lack of food in

the severe winters. In May, 1841, the fifty blankets forwarded

b y the Government for distribution were insufficient and in

order to prevent dissatisfaction Atkins was obliged to issue some

that were supplied for the use of the Lock-up. He therefore

requested that eighty blankets be supplied for the next year’s

distribution. He suggested that tomahawks also be furnished

as the men not only set a very high value on them but they

were the most useful article that could be given to them.

H owever Governor Gipps disapproved of the practice of giving

a blanket to every aborigine. He directed that they should

be given only in return for service and that the number given

should gradually be decreased until the practice of giving presents

could be entirely abolished. It happened that the Government

was not put to the trouble of dispensing with the practice in

the Hartley district, for the tribe diminished with startling

rapidity. Atkins had anticipated that eighty blankets would

be required for 1842. By the middle of 1846 the whole tribe

did not number above twenty and the number of blankets

supplied was twelve.

E e l i g i o u s S e r v i c e s i n t h e C o u r t -H o u s e .

There was another aspect of life in the valley. Eeligion

played as important a part in the lives of the pioneers as trade


HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE.

27

The Roman Catholic Church at Hartley.

and official business. Before churches were built in Hartley

religious services were held in the Court-House. The first

to preach in it was the Rev. Cohn Stewart, the Presbyterian

minister, who did so in February, 1839, having received

permission to preach there until a suitable building should be

erected in the district. The Bev. Thomas Hassall of the Church

of England preached there on March 24, 1839. As Blair had

not had time to send for official sanction for Hassall’s sermon

in the Court-House he began to wonder what course to pursue

if the visiting Roman Catholic or any other clergyman should

also wish to use the Court-House as a place of worship.

Accordingly he asked for instructions and was informed that

Governor Gipps desired that it should be so used, irrespective

o f sect, prior claim being given to the largest congregation.


M undy’s sketch of Hartley in 1846, illustrating an overwhelm ing im pression made on the traveller of im prisonm ent by the

prim eval forests. The Court-House is shown on the left and on the right the Catholic Church.

HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE


33


-35

HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE. 29

Roman Catholics formed a very large proportion of the local

community and soon set about building up a fund for the

erection of a church. The Eev. Michael Cavanagh was the

priest at the time. B y October, 1841, private contributions for

this purpose amounted to £300. In February, 1842, the

Government approved of an allowance of aid equal to the

amount of private contributions not exceeding one thousand

pounds. The site for the Roman Catholic Church opposite the

Court-House was surveyed in 1842. In 1845 one acre was

granted for a Rom an Catholic burial ground. A granite tor

is conspicuous east across the gully from the church. According

to Surveyor Liddell [1877] its name is Kew-y-ahn.

G o v e r n o r a n d L a d y M a r y F i t z R o y V is i t H a r t l e y .

Governor and Lady Mary FitzR oy visited the country

districts in order to acquire a personal knowledge of the wants

and capabilities of the part of the country visited. On November

12, 1846, they paused with their suite at Hartley on their way

to Bathurst. Lieutenant-Colonel Mundy, a member of the

party, describing the landscape from the Pass of Victoria

wrote : “ The valley on the left looked dark, desolate, and

wholly uninhabited ; on the right lay the smiling Vale of

Clywd and the little township of Hartley, upon which the road

drops as gently as could possibly be contrived by human art.

“ Ere we reached this highland hamlet we came upon a

considerable body of horsemen, who, saluting his Excellency

with loud and hearty cheers, so astonished our horses, if not

ourselves, as nearly to drive the whole cavalcade over the

precipice. In a cloud of dust, and with wild huzzas, they

closed round us, and bore us away to the Court-house, where

the usual duel of address and reply was instantly and warmly

engaged in by the authorities of the place and the Governor.

As we drove down the hill, with our loyal and uproarious escort

galloping alongside, an individual spurring at my elbow suddenly

disappeared, horse and man, over the edge of a rude bridge into

a watercourse below. N ot one of his townsmen pulled up—

no one even looked behind ; my servant however dropped from

the carriage and ran to his assistance. The indifference of his

companions was at once explained. He was only a negro !

“ The Court-house and Catholic chapel of Hartley are

prettily situated. My sketch was taken from a spot just

beyond these objects.”


30 HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE.

According to the census taken in March, 1846, the number

of inhabitants in the Police District of Hartley was 1365, of

which 883 were males. In the township itself there were 62

residents, 31 being males. Of the inhabitants of the District,

209 males over 21 years and 159 under 21 years could not read ;

71 males over 21 years and 36 under 21 years could read but

not write, while of those females under 21 years, 169 could

not read and 39 could read but not write. Most of the

inhabitants were engaged in agricultural and pastoral occupations.

There were two doctors in the district and only one

inhabitant under the h ead in g: “ Alms-people, Pensioners,

Paupers, &c.” . The Police District contained 187 houses,

twelve of which were in the township of Hartley.

On January 1,1849, Frederick E obert D ’A rcy was appointed

Clerk of Petty Sessions at Hartley.

Near the beginning of 1851, just prior to the discovery of

gold in the west, Heyward Atkins was appointed Provincial

Inspector of Police for the District of Moreton Bay. The

people of Hartley District, among whom he had now been

living for over ten years, sincerely regretted his departure.

The Court-House was crowded oh January 16, 1851, when a

testimonial was presented to the “ universally beloved and

respected Mr. Atkins ” . A bout two weeks later he was presented

with a gold watch and appendages, a double-barrelled rifle

and a brace of pistols, for the purchase of which £50 had been

collected.

C h u r c h o f S t . J o h n t h e E v a n g e l i s t i s B u i l t .

Although numerically strong the members of the Church

of England were behind other religious denominations in the

district, who had neat churches and their own clergymen. On

July 7, 1850, the Eev. Thomas Sharpe of Bathurst visited

Hartley and was obliged to conduct Divine service in the

Court-House. In the Sydney Morning Herald of August 5,

1852, was published a long list showing the amounts both of

paid and unpaid subscriptions to a church building fund. One

acre for a church was surveyed on June 13, 1856. A t last

on April 21,1858, the corner stone of the Church of St. John the

Evangelist was laid by the Bishop of the Diocese. A collection

was made and amounted to £110. The Anglican minister in

the district was the Rev. William Lisle. In the jBathurst Free


HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE. 31


The Anglican Church of St. John the Evangelist at Hartley.

Press William Rose of Hartley Church advertised for teams to

draw forty or fifty tons of stone for a distance of three miles.

The first service in the church was held on February 27, 1859,

b y the Rev. John Troughton. The service of consecration was

performed on September 15, 1864, the service being read by the

Rev. William Lisle. On that occasion Bishop Barker

administered the rite of confirmation to twenty-one young people.

After the service a tea-meeting held in the Court-House was

provided by the ladies of Hartley to aid the Church fund.

Henry Baylis was appointed Clerk of Petty Sessions at

Hartley in August, 1852, a position he retained until his transfer

to W agga W agga on January 1, 1858. Since the departure of

Atkins the office of Police Magistrate had not been filled.

Transportation to New South Wales had ceased in 1840, and

the official files of the ’fifties are relieved of the many references

to the punishment of convicts. However the Magistrates of

the Bench were in constant attendance at the Court-House,

for the altered aspect of the town consequent upon the rush

to the Western goldfields opened up new avenues of judicial

administration. On August 16, 1852, the Magistrates, James


Looking back at Hartley from the River Lett about 1879. The Court-House is left of the pines. Mount York appears in

the distance.

HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE.


HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE. 33

Walker, Andrew Brown, Thomas Brown and John Oxley

Norton, made an earnest request to the Governor for the

appointment of a Police Magistrate : “ We have the honour to

submit to your consideration that since the discovery of gold,

the necessity for the attendance of the Magistrates at the

Court House has greatly increased, and their residences being all

at a considerable distance from it, we beg very respectfully to

solicit that a Police Magistrate be again appointed to this

district.” The position was not tilled, however, until Thomas

Brown was appointed Police Magistrate on July 20, 1855.

Magistrates of the Bench who assisted Brown during his Police

Magistracy were Andrew Brown, James Walker, John Oxley

Norton, Jeremiah Grant, Thomas Cadell, jun., Robert Barrington

Dawson, John Delaney and Dr. Robert Rygate. The last

named was the medical practitioner of Hartley and visited

Lithgow by way of D octor’s Gap which was named after him.

H a r t l e y ’ s H e y -D a y .

The discovery of gold in the middle west much increased

the value of town property in Hartley. The heavier traffic

past this posting stage created a demand for labour of every

kind, and there was constant work for shoemakers, carpenters,

wheelwrights, masons, shepherds and farm labourers. The inns

flourished. The town in 1853 appeared “ romantic, clean,

English-like ” . An inn by the river had “ a romantic view from

it of the river leaping over rocks, with a pretty stone bridge

over it. English comforts, wax candles, clean linen, good

feeding and an attentive ostler ” . The traveller’s expenses

at this inn were ostler Is., supper 2s., breakfast 2s., bed 2s.,

spirits 6d., horse 8s. The roads at this time had been cut to

pieces b y heavy drays and herds of beasts. They were “ most

dreadful roads. Teams stuck in the mud, broken carts, dead

horses and bullocks. . . the mail travelling is awfully unpleasant.

Country very like Syria, and trees like olive-trees.”

The Bathurst Royal Mail in 1856 used to leave Market

Street, Sydney, just before five in the afternoon. Passengers

and luggage proceeded by bus and train to Parramatta where a

small open coach, the “ Mountain Plumb ” , received them.

Hartley was reached on the evening of the second day’s travel.

A t Little Hartley, near the foot of Mount Victoria, were two or

three public houses and smithies, and six or seven substantial

dwellings.


ARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE.


HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE. 35

Besides catering for travellers tlie inns were centres for

meetings concerning elections, H artley’s annual races and

such topics of local interest. At the beginning of the ’sixties

the inns were the booking offices for Elliott & W oods’ R oyal

Express Line of American Covered Coaches, and Boyal Mail

Coaches. In 1862 the population of the town of Hartley was

118. In the ’sixties the activity of the valley was increased by

mining for kerosene shale. Only a little over a mile from the

scene of this industry the western railway then under construction

was to cross the Darling Causeway, and have a vital effect

on H artley’s development. In May, 1868, the Great Western

Railway to Mount Victoria was declared open, and a platform

was opened at Lithgow in 1877.

T h e R a i l w a y a n d t h e D e c l i n e o f H a r t l e y .

The years after the gold discoveries and preceding the

building of the railway were H artley’s hey-day. The inns

were full and the inn-yards blocked, the farms and homesteads

were neat, the roads were pleasant. W hen the flow of traffic

was drained away from the picturesque town there was an

immediate effect at the Court-House. Here, the nerve centre

of the district, all the main business had been conducted for

forty years. The building that had witnessed land sales,

the compiling of quarterly returns of farms, live stock and

agriculture, recommendations for licences, that had housed

bushrangers and cattle-stealers, and that had represented the

link between officialdom and the settler, between authority and

the individuals to be reprimanded or rewarded, this building

found itself part of the rim instead of the hub of things.

On the retirement of Thomas Brown, George Henry Row ley

had been appointed in July, 1871, Police Magistrate, Clerk

of Petty Sessions and Registrar of the District Court at Hartley.

R ow ley’s stay at Hartley was brief. In August, 1873, he was

succeeded by Thomas Henry Neale. The importance of Hartley

was waning fast. In 1876 a movement to transfer the police

establishment to Lithgow though unsuccessful was significant.

In 1877 Neale visited Wallerawang and Lithgow every alternate

week and the following year the police centre was transferred to

Lithgow. Concerning Hartley the Department of the Attorney-

General records that “ the Court of Petty Sessions at that place

was abolished in the year 1887 The Court-House was


36 HARTLEY AND ITS COURT-HOUSE.

Looking westerly over Hartley today. On the right smoke is rising from a chimney

of the century-old Court-House. B. Mount Blaxland.

later held by individuals under permissive occu pancy; in

May, 1914, the site was reserved for public recreation under the

control of Trustees. In December, 1926, the care, control and

management of the present Reserve devolved on the Blaxland

Shire Council.

The traffic to Jenolan Caves sustained for Hartley a flicker

of importance. Now the horse-drawn coaches and primitive

cars have been succeeded b y fast, modern transport; but the

rapid vehicles that have revitalised the highway have signed

with finality the doom of Hartley as a traffic centre. Nevertheless

the town is not passed unnoticed. The traveller pauses

there awhile and in imagination sees a strange procession in the

historic atmosphere of the old Court-House at Hartley.

The writers acknowledge their debt to the Mitchell Library

and the Department of Lands, Sydney. They are grateful

to Mr. James Jervis for references, and to Mr. M. J. Dunphy,

who designed the cover.


BLAXLAND SHIRE COUNCIL

V i s i t . . .

HISTORIC

GLENROY

COX’S RIVER

and learn the story of GOVERNOR

M ACQUARIE’S CAMPING

GROUND. The halting-place of

Explorers, Surveyors, Scientists,

Settlers, Teamsters, Travellers, on

THE ORIGINAL WESTERN ROAD

and the spot where THE FIRST

DIVINE SERVICE W E S T OF

TH E BLU E M OUNTAINS was

held, April 30, 1815.

BUY

Historic Glenroy, Cox's River

PRICE:

SIXPENCE


» cM

XI

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I >z

X m

» p 2 ?

5z

1

8

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OLD HARTLEY COURT-HOUSE.

Visit the “ Old Court-House ” , built in 1837, before you leave Hartley.

OPEN FOR INSPECTION DAILY.

Admission 6d.


Ifiatflrir (SUmrinj

Ct a x ' s Siupr

l| a rtlrg

K & M .

By

W. L. HA YARD and B. T. DOWD

Issued by the Blaxland Shire Council

Price: Sixpence


FOREWORD.

Soon after the unveiling of the Glenroy Memorial in

1936, it was indicated to the Blaxland Shire Council that

many enquiries were received concerning the history of the

memorial and the events it perpetuates. The suggestion was

made that a booklet be prepared, recording the history of this

interesting locality.

The Council, recognizing the need and general demand

for such information, was fortunate in securing the services

of Mr. W . L . Havard and M r. B . T. Dowd, who willingly

consented to ivrite a brief history of the locality and the events

connected toith it. The result of their ivorTi is this booklet,

a publication unique in Australian historical literature.

The narrative unfolded in “ Historic Glenroy, Cox’s

River ” is based on documentary records and papers in the

Mitchell Library and State departmental archives. It

carries the authority of these records.

The Council has much pleasure in making available

this interesting story, confident that the reader will derive

from it some pleasure and inspiration. It records appreciative

thanks to M r. James Thompson of Glenroy, Hartley, who

donated the site upon which the present memorial stands,

and to Messrs. W . L . Havard and B. T. Dowd, without

whose assistance in having undertaken the whole of the

research work and compilation of data the issue of this

publication would not have been possible.

W . T H O M A S , President.

CH AS. E . W . BROW N,

A.I.C.A., A.L.CJl.,

Shire Clerk,

Blaxland Shire Council.


HISTORIC GLENROY, C O X ’S RIVER

B y W . L . H a v a r d and B. T . D o w d .

JUST as the main tourist road to Jenolan Caves crosses C ox’s

Eiver beyond Hartley, New South Wales, it passes an

historic camping ground. Here on the flats where above

its junction with the Eiver Lett the stream breaks past granite

boulders the spot now long known as Glenroy was a haven

for all who travelled on the original road to the Bathurst Plains.

T r o d d e n b y t h e F ir s t W h i t e M e n t o P a s s t h e

B l u e M o u n t a in s .

It was on May 28, 1813, that Blaxland, W entworth and

Lawson, with four servants whose names they ungratefully

left unrecorded, arrived at Mount York in the course of the

first passage of the Blue Mountains, and discovered to their


4

1

HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER.

XV

G. Blaxland, W. C. Wentworth and W. Lawson, the first white men to pass the Blue

Mountains, were the first also to visit the locality of Glenroy.

great satisfaction that what they had considered sandy and

barren land below the mountains was forest land covered with

trees and good grass. In the evening the horses were got down

into the valley, where they “ tasted grass for the first time

since they left the forest land on the other side of the

Mountains . . . This day’s entry in Lawson’s Journal reads :

“ Encamped at five oclock 6n the Edge o f a High Mountain

obliged to go about 3 miles for water ” , while Blaxland recorded

that “ they found water about two Miles below the foot of the

Mountain . . . Thus b y going beyond the escarpment and

talus slopes at Mount Y ork white man passed for the first time

the dissected sandstone platform of the Blue Mountains. Next

day, May 29, the horses were “ fetched up ” and the impedimenta

then taken down the mountain through a pass in the rocks

that had been discovered the day before. Through the valley

the party proceeded about two miles north-north-west, most

of the way through open meadow land clear of trees and covered

with grass two and three feet high. The locality is that o f

Mount York Farm, once Collits’ Inn. They encamped beside

a fine stream of water— the River Lett— intending to rest

themselves and to refresh their horses. They had now entered

grazing country, and “ found the climate very different from

either the top of the Mountains or the settlement on the other


HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER. 3

/

Mount Blaxland, three miles westward of Glenroy, was the terminal point of the

exploring expedition of 1813.

side . . . After resting a day the party proceeded on May 31

“ through the forest land remarkably well wartered about

6 miles . . . Since they crossed two fine streams of water,

one running from the west and the other from the north-east,

it appears that the ground at Glenroy was being trodden then

for the first time by white man. Aborigines had been here not

long before them, for Blaxland said “ they came on some

N ative’s fires which they had left the day before . . . they

appear on this side of the Mountains to have no huts nor to

bark or climb the trees like the natives on the other side the

only remains of food they had left round their fireplaces was

the flower of the Honey suckle tree which grows like a bottle

brush and are very full of Honey which they had sucked

out . . . ” .

Having thus penetrated the valley for several miles beyond

the foot of the Blue Mountains where they had descended, the

party encamped by the side of a very fine stream of water—

Lowther Creek— a short distance from a high hill in the shape

of a sugar loaf— Mount Blaxland. In the afternoon they

ascended to its top, the termination of their journey. Blaxland

remarked that “ the stones at the bottom of the rivers are very

fine large grained dark coloured granite the stones all appeared


4_________HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER.__________

of a kind of a granite quite different from the stones of the

Mountains or any stones they had ever before seen in the Colony,

this day they com puted they had travelled rather more than

fifty six Miles through the Mountains in brush and scrubby

brush land . . . and six Miles in forest land on the other side

Computing the Mountain to be half a Mile down where they

descended . . . Returning on June 1, 1813, the party

proceeded “ back to the foot of the Mountain, at the place

where they came down, and encamped The next day they

began their homeward journey over the Blue Mountains by

ascending to the summit of Mount York and proceeding along

their marked track.

G. W . E v a n s m a k e s a n O f f ic ia l S u r v e y .

Five months later, in November, 1813, Governor Macquarie

equipped a party under George William Evans, who led his

men over the Blue Mountains, through the extensive valley

beyond, over the Main Divide and onward to the Bathurst

Plains. In Evans’s Journal interesting references are made

to the valley beyond Mount York. On November 21 he “ came

to the end of the Range from which the Prospect is extensive

and gives me sanguine hopes, the descent is rugged and steep . . .

we got into a Valley of good feed and appears a fine part of the

C ou ntry; I have no doubt but the points of Ridges or Bluffs

to the N .W . and S. (the Country seems to open in the form

of this Angle) are the termination of what is called the Blue

Mountains and that we are now over th e m ; at 1 o ’Clock I

stopped on the bank of a Riverlett, which is a rapid stream

from the N .E .” . Evans camped by the River Lett, in the

same locality as his predecessors, north-westerly from the site

of Mount York Farm, and here the party remained the following

day that the horses might benefit from the abundance of grass.

On November 26 they m oved off along the left bank of the

stream for two miles when the forest ground began to rise and

form a steeper bank. A short distance above the present

township of Hartley, Evans crossed the stream and by way of

the higher ground skirted by the present Jenolan Caves road

beyond the River Lett bridge, below Hartley, came to the

locality— Glenroy— where “ at 4 Miles ” , he wrote, “ the stream

alters its direction to the South, at which place the main Run

joins from the W est forming a considerable rapid Riverlett

[Cox’s R iv e r]; the land here gets better and the Country has a


5 /

HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER. 5

Low t-her ('k.

G L E N R O Y

A/It. BloLxl&LncJ

M t. York

C cx x 's R i s / e r

M t. V ictoria*

Glenroy lies in the extensive valley separating the Blue Mountains, terminating,

abruptly in the foreground, from the high ground of the Main Divide.

(Diagram by F. Craft.)

fine appearance ; it resembles the hills to the Eastward of the

Cori Linn at Port Dalrymple, and put me in mind particularly

of that p a r t; the Trees are thin and light, the flats clear of

Timber, a few Honeysuckles on the Banks of the ridges, the

Lockett Bird singing, and the seed of the wild Burnett sticking

to our legs, neither of the two last are to be seen on the East

side of the Mountains ; the soil still continues sandy but the

feed is good, and better than any I have seen in N ew South

Wales ; I stopped this evening near the foot of a very handsome

Mount, which I take the liberty to call Mount Blaxland, also


6 HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER.

G. W. Evans, while surveying in 1813, left an interesting description of the Glenroy

locality. William Cox bridged the streams at Glenroy in 1814.

tw o Peaks rather North of it, and which the Eiverlett separates

Wentworths and Lawsons Sugar Loaves

The favourable account Evans gave of the country he

explored called forth from Macquarie a Government Order

dated February 12, 1811. Part of the Order reads : “ On

Saturday, the 20th Novem ber last, the party proceeded from

Emu Island ; and on the fifth day, having then effected their

passage over the Bfue Mountains, arrived at the commencement

of a valley on the western side of them . . . proceeding through

this valley, which Mr. Evans describes as beautiful and fertile,

with a rapid stream running through it, he arrived at the

termination of the tour lately made by Messrs. G. Blaxland, W . C.

W entworth, and Lieutenant Lawson.”

I

I

T h e E o a d M e n c o m e w i t h W i l l i a m C o x .

Now the road-makers followed the surveyor. In 1814-1815

William Cox and his men took a primitive highway across the

Blue Mountains, and passing over the ground at Glenroy in the


HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER. 7

valley beyond proceeded to the Bathurst Plains. Early in

November, 1814, before this road had reached the western

escarpment of the conquered barrier, Cox found “ the mountain

at the end of the ridge ” much worse than he had exp ected ;

the descent at Mount York was steep, and for two-thirds of the

way down was covered with loose rock. On reaching the foot

Cox got into “ very pretty forest ground This valley became

the scene of kangaroo hunts— not the first held here b y white

man, for members of Blaxland’s party had hunted the kangaroo

in the locality in May, 1813. While road work continued on the

mountain the ground and streams in the valley were examined

as far as Mount Blaxland “ to find out the best passage across

the water, as also to mark the road to it ” . W hile so engaged

on November 20, Cox's assistant, Thomas H obby, was thrown

into the swollen stream by his horse stumbling while crossing

“ the lower rivulet . . . at the junction ” . Cox himself had a

similar experience of immersion the same day in a bog near

Mount Blaxland. In this examination they were not successful,

and Cox returned to the camp on Mount York com pletely

knocked up from fatigue.

On December 3 Cox wrote that the “ men worked extremely

hard on the mountain . . . to admit m y caravan to com e down

to-m orrow ” . As the road was not yet fit for animals to draw

on it, at ten o ’clock the following morning, Sunday, Cox’s

caravan and a bullock cart— the first wheeled conveyances to

pass the Blue Mountains— were taken down by men. Cox

“ measured down the mountain to the valley to the 50th

mile from the ford ” over the Nepean Eiver at Emu and then

began reckoning the mileage afresh, making it five miles ten

chains to the first of his bridges at Glenroy— that “ on the east

branch of a river running to the east not yet named ” . Cox

lost little time in progressing. W ithout waiting for the passage

down Mount York to be finished, which was not for nearly two

weeks later, he began the road through the valley on December 5,

and the following morning caravan, horse and bullock cart were

shifted to the junction of the streams. Although previous

examinations had been made here at Glenroy to find the best

passage across the water, Cox this day, December 6, “ examined

the river and rivulet up and down, and fixed on a spot over

each as being less trouble and more convenient than making one

bridge over the river ” . Progress on the five miles of valley

road from the mountain to the river was such that b y the evening


8 HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER.

of December 8 it was finished, the thin timber facilitating the

work.

B r i d g e B u i l d i n g a t G l e n r o y .

Of the early bridges west of the Blue Mountains, those at

Glenroy were the first built. December 9, 1814, dawned fine

there, with a west wind blowing. All hands were at work

before breakfast at the bridge over the River Lett. At nine

o ’clock all hands were taken to the second bridge, that over

Cox’s River above the junction, and before dinner one of the

side pieces, forty-five feet long, was got about one hundred yards

down the river and fixed in its place. The other side piece was

got by falling a tree across the river, about sixty feet long, and

securing it in position. After dinner the men were served with

a gill of spirits. Several who seemed “ inclined to give in and

shirk work ” were given a “ reproof in earnest ” which Cox

thought would make them all well by the morning. Next day

the bridge over the east branch was finished. It measured

twenty-two feet long by thirteen feet wide, and the “ carpenters,

etc., made a good, strong job of it ” . The remains of a bridge,

possibly Cox’s, are still to be seen at this point on the River

Lett, and the old road m ay be followed along a ridge leading

down to it.

December 11 was a Sunday, and at 6 a.m. six men were

sent back to complete the road down the mountain while Cox

himself rode forward, making for the Pish River, to examine

the ground. N ext day men were at work getting timber for

the second bridge, and were obliged to bring most of it down the

river by their own labour. Six of them who were in the water

nearly all day were given a gill of spirits each. During the

succeeding days while men worked well at the bridge and

causeway leading to it, the pass at Mount York was nearing

completion, and at one o ’clock on December 15 it was reported

finished. This marked the completion of the Blue Mountains

section of the road made b y Cox, and after inspection of the

pass six married men were discharged and allowed to return to

the Nepean. A t two o ’clock on December 16 the second

bridge was finished. Measuring forty-five feet long by fourteen

feet wide, it was a good, strong job, with a causeway on each side

filled up with stone and covered with earth.


*■ HISTORIC GLENROY. COX’S RIVER. 9

i

t

During their visit to the “ New Discovered Country ” in April-M ay, 1815, Governor

and M rs. Macquarie camped twice on the ground at Glenroy.

J

M a c q u a r i e V is it s t h e “ N e w D i s c o v e r e d C o u n t r y ” .

Governor Macquarie took a keen interest in the life and

progress of the colony. It was his habit to make tours of

inspection of the villages and farms in every part of the settlement,

accompanied often by his wife. Therefore when C ox’s

road was finished the Governor and Mrs. Macquarie set out in

April, 1815, with a party of gentlemen and servants to visit the

“ new discovered Country to the Westward of the Blue

Mountains ” . Macquarie wrote in his Journal that on April 29

they reached “ the termination of the Blue Mountains ending

in a very abrupt descent almost perpendicular. Here we halted

for a little while to view this frightful tremendous Pass, as well

as to feast our eyes with the grand and pleasing prospect of the

fine low country below us . . . The distance from our last stage

[Blackheath] . . . and the grand Termination of the Blue


10 HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER.

Mountains is 7 f miles ; and this mountain being one of the most

prominent and remarkable of the whole Eange, I have named

it ’ Mount York ’ . . The “ frightful tremendous Pass ”

he named Cox’s Pass, and to the “ beautiful extensive Yale of

Five Miles ” beyond its foot he gave the name “ The Vale

Clwydd ” after a vale in Wales. The vale terminated “ at a

River running South form ed by two smaller ones coming from

the Westward and Eastward and which unite at the distance of

Five Miles from Mount York ” , Macquarie named the river

thus formed C ox’s R iver in honour of William Cox. The

Governor’s party arrived at this river at three o’clock and

encamped on the left bank of the western branch of it having

there at Glenroy good grass and plenty of fine water for their

cattle. “ W e dined at 5, o ’Clock ” , wrote Macquarie, “ and

played Cards in the Evening after Dinner till Tea-Time ; retiring

early to Bed ” .

F ir s t D i v i n e S e r v i c e W e s t o f t h e B l u e M o u n t a in s .

As April 30, 1815, the day following that of Macquarie’s

arrival at Cox’s River, was a Sunday, his party halted all day,

and here at Glenroy the first D ivine service west of the Blue

Mountains was held. “ After Breakfast ” , wrote the Governor,

“ I had all our Servants and Followers regularly Paraded and

Mustered, and had Divine Service performed— the whole of our

Party being present.” Henry Colden Antill, who formed one

of the party, wrote in his diary as follows : “ This being Sunday,

it was made a day of rest for ourselves and cattle— and they

indeed required it after the exertion of the last week. Rose early

and took a walk over the hills on the other side of the river;

the morning delightful and the country looking beautiful—

gently rising hills bounded by distant and lofty mountains,

clothed with wood and herbage to their summits. Returned

about eight to breakfast, which done, the people were collected

together and Divine service was performed. The men were

attentive and orderly ; and thought no doubt with myself how

proper it was thus to acknowledge the blessings we were receiving,

and returning thanks for our preservation thus far.”

After the service, while Mrs. Macquarie remained in camp,

some of the party rode with the Governor to Mount Blaxland

and apparently ascended to the top, “ from whence ” , he wrote,

“ we had a tine prospect of the adjacent H illy Country, and of

W entworth’s and Lawson’s Sugar Loaves in the immediate


HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER. 11

When at C ox’s River, Governor Macquarie recorded in his diary the holding there

of Divine service on April 30, 1815.

(From the original in the Mitchell Library.)

vicinity of Mount Blaxland Meanwhile Antill and another

member of the party “ took a sober walk up the river for about

two miles ” to a waterfall extending across it. Although the

water was then very low they thought that in the rainy season

it must be considerable, for the force of the water had made

large excavations in the solid rock— a hard, black granite.

They collected seeds and plants along the bed of the river on the

way up, and crossing the river by the fall they returned to camp

very pleased with their walk. That day the party dined

“ at 5, o ’Clock, and retired early to rest ” . The next morning

after the heavy baggage had been sent ahead the party

breakfasted at eight o ’clock and at nine left Glenroy. The

Governor and Mrs. Macquarie got out of their carriage and

mounted their horses at the foot of the first high hill near Mount

Blaxland. As it was steep and long, Macquarie named this hill

“ Fag-Hill ” . The tract of elevated country— the Main Divide—

extending towards the Fish Eiver he named “ Clarence’s H illy


12 HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER.

A view of C ox’s River by J. W. Lewin, who was with Macquarie in

1815. On the south bank of the stream a soldier is standing on C ox’s

road. Nearby a beast is grazing.

(From the original in the possession of H. H. AntiU, Esq., Jarvisfield, Pirton.)

Eange ” in honour of H .E .H . the Duke of Clarence. He

proceeded westward, and on Sunday, May 7, 1815, christened

the intended town of Bathurst and again held Divine service.

On their return trip the Governor’s party halted again at

the camping ground by Cox’s Eiver, where they arrived on

May 13 at § past 3. P.M. “ after a tiresome and fatiguing journey

of 16 miles from the Fish Eiver . . . W e encamped in a pretty

little Valley on the Left Bank of C ox’s Eiver, the grass near our


HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER. 13

last ground here being all burnt during our absence. W e dined

at 5, oClock, and spent the Evening as usual.” They remained

here at Glenroy the whole of Sunday, May 14. After breakfast

that day all the people were assembled near Macquarie’s tent for

prayers. According to Antill “ no sermon was read as it was late

before we began, and the gentlemen were impatient to ride out ” .

W hile some of the gentlemen explored Cox’s Eiver downwards,

Antill again took a walk upstream. He described that night as

mild, “ but a high wind made it unpleasant, coming down the

va-llies in gusts, and driving the fire and smoke about in every

direction ” .

S t o c k y a r d a n d H u t s a t G l e n r o y .

W . Hassall, Superintendent of Government Stock, crossed

the Blue Mountains in 1815. That winter was very severe,

and Hassall found that about one hundred of the cows and

calves in the herds that had been fixed in a station at the

beginning of the Vale of Clwydd had died. He therefore

removed the herds to a station more exposed to the morning

sun. This was “ a very pleasant hill oposite the bridge ” —

Glenroy itself— where the Governor had encamped b y Cox’s

Eiver. Hassall thought this station would make an excellent

stand for the oxen, though rather too hilly for the cows and

calves. They could feed all through the Vale of Clwydd and

on the other side towards Mount Blaxland. “ W e marked out

the place for the yard & hutts ” , wrote Hassall, “ & hope it

will answer the purpose ” . In a report dated March 27, 1816,

he was able to inform the Governor that at this station “ Cronen

& his men have built a most excellent Stock-yard, 15 E od by

13 Square with a good marking pen, and also three Huts in a

line with the rear of the stock yard, the one next the yard

12 feet by 11 for the Stockmen, the middle hut about the same

size for a Store & the one for the Soldiers 20 feet by 10 divided

into 2 rooms, one for the Soldiers & the other for the Overseer

when he goes to inspect the Stock. The whole of them is built

with strong split logs & well shingled with string’y bark shingles,

the doors & shutters are all made of broad split stuff, as we could

get no sawyers out to saw boards. But considering the materials

& the differant disadvantages they laboured under to build the

yard & huts I have the Honor to report to your Excellency they

are well done.” [See illustration, p. 16.]


6 0

14 HISTORIC GLENR OY, COX’S RIVER .

H o s t il e N a t i v e s A t t a c k t h e D e p o t .

When early in 1816 a body of hostile natives “ crossed the

Blue or Western Mountains ” , according to Macquarie, “ from

this side to the New discovered Country, and attacked and

Plundered the Government Provision Depot established in the

said Country ” the Government stockmen as well as stockmen

of private individuals were driven from the depot by the

marauders. Macquarie therefore instructed Sergeant Jeremiah

Murphy, remembered as the first depositor in the Bank of

New South Wales, to proceed to C ox’s Eiver with a detachment

of the 16th Eegiment, and to remain there for the protection

o f Government stockmen and cattle and provision depot, and to

keep open communication between the coast and Bathurst. A

guard was to be mounted daily, consisting of a lance corporal

and three privates, and one sentry both night and day was

ordered to be posted over the arms and d e p o t; moreover a

couple of soldiers were to be detailed as convoys to Government

stockmen whenever required by the overseer of the Government

stock. An escort of three soldiers was to be provided for

protection for Government herds or provisions travelling on

the road. Murphy was strictly commanded on no account

to allow natives nearer than sixty yards to the post, and to

send, either handcuffed or with their hands tied with rope, any

natives taken prisoner to the depot at Springwood, thence to

Parramatta. While the actual outcom e of these instructions

is not known, it is certain that military protection was established

about this time on the ground at Glenroy.

E x p l o r e r s H a l t a t C o x ’ s E i v e r .

Under military protection, and with good grass and water,

the still popular camping ground at Glenroy first achieved

universal favour in the days of Macquarie. It marked the end

o f a day’s stage in the journey of travellers on the road, and

many references are made to it in the writings of pioneers.

On April 11, 1817, O xley’s expedition to the interior pitched

tent and camped on the bank of the river for the night. The

botanist Allan Cunningham, who was of the party, noticed in

the Yale of Clwydd “ the very remarkable change of Country

differing from that on the Mountains both in the Vegetable

Productions and the nature of the Soil ” . He gathered seeds

and specimens of a shrubby aster with bluish white flowers.


HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER. 15

On the banks of the river he found Grevillea acanthifolia arid

G. asplenifolia in great luxuriance. The afternoon was fine,

with light clou d s; there was heavy dew in the night, and a

slight frost early next morning. A t this time the depot and

store-house were under the charge of a corporal and two privates.

Five months later, in September, the returning explorers

recrossed Cox’s Eiver and halted near the depot for the night.

The horse that carried part of the botanical collection fell in

crossing the uneven rocky bottom of the river and gave

Cunningham “ abundance of employment in rescuing those of

m y plants from destruction that had suffered by the accident ” .

W hile on this journey he remarked that Banksia conifer [!]

“ which follows us from Bathurst to the foot of the Pass [Cox’s]

is succeeded by Banksia serrata . . . on the summit of Mount

York, and continues over the Blue Mountains . . .

In December, 1818, a strange exploring party arrived at

Glenroy. Sir John Jamison, of Eegent Ville, near Penrith, sent

his collector of natural specimens, Thomas Jones, with three

aborigines, to follow the course of Cox’s Eiver. They crossed

the Blue Mountains by the usual route, and arrived at the depot

“ on the Vale of Clwydd, at the head of the C ox’s River

Making this their starting point on December 13, 1818, they

journeyed down the river with “ the blue mountains a considerable

distance to the eastward ” during the early stages. They

identified C ox’s Eiver with the river Warragamba, and after

an eventful journey reached Eegent Ville on Decem ber 21.

F r e n c h m e n R e a c h t h e D e p o t a t M i d n i g h t .

This newly settled continent held for European scientists

an irresistible allure, rich as it was in unique fauna, and guarding

a wealth of unclassified botanical, geological, marine and insect

specimens. Among the first to realise the possibilities for

research in virgin country, the French were encouraged and

supported b y their Government. In the early part of the 19th

century several parties of French scientists sailed into Port

Jackson, and as is the case today when world visitors arrive,

excursions were made to the Blue Mountains and to the country

beyond. In November, 1819, members of Freycinet’s expedition

round the world were taken to Bathurst by William Lawson.

Their journey was made in three stages from Regent Ville, the

first one ending at Springwood, the second at the depot at Cox’s


HISTORIC GLENROY. COX’S RIVER.

The m ilitary dep6t at C ox’s River as French visitors saw it in 1819. Notice the granite stepping stones, and at the right

one of the little rapids characteristic of the river.


HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER. 17

River, and the third at Bathurst. W hen these French tourists

with Lawson reached Mount York it was long past nightfall,

and after negotiating the headlong descent, whose depth and

extent were invisible in the darkness, they found themselves at

the end of a quarter of an hour in the marshy Yale of Clwydd.

The solitudes were wrapped in the utter silence of the mild, still

night. N ot a word was spoken as they went forward singly,

the rhythmic beat of the horses’ feet the only sound that broke

the religious calm. The barking of dogs at midnight and the

sound of a running stream heralded the approach of the military

depot on the banks of Cox’s River. Here they spent the whole

of the next day to rest their horses and to wait for their

impedimenta. In their exploration of the neighbourhood they

soon noticed the change in the geological nature of the country,

which was of granite in contrast to the sandstone of the Blue

Mountains, whose excessive dryness was succeeded b y the

agreeable freshness of the valley, watered as it was by several

streams. Leaving Bathurst on the morning of December 5,

it was again after midnight when these Frenchmen returned to

the depot at Cox’s River. Everyone was astir very early the

next morning and eager to view in daylight Mount Y ork and

the bold pass they had descended on the last night in November.

C o m m is s io n e r B ig g e f r o m L o n d o n S e e k s I n f o r m a t io n a t

C ox’s R i v e r .

John Thomas Bigge, sent to the colony as Commissioner

of Inquiry, visited Bathurst in 1820. Evidence given on

October 7, at C ox’s River, byC orporal James Morland, showed

that all men returning from Bathurst, whether Government or

William C ox’s, were victualled there, the beef coming from

Bathurst and the flour from the Nepean, and the carters who

brought it were victualled. According to Morland, the huts

were very badly put up and were in constant need of repair.

The local timber was poor. He stated also that he had taken

twenty-five bushrangers in all, including thirteen who had

recently attacked the post at Springwood. The detachment,

totalling five, was occupied in forwarding letters and guarding

Government carts of provisions to Bathurst, one of which arrived

every five weeks. The bushrangers were captured by surprise,

and the corporal examined every passing traveller he did not

happen to know. He said it was a bad cattle river in the winter

but good both winter and summer for sheep. Richard Lewis


18 HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER.

stated at Bathurst, on October 12, 1820, for the Commissioner’s

information, that the bridge at the C ox’s Eiver ford had been

carried away, while William Lawson told Bigge there ought

to be a bridge.

M a c q u a r i e P a s s e s b y A g a i n .

Glenroy saw Macquarie again in 1821, when in December,

accompanied by Judge Advocate W ylde, he made a second tour

to Bathurst before he left the colony after his long governorship.

Cox’s Eiver was reached on the afternoon of December 18, and

the old camping ground taken up for the night. A t six o ’clock

the following morning the party set out and crossed the river

“ at a very bad ford for wheeled carriages Travelling by

tandem, they returned this way on Sunday, December 23, and

encamped at the foot of Mount York.

“ A T i l t e d Ca e t , w i t h M o t h e r , M y s e l f , a n d S e v e n

C h i l d r e n . ”

Officials and scientists were not the only travellers to record

descriptions and impressions of the ground at Glen Mrs.

Elizabeth Hawkins has left a most interesting account, u mas

Fitzherbert Hawkins, R.N ., with his wife and eight children

and his wife’s mother, Mrs. Lilly, arrived in Sydney from

England in January, 1822, and the whole party set out on April 5

for Bathurst, which they reached safely seventeen days later.

The ages of the children ranged from one to twelve and a half

years, while Mrs. Lilly was seventy. “ W e had a waggon with

six bullocks ” , wrote Mrs. Hawkins, “ a dray with five, another

dray with three horses, a cart with two, and last of all, a tilted

cart, with mother, myself, and seven children, with two horses.

Hawkins and Tom rode on horseback.” A very good journey

of five miles beyond the foot of Mount Y ork brought the party

to the Eiver Lett, where they descended the steep bank to the

bridge. Unlike that over C ox’s Eiver, it was "till standing,

although when there was much mountain rain it was impassable

owing to water running over it. The Hawkins pi tv got safely

over and came to the camping ground.

“ W e had now reached the spot we had looked forward to

from the time of leaving Em u as a place of rest ” , wrote Mrs.

Hawkins, “ as here it is customary fcr all drivers of attle and

luggage to rest for a day or two, as there is good g ' • We


" T r e * . . f a o f - n f ' A / f f

6 ?


if

HISTORIC GLEN ROY, COX'S RIVER.

ID

In 1822 Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins spent a day at C ox’s River during an eighteen days’

journey from Sydney to Bathurst.

were all much fatigued. W e pitched our tent in a field in front

of the houses which was inhabited by a corporal and his wife.

She was both clean and civil. Hearing of our coming, she had

procured a bucket of milk, and never was anything more enjoyed.

“ In the evening Mr. Lowe, a Chief Magistrate, arrived,

a traveller like ourselves. He commenced his journey in the

morning but we remained. I took this opportunity of giving

the children all a good washing and change of clothes. This,

as the day was extremely sultry, and not a tree to shade us in

the tent, made it, instead of a day of rest, one of great fatigue

to me. Being all now so completely sick and tired of the

journey, we decided on setting off the next morning, more

particularly as the weather was showery, and from the season

of the year heavy rain might be expected. W e were reinforced

by a cart and two horses from Bathurst, accompanied by Mr.

Riley, as he had promised.

“ W e again ascended our cart on the twenty-first [April,

1822]. We had been sitting for some time on the banks of the

river [Cox’s] seeing the whole cavalcade cross, and when it came


20 HISTORIC GLEN ROY, COX’S R IV E R .___

to our turn it was with many fears we entered the water nearly

up to the horses’ bellies, and the bottom covered with large

pieces of rock and stone, enough to overturn the cart and jolt

us to death. A man offered to carry little Neddie over in his

arms. W ith anxious eyes I watched him through fear his feet

might slip and our darling boy have his head dashed against a

stone. W ith talking, swearing, beating our poor bullocks, we

got safe on the bank on the opposite side.”

After a toilsome journey over the hills of Clarence’s Hilly

Range and those beyond the Fish River these settlers reached

Bathurst on April 22, 1822.

B o t a n i s i n g w i t h A l l a n Cu n n i n g h a m .

In 1822, while proceeding westward on one of his many

botanising excursions, Allan Cunningham stayed again at the

camping ground by Cox’s River. He descended Cox’s Pass on

October 7 and journeyed through the rich but swampy Yale of

Clwydd to the low rocky flats near the junction of the river

and the rivulet. As the banks of the river seemed productive

of curious plants and also afforded wholesome grass seed to his

horses, Cunningham decided to remain here for some days.

The two Grevillese he had noticed in 1817 he now saw in full

bloom, and as they were unpublished plants he described them.

A species Hakea remarkable for its very small fruit and round

stiff leaves was also frequent in these situations, and “ proved

to be H . microcarpa originally discover’d on the banks of Rivers

in Van Diemen's Island After the rising of the dense early

morning mist on October 8 the day was fine and warm, and at

eight o ’clock the botanist set out by a native path along the

right bank of Cox’s River, making in a south-westerly direction

for a barren rocky hill seen from the high ground near the tents

and which the soldiers of the depot assured him held a considerable

variety of flowers. He noticed along the immediate verge

of the river specimens of a fine shrubby croton bearing male and

female flowers and remarked “ the Swamp Oak (Casuarina

paludora) of enormous size . . . At length he ascended a

portion of the ridge whose entire absence of timber trees made it

conspicuous on the abundantly wooded range. He observed

there a most interesting assemblage of fine plants, of which he

collected a number. “ Nothing ” , he wrote, “ truly can exceed

the Native beauty of the Hill and Dale, towards the Extremity

of our D a y’s Excursion ; the lands are thinly wooded, the soil


HISTORIC GLEN ROY, COX'S RIVER. 21

Allan Cunningham, botanist and explorer, spent many happy hours in the vicinity

of C ox’s River. Judge Barron Field thought C ox’s River “ worth going to spend a

few days at, of itself ” .

generally rich, abundant in good grasses and herbage for grazing

Herds, and possessing all the ordinary requisites for the

Establishment of the Farmer.” Towards evening clouds began

to gather in the west, and about eight o ’clock there was a

thunderstorm and a deluge of rain.

The following day Cunningham went upstream. Crossing

the river at a fall, he made in the direction of what he termed

“ Lawson’s Peak ” — possibly Mount Blaxland— and mounted a

portion of “ this conspicuous Conical Hill ” . When he returned

to camp the day was rapidly drawing to a close. After a clear,

frosty, starlit night, October 10 was sultry and oppressive.

Proceeding up the banks of the Biver Lett, the botanist detected

no previously unnoticed plants, and returned to the camp early

in the afternoon to prepare for the next day’s journey to the

Pish Biver. The following morning, October 11, was cloudy

with fine weather. Having remunerated the corporal at C ox’s


n

22 HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER.

■River for his attention, and particularly for the regular supply

of milk to his men, Cunningham set off about eight a.m.

On his return journey Cunningham arrived about noon on

December 30 at the “ old resting place at C ox’s River Having

encamped here he rode eagerly off to the “ Bald Ridge ” , in the

fullest hopes that its variety of curious plants would afford him

some packets of ripe seeds. After making his collection he

returned along the bank of the river to his camp. In the fair,

cool morning of the following day he resumed his journey, and

passed up the Yale of- Clwydd to the foot of C ox’s Pass.

“ R ic h i n t h e B o t a n i c a l a n d P i c t u r e s q u e . ”

On the very day, October 7, 1822, that Cunningham and

his men were descending C ox’s Pass with a young tree for a

brake, Barron Field, Supreme Court Judge, and “ Distant

Correspondent ” of Charles L am b’s essay, was assailing the

eastern pass up Lapstone Hill, shifting baggage twice during the

long, steep ascent. “ Mount York ” , declared Barron Field

when he arrived there, “ afforded the first view of the promised

land of Australia, after the wilderness of the Blue Mountains.”

It was on October 10 that he reached C ox’s River, which he

thought was “ worth going to spend a few days at, of itself.

It is a pretty stream, and rich in the botanical and picturesque.

Here the first granite is seen.” On his return from Bathurst

he arrived at Cox’s River on October 22, and found the stream

pretty full and rapid from recent rains. He mentioned that

there was a corporal’s party of the 48th Regiment stationed

there as well as at Spring wood. That night was clear, with

heavy dew, hoar-frosted in the beautiful morning. Barron

Field rode to a waterfall “ a mile up the river ” , but there was

no height, and the fresh was not as great as the hollowed rocks

seemed to indicate it sometimes was.

H i n t s o f N e w R o a d s .

In October, 1822, Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane visited

Bathurst and presumably passed over the ground at Glenroy.

He did not return this way, but along an intended line of road

from Bathurst to Mount York.

While engaged on a traverse of the road from Emu Plains

to Bathurst, Assistant Surveyor James McBrien went forward

through the Yale of Clwydd on February 6, 1823, and followed


T 3

HISTORIC GLENROY, COX^S RIVER. 23

the road on to a long ridge, at the end of which he crossed a

stream of water— the River Lett— falling into Cox’s River.

Travelling north-westerly nine chains beyond the crossing,

McBrien ended his run for the day. His position was approximately

that of the present memorial at Glenroy. On February 8

he continued his traverse in a west-soutli-west direction and at

eight chains was in the centre of Cox’s River. From this

position he noted the depot as situated about ten chains to the

right up a hill ascending from the river.

In the autumn Allan Cunningham again set out for Bathurst,

and on the moist, raw 3rd April, 1823, he and his men reached

C ox’s River early in the afternoon. Here they camped for the

night, resting their horses for the next day’s fatiguing journey.

The following morning was very cloudy, and they left C ox’s

River to face the thick rain falling in the hilly range between

them and the Fish River.

There was talk of the projection of a shorter road, and the

Sydney Gazette of October 9, 1823, was happy to announce that

“ Mr. Archibald Bell, junior, of Richmond Hill, has, after one

unsuccessful attempt, at last effected a passage from that part

of the country to C ox’s River (on the other side of the Blue

Mountains) . . . ” . Robert Hoddle was instructed b y the

Surveyor-General, Oxley, “ to commence measuring the new

road at the Ford over the Hawkesbury River near Richm ond

and continue along Mr. Bell’s track to the Ford over C ox’s

River . . . ” . In his report of this work, dated Novem ber 4,

Hoddle wrote : “ Our line run into the road near Collit’s Inn

the bottom of Mount York distant 4| miles from Cox’s R iver

F ord.” A t this time Collits’ Inn was newly established, and no

doubt received many of the travellers who otherwise would

have camped at C ox’s River. It was Pierce Collits then who

struck the first blow at the popularity of the Cox’s River camping

ground.

M o r e F r e n c h m e n a t C o x ’ s R i v e r .

W ith a four-wheeled waggon and guides, Dum ont d ’Urville

and Rene Lesson, members of Duperrey’s expedition, left

Sydney for Bathurst on January 29, 1824. On February 2 they

drew near Mount York. This eminence Lesson cailed the

“ termination of the Blue Mountains ” , for the reason that

viewed from the west it appears to be isolated. He described


•24 H I S T O RIC GLENROY, COX’S K I V E R . _____

it as terminating abruptly by a steep slope on the Yale of Clwydd,

“ a deep valley ” separating the mountains on the east from

those on the west. This vale, European in appearance, with

familiar plants growing in a thick green carpet, ended six miles

away at Cox’s River. A smiling valley, its surface “ fresh and

enamelled ” , it was all the more charming in contrast with the

harshness of the poorly timbered and very rocky mountains

about it. The crossing of C ox’s River was made over granite

rocks. Here the Frenchmen found both large and small flying

phalangers. At the military post were six soldiers and a

corporal. Lesson considered the situation delightful and the

surroundings picturesque. He mentioned the numerous little

rapids “ or kinds of falls ” in the river caused by the granite

rocks that obstruct its course. They lunched with the corporal,

whom they found very obliging, and who sold Lesson an

opossum killed at W ellington Valley. After a two-hour halt they

pushed on, being anxious to spend some time the next day

catching platypi at the Fish River. On their return from

Bathurst they lunched on February 8 at Cox's River, halting

there for three or four hours only before crossing the Yale of

Clwydd to camp at the foot of Mount York.

G l e n r o y R e v i s i t e d b y Cu n n i n g h a m .

Cunningham camped at C ox’s River again on December 26,

1824, on the way to Bathurst, and returning pitched his tent

there on January 1, 1825. He fully occupied the whole of the

next day “ on the interesting Banks of that stream, as also on

the summit of Bald Hill distant about 3 miles from our Tent

Encamped at Cox’s River on the following October 14, he rested

his horses there all the next day, as they had fared badly in

respect to green feed on the mountains and there was an

abundance of grass at Glenroy. Cunningham himself spent

October 15 roaming over his favourite botanising ground. He

found the beautiful Grevillese of the rocky sides of the river

abundantly in flower and extended his walk down the river to

the bare rocky hill often previously visited. H e returned to

the camp just in tim e to escape a heavy hailstorm early in the

afternoon. The threatening appearance of the weather induced

him to remain quiet all day Sunday, October 16, and on the

Monday he resumed his journey to country westward of

Wellington Valley. He revisited this familiar camping spot so

favourably situated for a botanist in 1826, 1829 and 1831.


HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER.

M a r t ia l L a w P r o c l a im e d W e s t o f t h e B l u e M o u n t a i n s .

In 1824 there was a recurrence of the circumstances that

led to the posting of a military guard at Glenroy in 1816. As

a result of attacks made by aborigines upon settlers and their

property in the neighbourhood of Bathurst, Governor Brisbane

issued a proclamation dated August 14, 1824, “ placing the

Country beyond the blue Mountains, or West of Mount Y ork,

under a state of Martial Law ” , His proclamation repealing

that of martial law was dated December 11, 1824.

In the mid twenties the military establishment at Cox's

River increased, and in April, 1826, instructions were given for

the building there of a log hut thirty feet long b y fifteen feet

wide with a partition for the accommodation of a subaltern

officer. It is interesting to notice the rations allowed the

troops in the neighbourhood of C ox’s Biver. In an advertisement

of October, 1826, for tenders for their provisionment the articles

of daily rations were shown as follows : 1 lb. bread or biscuit,

or 14 oz. flo u r; 1 lb. of fresh or salt beef. W om en one-half

and children one-quarter of the above. The bread to be the

produce of wheat, from which at least 20 per cent, has been

extracted as bran or pollard, and the flour of equal fineness.

“ A n d A w a y W e Ca n t e r e d f o r C o x ’s R i v e r .”

So wrote a traveller in March, 1827, describing his journey

westward after leaving Collits’ Inn. “ Here ” , he continued,

“ was the first granite I had seen in the Colony, a granitic sand

and small particles of quartz forming the dust of the road . . .

Five or six miles brought us to Cox’s River, where we had two

most dangerous fords to pass the horses over, owing to the

deep holes of the first stream and the loose stones of the main

river. The wreck of former bridges was lying on the spot, and

apparently very old. The two fords are not a stone’s throw from

one another, and between them is the military station or barrack

occupied by a non-commissioned officer, and ten or twelve

men of the 57th under the command of a subaltern. H alf a

dozen men from the staff corps might repair these bridges,

I should think, in a fortnight. I observed several soldiers

belonging to the station enjoying themselves in perfect repose

on benches, outside their neat whitewashed cottage, like so

many pensioners at Chelsea, and while they sat looking at us

almost breaking our horses legs through the ford, I wished that


26 HIST ORIC GLENROY, COX’S R IV ER ._______

the active officer in charge of the roads and bridges had been

with us, on a hundred guinea horse. This is the last stream

that runs towards Sydney, and whose estuary is ascertained,

C ox’s River falling into the W arrugamba, the Warrugamba into

the Nepean, the Nepean into the Hawkesbury, and the

Hawkesbury into the Pacific Ocean at Broken B ay.”

According to the Sydney Monitor of June 26, 1827, the

bridge at Cox’s River had been repaired and the rocks impeding

the ford had been removed. During 1827 and 1828 Lieutenant

Henry Shadforth of the 57th Regiment was quartered at C ox’s

River as Assistant Surveyor of Roads. On January 11, 1829,

Jane, the wife of Lieutenant Kirkley of the 39th Regiment,

died there after a severe suffering of three days. In May, 1829,

Major McPherson, who was military commandant at Bathurst,

was instructed to withdraw from the station at C ox’s River the

increase of the original c o w ts provided for the use of the military

there. In August, 1830, Lieutenant Fitzgerald of the 39th

Regiment proceeded to that station. H e was not required to

act as a magistrate, but was instructed to inspect the road

gangs in the neighbourhood. Early in 1831 orders were given

for the repair of the house of the officer quartered at C ox’s

River, since he had been evicted by numbers “ of Bugs and other

vermin contained in the W ood and Plaster of the Building . .

N ot far from the site of the old military depot at Glenroy

is a grave whose lonely headstone tells a poignant story in words

of which the following is a running version :

SACRED To The M EM O RY of E LIZA RODD who

departed this life September 14the 1831 Aged 8 months and

6 days daughter of J R odd colour sergant in his M AGESTY

39th Regt foot how can a tender Mothers care cease to love

the child she bers how can m y frends discontented be since my

Savour has taken me.

T h e O l d O r d e r Ch a n g e t h .

Increasing traffic made it imperative to improve the route

between the Blue Mountains and Bathurst, and in 1830 the

Surveyor-General, Thomas Livingstone Mitchell, began his

famous road. Descending from the Blue Mountains by the

Pass of Victoria, Mitchell’s road avoided Mount York and crossed

the River Lett— below Hartley— some distance above the


HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER. 27

Near the site o f the m ilitary depot at C ox’s River is the grave of the baby daughter

of the colour sergeant there in 1831.

junction of the streams at Glenroy. In this way traffic was

diverted from the original road to Bathurst via Mount Blaxland.

In August, 1836, Edward Denny Day, Police Magistrate

at the Vale of Clwydd [Hartley], applied to purchase three

hundred and twenty acres at the confluence of the River Lett

and C ox’s River. S. A. Perry, D eputy Surveyor-General, who

stated that on this area there was or had been a military station,

requested Surveyor J. B. Richards to measure the land and to

report as to whether he thought it desirable to reserve the land

in question or any portion of it. Richards replied that there

still remained in good repair a paddock of about thirty acres

and also a cottage and other buildings which had been very

much injured by being unoccupied. From the situation of

this portion of the land, and the improvements on it, he


28 HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER

considered it a desirable reserve, and might be let to advantage

to keep it in repair. The official comment on this suggestion

w a s: “ Nonsense ! The Government should have nothing to

do with such trifling arrangements. If it is not wanted, sell

i t ! ” Accordingly the land was put up for sale on January 11,

1837, James Blacket of Sydney being the purchaser. In April,

1837, James Blair, Police Magistrate, reported that William

Kay, a life prisoner, had with another convict been left

unsuperintended on the land at Cox’s River, and that he had

been brought before the Bench charged with being out at night,

without a pass, and with abusive language. Consequently

Blacket was informed that unless he kept a ticket-of-leave

overseer on his land his assigned servants would be withdrawn.

Blacket replied that he had visited the property twice and his

free groom once since its recent purchase, that he had engaged

free carpenters to build a house there for himself, and finally

that a free man should be “ sent to Glenroy, Cox’s River by

1st May On May 1 Blair reported that a qualified person

had been duly sent and was then residing on the property.

Here is the first known mention of the name “ Glenroy ” for

this locality. In the Lithyow Mercury of January 6, 1922, it

is stated that “ In Gaelic [?] it means the ‘ Red Valley

In the Bathurst Free Press in the fifties a new' name appeared

at Glenroy. In April, 1852, W m . Macdermott, Gian R oy,

Hartley, publicly requested all persons indebted to the late

John Macdermott to settle their accounts and creditors to send

in their claims. In September, 1853, he offered £50 reward

for the recovery of a roan entire, stolen or strayed from Glen

Roy, near Hartley. On August 21, 1854, William Patrick

Macdermott of Glen R oy married Mary, first daughter of Charles

O ’Connor of Cox’s River, and at the residence, Glen R oy, on

June 18, 1855, a son was born. A fter living at Glenroy for

quite a generation the Macdermotts let the farm and settled in

Lithgow, where Mr. Macdermott was for a long time district

registrar. He died in the nineties, and his w idow ’s death

occurred at North Sydney on October 3, 1906.

The decision to make a Parish R oad from Hartley to

Bullock Flats [Oberon] via Binda was announced in the

N .S .W . Government Gazette of Novem ber 2, 1866, and it was

proposed to take it through M cDiarm id’s [Macdermott’s I]

property. Under date February 8, 1867, it was announced


t . o

HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER. 29

Glenroy Bridge, opened in 1901. The site of the military depot of M acquarie’s day

is out of view to the left.

that as no objections had been raised to the proposed road it

was to be opened and made. This road through Glenroy—

at a higher level to the right of the present [1937] Jenolan Caves

road, and sometimes mistaken for part of the original road to

Bathurst— was declared open for public use b y notice dated

October 11, 1867. On September 4, 1888, notice was given

of a proposed deviation in this Hartley-Oberon road from a

point within Glenroy crossing Cox’s Biver to another point on

the same road. The deviation was opened in November, 1890.

It crossed C ox’s Biver by a bridge of which the abutments m ay

still be seen a short distance above the present bridge at Glenroy.

This wooden structure, built on six concrete piers, was opened

and named Glenroy Bridge on October 19, 1901, by the Hon.

E. W . O ’Sullivan, Minister for Works. A later deviation of the

Jenolan Caves road, entered after the Biver Lett bridge is crossed

below Hartley, was made at a lower level than the old road on

its right. This deviation is the road beside the Biver Lett that

is travelled today b y visitors to Glenroy and the caves.


I $ 0

30 HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER.

Many people attended the com m em orative service at Glenroy on May 2, 1936.

(Photo by C. Price Conigrave.)

In August, 1935, the Rev. W . P. F. Dorph, rector of Hartley

and Mount Victoria, approached the Hlaxland Shire Council

with the suggestion that the holding of the first Divine service

west of the Blue Mountains be commemorated. He took as

his historical authority the evidence given at that stage by Mr.

W . L. Havard in the Journal of the Royal Australian Historical

Society, Vol. X X I , Pt. 1, pp. 68-70. This suggestion met with

the approval of the Council, who consequently had a memorial

erected on the historic ground at Glenroy. The memorial is of

local granite, with a tablet of marble, and stands in an area of

about sixteen perches adjoining a north-western side of the

Jenolan Caves road as it approaches the Glenroy Bridge. By

notice given in the F .S .W . Government Gazette of October 2,

1936, this land was resumed for its preservation as a place of

historical interest and vested in the Blaxland Shire Council.

Mr. James Thompson, of Glenroy, b y the public spirit he showed,

facilitated the matter of resumption.

A commemorative service at Glenroy was held on the

sunny afternoon of Saturday, M ay 2, 1936, and was attended


S)

HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER. 31

\

The Archbishop of Sydney (Dr. M owll) unveils m em orial at Glenroy.

(Photo bp C. Price Conigrave.)

by a large congregation. A t this service the Anglican A rchbishop

of Sydney, D r. H. W . K . Mowll, unveiled and dedicated

the memorial inscribed with the words :

T h e F ir s t D i v i n e S e r v ic e

W e s t o f t h e B l u e M o u n t a in s

W a s h e l d h e r e a b o u t

.O n A p b il 30, 1815,

I n t h e p r e s e n c e of

G o v e r n o r M a c q u a r i e .

N e a r b y h e e s t a b l is h e d

A M i l i t a r y S t a t io n

to g u a r d

T h e O r i g in a l W e s t e r n E o a d

W h ic h p a s s e d h e r e

C r o s s in g t h e R i v e r L e t t

a n d C ox’s R i v e r

B y t h e F i r s t B r id g e s B u i l t

W e s t o f t h e B l u e M o u n t a in s .

B i.a x l a n d S h ir e C o u n c i l .


32 HISTORIC GLENROY, COX’S RIVER.

The importance of prayer was emphasized by Dr. Mowll in

his address. Beferring to the splendid spirit of the pioneers

he stated that everything possible should be done to acquire

a knowledge of the country’s early history and that a debt of

gratitude was owing to the Blaxland Shire Council for providing

the stone of commemoration. In a changing world one should

be reminded that pioneers placed the worship of God in its

rightful place. Fam ily worship was important, for the hearthstone

was the keystone of the Empire.

Messrs. W . L. Havard, F. Walker, W . A. Macdonald and

the capable and enthusiastic organizer of the ceremony, Eev.

W . P. F. Dorph, also addressed the gathering. There were

present, too, the neighbouring rectors, the Eevs. Dixon Hudson,

of Leura, W . V. Gurnett, of Blackkeath, L. Daniels and E . W ,

Hemming, of Lithgow, and F. H. B. Dillon, of Lawson. The

Blaxland Shire Council was represented b y Crs. L. S. Williams

(President), J. L. W . Barton, 0. A. Commens and J. M orris; the

Engineer, Mr. C. E. C. Lundy, and the Shire Clerk, Mr. C. E. W .

Brown. Afternoon tea was provided by the ladies of the district.

This ceremony marked the end of one part of the cavalcade

past Glenroy, from the com ing of the explorers upon the deserted

fires of the aborigines, until after the time in 1927 the present

King George and Queen Elizabeth m oved swiftly b y on a modern

highway. The pageant is not yet over, and perhaps the best

is still to come.

The writers take this opportunity to acknowledge their

debt to the Mitchell Library and the Department of Lands,

Sydney, whose resources yielded much that is told in Historic

Glenroy, Cox’s River.

THE AUSTRALASIAN MEDICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY LIMITED


M U N IC IP A L IT Y OF L IT H G O W

Have you included

LITHGOW

in your visit to the Blue

Mountains ?

If not, may we invite you to see H A S S A N 'S W A L L S

L O O K O U T , the Panoramic Gem o f the Mountains, and

many other beautiful and historical scenic attractions,

including the old Blue Mountains Z I G Z A G R A I L W A Y

construction.

In addition to scenic beauty, L I F H G O W offers many

attractions in the form of large modern industrial concerns.

T h e Begonia House, recently provided adjacent to the

T ow n H all, is definitely a real place o f beauty you should

not fail to visit. Flowers o f almost any kind have an

appeal to everybody, but the wonderful Begonia blooms

are rare.

Call at the Municipal Publicity Department at

the Town H all, where every courtesy and

assistance will be readily extended to the visitor.

L I T H G O W is most modern in Social Servicing— the

people enjoy the benefits o f G A S and E L E C T R I C I T Y ,

W A T E R and S E W E R A G E , at charges lower than any

other country town.


OLD HARTLEY COURT HOUSE.

Visit the “ Old Court House ” , built in 1837, before you lea\e Hartley.

O P E N F O R I N S P E C T I O N D A I L Y . Admission 6d.


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