GOVERNMENT AND GENERAL ORDERS
Government House, Sydney.
10th June, 1815. CIVIL DEPARTMENT.
THE GOVERNOR desires to communicate, for
the Information of the Public, the Result of his late Tour over the Western or Blue Mountains,
undertaken for the purpose of being enabled per- sonally to appreciate the Importance of the Tract of Country laying Westward of them; which had
been explored in the latter End of the Year 1813, and beginning of 1814, by Mr. George Williams Evans, Deputy Surveyor of Lands.
To those who know how very limited A Tract of Country has been hitherto occupied by the Colo- nists of New South Wales, extending along the East- ern Coast to the North and South of Port Jackson
only 80 miles, and Westward about 40 miles to the
foot of that Chain of Mountains in the Interior which forms its Western Boundary, it must be a
subject of astonishment and regret, that amongst so
large a Population no one appeared within the first 25 years of the Establishment of this Settlement possessed of sufficient energy of mind to induce him fully to explore a Passage over these Moun- tains :- But, when it is considered that for the
greater part of that time even this circumscribed Portion of Country afforded sufficient Produce for the Wants of the People, whilst on the other hand
the whole Surface of the Country beyond those Li- mits was a thick and in many places nearly an im- penetrable Forest, the surprize at the want of effort to surmount such difficulties must abate very con-
The Records of the Colony only afford two In- stances of any bold Attempt having been made to discover the Country to the Westward of the Blue Mountains - The first was by Mr. Bass, and the other by Mr. Caley, and both ended in disappoint-
ment - a circumstance which will not be much won- dered at by those who have lately crossed those
To Gregory Blaxland and William Wentworth, Esquires, and Lieutenant Lawson, of the Royal Ve- teran Company, the merit is due of having, with extraordinary patience and much fatigue, effected the first Passage over the most rugged and difficult part of the Blue Mountains.
The GOVERNOR being strongly impressed with the importance of the object, had, early after his arrival in this Colony, formed the resolution of encouraging the attempt to find a Passage to the Western Country, and willingly availed himself of
the facilities which the Discoveries of these three
Gentlemen afforded him. Accordingly, on the 20th
of November, 1813, he entrusted the accomplish- ment of this object to Mr. George William Evans, Deputy Surveyor of Lands, the result of whose journey was laid before the Public, through the medium of the Sydney Gazette, on the 12th of
The favorable account given by Mr. Evans of the Country he had explored, induced the GOVER-
NOR to cause a Road to be constructed for the Passage and Conveyance of Cattle and Provisions to the Interior, and Men of good Character, from amongst a number of Convicts who had volunteered their services were selected to perform this ardu- ous work, on condition of being fed and clothed during the continuance of their labour, and being granted Emancipations as their final reward on the completion of the work.
The direction and superintendance of this great work was entrusted to WILLIAM COX, Esq. the chief Magistrate at Windsor; and to the astonish- ment of every one who knows what was to be en- countered, and sees what has been done, he effected its completion in six months from the time of its commencement, happily without the loss of a man, or any serious accident. The GOVERNOR is at a loss to appreciate fully the services rendered by Mr.
Cox to this Colony, in the execution of this arduous work, which promises to be of the greatest public utility, by opening a new source of wealth to the industrious and enterprizing. When it is considered that Mr. Cox voluntarily relinquished the comforts of his own house, and the society of his numerous family, and exposed himself to much personal fa- tigue, with only such temporary covering as a bark hut could afford from the inclemency of the season, it is difficult to express the sentiments of approba- tion to which such privations and services are en-
Mr. Cox having reported the Road as completed on the 21st of January, the GOVERNOR, accom- panied by Mrs. MACQUARIE, and that Gentleman, commenced his Tour on the 25th of April last, over the Blue Mountains, and was joined by Sir JOHN JAMIESON at the Nepean, who accompanied him
during the entire Tour. - The following Gentlemen composed the GOVERNOR'S Suite; Mr. CAMP- BELL, Secretary ; Capt. ANTILL, Major of Bri- gade; Lieut. WATTS, Aide-de Camp ; Mr. RED- FERN, Assistant Surgeon; Mr. OXLEY, Surveyor General ; Mr. MEEHAN, Deputy Surveyor Gene- ral ; Mr. LEWIN, Painter and Naturalist ; and Mr. G. W. EVANS, Deputy Surveyor of Lands, who had been sent forward for the purpose of making further discoveries, and rejoined the party on the day of arrival at Bathurst Plains.
The commencement of the ascent from Emu Plains to the first Depot, and thence to a resting place, now called "Spring Wood," distant 12 miles from Emu Ford, was through a very handsome open Forest of lofty trees, and much more practi- cable and easy than was expected. The facility of the ascent for this distance excited surprise, and is certainly not well calculated to give the traveller a just idea of the difficulties he has afterwards to en- counter. - At a further distance of four miles a sud-
den change is perceived in the appearance of the timber and the quality of the soil - the former be- coming stunted, and the latter barren and rocky. At this place the fatigues of the journey may be said to commence. - Here the Country became alto- gether mountainous, and extremely rugged. - Near to the 18th Mile Mark (it is to be observed, that the measure commences from Emu Ford), a pile of
stones attracted attention: it is close to the line of road, on the top of a rugged and abrupt ascent, and is supposed to have been placed there by Mr. Caley, as the extreme limit of his tour; - hence the GOVERNOR gave that part of the Mountain the name of "Caley's Repulse." To have penetrated even so far, was at that time an effort of no small difficulty. - From hence, for- ward to the 26th mile, is a succession of steep and rugged hills, some of which are almost so abrupt as to deny a passage altogether; but at this place a considerably extensive plain is arrived at, which con- stitutes the summit of the Western Mountains ; and from thence a most extensive and beautiful prospect presents itself on all sides to the eye. The Town of Windsor, the River Hawkesbury, Prospect Hill, and other objects within that part of the Colony now inhabited, of equal interest, are distinctly seen from hence. - The majestic grandeur of the situation, combined with the various objects to be seen from this place, induced the GOVERNOR to give it the appellation of "The King's Table Land." - On the S. W. side of the King's Table Land, the Mountain terminates in abrupt precipices of immense depth, at the bottom of which is seen a glen, as romanti-
cally beautiful as can be imagined, bounded on the further side by Mountains of great magnitude, ter- minating equally abruptly as the others; and the whole thickly covered with timber. The length of this picturesque and remarkable tract of country is about 24 miles, to which the GOVERNOR gave the name of "The Prince Regent's Glen." - Proceed- ing hence to the 33d mile on the top of a hill, an
opening presents itself on the S. W. side of the Prince Regent's Glen, from whence a view is ob- tained particularly beautiful and grand - Mountains rising beyond mountains, with stupendous masses of rock in the foreground, here strike the eye with admiration and astonishment. The circular form in which the whole is so wonderfully disposed, in- duced the GOVERNOR to give the name of "Pitt's Ampitheatre" (in honor of the late Right Honourable William Pitt), to this offset or branch from the Prince Regent's Glen. The Road continues from hence, for the space of 17 miles, on the ridge of the mountain which forms one side of the Prince Re-
gent's Glen, and there it suddenly terminates in nearly a perpendicular precipice of 676 feet high, as ascertained by measurement. The road con- structed by Mr. Cox down this rugged and tre- mendous descent, through all its windings, is no less than 3-fourths of a mile in length, and has been exe- cuted with such skill and stability as reflects much credit on him. The labour here undergone, and the difficulties surmounted, can only be appreciated by those who view this scene. In order to perpe- tuate the memory of Mr. Cox's services, the GO- VERNOR deemed it a tribute justly due to him, to give his name to this grand and extraordinary Pass ; and he accordingly called it "Cox's Pass." Having descended into the valley at the bottom of this Pass, the retrospective view of the overhanging mountain is magnificently grand. Although the present Pass is the only practicable point yet discovered for des- cending by, yet the Mountain is much higher than those on either side of it from whence it is distin- guished at a considerable distance, when approach- ing it from the interior, and in this point of view it has the appearance of a very high distinct hill, al- though it is in fact only the abrupt termination of
a ridge. The GOVERNOR gave the name of "Mount York" to this termination of the Ridge, in Honor of His Royal Highness the Duke of York.
On descending Cox's Pass, the GOVERNOR was much gratified by the appearance of good pasture land and soil fit for cultivation, which was the first he had met with since the commencement of his Tour. The valley at the base of Mount York he called "the Vale of Clwyd," in consequence of the strong resemblance it bore to the vale of that name in North Wales. The grass in this vale is of a good quality, and very abundant, and a rivulet of fine water runs along it from the eastward, which unites itself at the western extremity of the vale, with another rivulet containing still more water. The junction of these two streams forms a very handsome river, now called by the GOVERNOR "Cox's River" which takes its course, as has been since ascertained, through the Prince Regent's Glen, and empties itself into the River Nepean ; and it is conjectured, from the nature of the country through which it passes, that it must be one of the principal causes of the floods which have been occasionally felt on the low Banks of the River Hawkesbury, into which the Nepean discharges itself. The Vale of Clwyd, from the base of Mount York, extends six miles in a westerly direction, and has its termina- tion at Cox's River. Westward of this River the
country again becomes hilly, but is generally open forest land, and very good pasturage.
Three miles to the westward of the Vale of Clwyd, Messrs. Blaxland, Wentworth, and Lawson had for- merly terminated their excursion; and when the various difficulties are considered which they had to contend with, especially until they had effected the descent from Mount York, to which place they were obliged to pass through a thick brushwood, where they were under the necessity of cutting a passage for their baggage horses, the severity of which labor had seriously affected their healths, their pa- tient endurance of such fatigue cannot fail to excite much surprise and admiration. - In commemoration of their merits, three beautiful high hills joining each other at the end of their Tour at this place, have received their names in the following order ; "Mount Blaxland," "Wentworth's Sugar Loaf," and "Lawson's Sugar Loaf. A range of very lofty hills and narrow vallies alternately form the tract of Country from Cox's River, for a dis- tance of 16 miles, until the Fish River is arrived at; and the stage between these Rivers is consequent- ly very severe and oppressive on the cattle. To this range the GOVERNOR gave the name of "Clarence Hilly Range."
Proceeding from the Fish River, and at a short distance from it, a very singular and beautiful Moun- tain attracts the attention, its summit being crowned with a large and very extraordinary looking rock, nearly circular in form, which gives to the whole very much the appearance of a hill fort, such as are frequent in India. - To this lofty hill Mr. Evans, who was the first European discoverer, gave the name of "Mount Evans." Passing on from hence the country continues hilly, but affords good pastu- rage, gradually improving to Sidmouth Valley, which is distant from the Pass of the Fish River 12 miles. The land here is level, and the first met with unencumbered with timber : it is not of very
considerable extent, but abounds with a great vari- ety of herbs and plants, such as would probably highly interest and gratify the scientific Botanist. This beautiful little valley runs North, West, and South East, between hills of easy ascent, thinly covered with timber. - Leaving Sidmouth Valley, the country becomes again hilly, and in other res- pects resembles very much the country to the east- ward of the valley for some miles. Having reached Campbell River, distant 13 miles from Sidmouth Valley, the GOVERNOR was highly gratified by the appearance of the country, which there began to exhibit an open and extensive view of gently rising grounds and fertile plains. - Judging from the height of the banks, and its general width, the Campbell River must be on some occasions of very considerable magnitude ; but the extraordinary drought which has apparently prevailed on the wes- tern side of the Mountains, equally as throughout this Colony for the last three years, has reduced this River so much that it may be more properly called a Chain of Pools than a running stream at the present time. In the reaches or pools of the Campbell River, the very curious animal called the Paradox, or Water-mole, is seen in great numbers. The soil on both banks is uncommonly rich, and the grass is consequently luxuriant. - Two miles to the southward of the line of road which crosses the Campbell River, there is a very fine rich tract of low lands, which has been named Mitchell Plains. Flax was found here growing in considerable quan-
tities. - The Fish River, which forms a junction, with the Campbell River a few miles to the north- ward of the road and bridge over the latter, has also two very fertile plains on its banks, the one called "O'Connell Plains," and the other "Mac- quarie Plains," both of considerable extent, and very capable of yielding all the necessaries of life.
At the distance of seven miles from the bridge over the Campbell River, Bathurst Plains open to the view, presenting a rich tract of champaign country of 11 miles in length, bounded on both sides by gently rising and very beautiful hills, thinly wooded. The Macquarie River, which is constitu- ted by the junction of the Fish and Campbell River, takes a winding course thro' the Plains, which can be easily traced from the high lands adjoining, by the particular verdure of the trees on its banks, which are likewise the only trees throughout the ex- tent of the Plains. - The level and clean surface of these Plains gives them at first view very much the appearance of lands in a state of cultivation.
It is impossible to behold this grand scene with- out a feeling of admiration and surprise, whilst the silence and solitude which reign in a space of such extent and beauty as seems designed by Nature for the occupancy and comfort of Man, create a degree of melancholy in the mind which may be more easily
imagined than described.
The GOVERNOR and Suite arrived at these Plains on Thursday the 4th of May, and encamped on the southern or left bank of the Macquarie River - the situation being selected in consequence of its com- manding a beautiful and extensive prospect for many miles in every direction around it. - At this place the GOVERNOR remained for a week, which time he occupied in making excursions in different di- rections through the adjoining country, on both
sides of the river.
On Sunday, the 7th of May, the GOVERNOR fixed on a site suitable for the Erection of a Town at some future period, to which he gave the Name of "Bathurst," in Honor of the present Secretary
of State for the Colonies. - The situation of Ba- thurst is elevated sufficiently beyond the reach of any Floods which may occur, and is at the same time so near to the River on its south bank as to derive all the advantages of its clear and beautiful stream. The Mechanics and Settlers of whatever description who may be hereafter permitted to form permanent residences to themselves at this place, will have the highly important advantages of a rich and fertile soil, with a beautiful river flowing through it, for all the uses of man. The GOVERNOR must however add, that the hopes which were once so sanguinely entertained of this River becoming na- vigable to the Western Sea have ended in disappoint-
During the week that the GOVERNOR remained at Bathurst, he made daily excursions in various directions ; one of these extended 22 miles in a south-west direction, and on that occasion, as well as on all the others, he found the country composed chiefly of vallies and plains, separated occasionally by ranges of low hills ; - the soil throughout being generally fertile, and well circumstanced for the pur- pose of agriculture or grazing.
The GOVERNOR here feels much pleasure in be- ing enabled to communicate to the Public, that the favorable Reports which he had received of the country to the West of the Blue Mountains have not been by any means exaggerated. - The difficul- ties which present themselves in the journey from hence are certainly great and inevitable, but those persons who may be inclined to become permanent Settlers there, will probably content themselves with visiting this part of the Colony but rarely, and of course will have them seldom to encounter. - Plenty of water, and a sufficiency of grass are to be found in the Mountains for the support of such cattle as may be sent over them ; and the tracts of fertile soil and rich pasturage which the new country affords, are fully extensive enough for any increase of popu- lation and stock which can possibly take place for
Within a distance of ten miles from the site of Bathurst, there is not less than fifty thousand acres of land clear of timber, and fully one half of that may be considered excellent soil, well calculated for cultivation. It is a matter of regret, that in proportion as the soil improves the timber degene- rates ; and it is to be remarked, that every where to the westward of the Mountains it is much inferior both in size and quality to that within the present Colony; there is, however, a sufficiency of timber of tolerable quality within the district around Ba- thurst, for the purposes of house-building and hus-
The GOVERNOR has here to lament, that neither Coals or Lime-stone have been yet discovered in
the Western Country: articles in themselves of so much importance, that the want of them must be severely felt whenever that country shall be settled.
Having enumerated the principal and most im- portant features of this new country, the GOVER- NOR has now to notice some of its live productions. All around Bathurst abounds in a variety of game; and the two principal rivers contain a great quantity of fish, but all of one denomination, resembling the perch in appearance, and of a delicate and fine flavour, not unlike that of a rock cod: this fish grows to a large size, and is very voracious. Several of them were caught during the GOVERNOR'S stay at Bathurst, and at the Halting Place on the Fish River. One of those caught weighed 17lbs. and the people stationed at Bathurst stated, that they had
caught some weighing 25lbs.
The field game are the kangaroos, emus, black swans, wild geese, wild turkies, bustards, ducks of various kinds, quail, bronze, and other pigeons, &c. &c., the water mole, or paradox, also abounds in all the rivers and ponds.
The site designed for the Town of Bathurst, by observation taken at the Flag Staff, which was erected on the day of Bathurst receiving that name, is situated in latitude 33° 21' 30" South, and in longitude 149° 37' 45" East of Greenwich, being also 27½ miles North of Government House in Sydney, and 94 1/2 west of it, bearing West 20° 30' North, 83 geographic miles, or 95 1/2 statute miles; the measured Road distance from Sydney to Bathurst being 140 English miles.
The road constructed by Mr. Cox and the party under him commences at Emu Ford, on the left bank of the River Nepean, and is thence carried 101 1/2 miles to the Flag Staff at Bathurst: this road has been carefully measured, and each mile regular- ly marked on the trees growing on the left side of the road proceeding towards Bathurst.
The GOVERNOR in his tour made the following stages, in which he was principally regulated by the consideration of having good pasturage for the cat- tle, and plenty of water: -
1st Stage - Spring Wood, distance from
Emu Ford 12 miles 2d ditto - Jamison's Valley, or 2d depot,
distant from ditto 28 miles 3d ditto - Blackheath, distance from do 41 miles
4th ditto - Cox's River, distant from do 56 miles. 5th ditto The Fish River, distant from
ditto 72 miles 6th ditto Sidmouth Valley, distant
from ditto 80 miles 7th ditto - Campbell River, distant
from ditto 91 miles
8th ditto - Bathurst, distant from ditto 101 1/2 miles.
At all of which places the traveller may assure self of good grass, and water in abundance.
On Thursday the 11th of May, the GOVERNOR and Suite set out from Bathurst on their return, and arrived at Sydney on Friday the 19th ultimo.
The GOVERNOR deems it expedient here to no- tify to the Public, that he does not mean to make any Grants of Land to the Westward of the Blue Mountains until he shall receive the Commands of His Majesty's Ministers on that subject, and in re- ply to the report he is now about to make them upon it.
In the mean time, such Gentlemen or other respectable free Persons as may wish to visit this new country, will be permitted to do so on making a written Application to the GOVERNOR to that effect; who will order them to be furnished with written Passes. It is at the same time strictly or- dered and directed, that no person, whether Civil or Military, shall attempt to travel over the Blue Mountains without having previously applied for and obtained permission, in the above prescribed form. The Military Guard stationed at the first depot on the mountains will receive full instruc- tions to prevent the progress of any persons who shall not have obtained regular Passes. The neces- sity for the establishing, and strictly enforcing this Regulation is too obvious to every one who will reflect on it, to require any explanation here.
The GOVERNOR cannot conclude this Account of his Tour, without offering his best Acknowledge-
ments to WILLIAM Cox, Esq. for the important Service he has rendered to the Colony in so short a period of time, by opening a Passage to the new- discovered Country, and at the same time assuring him, that he shall have great pleasure in recom- mending his meritorious Services on this Occasion to the favorable Consideration of His MAJESTY'S
By Command of His Excellency
J. T. CAMPBELL, Secretary.