Earliest pictorial representation of the crossing from The Sydney Mail , 25 December 1880
|Date||11 May 1813 – 6 June 1813|
|Location||Blaxland's Farm – Blue Mountains – Mt Blaxland|
|Organised by||Gregory Blaxland|
The 1813 crossing of the Blue Mountains was the expedition led by Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth, which became the first successful crossing of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales by European settlers.The crossing enabled the settlers to access and use the land west of the mountains for farming, and made possible the establishment of Australia's first inland settlement at Bathurst.
The European settlement at Sydney Cove, established in 1788 after the arrival of the First Fleet, grew rapidly.By the early 19th century, the Blue Mountains had become a barrier to the expansion of the colony, which required more farming land to meet its needs, particularly after the droughts of 1812 and 1813. The local indigenous people knew at least two routes by which to cross the mountains. The first was along Bilpin Ridge, later followed by Archibald Bell with the assistance of the local Darug people (now the location of Bells Line of Road), and the second was along Coxs River. Until 1813 however, the settlers remained unaware of how to cross the mountains despite several attempts, including two by Blaxland himself. Early in 1813 Blaxland, who wanted more grazing land, obtained the approval of Governor Lachlan Macquarie and approached Lawson and Wentworth to secure their participation in a new exploratory expedition following the mountain ridges.
Gregory Blaxland was born Sunday, 17 June 1778 in Kent, England. He sailed for Australia on Wednesday, 1 September 1805 with his wife, three children, two servants, an overseer, a few sheep, seed, tools, groceries and clothing. When he reached Sydney he sold many of these items and made a profit which enabled him to buy eighty head of cattle so that he could breed cattle and sell the meat. He located 1,600 hectares of land that the government had promised to new settlers as well as forty convict servants and established his farm. He was also one of the first people to plant grapes in Australia and make wine, for which he was awarded a silver medal and later a gold one from the Royal Society of Arts, London.
The town of Blaxland in the Blue Mountains is named after this man.
William Lawson was born in England where he later trained to become a surveyor. He then migrated to Sydney, Australia, arriving in year 1800. He was an officer in the New South Wales Corp and owned land where he then raised many cattle and sheep. He was invited to join the 1813 expedition with Gregory Blaxland.
The town of Lawson in the Blue Mountains is also named after him.
William Charles Wentworth was born in Australia to Irish parents. In 1802 he was sent to school in England and returned to Sydney in 1810, where he worked for the governor, Lachlan Macquarie, and was given a land grant of 708.2 hectares (1,750 acres) on the Nepean River. The town of Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains is named after him.
Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson led an expedition party, which included four servants, four pack horses and five dogs.Two of the four men who assisted the party have been identified as James Burne (or Burnes), a guide and kangaroo hunter, and Samuel Fairs, a convict who arrived in Australia in 1810. The two others, also thought to be convicts, remain unidentified.
The party left from Blaxland's South Creek farmnear the modern suburb of St Marys in western Sydney, on 11 May 1813 and crossed the Nepean River later that day. They made their way over the mountains, following the ridges, and completed the crossing in 21 days. The explorers' success has been attributed to their methodical approach and decision to travel on the ridges instead of through the valleys. The three explorers and two of their servants would set out each day, leaving the other two men at their campsite, and mark out a trail, before turning back later in the day to cut a path for the horses and allow the rest of the party to progress.
The group first saw the plains beyond the mountains from Mount York. km south of the site of Lithgow, on the western side of the mountains. From this point Blaxland declared there was enough forest or grassland "to support the stock of the colony for thirty years", while Lawson called it "the best watered Country of any I have seen in the Colony". The party then turned back, making the return journey in just six days.They continued on to Mount Blaxland 25
All three explorers wrote an account of their expedition. Blaxland was the only one to publish his account, Journal of a Tour of Discovery Across the Blue Mountains, which he did in 1823 during a return visit to England.His journal, written in the third person, records their progress in detail, including their reasons for believing they had achieved their goals and deciding to turn back:
Wentworth's journal indicates his inspired impressions of the landscape:
Lawson, as a trained surveyor,kept detailed notes about the route itself including the distances covered each day, as well as his impressions of the landscape. He recorded on 22 May:
In recognition of the successful crossing, all three explorers were rewarded by Macquarie with a grant of 1000 acres of land west of the mountains.Blaxland later claimed to have led the expedition, however records from the time of the crossing imply that they were joint leaders.
Surveyor-General George William Evans was dispatched by Macquarie in November 1813 to follow the path taken and travel further to determine the best route to access the arable farmland.Evans continued past Mount Blaxland to the Macquarie and Lachlan Rivers and the site of modern Bathurst. Upon his return, he was rewarded with 1000 acres of land in Tasmania. Macquarie then commissioned William Cox in July 1814 to construct a road, following the path taken by the three explorers and extended by Evans. Cox's team of convict workers completed the job in six months and Cox was rewarded by Macquarie with a grant of 2000 acres of land near the site chosen by Macquarie for Bathurst. Macquarie travelled along the new road, naming it the Great Western Road, in 1815. Artist John Lewin accompanied Macquarie on the tour.
The colonial expansion into the lands of the Wiradjuri nation, west of the Blue Mountains, led to the Bathurst war.
The crossing and the three explorers have been commemorated in a number of ways, including:
It has been claimed that Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson may have carved their initials into the tree now referred to as the Explorers tree, located about 5 kilometres west of Katoomba.This claim is not universally supported and the tree is not specifically mentioned in the journals kept by the explorers, although they did mark trees to record their route.
The Blue Mountains are a mountainous region and a mountain range located in New South Wales, Australia. The region borders on Sydney's metropolitan area, its foothills starting about 50 kilometres (31 mi) west of centre of the state capital, close to the major suburb of Penrith. The public's understanding of the extent of the Blue Mountains is varied, as it forms only part of an extensive mountainous area associated with the Great Dividing Range. Officially the Blue Mountains region is bounded by the Nepean and Hawkesbury rivers in the east, the Coxs River and Lake Burragorang to the west and south, and the Wolgan and Colo rivers to the north. Geologically, it is situated in the central parts of the Sydney Basin.
Gregory Blaxland was an English pioneer farmer and explorer in Australia, noted especially for initiating and co-leading the first successful crossing of the Blue Mountains by European settlers.
John Joseph William Molesworth Oxley was an explorer and surveyor of Australia in the early period of British colonisation. He served as Surveyor General of New South Wales and is perhaps best known for his two expeditions into the interior of New South Wales and his exploration of the Tweed River and the Brisbane River in what is now the state of Queensland.
William Charles Wentworth was an Australian explorer, journalist, politician and author, and one of the leading figures of early colonial New South Wales. He was the first native-born Australian to achieve a reputation overseas, and a leading advocate for self-government for the Australian colonies.
William Lawson was an English-born Australian explorer, land owner, grazier and politician who migrated to Sydney, New South Wales in 1800. Along with his close friends and colleagues Gregory Blaxland and William Wentworth, he pioneered the first successful crossing of the Blue Mountains by European settlers.
The Great Western Highway is a 201-kilometre-long (125 mi) state highway in New South Wales, Australia. From east to west, the highway links Sydney with Bathurst, on the state's Central Tablelands.
George William Evans was a surveyor and early explorer in the Colony of New South Wales. Evans was born in Warwick, England, migrating to Australia in October 1802.
1813 in Australia featured a number of important developments. Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth crossed the Blue Mountains which opened up the interior of New South Wales for European settlement. John and Elizabeth Macarthur sent the first wool exports from their properties.
Bowenfels is a small town on the western outskirts of Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia.
Mount York, a mountain in the western region of the Explorer Range, part of the Blue Mountains Range that is a spur off the Great Dividing Range, is located approximately 150 kilometres (93 mi) west of Sydney, just outside Mount Victoria in New South Wales, Australia. Mount York has an elevation of 1,061 metres (3,481 ft) AHD and is a projection of the Blue Mountains dissected plateau, creating a promontory of the western escarpment with a minor rise at its summit.
O’Connell is a village in New South Wales, Australia. The village, classified by the National Trust of Australia, is 23 kilometres from Oberon on the O'Connell Road. At the 2006 census, O'Connell and the surrounding area had a population of 355.
The Bathurst War (1824), was a war between the Wiradjuri nation and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the successful Blaxland, Lawson, and Wentworth expedition to find a route through the "impenetrable" Blue Mountains in 1813, this allowed the colony to expand onto the vast fertile plains of the west.
Mount Blaxland, actually a hill, is located about 25 kilometres south of Lithgow at longitude -33.548500061, latitude 150.117904663. It was the furthest point reached by Blaxland, Lawson, and Wentworth on their historic 1813 crossing of the Blue Mountains.
European land exploration of Australia deals with the opening up of the interior of Australia to European settlement which occurred gradually throughout the colonial period, 1788–1900. A number of these explorers are very well known, such as Burke and Wills who are well known for their failed attempt to cross the interior of Australia, as well as Hamilton Hume and Charles Sturt.
The Cox's Road and Early Deviations - Woodford, Appian Way Precinct is a heritage-listed former colonial road and now access road off The Appian Way, near Woodford, in the City of Blue Mountains local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It was designed and built by William Cox between 1814 and 1825, with the assistance of a convict road party. It is also known as Bathurst Road; Old Bathurst Road and Coxs Road. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 25 March 2015.
Cox's Road and Early Deviations - Linden, Linden Precinct is a heritage-listed former road and now fire trail and road at off Railway Parade, Linden, City of Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia. It was designed and built by William Cox from 1814, with the assistance of a convict road party.. It is also known as Old Bathurst Road and Coxs Road. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 31 July 2015.
Cox's Road and Early Deviations - Mount York, Cox's Pass Precinct is a heritage-listed former colonial road and now walking track at Mount York Road (off), Mount Victoria, City of Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia. It was designed and built by William Cox from 1814, with the assistance of the convict road party. It is also known as Old Bathurst Road; Bathurst Road; Historic Crossings Walking Track and Coxs Road. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 25 March 2015.
Cox's Road and Early Deviations - Woodford, Old Bathurst Road Precinct is a heritage-listed former colonial road and now fire trail and road located at Old Bathurst Road, Woodford in the City of Blue Mountains local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It was designed and built by William Cox from 1814, with the support of a convict road party. It is also known as 1814 Road, Old Bathurst Road, Old Western Road and Coxs Road. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 31 July 2015.
Cox's Road and Early Deviations - Sodwalls, Fish River Descent Precinct is a heritage-listed former colonial road and now road and access road at off Cuthill Road, Sodwalls in the City of Lithgow local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It was designed and built by William Cox from 1814 to 1815 with the support of a convict road party. It is also known as Coxs Road and Old Bathurst Road. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 25 March 2015.
The Cox's Road and Early Deviations - Hartley, Clarence Hilly Range and Mount Blaxland Precinct is a heritage-listed road at The Old Bathurst Road, Hartley in the City of Lithgow local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It was designed and built by William Cox from 1814 to 1826 with the support of a convict road party. It is also known as Cox's Road and Early Deviations - Hartley, Clarence Hilly Range / Mount Blaxland Precinct and Coxs Road. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 25 March 2015.