As I mentioned earlier, Bathurst has been celebrating her 200th birthday.
As Kris would say, grab yourself a cuppa…..
Just to refresh your primary school history, after several failed attempts, the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, were finally crossed by Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth in 1813. They declared the land that they saw to the west as “The Bathurst Plains”.
Not too long after, Surveyor George Evans followed in their footsteps to map out a road to the west as far as the Macquarie River, which he discovered and named. That’s the statue of Evans in Kings Parade in Bathurst.
Next to follow was William Cox and his band of
merry men convicts to build said road from Penrith to the Macquarie River on the Bathurst Plains, just over 100 miles long. Job done inside 6 months. This little article is worth reading.
By the way, this was my favourite part of history in 2nd Class, as it seemed relevant. The explorers and the convict road went right past my grandparent’s farm, with Cox’s Pass being just down the road, and I lived in the oldest inland settlement, attending the oldest inland church on a Sunday. Funnily enough, Cox’s Road also travelled right past our place out of town that we have just sold. I digress……..
Once the road was completed Governor Macquarie went for a little jaunt. What takes us about three hours in the car then took about 10 days. Once they reached the Macquarie River he found what he declared to be “a pleasant spot”. A flagpole was erected and Bathurst was proclaimed as a settlement, the first in inland Australia. Click here to see a painting. Yes, that is Mt Panorama in the background.
A few years ago the Society of Surveyors (or some similar name) had their get together in Bathurst and using old records determined exactly where that old flagstaff had been erected. I think everyone was a little disappointed to find it was now the site of a nice 1980s toilet block! Darn!
Not to be perturbed, Council put out a design competition to create a new flagstaff. The competition was won by a prominent local architect. Canberra has its grass roof and flag pole on Parliament House, Bathurst now has its grass roof and flag pole on a toilet block. Mind you, it is no ordinary toilet block.
Back to the party. The actual birthday for Bathurst was on Thursday 7 May. This unfortunately meant that most of us weren’t able to attend a party due to having to go to work – very inconvenient. Therefore, it was a great excuse to have another party on the Saturday down by the River. I went for a stroll around the park last year and shared it here and here.
There were convicts cooking cobs of corn, an aboriginal camp down by the river, red coats shooting canons, WWII gents shooting guns, bush bands, a bark hut, a colonial costume competition, vintage cars, penny farthings, and displays with all sorts of historical interests. Let’s go for a stroll.
Our friends in the Historic Car Club were quite involved.
Usually you are told not to touch these old cars, but we were told to get up in this Locomobile Steam Car, recently purchased by one of our club members. I think I would be a bit nervous travelling around in this.
Another of our members not only has cars. Not only does he have a stagecoach….
He recently acquired a new toy… “Aspro”.
We had a lovely time wandering around, chatting with people we knew and generally soaking up the atmosphere. Let’s face it, it is pretty special to be a part of all this.
However, there was more to follow……