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200 years ago, the town of Bathurst was named

200 years ago, the town of Bathurst was named

Following completion of the first road over the Blue Mountains, NSW, Governor Lachlan Macquarie named Bathurst on this day, 7th May 1815.

In 1813, Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth crossed the Blue Mountains, finding rich farming land in the Hartley region. However, further exploration was needed so the colony could expand beyond the Great Dividing Range. George Evans was the Deputy Surveyor-General of New South Wales, and keen to progress beyond these discoveries. Leaving Sydney with a party of five men on 19 November 1813, Evans soon reached a mountain which he named Mt Blaxland, which was the termination of Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth’s explorations. He continued on through the countryside, eventually reaching the site of present-day Bathurst.

Upon Evans’s return to Sydney, he recommended building a road which would follow the ridge track determined by Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth. Shortly after this, William Cox was commissioned to build the road to Bathurst, using convict labour. The original Great Western Highway covered 161 km and incorporated twelve bridges. Following completion of the road, Governor Macquarie travelled along “Cox’s Pass”, taking eleven days to reach Bathurst. The Union Jack was raised and the town of Bathurst named on 7 May 1815.

Read more on The State Library of New South Wales, Discover Collections feature - Macquarie’s crossing

The Plains, Bathurst by John Lewin, 1815.

River bank, Bathurst?, ca. 1815 / attributed to J.W. Lewin