Bathurst in the time of Governor Macquarie - 1815-182
When Lachlan Macquarie was appointed Governor of NSW in 1810 he took over a settlement with a rapidly growing population that occupied a narrow coastal strip where farming land was becoming scarce. In an effort to open up more land for agriculture he granted permission in May 1813 for Gregory Blaxland and his party including William Lawson and William Wentworth to try to find a way over the Blue Mountains and see what was on the other side. Following the mountain ridges the party found a way through what seemed to be an impenetrable maze of valleys and high cliffs. Upon their return to Sydney they reported their success to Governor Macquarie who subsequently sent Assistant Surveyor George Evans out to confirm the discovery and venture even further into the interior.
As Evans proceeded he found and named rivers and other features after the Governor and his wife; Macquarie Plains, Campbell and Macquarie Rivers. Upon his return to Sydney his account of what he had found encouraged Macquarie to settle this area. William Cox, a magistrate and landowner, was commissioned to build a road from Emu Ford to the Bathurst Plains. The Governor was particular about the specifications for the road. It had to be at least 12 feet wide and wherever possible, 16 feet. Timber was to be cleared from the sides to a distance of 20 feet and where necessary culverts and bridges built. Cox, along with a party of convicts and soldiers, started work on 18 July 1814 and had completed the road by 14 January 1815 - a remarkable feat considering the nature of the terrain and the equipment available at the time.
Once the road was finished Governor Macquarie and his wife, Elizabeth undertook their first trip to Bathurst. Leaving the Nepean River on 26 April 1815 they followed the road with the Governor admiring and frequently naming features that he passed, including Mount York, Cox's Pass, Vale of Clywdd and Cox's River.
On 4 May 1815 they reached the depot that had been set up by George Evans on the banks of the Macquarie River. It was here on 7 May that Governor Macquarie officially declared a town site to be named in honour of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Lord Bathurst. This site on the left bank of the river became the official settlement.
Lachlan Macquarie resigned from his role as Governor in 1820 and travelled to Bathurst in December 1821 as part of a round of farewell tours before his departure for England. He is remembered in Bathurst in the naming of the river, a street, a motel, aged care facility and many other ways.
On 1 January 2010 Australia will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the commencement of Lachlan Macquarie as Governor of New South Wales.
- Hawkesbury City Council have a comprehensive full year program of forty four (44) events including exhibitions at Hawkesbury Council's Regional Museum and Gallery. Council has also collaborated with the NSW Rose Society and the Iris Society of NSW to develop and launch new hybrids - the Governor Macquarie Rose and the Elizabeth Macquarie Iris. For the event program to date visit the Hawkesbury City Council Website.
- The 200th anniversary of Lachlan Macquarie's appointment as Governor of New South Wales will be commemorated in 2010 with a statewide celebration program aimed at enriching our knowledge of the past and inspiring our vision for the future. State and local government agencies, community organisations, businesses and individuals are encouraged to be part of history by organising a new activity or theming an existing event ‘Macquarie' and applying for endorsement. For further information visit the official website at www.macquarie2010.nsw.gov.au
- Events for Bathurst Regional Council can be viewed on our calendar in See and Do or download the Macquarie 2010 Program