Honouring 200 years since NSW expedition

John Whitehead and Dorothy Balcomb at his 2004 book launch. John will be the guest speaker at the Bi-Centenary celebrations.

John Whitehead and Dorothy Balcomb at his 2004 book launch. John will be the guest speaker at the Bi-Centenary celebrations.

On Saturday, April 29, 2017, Canowindra Historical Society & Museum Inc. is celebrating the Bi-Centenary of John Oxley’s 1817 Expedition as part of the Central NSW Regional Museums’ Events program.

The Historical Museum will also be open from 10am -12pm. 

The Lachlan River was named after Governor Lachlan Macquarie by its European discoverer, Assistant Surveyor George Evans, who reached it on May 27, 1815 downstream from Cowra on the first expedition inland after the founding of Bathurst.

Evans’ party was ill equipped to explore beyond its junction with Mandagery Creek.

In December 1816, William Cox, famed for building the road over the Blue Mountains, was charged with establishing a Depot for the first fully equipped expedition into the interior of New South Wales.

This Depot on high ground overlooking the Lachlan near today’s Merriganowry Bridge was guarded by a detachment of soldiers of the 46th Regiment.

Five months provisions were brought to the site, two small boats constructed and a collection of plant life made before the party set out on April 27, 1817 with 13 horses and a pack of hunting dogs, aiming to follow the Lachlan River to the ocean.

Surveyor General John Oxley led the party accompanied by Assistant Surveyor George Evans, King’s Botanist Allan Cunningham and Colonial Botanist Charles Fraser.

Other members of the party were convicts selected for their special skills.

The Depot remained with its military guard, expecting the party to return by the same route but floodwaters forced a return via the Wellington Valley.

The thirteen men reached Bathurst on August 29 and the Depot was disbanded.

It was the first semi-permanent European settlement on the Lachlan and its location became known as Soldiers Flat.

All  are welcome to join in the activities at the Canowindra Services Club, Gaskill Street, Canowindra. 

It will be at 10.30am for an 11am start, with guest speaker John Whitehead of Coonabarabran. 

John is the author of Tracking and Mapping the Explorers, Vol 1 The Lachlan River, Oxley, Evans and Cunningham and other publications. 

Entry by donation, with book sales to follow talk. 

All enquiries to Ross Cleary on 0410 449 950 or indigopark@live.com.au or Dorothy Balcomb on 02 6360 0618 or tekoona@bigpond.com

Lunch available at the Services Club restaurant at own expense, bookings 02 6344 1397. 

Bus Tour of Soldiers Flat and Depot site: A 45-seater bus will be outside the Canowindra Services Club from 1.30pm for 2pm departure.

Cost $5 payable to Jill McDonald before entry into bus.

Bus bookings essential with Jill Mc Donald on 02 6344 1235 or montbel@bigpond.com

If bus booked out, people can follow in own cars.

Return to Canowindra by 3.30pm.