About LEMA | Find | Projects | Documents | Research | Gallery
Antill 1815

Journal of an excursion over
the Blue or Western Mountains of
New South Wales, to visit a tract of new discovered Country,
in company with His Excellency
Governor & Mrs. Macquarie,
and a Party of Gentlemen.

Tuesday April 25th. 1815. This being the day
fixed on by His Excellency the Governor
for commencing his tour over the Blue
Mountains to visit the new tract of
Country lately discovered to the westward
of them; Left Sydney at half past
6 OClock in the morning in company with
Doctor Redfern (one of the Governor's suite
going with him) and arrived at Parramatta
at half past 8 the morning cool
and pleasant, prepared breakfast

for the Governor and Mrs. Macquarie
who arrived in their Travelling Carriage
about an hour after; Our Baggage Carts,
five in number, had been sent off from
Sydney some days before, and had been
directed to cross the River Nepean, and
wait our arrival at the 1st. Depôt.
After breakfasting, and resting our
horses, left Parramatta at 1 OClock
for Mrs. King's Farm on the South Creek,
in company with Dr. Redfern, Mr. Watts,
and Mr. Hassall, we followed the
Carriage and arrived there a little
after 3 OClock a distance of 16 miles, a
good forest road the whole of the way,
found the kind hospitality of Mr. Hassall
had provided a good dinner for us, which
was served up on our arrival; Mr. Cox
who was to be our guide in our journey,
was waiting for us here, and

we sat down to dinner with a good
appetite. — On our leaving Sydney in the
morning, the signal had been made
for a ship being in sight, and before we
arose from table, an orderly dragoon
arrived with despatches from England,
brought by the Indefatigable Convict
ship. — At 9 OClock retired to rest, there
being more guests than a small Farm
house could conveniently accommodate,
beds could not be provided for all; I
therefore got the cushions of the Carriage,
and with my boat Cloak lay down
before a good fire, and slept soundly
till morning. —

Wednesday April 26th. Got up at day light
and as I had not taken off my clothes
was soon ready to move, which, however
we did not do till seven OClock. — Sir
John Jamieson, who had been invited

by the Governor to make one in his
Party, had requested we would breakfast
at his Farm, which we had promised
to do, and arrived there about
8 OClock, a distance of 6 miles from
Mrs. King's. — We found Mr. Secretary
Campbell, Mr. Oxley, Surveyor General,
Mr. Meehan his deputy, Sir John and
his breakfast waiting for us, Sir
John's Farm being situated on the
banks of the Nepean, the horses
and Carriage was [sic] sent round to the
ford while we were at breakfast,
about a mile down the river, where
they crossed and came up to the Government
Stock yard opposite to Sir John's,
and after allowing them a sufficient
time to rest and take some Corn, we
all crossed in a boat, and at 11 OClock
started from Emu Plains, proceeding

westward, and along the Plain till we
came to the 3d. mile tree; The ascent on the
first range of mountains begins here, the
country is much like that around Sydney,
but larger and better timber. About 5
miles and a half came to the 1st. depot,
established by Mr. Cox when making
the road as a place of safety for his
Provisions for his working party; a small
Guard of Soldiers are stationed here
in a good log hut with two rooms, one
of which answers as a store, it is placed
about 100 yards on the right of the
road, near a small Lagoon of fresh
water; The soldiers had enclosed a
small piece of ground for a garden,
and one of them had displayed some
taste in laying it out in little arbours
and seats formed from the surrounding
shrubbery, which gave the place an

appearance of comfort and simplicity;
after riding 7 miles and a half further
we arrived about 3 OClock at our
first encampment, the road tolerably
good the whole way from Emu ford,
mostly a gentle ascent; we found all
our baggage Caravans and servants
safely arrived before us, and drawn
up in regular order to receive us, which
they did with three cheers: our dinner
being ready, and the table spread
in the open air, we soon sat down to
partake of it, and enjoyed our meal
very much. — After dinner served out
a dram of rum to every man, which
they were to receive every day, and all
appeared happy and contented; after
tea, took a walk to a short distance
in the woods to enjoy the novelty of the
scene around me, and, this being

our first encampment, it may not be
amiss to describe our situation. —

We were encamped in an
extensive Forest of large lofty Trees,
mostly of stringy and Iron bark. our
party was formed into different groups
each having a large fire of its own,
without which, from the coldness of
the nights at this season of the year,
it would be impossible to sleep in
comfort; These different fires had, from
the back ground where I was, a very
beautiful effect, and enabled me to
observe the scene before me; some were
busily employed cooking, others were
smoking, making their huts, or cutting
down timber for fuel, and reminded
me by their various occupations of what
I had read of a Camp of Gypsies, or the
bivouacs of a Continental Army. — I

remained a short time here and then
retired to rest for the night in my
hammock, swung between two poles
and covered with a tarpaulin, by the
side of a comfortable fire large enough
to roast an ox. —

Thursday April 27th. After sleeping tolerably
well I rose at day light, and began to
get part of the baggage off, which, however
could not be effected before nine
OClock, as the Bullocks and Horses
were to be collected and fed, and their
drivers to breakfast before they started,
The remainder of the baggage was got
off about an hour after. Before we left
the ground, the Governor and Mrs.
Macquarie and a few more walked
down to the spring where we had been
supplied with water, situated about
half a mile down a deep glen... in rainy

seasons the water might be had much
nearer, as there appears a water course
at the back of the encampment which
extends down to the spring issuing
from a rock, the water is good but something
of a mineral quality. From this
spring and the surrounding Forest, the
Governor gave the name of Springwood
to this station... We did not
leave this place till 12 OClock, the
day cool and pleasant, our Road was
stony, and some very severe but short
hills for the loaded Carts; about five
miles on we came to a very extensive
prospect, from an elevated spot, where
we found a heap of stones, supposed
to have been placed there by an
adventurer who had penetrated thus
far with much difficulty, in his endeavours
to cross the mountains; He had

arrived at it from a different direction
from the one we had now taken, and
much more difficult, but finding from
this place no end to the mountains,
and the Country looking most unpromising
around him, and his Provisions
being nearly expended, he gave up what
he thought a fruitless attempt, and
retraced his steps after erecting this
pile of stones to which the Governor
gave the name of Keeley's Repulse —
about half a mile on we passed a
bridge extending from one rock to
another across a chasm, which we
named Bluff bridge, and 8 miles
and a half further brought us to
another grand and extensive view of the
Country we had left, for many miles,
from a flat elevated land which we
named the King's Table Land, two miles

more brought us to our resting place for
the night, making the whole distance
sixteen miles. We came late to our ground,
and some of the Carts were not up till
long after dark... At this place is situated
the 2d. depôt; 28 miles from the ford,
was made another station for Provisions
for the working parties on the road.
A good store has been built here in which
we dined... very little feeding for the
Cattle at this place, only a kind of coarse
grass such as generally grows in swamps,
but plenty of excellent water... found this
station a very cold one during the night
the wind blew a cross the swamp in
our rear, which made the night
uncomfortable, and obliged me to get
up frequently to mend our fires. —

Friday April 28th. Rose before day light,
the morning very cold and threatened

rain, but as the sun rose, the clouds and
fog cleared away, and we had a fine
morning, breakfasted before we moved
and sent off the baggage. — About four
miles and a quarter on our road this
morning, we emerged on a sudden from
a most dreary waste, to a small rising
ground on our left, where one of the
grandest views that can be imagined
was opened to our sight. — In the foreground
was a deep glen, part of which we had
seen yesterday, and around it an immense
amphitheatre of lofty hills crowned with
rocks upon which the sun was shining,
affording a variety of tints; in the distance
were lofty mountains as far as the eye
could reach, forming a grand circumference
and background; the whole coup d'oeil grand
beyond the power of my pen to describe;
and until now most likely unseen

by the eye of civilised man. — The Governor
in commemoration of the name of a great
man, called it Pitt's Amphitheatre. — Our
Party remained here about half an hour
admiring the grandeur and beauty of
the scenery, and then moved on, leaving
behind us one of our Party who had
volunteered his services to accompany
us as an artist, to take a sketch of the
noble prospect, and whose pencil, I have
no doubt will do ample justice to it. —
On our leaving Sydney this Gentleman
and myself had made a promise to
each other, that I was to give him a
Copy of my remarks, and he in return
was to let me have a copy of his
sketches, and to him am I indebted
for some beautiful views of the interesting
country we were now passing

This day's journey was found a
Very severe one for the Cattle, the road
Very stony and a number of severe hills
for the loaded Carts; passed one which
we called Pulpit hill from a large rock
on its summit resembling a pulpit. A
little before two OClock came to our resting
place 41 miles from Emu Plains, and
13 from our last ground. The country
we passed over this day was the most
barren possible, but abounding with
bold and romantic scenery, which
we opened occasionally as we wound
round the hills. We found here a spring
of most excellent water a little to the
right of the road, but the grass was
the same as yesterday. Altered the
plan of my bed, and made a small
tent of the Tarpaulin, and slept better
than I had done since I had been out. —

Saturday April 29th. A foggy morning
which cleared up as the sun rose, a slight shower
of rain during the night, the baggage
moved off about eight OClock, and the
rest of the party about an hour after;
Two miles on the road this morning
we came to another view of Pitts Amphitheatre,
seen to better advantage in my opinion
than the one of yesterday; the country
around still very rocky and barren
with little or no feed for cattle. About
11 OClock, at the 49th. mile tree, came to
the Pass down the mountains into the
new country below, which could be
seen to great advantage from the projecting
rock on the left, just before descending
the pass, and forms a very beautiful
and pleasing contrast to the one
we had been travelling over, appearing
to be an open Forest land with fine

grazing. — This Pass had been made with
great labour down a very steep mountain
of upwards of six hundred feet, and
the way the road is made, traversing
the face of it, makes it nearly a mile
long — It was with much difficulty and
exertion we got the Carts down by
fixing drag ropes behind and holding
on with the people; it was so
perpendicular in places that the Cattle
could scarcely keep their footing; we
however in about two hours hard
work, got them all down in safety, and
after allowing the Cattle to rest for half
an hour at the foot of the pass we
moved on five miles further through
a plain open Forest land to our
station on the banks of a small stream
which the Governor called Cox's River.
The Pass was likewise named Cox's Pass

in compliment to the Gentleman who had
superintended making the road and
Pass, a piece of work which certainly reflects
great credit on his exertions and perseverance...
The Hill itself was called Mount
York, a deep and extensive Glen to the
left extending several miles, the Prince
Regent's Glen, and the valley which we
rode through to Cox's River, the Vale
of Clwydd, through its resemblance to a
place of that name in Wales. At the
river where we encamped was plenty
of excellent grazing, with abundance
of water running over a rocky bed
of black granite, with a bridge thrown
over it, — we arrived at this station
a little after 3 OClock a good deal
fatigued with our day's work. —

Sunday April 30th. This being Sunday, it
was made a day of rest for ourselves

and Cattle, and they indeed required
it after the exertion of the last week;
rose early and took a walk over the
hills on the other side of the river, the
morning delightful, and the country
looking beautiful, gently rising hills
bounded by distant and lofty mountains,
clothed with wood and
herbage to their summits; returned
about eight to breakfast, which done,
the people were collected together
and divine service was performed,
the men were attentive and orderly,
and thought no doubt with myself,
how proper it was thus to acknowledge
the blessings we were receiving and
returning thanks for our preservation
thus far; after the service was over
some of the Party mounted their horses
and took a ride to Mount Blaxland,

and another Gentleman and myself
took a sober walk up the river for
about two miles, where we met with
a water fall extending across the river,
It was at this time very low, but in the
rainy season must be considerable,
the force of the water having made
large excavations in the solid rock
of hard, black granite. Having
collected some seeds and Plants along
the bed of the river on the way up,
we crossed over at the fall, and
returned to the Camp by a shorter
route, very well pleased with our
walk. The day was fine, but warm. —

Monday May 1st. Rose before day light
and having shortly after called the
Governor, prepared to send off part
of the baggage, which I did
about seven OClock, breakfasted and sent

off the remainder of the Carts, and set
off ourselves a little after eight. — This
day proved the most fatiguing and
trying for the cattle of any we had
yet experienced; the road lay over
a succession of steep hills for nearly
sixteen miles, one hill in particular
about 3 miles on the road was very
steep, and obliged us after one Cart
was up to send back the horses to
help up the other; two Carts remaining
together to help each other, which
they were constantly obliged to do
the whole of the way... The Governor
denominated these hills "Clarence's
hilly range," we met with very little
good soil on them, but the pasture
was tolerable, and plenty of water
supplied from little streams running
from the hills. — about two

miles from our encampment passed
Mount Blaxland, and a little further
On Wentworths and Lawsons sugar
loaves; These hills had been named
after three Gentlemen who had been
the first to penetrate thus far, after
much labour and fatigue had been
the first discoverers of a passage
over & down the mountains; but
their Provisions being nearly expended
they were obliged to return. —
We afterwards passed Evans's Peak,
a very remarkable hill, with a round
rock crowning its summit, and had
been named by and after the Deputy
Surveyor General, who had been sent
by the Governor after the return of
the three other Gentlemen to make
further discoveries. All this range
is clothed with thick timber, and

has good feeding for Cattle. We arrived
at our night's station on the banks
of a small river, called the Fish river
about 4 OClock, much fatigued with
our day's march, especially the Cattle.
The Fish River is now a small stream
running through a valley, but like
the other we had passed must be
considerable when swoln [sic] by the
rains; which was the case when
Mr. Evans first passed it; two men
who had been stationed here had
caught a fine fish, which we had
dressed for dinner, and one of our
party got a few more smaller
ones all of the same kind; they were
excellent eating, something resembling Cod,
and were peculiar to the Rivers
in this part of the Country; The feed
for the cattle at this Station is good

and plentiful along the banks of
the river, with plenty of good water. —

Tuesday May 2d. Started this morning at
10 OClock after taking a comfortable
breakfast, we did not move off as early
as usual as we intended to make
but a short march of seven miles to
a place called Sydmouth Valley; The
first mile of our road was up a considerable
ascent, when we got to the
top of a very high hill, and from it had
an extensive view of the hills around
us, and the river we had left beneath,
Evan's Peak bearing due north; from
this spot Mrs. Macquarie and Mr.
Lewin took sketches of it; we appeared
to be completely surrounded and
hemmed in by a range of hills; the country
from Cox's river abounds with red and
black granite, which is not

found on the other side of the mountains,
and the whole aspect of the Country
appeared as if it had undergone some
great convulsion of nature, hills heaped
upon hills and rocks upon rocks with
deep gullies between some with streams
running through them, and all clothed
with wood to their very summits, forming
altogether the most wild but
as [sic] the same time the most romantic
Country I had ever seen; It seemed
however well calculated to give
those passing through it a good
appetite, at least it had this effect
upon us, as we were always
ready for our dinners as soon as the
days march was ended, and our
early breakfast at six OClock in the
morning was always welcome. — Our
encampment this day was Picturesque

and beautifully situated in a
valley with a chain of Ponds running
through it, a high hill bounding each
extremity and very good grass and
water for our cattle; after passing
the first three or four miles we seemed
to be leaving the hilly country behind
us, and to be fast decending [sic] into a more
open one; a duck was shot on our
arrival in one of the Ponds, who appeared
so tame, as almost to be taken
with the hand, and unconscious of the
danger that threatened him... An hour
and a half brought us from our last
ground, where we had left one of
our party fishing. He had a guide
with him, and was to walk down
the river and join us by dinner-time;
we waited an hour for him, and
as he had not then arrived we

sat down without him, but when it grew
dark and he did not arrived, we began
to be fearful he had lost his way, we
made some fires on the hills and fired
a few shots which he fortunately heard
just as he had given up all hopes of
finding us, and was making up his
mind to collect wood to make a fire
and remain stationary for the night. —
directed by the report of our guns he
soon found his way to the Camp, and
was not sorry to exchange the prospects
of a hard bed on the cold ground,
for his own Caravan and a good dinner.
He brought with him a good string of
fish, which served us for our breakfast
the next morning. One of the men
we sent out to look for the lost sheep,
killed and brought in a native dog. —

Wednesday May 3d. The morning foggy,

rose at day light, and sent off part of the
baggage, one of the Carts not yet come up,
but which arrived just before we left
our ground; it remained at this station
to follow us to-morrow, after taking
out of it some things that we wanted.
After keeping the road this morning
for six miles, we struck off to the right
due north, the Governor leaving the
Carriage to pursue the road, and mounting
his horse; and about two miles we
made the fish river, riding along which
for a short distance we came to an
extensive plain called by Mr. Evans who
first discovered it, OConnell Plains, in honour
of the Commanding officer of the 73d. Regt.
a considerable tract of land without
a tree, fit for both pasture and cultivation;
continuing along the banks of
the river about two miles, we came

to another extensive plain called Macquarie
Plains after our worthy Governor,
this is the most extensive of the two,
and equally good for pasture and
cultivation; riding along this plain
for two miles we made the junction
of the two rivers, the one we had been
riding along, and the Campbell
river, these two then formed the
Macquarie River which takes a
westerly direction, but does not appear
from this place, after receiving the
waters of the other two, to be larger
than either. We then proceeded up the
bank of the Campbell river for about
3 miles, upon the banks of which we
were to encamp near a bridge made
over it, and arrived there in about
half an hour, where we found our baggage
before us. — The face of the country

we rode over this day after quitting
the road was beautiful and open,
large tracts of land, without timber
or underwood, and in the spring when
the grass is green must be delightful,
at present we saw it to a great disadvantage,
the greatest part of the herbage
of the Plains having been destroyed
by fire, which gave them a barren
and desolate appearance... the grass
however, at the place of our encampment
had escaped, and we found abundance
for our purpose, a little fatigued with
our ride, owing more to the heat of the
weather, than the length of the ride,
it being the warmest day we had
experienced since our departure from
home, the distance was only 13 miles
and two miles more by the round
we had taken. —

Thursday May 4th. Rose this morning just as
the day began to dawn, after dressing
took a walk along the rising ground
behind the Camp, to contemplate the
beauties of the surrounding country, and
hail the rising sun; The fog continued
in the valley I had quitted, and here
and there a hill was seen peeping
through it, appearing like so many
Islands, and a long line of Coast, forming
a deep and beautiful Bay, the
fog having the resemblance of water.
This day was to be our last march
to arrive at the grand depôt on
Bathurst Plains, the Baggage was
sent off at eight OClock, crossing the
bridge over the Campbell River; The
Governor and some others of the Party, set
off on horseback to visit another Plain
called Mitchel [sic] Plains, which did not

lay in our route. I remained behind
to see the rest of the baggage off. We chased
three Kangaroos yesterday, but having
no dogs near, could not come up with
them. No Emues [sic] to be seen, though we
were told there were plenty of them, I
suppose the burning of the grass has
driven them away to seek for food elsewhere.
The Governor and his party
overtook me on the road, and a little
after, about 7 miles we descended the
hills to an extensive Plain, which in
honor to the Minister for the Colonies
was called Bathurst Plains, being the
most extensive of any we had yet
seen, of many miles in length, with the
Macquarie river running through
it upon the banks of which, the
Grand depôt is situated. —

Mr. Evans the deputy Asst.

Surveyor General met us as soon as we
descended into the Plain, he had been
sent for from Van Diemen's Land to attend
the Governor, as he had already explored
this part of the country, and had
been sent forward a second time to
make further discoveries, and was
now returned but a day or two to
Bathurst before our arrival, and
reported that he had endeavoured
to trace the river but found that
it was not navigable for any distance;
he had met with a very broken
and fine grazing country to the SW
for fifty miles, and fit for every
purpose of cultivation. — On our
approach within half a mile of the Settlement,
the Governor and Mrs. Macquarie
got out of their Carriage, and mounted
their saddle horses; and the remainder

of the party which had straggled
behind, coming up, we drew up in line, —
twelve in number, and advanced in this
order towards the huts, situated on
a little rising ground on the banks
of the river; We were received by
the party stationed here with Presented
Arms, and three cheers, — and to add
to our satisfaction, we discovered several
of the natives of this new country
among them, who were made spectators
of the novel sight; at first they
appeared very much astonished at
us, and not a little alarmed at our
reception, but in a short time by
kind treatment they became more
reconciled to us, and seemed to cast
off all fear. Our people received
strict injunctions to use them
kindly, to put no restraints upon their

movements, but to let them go and
come when they thought proper; They
had nothing with them but a couple
of rude spears, which they threw
down near one of the huts, and seemed
perfectly careless about them; one old
man was blind of an eye, which, the
people stationed here, said was
frequently the case both with men and
women, but this man, and an old
woman we one day met in the woods
were the only instances we saw of
the kind during our stay; They
resemble the natives about Sydney, but
did not speak the same language
they appeared however to be one
degree more advanced towards
civilisation than our old friends,
possessing some art in manufacturing
themselves Cloaks of skin, very

neatly sewed together with the sinews
of the kangaroo and Emu, and carved
in the inside with a variety of figures.
These cloaks were for the sole purpose
of keeping themselves warm, and not
out of any regard to decency, for in the
middle of the day, when the weather
was warm they threw them carelessly
over their shoulders — what little I saw
of them during our stay, they appeared
to be a harmless and inoffensive
race, with nothing forbidding or ferocious
in their countenances. On the contrary
they are perfectly mild and
cheerful, and laugh at every thing
they see, and repeat every thing they
hear. As I had sent on a man the
day before to pitch one of the tents
for the Governor, we found it ready
for us, but we preferred dining in the

store, which was very neatly built
and well thatched. —

Friday May 5th. After breakfast was over,
the Governor and the rest of the
Party set off to visit some of the
country on the other side of the
River, crossing at a Ford a little below
the huts. I remained at home to see
the tents pitched and the things put
in order, as we proposed staying here
a week, employed at this the whole
of the day till dinner time; The spot
which was chosen for the Governor's
large tent was upon a little rising
ground about three hundred yards
from the men's huts, a small Tent
was placed on each side, with a clear
space in front upon which a small
flag staff was erected; This was a
delightful spot for a Town,

commanding a view of the surrounding
country to a considerable extent, the
soil excellent, fit for every purpose
of cultivation, with abundance of good
water near at hand, but the wood is
scarce, being obliged to send upwards
of a mile for it, — a native dog was
killed as I was pitching the tents by
our dogs; These animals fight very
fiercely; The natives domesticate
them, and make use of them in
hunting their game, the kangaroo and
Emu, and in their tame state —
When accompanied by their Masters
often get the better of our dogs; they
very much resemble the fox, and
seem to be a bread between that and
the wolf, but as none of these animals
are found in the country, it is difficult
to say how these dogs have become

inmates of it.

Saturday, May 6th. After breakfast this
morning mounted our horses and
rode through the country for a few
miles to the northward to a small
stream running through a pretty
little valley, which we called Winburndale,
giving the creek the same name;
the ground we rode over was good
both for grazing and cultivation,
plentifully watered and very thinly wooded;
gave chase to some kangaroos, and killed
a small one with the dogs; the
ground bad to gallop over, being full
of holes, and tufts of grass. —Yesterday
a Black swan was shot and brought
into the Camp, weighing ten pounds,
it was the largest one of the kind I
had ever seen, measuring six feet 2
inches from the tip of each wing,

and was four feet three inches long
including the neck, which was two feet;
there was another with him at the time
he was shot, which was afterwards
seen flying over the camp, and I heard
him again at night crying for its mate
They seem to show great feeling, and
seldom live long after losing their
companions; A Gentleman at Sydney
had a couple of these birds, one of
them died, and being skinned by his
servants, the skin was put out in the
garden to dry; the other found out the
remains of his companion, and laid
down beside it, where it remained
without moving, refusing all sustenance,
and in a day or two was
found dead stretched out on the skin.
We had another visit from the
Natives this day, who came in

with the utmost confidence, and slept
in the camp, getting as close to the fire
as they could without burning, the
nights were very cold, and the mornings
foggy, they seemed to feel the cold very
acutely, They came into the tents
while we were dressing, without any
ceremony, but seemed after the first
surprize at the novelty of the surrounding
objects to be totally devoid of
curiosity, they took every thing that was
offered them, but asked for nothing;
If you put a question to them or held
up any thing to find out its name
in their language, they only repeated
the words you made use of, following
however very accurately the sound —
one word they soon learnt, and seemed
to understand, good bye, which they
repeated, at night when they quitted

the tents.

Sunday May 7th. A thick foggy morning
which soon cleared away as the sun
got a little power; a little after breakfast
assembled the whole of our Inhabitants,
Civil, Naval and Military, 75
in number, and drawing them up in line
in front of the large tent, the British
Flag was displayed for the first time
in this new country, the Troops saluting
it with three Vollies, and the rest
giving three cheers. The Governor
then delivered a short speech to Mr.
Cox and Mr. Evans, as having through
their exertions been brought as to so
fine a country; thanking the latter
for having explored it with so much
perseverance and success, and the
former for having with considerable
labour made so good a road

for upwards of a hundred miles, in so short
a time, and so difficult to perform; he
then named the place and new Town
to be marked out, "Bathurst," and
each drank a bumper, some in wine
and the rest in rum, to the King's health
and success to the Town of Bathurst,
an era in my life, which at some
future day I hope I shall look back
to with pleasure and satisfaction. —
We then adjourned to the Governor's
Marquee, where divine service was
performed, a suitable ceremony at
the close of so interesting a one we had
just been witness to. — 'Tis pleasing
to look forward, and think that
perhaps at some future period
not far distant, a flourishing town
may arise on the very spot we are
now occupying on the banks of the

Macquarie river, which may hand
down the name of our worthy Governor
with honor to posterity as its founder;
and where divine service has now
been performed to the great disposer
of events, some future Church may
be erected to his Name & Worship.
The men were orderly and attentive
and the day was spent with cheerfulness
and good humour, and was closed
by giving the men another dram.

Monday May 8th. — Rose this morning at the
dawning of day and having called
the rest of the party, prepared breakfast
it being intended to start early to visit
a part of the country lately discovered
by Mr. Evans, to the S:W: as I did not
ride out this day, I employed myself
in preparing and sending off one
of the Carts, loaded with the heaviest

of the baggage; a mild, pleasant day.
The Governor returned from his ride
about 3 OClock, having gone about 50
miles through a fine grazing country,
and was much pleased with his ride. —

Tuesday May 9th. Intending to ride this
day to a place called Pine hill about
15 miles off, rose early, and having breakfasted
set off immediately after, going
to the westward, a pleasant morning
little or no fog; after riding five
miles through an open country to a
hill called Mount Pleasant, where
we left Mrs. Macquarie, and the Carriage,
we proceeded 10 or 12 miles to Pine
Hill, so called from the quantity of Pines
of a peculiar kind growing on and
around it; the Country we passed
through was very well watered, and fit
for cultivation; we made a circuit

and returned to Mount Pleasant, which
we ascended, and found a fine Table land
on the top about half a mile long, a good
rich light soil, but covered with a great
quantity of loose stones of a peculiar
kind not seen in any other part of the
country we had visited, and what
was still more remarkable, a number
of them was thrown into heaps
as if placed there by the hands of
men; supposing some thing might
be placed under them, we had one
or two taken to pieces, but found
nothing but the same kind of stone
on the surface, of a solid and hard
body which we could not penetrate;
we had from this hill a beautiful
and extensive prospect of the river
and Bathurst Plains, and after staying
about half an hour descended

the mount, and having regained the
Carriage returned to Bathurst, very
well pleased with the day's ride. —

Wednesday May 10th. A very thick foggy
morning which did not clear away
till late, we made this a resting
day for our horses, and I took a walk
up the river about 4 miles to try
for some fish, could not get a bite
crossed over the river and returned
to the Camp, where I found some
of the Natives who had arrived
during my absence, and shortly after
my return, some more came in; There
were three men, and a number of
fine lads but no women, nor had we
seen one since our arrival, except
the old lady we met in the woods
they submitted very quietly to have
their hair cut, and we clothed

them with some shirts and jackets
& Trousers, and gave each a leather
Cap and Tommyhawk, the latter
present appeared to please them most. —
To one of the best looking men of the
party the Governor gave a piece of
yellow Cloth, in exchange for his
skin cloak... they stayed with us
the whole of the day, and left us
in the evening to return to their
encampment over the hills, but did
not seem to wish us to follow them,
which we did not attempt to do. —

Thursday May 11th. — This morning was
likewise very foggy, which the sun had
not power to clear away till near ten
OClock. — This being the day we were to
commence our journey back, sent off
some of the Carts at 9 OClock, and after
breakfast when most of the baggage

was ready, and the saddle horses standing
around the Carts, those men who it
was intended should remain behind
were assembled before the Governor,
when he exhorted them to conduct themselves
peaceably towards the Natives,
to treat them kindly whenever they
met with them, and endeavour to
keep the friendly intercourse which
then subsisted; which the men promised
to do and in testimony of their
thanks for the kind treatment they
had received and their acquiescence
in the order, they gave three cheers,
when immediately, as with one
consent, away started all the Carts, and
some of the saddle horses, going off
in different ways full gallop; in a
moment all was confusion and
dismay, expecting every instant

to see the Carts overturned and every
thing in them dashed to pieces; fortunately
however, they were all stopt without sustaining
much damage, two Caravans belonging
to the Gentlemen were upset, and the shaft
of one broke, we soon collected our scattered
forces together, and moved off bidding
adieu to Bathurst and its Inhabitants,
not without a feeling of regret, and sincere
wishes that the town we had established
might nourish and become a thriving
settlement. — We marched ten miles and
arrived at our former Station at Campbell
river in 2 hours, and encamped
on the same spot; we found this day
one of the warmest we had experienced.
Our road was very good, mostly on
The descent; on our arrival at our
ground we found most of the grass
burnt up, owing I suppose, to the

fires we had left behind us, it had not
fortunately spread to any distance, and
we found quite enough for our horses.
One Emu was killed yesterday, and
we had some of it cooked for breakfast
this morning, it was very good
eating, tasting like beef, a little dry
and tough; it weighed eighty six
pounds, and was a very large bird. —

Friday May 12th. Got up this morning an
hour before day, could not sleep, the
night very cold, after breakfast
moved off and at 12 arrived at
Sydmouth Valley, halted there for
about an hour, to give the horses a
mouthful of grass and a little water,
and then moved on seven miles further
to the Fish river, and encamped
near our old station distance 20 miles.
On mustering our followers yesterday

evening we found one man missing,
he had come with us with the idea
of becoming a settler in the new country,
and as we suppose, he had remained
behind at Bathurst, a man was
this morning sent back for him, he
returned in the evening, and reported
that the last time the poor fellow
was seen, was with some of the Natives
who had been at Bathurst the
morning we left it; and being a little in
liquor, had insisted upon going with
them to their Camp, where it was
supposed from his own imprudence
he had fallen a sacrifice, as no traces
could be found of him by the parties
which had been sent out, and the
natives with whom he had gone away
had not since been seen. I am told
he has left a wife and four children

to lament his loss — which likewise
threw a damp upon all our spirits,
and considerably diminished the
pleasure of our journey back. —

Saturday May 13th. — Rose this morning before
Day light, called up the servants in
order that they might get their
breakfast before us, and sent off the
baggage early. This was a very fatiguing
march, retracing Clarence's hilly
range, went on ahead to Cox's pass
to get out some wine from one of the
Carts which had been sent on in
front, and on returning to Cox's river
found the tent pitched and dinner ready. —

Sunday May 14th. Up this morning a little
after day light to enjoy a most delightful
morning. After breakfast assembled
the people together and had divine

Service performed, no sermon was read
as it was late before we began, and
the Gentlemen were impatient to ride
out. When this duty was over the
people began to pack up two of the
Carts, and they were sent off to the
Pass to ascend the mountain, which
was what I did not approve of, as
there was no immediate occasion
for doing so; took a walk up the river
and remained absent till near dinner
time; we had a very mild night,
but a high wind made it unpleasant,
coming down the vallies in gusts, and
driving the fire and smoke about
in every direction. —

Monday May 15th. Rose early this
morning, and sent off what remained of
the baggage to the Pass, intending to
breakfast there before we ascended —

arrived there at 9 OClock, found most of
the Carts had got up safe, but with
much labour and difficulty; during
our breakfast the Carriage was taken
up, and by 12 OClock we were all
safe at the top without any accident
whatever, which was more than I
expected. After arriving at the top
I walked on for a few miles, when a
very thick fog came on, which at first
I took for the smoke of a large fire in the
Woods; it continued so for the remainder
of the day, and obliged us to dine
in the tent. Our march this day was
six miles to the foot of the Pass, one
up, and eight more to our ground;
the fog continued the whole of the
night, and the weather was much
milder than we had found it for
some nights past. From the appearance

of this station, it being a kind of
heath, but a very wild and dreary
scenery, the Governor gave it the
name of Black-Heath, though to my
eye, very unlike its namesake. —

Tuesday May 16th. Breakfasted early and
got all the baggage off before nine,
the morning was foggy, but the sun
soon cleared it away, and having a
tolerably good ride this day we got
to our ground at the second depot
by one OClock. — The Governor changed
the name of this station to Jamieson's
Valley, in compliment to Sir John
Jamieson, who was one of our Party; The
night proved very cold, the wind blowing
from the same quarter as it did when
we were last here, but with greater
violence. —

Wednesday May 17th. As this was to be a

tedious march of sixteen miles rose
early and after breakfast sent off
the baggage, we did not however find
the road so difficult returning, for
altho' it was rocky, it was now mostly
down hill, the Carts therefore arrived
at Spring Wood in very good time;
lent my horse to one of the servants, as
I was inclined to walk; turned off the
road at the King's table land, and
went down to visit a water fall;
the height of the fall was great but there
being very little water the stream was
very inconsiderable; The whole of the
table land next to this chasm
appeared as if it had undergone a
violent volcanic eruption; the stones
seemed to have been in a state of fusion
forming all manner of shapes, and
having the resemblance of melted

sand and iron stone; and the place
altogether formed a wild and picturesque
scene of nature. — I remained here with
most of the party for nearly three hours,
and then returned to the road and
pursued my walk to the Camp, where
I arrived at 3 OClock. I partook of a
good dinner and went early to bed,
as this was the last night of our being
together, served out an extra allowance
of grog to the men, and had
some very good songs from them, and
all around us appeared contented
and happy —

Thursday May 18th. — Rose this morning at
the usual hour of day light, and
having breakfasted, started from
our ground at Spring wood at 10
OClock; our road was descent the
whole of the way to the Ford, twelve

miles, where we arrived in two hours,
and after crossing the Nepean, our party
began to separate, Sir John Jamieson,
Mr. Oxley, and Mr. Cox going to their
farms, and Mr. Campbell to follow us
to Sydney, the rest of the Party went
on with us to Mrs. King's farm where
we were met by Mr. Hassall who x
had provided a dinner for us on
our return. In thus taking leave
of the friends who had accompanied
us on our expedition, I cannot help
mentioning with satisfaction, the unanimity
and good understanding which
subsisted between every individual
composing our small society; not a
word of ill humour passed the whole
time, on the contrary, every one appeared
to use his endeavours to make
the time pass as pleasantly as possible.

As I was resolved not to indulge in the
luxury of a bed till I arrived home, I wrapt
myself up in my boat cloak, and notwithstanding
the hardness of the boards, slept very
well till morning. —

Friday May 19th. As this was to be our last
stage, set off at seven OClock from Mrs.
King's farm, in company with Mr. Hassall,
and after a pleasant ride of sixteen
miles, arrived at Parramatta where
we breakfasted, and resting our horses
till eleven OClock returned to Sydney,
after an absence of twenty four days,
we had the happiness to find all well
at home, and I hope were grateful
for the protection which had been afforded
us on our journey, no accidents
having occurred the whole way but the
loss of a few horses, and the loss of the poor
fellow at Bathurst.




Distance from Sydney to Bathurst

To Parramatta 15½ Miles
" Mrs. King's Farm 16 do.
" Emu Ford 6 do.
" Spring Wood 12½ do.
" Jamieson's Valley 16 do.
" Blackheath 13 do.
" Top of Cox's Pass 8½ do.
" The Pass 1 do.
" From the foot of the Pass
to Cox's River 5½ do.
" Fish River 16 do.
" Sydmouth Valley 7 do.
" Campbell River 13 do.
" Bathurst 11 do.

Total 141 miles

The Party consisted of

dead The Governor —
do. Mrs. Macquarie
do. Sir John Jamieson
do. Mr. Campbell Secretary
Brigade Major Antill
Aide de Camp Watts
dead Mr. Oxley Surveyor General
dead Mr. Meehan Deputy do. do.
dead Mr. Redfern Surgeon
do. Mr. Cox J.P.
do. Mr. J. W. Lewin F.R.S: A.L.S.
& Mr. G. W. Evans, who was only with
us a short time at Bathurst, and
was left behind to make further

And about forty servants
in all. —
H. C. A.

Decr. 25th. 1849

34 years

Views 1st.. Emu Ford
2nd.. Spring Wood
3rd.. Jamieson's Valley
4th.. Pitts Amphitheatre
5th.. The Vale of Clwyd
6th.. Cox's Pass
7th.. Cox's Pass
8th.. Cox's Pass
9th.. Cox's River
10th.. Cox's River
11th.. Evan's Peak
12th. The Fish River
13th.. Sydmouth Valley
14th.. Campbell River
15th.. Macquarie River
16th. Bathurst Plains
17th.. Natives
18th.. Natives

19th.. The Plains
20th.. Do. — Do. —

Top of page

ANTILL, Henry Colden. Journal of an excursion over the Blue or Western Mountains of New South Wales, to visit a tract of new discovered Country in company with His Excellency Governor & Mrs Macquarie, and a Party of Gentlemen.
Original in Mitchell Library, Sydney. Used with permission.
ML Ref: Safe 1/20a [Microfilm CY 265].

There are annotations at the end of the manuscript indicating that on 25 December 1849 Antill made a final review of the content of his 1815 journal. Also at this stage it seems likely that he added the marginalia indicating which parts of his journal were directly related to the watercolour views that had been given to him by the artist J.W. Lewin as a record of their shared journey in 1815. The final notation indicates that all the 'Gentlemen of the Party' (as well as Lachlan and Elizabeth Macquarie) were now dead, with the exception of Antill and Watts.

Henry Colden Antill's 1815 Journal has been transcribed and published on a number of occasions.

The earliest complete version appeared in 1914 as:
ANTILL, Henry Colden. Early History of New South Wales: two old journals: being the diaries of Major H.C. Antill on the voyage to New South Wales in 1809, and on a trip across the Blue Mountains in 1815. Sydney: W.A. Gullick, Govt. Printer, 1914.
[see: Sydney Teachers College. Education Society. Records No.18].

The next version was published in 1950 as part of: Fourteen Journeys over the Blue Mountains of New South Wales 1813-1841. (ed.) George Mackaness. Sydney: Horwitz, 1965. [First published in 1950-51 as vol. 20 in the original series of Australian Historical Monographs; and as Vol. 22 in the reprint series of Australian Historical Monographs (1978) pp.83-98].

There is a transcription accessible through the State Library of NSW online catalogue PICMAN as well as a full digital copy of the original manuscript; however the transcript needs to be used carefully, as a comparison with the digital original indicates some discrepancies and errors in transcription].

State Library of NSW: Original and Transcript

The Lachlan & Elizabeth Macquarie Archive (LEMA) transcription is a separate publication, but is made available with the full permission of the State Library of NSW. Any errors or omissions are attributable to the editors of the LEMA Project. The only editorial addition to the original text has been the introduction of bold headings for the individual date headings for the days 25 April - 19 May 1815. The original line breaks have been retained throughout to assist with comparison between the original 1815 Journal and the LEMA transcription. The individual pages are indicated by numbers in square brackets [*].

Return to: 1815 | Documents

Sun 2 9 16 23 30
Mon 3 10 17 24
Tue 4 11 18 25
Wed 5 12 19 26
Thu 6 13 20 27
Fri 7 14 21 28
Sat 1 8 15 22 29
Sun 7 14 21 28
Mon 1 8 15 22 29
Tue 2 9 16 23 30
Wed 3 10 17 24 31
Thu 4 11 18 25
Fri 5 12 19 26
Sat 6 13 20 27

Copyright © 2011 Macquarie University. All rights reserved.

Macquarie University
NSW State Library
National Library of Scotland
Historic Houses Trust
National Library of Australia
National Museum of Australia
State Records of NSW