William Cox - The Road Builder- Diary of building the Cox's Road

In 1814, Governor Macquarie approved Cox's offer to 'voluntary offer of your superintending and directing the working party' that would build a road crossing the Blue Mountains, between Sydney and Bathurst, Australia.

The completed dirt track was 12 feet (3.7 m) wide by 101½ miles (163 km) long, built between 18 July 1814 to 14 January 1815 using 30 convict labourers and 8 guards. Macquarie surveyed the finished road in April 1815 by driving his carriage across it from Sydney to Bathurst.  As a reward Cox was awarded 2,000 acres  of land near Bathurst.




MEMOIRS OF William Cox From  Project Guttenburg


On 14 July 1814 Cox received a letter from Governor Macquarie accepting his voluntary offer to superintend the making of a road across the blue mountains from a ford on the river Nepean, Emu Plains, to a "centrical part of Bathurst Plains". He was given 30 labourers and a guard of eight soldiers. Work was begun on 18 July 1814 and it was finished on 14 January 1815. In April Macquarie drove his carriage across it from Sydney to Bathurst. It was not metalled, being merely a dirt track 12 feet wide, but it was nevertheless an amazing feat to have grubbed the trees,  filled in holes, levelled the track, and built bridges in so short a time.

There is no difficulty in believing the governor's statement that if it had been done under a contract it would have taken three years. The length of the road was 101½ miles and settlement of the land beyond the mountains
began almost at once. Cox himself established a station near the junction of the Cudgegong and Macquarie rivers. He was now in prosperous circumstances and remained so until his death at Windsor on 15 March 1837.
He married (1) Rebecca Upjohn and (2) Anna Blackford. There were five sons by the first marriage and three sons and a daughter by the second.

"Cox was a man of great kindliness and fine character. Holt, who had worked for him, could never speak too well of him. Only a man of real ability with a genius for managing men could have built the track across the
mountains in so short a time, and it would be difficult to find an equally remarkable feat in the early history of Australia."




Governor Macquarie having determined on a road to Bathurst, on the plains
beyond the Blue Mountains, wrote at once to William Cox, Esq., J.P., Clarendon:

(No. 43.)     Government House, Sydney,
14th July, 1814.


1. Having some time since determined on having a carriage road constructed
from Emu Plains, on the left bank of the river Nepean, across the Blue
Mountains, to that fine tract of open country to the westward of them,
discovered lately by Mr. Evans, and having recently received from you
a voluntary offer of your superintending and directing the working party
to be employed on this very important service, I now most readily avail
myself of your very liberal and handsome offer of superintending and
directing the construction of this road; and do invest you with full power
and authority to carry out this important design into complete effect,
Government furnishing you with the necessary means to enable you to do so.

2. The number of artificers and labourers--namely, thirty--and the guard
of eight soldiers you have yourself already selected, or required, shall
be allowed and furnished to you forthwith for this service, and they shall
be supplied with a plentiful and adequate ration of provisions whilst
employed upon it.

3. Herewith you will receive a list of the number of artificers and
labourers allowed for this purpose, together with a scale on the back
thereof of the weekly ration of provisions they are to receive. You will
also receive herewith for your guidance copies of my letters addressed to
the Deputy Commissary-General on the subject of the provisions, stores,
tools, utensils, arms, ammunition, slops, and other necessaries to be
furnished from his depôt for this service, all of which will be forwarded
to you to the depôt established on Emu Plains forthwith, and which you
will be pleased to receive and take charge of on their arrival there,
placing such a guard over them as you may deem expedient, the sergeant
commanding the guard of soldiers being instructed to receive all his
orders from you for the guidance of himself and party, and for their
distribution. You will likewise receive herewith for your information
a general list, or schedule, of the provisions, stores, slops, tools,
implements, and other necessaries intended to be forwardal to you from
Sydney by the two separate conveyances or convoys, illeluding one horse,
two new carts (with harness), and two yokes of well-broken-in bullocks,
it being my intention to send off the first convoy from Sydney to-morrow
morning for Emu Plains, and the second convoy in a fortnight afterwards.

4. I am in hopes the provisions, tools, and other necessaries will arrive
on the banks of the Nepean in time to enable you to commence the
construction of the new intended road on Monday, the 18th inst.
Entertaining the fullest confidence in your zeal, knowledge, and abilities
for conducting and executing this service in the manner intended, it
becomes unnecessary for me to enter into any detail on the subject,
the more especially as you are already in full possession of my wishes
and sentiments, as communicated to you on our late conversation on this
head. Suffice it, therefore, for me to specify here a few of the principal
leading points necessary to direct your more particular attenticn to:--

Firstly: The road is to commence at. the ford (already determined on) on
the river Nepean, Emu Plains, and from thence across the Blue Mountains to
the Macquarie River, and a centrical part of Bathurst Plains, following
the track laid down by Mr. Evans' map, of which I have already furnished
you with a copy. But in case you should, upon further examination of the
track he followed, find it advisable to inake any occasional deviations
therefrom, you have my full permission to do so.

Secondly: The road thus made must be at least 12 ft. wide, so as to permit
two carts or other wheel carriages to pass each other with ease. The
timber in forest ground to be cut down and cleared away 20 ft. wide,
grubbing up the stumps and filling up the holes, so that a four-wheel
carriage or cart may pass without difficulty or danger.

Thirdly: In brush ground it is to be cut 20 ft. wide and grubbed up
12 ft. wide. Any small bridges that may be found requisite to be made
must be 12 ft. wide. I conceive this to be a sufficient width for the
proposed road at present; but where it can with ease and convenience be
done, I should prefer the road to be made 16 ft. wide.

Fourthly: You will use your own discreation in establishing one or two
more depôts for provisions, according as you may find them necessary,
after you have once crossed the Blue Mountains and descended into the
plain country, taking care to establish such depôts, however, in such
places as affords plenty of good, wholesome water for man and beast.
Whatever extra expense you may incur in constructing these depôts will
be paid from the Colonial Police Fund, and also the amount of such slops,
stores, or other articles as you may find it necessary to supply the
working party with for their use and comfort during the time they are
employed on this service.

5. I have now only to add that I shall at all times be happy to hear
from you during the progress of the service you have thus been so good
as to offer to see executed; and I shall most readily comply with any
demands for provisions, stores, or tools you may have occasion to make
during the continuance of it: having an entire confidence in your
discretion and prudence, and being convinced that you will not make
any demands that are not essentially requisite for promoting the present

6. As it might prove of very great inconvenience, expense, and trouble
to you personally, and greatly interrupt and disturb the working party,
if the people, from motives of curiosity, were permitted to visit you
or your party during the time you and thay are employed on the present
service, I have deemed it advisable to issue a Government and general
order prohibiting such idlers from visiting you, or crossing the Nepean
at Emu Plains, without a pass signed by me. I enclose you herewith some
few printed copies of this order, which I request you will have posted up
at proper censpicuous places, and give the necessary order to your guard
and to your constable to see it strictly enforced.

I remain with regard, Sir,
Your most obedient and humble servant,
Governor-in-Chief of N.S.W.

To WILLIAM Cox, Esq.



Journal kept by Mr. W. Cox in making a road across the Blue Mountains
from Emu Plains to a new couutry discovered by Mr. Evans to the westward.


July 7.

After holding conversation with his Excellency the Governor at Sydney
relative to the expedition, I took leave of him this day.

July 11.

Began converting a cart into a caravan, to sleep in, as well as to take
my own personal luggage, which was completed on the 16th.

July 17.

Left Clarendon at 9 a.m.; arrived at Captain Woodruff's farm at noon. The
carts from Richmond arrived at 2 p.m., and at 4 the two carts and waggon
arrived from Sydney with provisions, slops, tools, etc. Mustered the
people, and issued bread to them.

July 18.

At daylight gave out the tools to handle and put in order. Issued half a
week's provisions to the whole party. Began work at 10 a.m. to make a
pass across the Nepean River; the banks very steep on the east side. In
the afternoon issued to the workmen a suit of slops, and a blanket to
each man (thirty in number). In examining the slops, two pairs shoes and
three pairs trousers were deficient. Gorman, who had charge, states the
case had been broken open when he took it out of the Parramatta store.
Wrote to his Excellency the Governor for additional bullocks and some
small articles of tools. Weather fine, clear, and frosty.

July 19.

Tuesday. Finished the road down the right bank of the river. The swamp
oak on Emu side very hard to cut and root. In the afternoon began our
operations on Emu Plains. A complaint being made of the pork, which was
issued at 6 lb. pieces, were very deficient. I examined the Commissary's
return, which stated there were 53 6 lb. pieces in each cask. Counted the
remaining, and found 51 left. Examined the mess book, and found 18 pieces
had been issued, making 69 in all, instead of 53. Weighed the 51 pieces,
and they weighed 24 lb. over 4 lb. pieces quite, with brine and salt.
Ordered Gorman to issue the remainder as 4 lb. pieces until further

July 20.

Sent the 'smith to Field's to make four new axes and steel two of the
English ones. Gave him 20 lb. of iron and 4 lb. of steel. Fine, dry

July 21.

The 'smith completed laying the axes, and steeled five others. Much
trouble to-day with the axes; the timber being hard, they all turned.
Kept the grindstone constantly going. Made good progress on Emu Plains;
the men worked very well. Weather clear and frosty.

July 22.

The 'smith steeled two more axes, and made nails of one. The working gangs
removed two miles to the south-west on Emu Plains. Wind very high in the
afternoon. One of the fellers, W. Lonain, received a hurt in the face and
shoulder through the limb of a tree falling on him. Hard frost and clear.

July 23.

Hard frost and clear weather. Sent all provisions, tools, etc., to a hut
on the lett bank of the river, which hut is fitted up to receive our
provisions as they arrive from Sydney. Gave the blacksmith the tools,
iron, steel, etc. Lonain, who was hurt yesterday, much better. I wrote to
the Governor for two men's pit-saws, iron, and steel. Examined the ground
leading from Emu Plains, and fixed on the spot to cross the creek at, as
well as one to begin ascending the mountain. The soldiers with Gorman and
Kelly all went for Emu Plains to-day.

July 24.

Examined the ground and marked the road from the creek to the
first depôt (with Lewis). Gave a pound of tobacco to Field for a lot of
cabbage, which I gave to the workmen. Purchased 4 cwt. 1 qr. of bran for
myself, which I forwarded to the depôt, at 10s per cwt., delivered at
Martin's. The workmen exerted themselves during the week, much to my

July 25.

Finished a crossing-place over the creek, and worked from the creek to
the crossing-place where you ascend the mountain. Sent the two carpenters
to the depôt to build a tent-hut, and put in order the depôt fit for the
receipt of the provisions, etc. Cloudy weather, but dry.

July 26.

Made a complete crossing-place from the end of Emu Plains to the foot of
the mountains, and began to work up them. The ascent is steep; the soil
very rough and stony; the timber chiefly ironbark. Sent the stonemason to
the depôt to build or line the chimney, as also the 'smith to put up
his forge. Sent the superintendent with a man to mark the road from the
depôt through the bush to the next forest ground, a distance of about
five miles. Ordered the corporal and soldiers to prepare to remove in the
morning from the bank of the river to the depôt, with a cartload of
provisions, and there to remain until further orders.

July 27.

Removed the soldiers and provisions from the river to the depôt.
Worked up the mountain; measured the ground from the ford in the river to
the creek leading from Emu Plains to the mountain, three miles; marked
the trees at the end of each mile, at the left side of the road. Removed
my caravan from the river to the depôt on the mountain, a distance of
five and three-quarter miles and slept there the first night.

July 28.

Went to Clarendon, and left R. Lewis in charge.

August 1.

Left Clarendon at 10 a.m., and arrived at the depôt at 2 p.m.
Found the road completed to the said depôt, much to my satisfaction.

August 2.

The workmen go on with much cheerfulness, and do their work well.
Gave them a quantity of cabbage as a present. After dinner I gave
directions to Lewis to inform Burne he was to take the three forward
fellers to fire-making. Soon after he came to me and said he would not
receive any orders from Lewis, but would obey any I gave him, on wnich I
told him I should send any orders I had to give to him by whom I pleased.
He went away, but soon returned again, and said he would leave, on which
I ordered the constable to receive his gun and ammunition, and he went
away. Ordered him to be struck off the stores, and informed the party he
was discharged from being a superintendent under me, and had nothing more
to do with me or them.

August 3.

Sent the two working gangs, with their bedding, etc., two miles
ahead. Heard the report of a gun. and soon after heard the chattering of
natives, on which they returned and reported the same. Gave notice to the
sergeant to provide a corporal and three men to go forward and take up
their quarters with the working men. The second pork cask being issued, I
found it to contain 74 pieces, on which I had the third cask opened, and
the pieces counted by the sergeant and Gorman in my presence. It also
contained 74 pieces. Brought the remaining provisions from Emu Plains,
and had the store completed, with a lock on the door, etc. The weather
fine. Cleared the roads to the entrance to a thick brush two and a-half
miles ahead.

August 4.

Removed the depôt to seven and a-half miles forward, as also the
corporal and three privates. Lewis got leave to go to Richmond and
return again on Sunday next. The men at work in a very thick, troublesome
brush. A fine day, but close. The wind in the evening got round to the

August 5.

Timber both thick and heavy, with a thick, strong brush, the
roots of which are very hard to grub up, making it altogether extremely
hard work.

August 6.

Timber and scrub brush the same as yesterday, but got through it
this evening, and measured the new road and found we had completed nine
miles. Marked the trees at the end of each mile. Went forward, and found
a good-sized piece of forest land, with good water, to the right of an
intended road about one and a-quarter mile ahead. The men all healthy
and cheerful. Mr. Hobby joined me last evening. The people all moved
forward to the end of nine miles.

August 7.

Removed to the nine miles on the road. I sent a man from last
camp to the depôt to draw their rations. Wrote to his Excellency the

August 8.

Timber and brush very heavy and thick from the ninth to tenth
mile. Thos. Kendall ill, unable to work. Mr. Hobby, with R. Lewis, went
forward with John Tye about four miles, and marked the trees. Two natives
from Richmond joined us; one shot a kangaroo.

August 9.

Fine weather continues. Good water at seven and a-half miles to
the right of the road; about eight and a-half to the left of the road;
ditto at four and a-half to left. Good forest ground down in the valley
at four and a-half miles to the right. Mr. Evans came to us just before

August 10.

Mr. Evans left us for Sydney at 2 p.m. Removed forward to four and
a-half miles. The workmen remain a little behind us. Kendall somewhat
better, and undertook the cooking for his mess.

August 11.

Clear weather. The wind very strong from the west, made it dangerous
in falling the timber, which is both heavy and thick. Workmen
removed 10½ miles. Water to the right of road. The 'smith set up his forge;
employed in repairing tools. Mr. HobDy, with Lewis and Tye, went forward
six miles and marked the road for the fellers. Gave the people a quantity
of cabbage.

August 12.

Mr. Hobby went to Castlereagh. Fine weather, with cold wind. Gorman
reported there was not any meat or sugar, and that he had only 14
4 lb. pieces left in store, and no sugar.

August 13.

At daylight sent Lewis to the depôt with a letter to Mrs. Cox
to send me out immediately 300 lb. of beef to serve to the people in lieu
of salt pork. Gave orders to the corporal to send Private Ashford to the
depôt, and for Sergeant Bounds to send me Carrol in lieu of him. The
former being ill and unfit for the advance party, he has not done any
duty this week past. Measured 11 miles this morning, and this evening
got through the brush ground, which has given us very hard work since
leaving the depôt, the timber being heavy and the brush strong. Gave
orders to all hands to remove forward to-morrow morning to the forest
ground, about half-a-mile ahead of our work.

August 14.

Removed to the forest ground. Sent Lewis with a letter for the
Governor, informing him we were without meat or sugar.

August 15.

Fine morning, and, being out of the brush, had six fellers at
work. At 9 a.m. arrived a cart from Clarendon with a side of beef 386
lb., 60 cabbages, two bags of corn, etc., for the men.

August 16.

Fire-making on the 12-mile ridge. Timber very heavy, thick, and
long; extremely troublesome to get rid of. Having no sugar, borrowed 40
lb. from Mr. Hobby, and I gave 1 lb. to each man.

August 17.

Removed forward to a hill ahead of the workmen. Water at 11½ miles
to the left; ditto 12 to the right; ditto 12½ to the left; ditto 13½
to the right. At the three first places in very small quantities; at the
latter plenty, with a place fit to drive stock to water. The timber on
the forest from 11½ miles to 13 very tall and thick. Measured a dead tree
which we felled that was 81 ft. to the first branch, and a blood tree
15 ft. 6 in. in circumference. There is some good stringy bark timber
in this forest ground.

August 18.

Wind very high the last two nights, and this evening stormy,
but the wind blew off the rain. Measured the 13th mile this evening, and
just entered a scrub with stunted timber. Mr. Hobby returned this day. Got 2
lb. of shoemakers' thread from Clarendon, and put Headman, one of our
men, to repair shoes during the week. The 'smith employed this week in
making and repairing tools and nails for the men's shoes. The stonemason
went forward to examine a rocky ridge about three miles ahead, and on
Monday next he will go there to work to level them.

August 19.

At 7 a.m. left the party for Clarendon. Mr. Hobby and Lewis
left in charge. Stephen Parker ran a splinter in joint under his ankle;
unable to work.

August 26.

At 10 a.m. arrived at Martin's, where I found the sergeant of
the party, he having died the day before. Sent to Windsor to the sergeant
commanding there for a coffin and party to bury him at Castlereagh, but
Sergeant Ray sent for the corpse to bring it to Windsor. Wrote to the
Governor for another sergeant, and sent back Corporal Harris to the depôt,
there to remain until relieved. Called at the first depôt at 12; ordered
a cask of pork to be opened; counted the pieces in the presence of Gorman,
my son Henry, and a soldier; it contained 75 pieces. Arrived at the
working party at 2 p.m. Found Mr. Hobby well. The road finished during
my absence. Done well. Lewis left the party on Monday last, very ill of
a sore throat.

August 27.

Measured to the 16th mile, immediately after which the ground got very
rocky, and in half-a-mile we came to a high mountain, which will cost
much labour to make a road over. Got two natives, who promise to continue
with us--Joe from Mulgoa and Coley from Richmond.

August 28.

Rernoved, with all the people, to a little forward of the 16th mile.
(Lewis returned.)

August 29.

Commenced operations on the mountain, with all the men. Continued the
same on Tuesday, except with the fellers, who went forward on the
next ridge. Had to remove an immense quantity of rock, both in going up
the mountain and on the pass leading to the bluff on the west of it.
Examined the high rocks well, and fixed on making a road off it from the
bluff instead of winding round it. Began cutting timber and splitting
stuff to frame the road on the rock to the ridge below it, about 2Oft. in
depth. The men worked extremely hard and smart to-day.

Sam. Davis, splinter in his hand.
Thos. Kendall, ill from bad cold.
Step. Parker, from sick list to work again.

August 31.

All hands employed at the bridge.

September 1.

Retained eight men to work at the bridge. Sent the rest forward
road-making. Sent back Walters' bullocks to Emu, and received Myers'

September 3.

Augmented the men at work on the pass at the bridge to 10, both
yesterday and to-day. The road finished to Caley's heap of stones,
17¾ miles.

September 4 (Sunday).

Removed forward to the bridge the working road gang. Removed
forward to Caley's pile. No water for stock near the bridge, nor
a blade of grass. The water we get is near a mile distant, and that in a
tremendous gulley to the right. Went forward to Caley's pile, and from
thence up the rock to Evans' cave you get a view of the country from
north-west round to south-west as far as the eye can carry you. From
hence the land to the west is still higher. The country to the northwards
appears extremely hilly, with nothing but timber and rocks. To the east
there appears much level country. Windsor and various parts of cleared
land is seen from this.

September 5.

Davis returned to labour; Kendall to cooking. Appledon ill; splinter
in the foot. Set the following persons to the pass and bridge:--Two
carpenters, two sawyers, two quarrymen, two cutting timber, and two
labourers. 'Smith employed mending tools and making shoe-nails.
Shoemaker mending and nailing shoes. The remainder of the men
employed in road-making forward, under the direction of Mr. Hobby
and R. Lewis. J. Tye got a week's leave on Friday last to go to
Windsor. Sent a soldier on Thursday last to the Governor for blocks,
augurs, and irons, etc.

September 6.

All hands employed as before. One extra man brought back to assist at
the bridge and pass. Soldier returned from Sydney.

September 8.

Men at work as yesterday. The wind has been very high and cold from
the west since Sunday last, and last night it blew a perfect
hurricane. Saw a few flying showers yesterday, but we got scarcely any
rain, and it appears the wind will carry it away. The country about here
very barren. No kangaroos to be seen. Shot one pheasant, with tail
complete; shot two others without tail, It appears to be too early in the
season for them, as their tails are just shooting, and others not at full
length. Scarcely any small birds to be seen.

September 9 and 10.

Workmen employed as before. The bridge rises very fast, and the quarrymen
well on with the stonework.

September 11 (Sunday).

Went three miles forward to examine the road with Mr. Hobby and Lewis.
From the bridge it continues rocky over two or three small passes to
Caley's pile; from thence, at least two miles further, the mountain is
nearly a solid rock. At places high broken rocks; at others, very hanging
or shelving, which makes it impossible to make a level, good road.
The more the road is used the better it will be.

September 12.

No person on sick list. Continued with 10 men to get on at the
bridge and pass until Thursday, when it was completed all but the
hand-rails and battening the planks. Gave orders for six men to pack up
and go forward in the morning, leaving to complete the bridge two sawyers
and two carpenters, which they expect they will complete in three or four
days. Sent forward part of our heavy luggage, and intend removing
myself to-morrow. Issued a pair of strong shoes to each man. The bridge
we have completed is 80 ft. long, 15 ft. wide at one end and 12 ft. at
the other; 35 ft. of it is planked, the remainder filled up with stones.
The face from the bluff end of the rock was about 20 ft. before we began
to work. At the left there is a side wall cut from the solid rock. At the
right, where the ground is lower, we have put up a rough stone wall about
100 ft. long, which makes the pass to the bridge quite a lane. It is
steep from the top of the mountain quite to the lower end of the bridge,
a distance altogether of about 400 ft. The bridge and pass have cost me
tne labour of 12 men for three weeks, which time they worked very hard
and cheerful. It is now complete--a strong, solid bridge, and will, I have
no doubt, he reckoned a good-looking one by travellers that pass through
the mountain.

September 13.

Removed forward; found the road completed to 21 miles. At the
latter end of this the ground was completely covered with gum roots.
Was obliged to turn all hands to grubbing and finishing the road, and
with very hard labour nearly completed the 22nd mile by Saturday night.

September 15 (Sunday).

Went forward to examine the road about three miles ahead. Got on very
high ground. The greater part of the scrub burnt here last summer, and
the trees also much burnt.

September 16.

Moved forward, ahead of the cleared road. Went as far as the
fire-makers had finished. Shot several small new birds the last week, and
also a young cockatoo, quite mottled or cuckoo colour.[A small cuckoo
called Gang-gang; the head of male bird pink.] There was one old
one and three young ones in company, which are the only ones we have seen
of the sort. Ordered Angus to bring forward a load of provisions on
Wednesday next. Kept a strong party at the grub hoe.

September 17 to 24.

Kept all hands at road-making, and they did a very good week's
work, having completed four miles of good road this week. Removed
on Saturday to the 26 mile, being just at the foot of a steep
mountain. Examined it well, and found it too steep to ascend in a
straight direction.

September 25 (Sunday).

Went up the mountain; examined it, and fixed on the way to make a
winding road up. This is the highest mountain on the whole range we
cross. From it Windsor houses, etc., are distinctly visible, as are the
wheatfields, farmhouses, etc. There is a river running to the east
about a mile south of this, the banks of which are so high and steep it
is not possible to get down. This river empties itself into the Nepean
about four miles higher up than Emu Plains. Went forward to fix on a
site for a second depôt.[Cox's River, emptying into the Wollondilly,
about 20 miles above Emu Plains.] Chose one about two miles ahead,
close to a stream of excellent water. We have found much greater
quantities of water these last six miles than we did before, and all very

September 26.

Sent forward two sawyers and two other men to procure the necessary
timber, etc., for the second depôt. Set 10 men to work making the
road up the mountain. The remainder at work as usual road-making.
Sent T. Randall to the Windsor Hospital, sick. P. Handrigan ill with a
bad sprained ankle.

September 27.

Finished the road up the mountain this evening. Made a very good
job of it (cost 10 men two days). The ground extremely rough and
rocky for about a mile between the hign mountain and second depôt.

September 28.

Worked at the road forward to the second depôt, where we removed
on Thursday morning. The rocky ground we had to pass over was
very troublesome, being obliged to turn out of the road a very large
quantity of stone, it being too hard to break with sledge-hammers.

October 1.

Began on Friday to put up the building for the second depôt. The
situation is very pleasant, being on a ridge high enough in the front
(which is due east) to overlook the standing timber altogether, and at
the back there is a considerable quantity of ground without a tree, and a
rivulet of fine spring water running through it. On this ground there is
the grass tree and other coarse food, which the bullocks eat and fill
themselves pretty well. The building for the store is 17 x 12, with 3 ft.
sides, gable-ended, all weatherboards, and a door on the east end. Got
well on with it this evening; finished on the 8th inst. Cost me eight
men, six days. It is just 28 miles from Emu ford. [The site of the
old Weatherboard Inn, now Wentworth Falls.]

October 3.

Sick list: Handrigan, Lowe, sprained ankle. Several men have bad
colds, but none laid up. Sawyers, carpenters, and 'smith are at work
at the depôt. The remainder gone forward, road-making. Went forward to
see the workmen. At the 29th mile is a very handsome long reach, quite
straight, which I call, from the layer of it out, "Hobby's Reach."
Finished the road this evening to the 30th mile. The carpenters getting
well on with the depôt. Nothing left to he done but weather-boarding part
of the roof. Sent Walters to the first depôt to bring forward the
sergeant and Gorman to the second depôt. Gave charge of all the bullocks
to Walters, and ordered Cryer to labour for his bad management and
inattention to the bullocks. There are many large emmets, or ant-hills,
in this part of the mountain. I measured one at the 26 miles, of a
sugarloaf shape; it was 6 ft. high, and 20 ft. round at the bottom.
S. Parker laid up with a cold today. The blacksmith employed in steeling
axes and grub hoes, and repairing tools; at other times making nails for
the second depôt. At 5 p.m. my servant arrived with horses from Clarendon,
and to-morrow morning at 7 o'clock intend returning there, leaving the
party under the direction of Mr. Hobby and R. Lewis. Wrote to the Governor
to inform him of my going, stating to him my arrangements, etc.,
I had made.

October 22.

Having made my arrangements, etc., at Clarendon and Mulgoa with
respect to my sheep and ensuing harvest, and attended his Excellency
the Governor at the muster, I left Clarendon on Saturday afternoon in a
single horse chaise, and slept at Castlereagh.

October 23 (Sunday).

At half-past 5 this morning left Rev. Mr. Fulton's. Remained two
hours at the first and second depôts to examine the stores, and
make arrangements for forwarding the provisions, etc., for the
people; and at 6 p.m. came up with the working party at the 39th
mile, to which place the road was completed, having finished, during my
absence of two weeks and four days, nine miles. Found Mr. Hobby and all
the party in good health. On Monday morning Mr. H. returned in my chaise
to the Nepean for a week or 10 days, and for want of grass I also sent
back my saddle-horse, to Clarendon. On Sunday evening R. Lewis returned
from the end of the mountain, about 10 miles forward, having been with
three men to examine the mountain that leads down to the forest ground.
His report is that the descent is near half-a-mile down, and extremely
sharp; that it is scarceiy possible to make a road down; and that we
cannot get off the mountain to the north to make a road; that it appears
to him much more difficult, now he has examined the hill, to get down
than he was before aware of.

October 24.

Set all hands to work road-making, including blacksmith, carpenter,
stonemasons, etc;, being extremely anxious to get forward and
ascertain if we can descend the mountain to the south before we get to
the end of the ridge.

Tuesday and Wednesday the men continued the same work, and getting on
extremely well. Wrote to the Governor for a further supply of gunpowder,
to enable us to blow up the rocks in our way; as also rope and blocks, to
expedite us in building bridge and getting off the mountain.

Monday and Tuesday, wind at east, with cold showers.

Wednesday, at west, blowing very high and cold.

October 27.

Wind at east; very cold, with rain. All hands working only half a day.

October 28.

Removed forward to 42nd mile. Wind south, with constant rain. No work
done, except the cobbler mending shoes. Sent the cart back to the
second depôt for rations. Two other horse carts employed in bringing
forward provisions from first and second depôts, which they appear to
do very slowly. Heard nothing of the bullock cart belonging to Walters.

October 30 (Sunday).

Rain until about 5 o'clock in the evening. Wind at south-west. Blankets
belonging to the men very wet and uncomfortable.

October 31.

The weather appears to have broken up. All hands went to work at half-past
5 a.m. The men removed to the 44th mile this day. The high, short ridge
of mountains seen from Windsor was this day observed at 43¼ miles,
bearing north, 60deg. east, distant about eight miles. A table rock
seen by us from the rocks near Coley's pile to our right, and from all
high lands since, was observed to-day, bearing east-north-east,
distant about two miles. Two parties of natives are seen on the low
lands to the west. One within two miles of us; the other about six miles.

November 1.

Fair weather. Three persons sent to examine the mountain to the left,
to find a place to make a road down to the forest ground. Returned

November 2.

Fine morning. Thunder, with light showers. Sent three men again to
examine the descent of the mountain, and ascertained that there is no
other way but from the bluff originally marked. To-morrow I intend
going to survey it, as a road must be made to get off the mountain.

November 3.

At 6 this morning went forward with Lewis, Tye, and a soldier to
examine the mountain at the end of the ridge--four miles. Found it
much worse than I expected. It commences with going down steep between
immense large boulders, when it opens with a very steep gulley in front,
and towards the left it falls off so steep that it is with much
difficulty a person can get down at all. The whole front of the mountain
is covered with loose rock, at least two-thirds of the way down; and on
the right and left it is bounded both by steep gullies and rocks, so that
we cannot, by winding short to the left, get half length sufficient to
gain ground to get down without a number of circular turns both to right
and left, and in that case the hill is so very steep about half-a-mile
down that it is not possible to make a good road to go down and up again
without going to a very great expense. I have, therefore, made up my mind
to make such a road as a cart can go down empty or with a very light load
without a possibility of its being able to return with any sort of load
whatever; and such a road will also answer to drive stock down to the
forest ground. After getting down this said mountain, we got into very
pretty forest ground, and went as far as Blaxland's rivulet, about two
miles. The grass on it is generally of a good quality--some silky; some
hard, intermingled with rib grass, buttercup and thistle. Timber thin,
and kangaroos--plenty. In returning back, we had to clamber up the
mountain, and it completely knocked me up. It is a very great drawback to
the new country, as no produce can be brought from thence to headquarters,
except fat bullocks or sheep. The sheep also will be able to bring
their fleeces up, and be shorn on the mountains, or driven to the second
depôt for the purpose. In either case, waggons can fetch the wool.
Gorman came forward with a cartload of provisions. From him I learnt that
Walters had got some fresh Government bullocks at the first depôt, but
that he could not harness them--they were so wild. Sent another man down
to assist him. Also sent a man to bring up the remainder of the bullocks
that are unable to work from lameness or poverty, to get them down the
mountain, where there is good feed. The Government bullocks have not
carried a single load of anything for me since Sunday week last.
Made an agreement with Sergeant Minehan and another man for their horse
and cart to remain with us until we have performed the whole of our work,
and the sergeant went to the Hawkesbury for them. T. Tindall received
a hurt in his arm from the fall of a tree. Removed all hands this morning
to 45½ miles. Put up the forge for the blacksmith to repair all tools
for the Herculean mountain. Issued to all hands a gill of spirits.

November 4.

Sent three men to examine all the ridges and gullies to the
north, offering a reward if they found a better way down. All returned
unsuccessiul. Removed to 47 miles.

November 5.

Wind to the east; rain and cold. All hands employed on the road.
The blacksmith made eight pikes for self-defence against the natives.
Lewis and a party took the dogs down to tne forest ground. Killed a fine
kangaroo; weighs about 120 lb. Examined the big mountain, and fixed on
the spot where to begin on Monday, having given up all thoughts of
attempting it elsewhere. J. Manning sprained his ankle in bringing up
a keg of water from the rocks below. T. Raddick ill; believe it arises
from the wet weather. There is timber here, which appears to bear all
the property of the ash in its young state. It is easily transplanted,
as the sprouts are like the white thorn. It grows quickly, tall and
straight, bends to anything. When large it splits well, and will, I have
no doubt, make: very good hoops. In its appearance it is like the black
butt, but the leaves are unlike. The bark ties much better than stringy
bark. In falling the timber trees it cut remarkably free, and in order
to try it I cut a small one down, and quartered it, which I mean to send
to Clarendon and try them for light cart or chaise shafts.

November 6.

Rain in morning; began to clear up about noon. Received a letter from
the Government, dated 2nd. Sent S. Davis to Sydney with a letter to the
Governor at 2 p.m. to bring up powder and spirits.

November 7.

Mr. Hobby joined me this morning. At 6 a.m. went forward with
10 men to commence operations for a road down the mount. Light rain
and heavy fogs.

November 8.

Employed the same hands in the same manner. Light rain as
before. The men very wet and uncomfortable, their clothes and bedding
being also wet.

November 9.

Removed to the extreme end of the mountain with the whole of the
party. The rocks here are so lofty and undermined that the men will
be able to sleep dry, and keep their little clothing dry also, which is
what they have been unable to do this last fortnight. Left 12 men to
finish up the road; the rest employed with myself. Cold rain set in
about, noon. Wind S.W.

November 10.

Raining; cleared up at 9 o'clock. Got a good day's work done. Evening
fine and starlight.

November 11.

Rain commenced before daylight, and continued the whole day. Wind S. and
very cold. Sent T. Raddock to Windsor, being very ill. S. Freeman, the
carpenter, laid up with a cold and swollen face. Jas. Dwyer ill; pain
in side and breast. Sent two carts to the second depôt for provisions.
Sent three men with the dogs to catch kangaroos three times this week.
Brought one home every day. The bullock driver, with 11 bullocks joined
me yesterday. All they have done this last fortnight has been to bring
in one bag of biscuits from the first depôt to this place (43 miles).
Ordered the bullocks down the mountain to the forest ground, where I
intend letting them remain to recover themselves until we remove forward
towards the Fish River. One of them is quite blind. He got into the
gully going down, but we got him out to-day safe.

November 12.

Very fine day. Wind east and cold. Completed the road to the beginning
of the large mountain, which we have to descend to the forest ground.
Measured it up; it is 28 miles 50 chains. Continued to clear away the
timber and rubbish through the large rocks, and to the beginning of the
bluff end of the mountain. Two men on the sick list.

November 13.

Went down to the forest ground; from thence on to the rivulet, and
traced it to the river, about five miles down. Went one mile down the
river and came back on the high lands, exploring the best ground for a
road. The grass on the greater part of the land we went over to-day is
good. The timber thin. The ground is hilly, but sound; some parts near
the rivulet and river is rocky, but no iron stone, it being rather of a
sandy soil, and very good pasture for sheep. The ground on the other side
of the rivulet appears also to be equally good for feed, thinly timbered,
and very hilly, with good grass clear up to the rocks. The river runs
nearly east, and must, from its course, empty itself into the Nepean River.
The horse carts arrived to-day from the second depôt. They brought very
small loads indeed. Ordered two of the carts to go to-morrow to the first
depôt, and to return here again on Sunday next loaded. Saw the working
bullocks this morning. They are improving quite fast. Mustered the whole
of the tools, harness, &c.; found nearly all right. Ground the axes and
put the grub hoes and picks in order to begin to-morrow. Ordered Gorman
to issue 4 lbs. biscuit and 3 lbs. flour for each mess, instead of 6 lbs.
each, the biscuits running short, and being also too bulky to bring so
far, being 90 miles from head-quarters.

November 14.

Sick list: F. Dwyer, cold, pains in limbs; S. Freeman, cold and
swelled face; S. Crook, cold, bad eyes; V. Hanragan, cold, pains in
limbs; S. Walters, hurt by bullock. The extreme wet weather we had for a
fortnight before we arrived here has given most of the men colds, but as
they are now dry lodged, and, in addition to their large ration, have
fresh kangaroo at least three times a week, it is to be hoped they will
soon recover. So many men sick, and chiefly very useful ones, breaks in
on our working party much, and the continuous rain also prevents so much
work being done as I could wish. Fine morning; at noon thunder, with rain
and hail. Wind east; very cold. Steady rain all the evening. Got on
erecting the bridge at the beginning of the descent off the mountain, and
blowing up the rocks that are in the line of our intended road down to
the forest. Find is [sic] difficult work, and it will cost us much labour.

November 15.

Five men sick. Sent Mr. Hobby, with Lewis and Tye, to trace a ridge
that leads to the river a little below Blaxland's rivulet, it being
my wish to cross the river in preference to crossing the rivulet twice.
The report was favourable, but the water being too high they could
not cross. I intend going myself the first fine day I can leave the work.
Got on well with our work on the mountain. Fixed two large trees as side
pieces--one 45, the other 50 ft. long. Fine weather; wind east, thunder,
no rain.

November 16.

Dwyer and Cook returned to labour. Sullivan laid up, sick. Most
beautiful morning. Thunder at noon and in the evening, with showers.
Got a very good day's work done. The rocks cut extremely hard, and cost
us much labour. Sent Lewis and Tye back to the 37 miles to see a working
bullock left there three weeks since. Found it in so bad a state from
sore feet and unable to walk that they killed it.

November 17.

Sick list: Freeman, Walters, Sullivan. Fine day. Worked on the
front of the mountain. The ground extremely hard, and very large
rocks as we dig into it. Some we blow up, but the greater part we turn
out with long levers and crowbars. Kept six men cutting and blowing up
rocks, two splitting posts and rails, and it is as much as the 'smith can
do to keep their tools in order.

November 18.

Hard at work on the rocks this day. Kept our six pickaxes at work;
and W. Appledon (a sailor) fixed the blocks and tackle to trees,
and got a most capital purchase to turn out an immense large rock at the
side of the mountain in the way of our road, which he performed well. Two
men received slight hurts in doing it by one of the purchases slipping
(J. Tindall and T. Adams). This rock would have cost me at least 51b. of
powder to have blown it up. Two carts arrived with provisions, and
brought a supply of gunpowder and a keg of spirits.

November 19.

Sick list: S. Freeman, S. Walters, T. Davis, J. Finch, T. Adams,
J. Tindall. Fine morning. Work as on Friday. At 5 p.m. heavy thunder,
with hail and rain, continued about two hours. Sent the sergeant
with a two-horse cart to the second depôt to bring away Gorman and the
remainder of the stores. Discharged six men, with three carts and six
horses, from the mountain work, namely, J. Crowley, J. Toone, M. Bryan,
S. Stanley, S. Whitney, P. Hoddrigoddy.

November 20 (Sunday).

At 7 a.m. went with Mr. Hobby, Lewis, and Tye to examine the
rivulet, river, and ground as far as Blaxland's Mountain, to find
out the best passage across the water, as also to mark the road to
it. After going on different ridges and examining the crossing-places,
we got to the foot of the mountain at noon, where we remained an hour and
refreshed. Immediately after leaving it we crossed a small swamp to look
at another ridge, when my horse got stuck in a bog, and plunged until he
fell. I received no hurt, but got wet through. Pulled off my clothes,
wrung them, and left them in the sun an hour, when they were tolerably
dry. Crossed the lower rivulet on our return just at the junction, in
doing which Mr. Hobby's horse stumbled and threw him into the water,
which from the last heavy rains was quite rapid. Came from thence back
on the north side of the rivulet, and crossed three miles from thence up.
The ground on this side is better for feed than any we have seen. It is
extremely hilly; the timber thin; the ground perfectly sound, intermixed
in places with large loose rocks, and the sort of grass fit for cattle
and sheep. It is also very well watered, as stock can go to almost any
part of the rivulet to drink. The crossing-places over the river are
so encumbered with rock, and the access to it from the hilly ground on
each side so bad, that I did not fix on a crossing-place on it, but
intend having both rivulets well examined the ensuing week. Came back
at 6 p.m., completely knocked up from fatigue. Late in the evening
violent gusts of wind, with three or four hours' rain.

November 21.

Thick, misty morning. A11 hands at work on the mountain. At 10 a.m.
it began to thunder and rain. About noon it increased, and continued
the whole day, at times very heavy. Only four hours work done this
day. Issued to all hands yesterday afternoon a gill of spirits each.

November 22.

Thick, moist morning. The sick list reduced to one (S. Davis). All
hands again on the mountain. Light rain and heavy fogs during the
day, but the men continued out and did a good day's work. Turned out
a great number of very large rocks this day; blew up one. The ground as
we dig discovers many more rocks than we expected.

November 23.

Cloudy morning, with a very cold wind, east-south-east. Cleared up
at noon, and continued fine the rest of the day. T. Cook and
J. Ross sick. Sent two carts to Emu Plains, with three horses and the
sergeant and two men, to bring a load of flour from Martin's. Sent Gorman
with them, and he took six weeks' provisions for two of the soldiers that
are to be left at the first depôt. The other soldier ordered to return
here with the carts. Sent J. Tye, with a soldier and another man, to
re-mark the trees from the second rivulet to the Fish River, a distance
of about 20 miles from hence, and gave him directions to return by a
ridge of high land that bears, as we suppose, from within three miles of
the Fish River back to Mount Blaxland, it being my wish to make the road
on that line, if practicable. They took each a week's rations with them.

November 24.

Sick: T. Cook, J. Ross, J. Finch (pains in his back and limbs from
wet and cold). Close morning, but dry weather until 5 p.m., when it
mizzled, and continued so all the evening. Wind southeast, and cold. The
men did a very good day's work. Turned out of the road an immense
quantity of rock, which was handsomely veined, very like marble. The
bullocks having been missing since Sunday last, sent Lewis to look after
them. He returned, but could not find them. There is a handsome shrub
here, very like the laylock. It grows larger, but is a pretty flower. The
stems of them make good walking-sticks.

November 25.

Sick list as yesterday. Wet, drizzly morning. At 10 a.m. it rained
so hard as to break ofF the men from work. Took up a little again at
2 p.m. Turned out the men again, and continued to work until sunset.
Light rain all the afternoon. Harder rain in the evening. Wind
south-south-east. quite cold.

November 26.

Issued to all hands one pair of trousers each. The stone on the
mountain is uncommon hard, and flinty. Cuts extremely bad, and some
of it will not split. We have been fortunate in turning out very large
solid rocks 2 ft. thick without breaking them, and we have used but
little powder this week. Light rain the whole day. Wind east-south-east;
blowing very hard at times, and quite cold. The men kept out at work the
greater part of the day, but so much wet and for so long a time makes
them quite cheerless. The working bullocks not having been seen these 10
days, sent Lewis again after them, and found them up a valley three miles
away, east-north-east. Ordered the bullock driver to repair the harness,
and be prepared to set off with a strong team to-morrow for Emu Plains, to
bring us a load of provisions. Sick list as yesterday; Cook and Ross
getting better. Finch much worse. Carpenter got 100 posts split and 200
rails for fencing the road down the mountain.

November 27 (Sunday).

Heavy rain all night, and until 9 this morning, when it became lighter,
but continued raining until 1 o'clock, when it began to clear up.
Issued one pair of shoes to each man. German arrived at 8 this
morning with an account that Allen's horse was knocked up and returned
to Emu Plains, and that he did not expect. the other two horses
would bring more than two small casks of flour. Sent the bullock cart,
with two men and five bullocks, to Emu Plains for a load of provisions,
and ordered Gorman to see it safely loaded at Martin's. In this cart I
sent J. Finch, who was very ill, and anxious to return to the Nepean. At
5 p.m. J. Tye and his party returned from the Fish River. They brought
some fish with them, which proved to be rock cod, weighing about 5 lb.
each. They report the waters to be very high, and that it has rained
constantly from Wednesday evening until a few hours since, in consequence
of which they could not examine the ridge which I suppose leads towards
the river, but returned the same way they went, which is by no means
favourable for a road, on account of hills and valleys. During their
stay at the river they caught 10 fish, and state that had the water
not run so strong they would have caught as many as they pleased.
Quite a fine, clear evening.

November 28.

A clear, beautiful morning. All hands out at work at 5 o'clock. At 5 p.m.
turned cloudy, and we had a dirty evening, but got a good day's work done.
At noon the sergeant and Frost returned from Emu ford with their horses
and one cart, bringing two casks of flour, of 336 lb. each. Allen's
horse got stung by something, and was left behind. T. Adams sick;
has a strong fever on him. The stonemason completed the rock a little
below the bridge. It has cost us 10 blasts of powder and great labour to
get rid of it.

November 29.

A dirty morning. Got a tree 55 ft. long and 9 ft. in circumference by
the men in the woods into his place as a side piece below the bridge, and
joining the rock, which is the last we want for this job. Men stuck very
hard picking and grubbing the rocks and forming the road. Fine evening.

November 30.

A fine day; thunder at noon, but no rain. Men working as yesterday,
and got a very good day's work done. The rock picks extremely hard.
Sick list: T. Adams, P. Hanley, S. Parker, T. Watkins.

December 1.

Mr. Hobby and Lewis again examined the river to find a proper place
for a bridge that can be got at from a main ridge we discovered
about two miles from the valley below. They found two places and marked
back the best one they can find, according to the orders they last
evening received.

December 2.

Sent a soldier with letters, etc., to his Excellency the Governor.
At 2 p.m. Gorman came here from Emu Plains. Reports that he left one
bullock cart, with two casks of flour, at the 15-mile yesterday.
Also reports that there are two Government teams at Martin's, and, the
water being too high for them to cross at the ford, they refused to swim
the bullocks over to come here. with the provisions without a written
order from me. Sent down to the forest to get a Government horse.
They searched until night, but could not find it. Directed Gorman
to remain until the morning. Fine day. Work went on cheerily. Sick:
Parker, Hanley, Watkins, and Appledon.

December 3.

At daybreak sent the men to look after the horses; returned at 10,
without seeing them. Sent Gorman to Emu ford on foot, 50 miles, with
written order to have the bullocks swam across the Nepean and come
forward, and for him to return again as soon as he saw the carts loaded,
and as far as the first depôt. At 2 p.m. Tye and the soldier returned.
They report unfavourably, and say we cannot go on either of the ridges
pointed out, and that we must cross the valley by Blaxland's Mountain. A
fine day. Men worked extremely hard on the mountain to finish a road on
the second circle, to admit my caravan to come down to-morrow. Sick list:
Watkins and Appledon. Fowler, scurvy in his leg. Two men out all day to
look after the horses; returned unsuccessful.

December 4 (Sunday).

About 10 o'clock last night the bullock cart arrived from Emu ford,
bringing two large casks of flour and some odd tools that had been
left at the first and second depôts. In the absence of Gorman,
Mr. Hobby and Lewis issued the rations and delivered over the remainder
of the provisions in charge of the sergeant, with a written list, and
also ordered two soldiers to sleep under the rock where it is deposited.
At 10 a.m. removed the caravan and cart down to the valley at the
foot of the mountain. Took them down by men, the road not being
finished sufficient for horses or cattle to draw on it. At 2 p.m.
removed 18 chains forward to a valley about two miles where there is
water. The bullock cart took the provisions, etc., forward. At 3 p.m. the
horses were brought back by Sullivan and two others. They look very well.
Gave the promised reward--half-a-pint of spirits. Mr. Hobby and myself
immediately mounted and gave directions where the men are to begin
to-morrow, under the charge of Watson. He is to put on six fellers, six
fire-makers, and five cleaners up the road. Went on to the river, and
fixed on the spot to make the first bridge. There is a most beautiful
ridge, near three miles long, that leads direct to the spot. Could not
see any timber near the place fit for it. Issued to all hands a gill of
spirits each. In the evening wind shifted to the west. At 7 it began to
rain. At 8 it came on very heavy, and rained nearly all night.

December 5.

Very cold, windy morning, with light rain in showers. Put the
remainder of the men to work at the mountain, which I expect they will
complete by Saturday. Wrote to Rev. M. Cartwright to send two of the gaol
gang to cut and house Tindall's wheat (about three acres) at the Nepean.
He has a large family, and it is his all. He could not allow himself to
go in, as many others would fancy they were entitled to the same
indulgence. Went on to the fellers in the morning. The timber being thin,
they got on well. Attended the gang on the mountain in the afternoon.
Weather very cold. Wind west; showers of sleet and hail at 5 p.m.
At 8 thunder and lightning; no rain; and a fine, clear evening.

December 6.

Beautiful, clear morning. Brought a cask of pork and two bars of
iron down the mountain to carry forward. Removed after breakfast with
the caravan, horse, and bullock cart to the junction of the two
rivers, about six miles. Examined the river and rivulet up and
down, and fixed on a spot over each as being less trouble and more
convenient than making one bridge over the river, the obstacles to the
latter being more rocks on the ground between the river and high land,
and also the ascent up th hill is much steeper and worse ground for a
road Sent the bullock cart back to the mountain to bring a load of
provisions to-morrow. A fine day.

December 7.

Cloudy morning; wind south. At 11 a.m the bullock cart brought four
casks of flour from th mountain. Gorman came from Emu ford, and
brought a new chart from the Fish River to Bathurst Plains, with the
Governor's despatch6s. Brought word that the two Government carts were on
the road with provisions, and that they had taken the whole from Martin's
except two casks of pork. Directed the sergeant to go back to the second
depôt with a two-horse cart to-morrow morning for provisions, and also to
impress one of the Parramatta carts at the second depôt to bring a load
on to the mountain. Showers began at noon. At 6 p.m. rained heavily, and
continued all the evening.

December 8.

Heavy rain during the night, but a fine, clear morning. Sent 12
men making and bringing up the road from the mountain to the river,
under charge of Mr. Hobby. Left 12 men to finish the road down the
mountain, under charge of R. Lewis. J. Tye returned last evening, making
the road 10 miles ahead. Finished the road this evening from the mountain
to the river. Measured down the mountain to the valley to the 50th mile
from the ford. Here I drop this reckoning and commence from the 50th mile
to the west, and which is 5 miles 10 chains to the bridge on the east
branch of a river running to the east not yet named. A fine, clear day.

December 9.

Fine day; wind west. Afternoon hot and sultry. All hands employed
at the first bridge before breakfast. At 9 a.m. took all hands
to the second bridge, and before dinner got one of the side pieces, 45
ft. long, about 100 yards down the river, and fixed it in its place
without accident. The other side piece we got by falling a tree across
the river, about 60 ft. long, and that was also fixed. After dinner gave
all hands a gill of spirits. Several of the men appear to be inclined to
give in and shirk work, the greater part of whom, in my opinion, are
quite as well as myself. Gave them a reproof in earnest, which I expect
will make them all well by to-morrow. A cart arrived on the mountain
with stores.

December 10.

Fine day; wind west. Finished the bridge over the east branch, 22 ft.
long, 13 ft. wide. Carpenters, etc., made a good, strong job of it.
The working bullocks strayed, and not found till sunset. Sick:
P. Hanragan, J. Tindall, H. Morton. Ordered six married men to go back
to the mountain to finish the road down it to the valley. When done,
they are to he discharged--S. Parker, J. Ross, J. Tindall, P. Hanragan,
P. Marman, and J. Watkins. Also ordered J. Wilson to go forward on
Monday with nine others road-making.

December 11 (Sunday).

At 6 a.m. sent six men back to the mountain to complete the road.
At 7 sent 10 men forward to encamp at Blaxland's Mountain, under
Watson's charge. Set out on horseback, with Mr. Hobby and Lewis
(J. Tye and a soldier having previously gone), to go as far as the
Fish River to examine the ground for a road. After passing Mount Blaxland
we ascended a high ridge, and found it still continue to ascend until we
got extremely high. Continued on until noon, and found the ground very
unfavourable for a road, when I made up my mind to return by the route
Mr. Evans laid down on his chart; but, to my great surprise, found it
impracticable to make a road even for a horse. I, therefore, returned,
and examined all the ridges and valleys for several miles, and got back
at sunset extremely fatigued and much disappointed. The land between the
river and Mount Blaxland is very favourable for grazing--a light, sound
soil, and good sort of grass, thinly timbered, and well watered. This
appears a tract of about 10 miles long, and probably, on the average,
five miles wide, of good grazing ground. Westward it is not as good.
Again, the hills to the south I have not been on; those to the
north again become rocky. The hills to the west, north, and south are
extremely high and difficult of access, but in many of them the feed is
good to the highest part.

December 12.

Sick list: P. Heningham, J. Allen, H. Martin, and R. Hanley. Men
at work getting timber, etc., for the bridge, the greater part of
which we are obliged to get down the river by the men, six of whom were
in the water nearly all day. Gave these men a gill of spirits each. Got a
good day's work done. At 6 p.m. a violent thunderstorm, with wind,
lightning, and heavy rain, which lasted till 9 o'clock.

December 13.

Mr. Hobby went forward to Blaxland's Mountain to superintend the
10 men ahead in roadmaking. Got on well to-day with the work at the
bridge. Gave the men who worked in the water a gill of spirits.

December 14.

Yesterday afternoon a Parramatta cart and the sergeant's cart
brought forward the remainder of the provisions from the mountain,
leaving there two soldiers and the six men finishing the job. A fine day.
Men worked well at the bridge. The bullocks employed in drawing timber
for the bridge. Detained the Parramatta team and men, and put them on my
store until further orders. Ordered the three carts that I have to be
taken over the bridge at daylight, and also to get over casks of
provisions, to load them on that side the river (the bridge not
being finislied), and to proceed with their loads to Blaxland's Mountain,
under Gorman's charge, where Mr. Hobby's party is at work.

December 15.

Loaded the three carts, and sent them forward at 6 a.m. At 7 a.m.
went forward myself, and came up with the party at the 10-mile, to
which they had completed the road, except turning some rock out of it
after you ascend the hill at Blaxland's Mountain. Returned at 10, and
sent forward three men with crowbars, pickaxes, etc., to complete the
road, and remain with the party ahead. J. Allen very ill; ordered him
back from Mr. Hobby's party to mine. At 1 p.m. one of the party at the
mountain came to report they had finished their task. Sent Lewis back to
examine it, and found it completed. Gave them their discharge (six men),
and sent a cart with them as far as the Nepean, to carry their bedding. A
dull, heavy day, with light rain in the afternoon. Men worked well at the
bridge and causeway to it.

December 16.

Cloudy morning, with light rain; broke up at 2, and continued fine.
At 7 sent two bullock carts, with provisions, etc., under Gorman's
charge, to the party ahead. Sent the sergeant back to the mountain to
bring forward the tools, and also the two soldiers stationed there. At 2
p.m. finished the bridge over the west branch of the river, 45 ft. long,
14 ft. wide. It is a good, strong job. There is also a causeway on each
side to the high lands, which is filled up with stone and covered with
earth. One of the side pieces is an oak tree, with girth of 9 ft. at
least 6 ft. above where it was fallen, and was good 50 ft. long.
I never saw such a tree of that sort before. Sent the carpenter and five
men forward to join Mr. Hobby's party, and intend breaking up from here
to-morrow with the soldiers and remaining party. The carpenter worked
remarkably well while at this job.

December 17.

Loaded the two bullock carts, etc., at 6 a.m., and sent them forward
to Mr. Hobby's camp. Sent Lewis back to find the six bullocks we
had feeding in the valley near the mountain, and to bring them forward to
us. At 7 a.m. broke up quarters at the bridge, and joined Mr. Hobby at 9.
Measured up the work to the 12th mile (except two small bridges left to
make at 11½ miles), where we encamped. Began falling the timber with the
carpenter and two other men for these small bridges. Tasked the people
for next week's work, and selected 14 men to go forward road-making, the
remainder to be at my quarters. J. Allen continues very ill; the other
persons much recovered. At 6 p.m. a thunderstorm, with about an hour's

December 18.

At half-past 7 went forward on horseback to examine the road from
hence to the Fish River. Found the country very hilly and rocky in
many places. There are also two other small bridges to make before we get
there. Took Mr. Hobby, J. Tye, and three others with me; caught some
fish, and dined on the banks of the river. Fixed on the road, except going
up the hill, which must be avoided, if possible. Returned at 6 p.m.
It being a clear, fine day, we had fine views to the north and west from a
high hill. Saw some plains without timber to the west, but in general the
whole country around is extremely hilly, and apparently fair grazing
land. Lewis brought the bullocks forward to us this day.

December 19.

At work very hard on the bridges, and got on well. The day extremely
clear and hot. At 3 p.m. had a violent thunderstorm, with small
rain for about an hour. Evening fine again, though close and sultry.
Found a way to avoid the high hill we were over yesterday, and marked the
ground for a road.

December 20.

At 10 ordered the sergeant to take J. Allen, who continued to get
worse, back 25 miles, where there was another cart and horse to
relieve him. To my surprise, he made such frivolous objections as I did
not like, and when I went to know if he was getting ready, he said
neither his horse or himself had shoes; but if he was ordered, he must
go. I immediately ordered the Parramatta cart to return, and at 12 he set
off, taking the sick man, and J. Hoddy in charge of Allen, to see him
safe to the Nepean. Ordered the sergeant to be ready to set off in the
morning to the first depôt to relieve Corporal Harris, who is to come
here. A hot, sultry afternoon. At 6 had heavy thunder and lightning, but
no rain. Finished the woodwork of the largest bridge, and got on well
with the other; but in consequence of Kelly, our Parramatta bullock
driver, going in, sent forward to Mr. Hobby to send me two labourers back
this evening, to enable me to finish all here to-morrow. A very cloudy,
close evening, with lightning to the south-west; wind north all day.

December 21.

At 6 a.m. the sergeant went off to the first depôt with written
instructions for his guidance there. Finished both bridges this
afternoon, and removed all hands one mile and a-half on, where there is
another bridge to build. One of the bridges is 15 over, the other 10 ft.
There is a great deal of work done here by the spade, the ground being
very hanging and awkward. It is now a good job.

December 22.

Heavy thunder and lightning at 10 last night. Finished the bridge
this day by 3 o'clock. It is 12 ft., and well finished. Removed
one mile and a-half at 3, where we are brought up again by another run of
water. Set to work on a bridge, and got all the large timber in its place
before dark. Thunder, with showers, from 5 till dark. Had a fish brought
this evening of about 4 lb. from the river. Worked the bullocks very hard
yesterday and to-day, but am still behind-hand with getting our
provisions, tools, etc., forward. Wind west.

December 23.

Much thunder and lightning, with extreme heavy rain, from midnight till
3 o'clock. At 10 a.m. a Parramatta constable arrived here with the
Governor's despatches dated Tuesday evening. At noon, having finished
the bridge, removed about half-a-mile forward, and began another bridge.
At 4 p.m. it began to thunder again, and continued until night with
light showers. H. Morton received a hurt in his leg from a large
log. Wrote to the Governor by the constable who brought the despatches.
Bullocks brought four men from yesterday's camp to this. We are now
15½ miles. On account of the Parramatta team being sent in, we
are obliged to get the timber for the last six bridges by the men.

December 24.

Thick, misty morning; cleared up at 10, and continued fine the
whole day. Finished a very good bridge at 1 o'clock. Went on after
dinner half-a-mile, and began another bridge. This bridge required great
labour to fill it in with timber at the ends before the earth was put on,
as the ground was swampy from springs. The constable set off at 6 this
morning; the distance is 90 miles. Went forward this afternoon to
ascertain if I could get my caravan with safety to the Fish River, and
have given orders to strike tents and pack up in the morning. Sick list:
H. Morton, hurt in the leg; carpenter, very bad hands. T. French returned
yesterday from the Hawkesbury, and left his cart on the road, his horse
having knocked up. Bullocks brought two tons from the two bridge camps.

December 25 (Sunday).

Cloudy morning, with light rain until 9 o'clock. The Christmas Day
continued dull throughout, with a south wind. At 8 a.m., after serving
out the rations, went forward to the Fish River, and removed the
caravan and one cartload there, where I pitched my tent, leaving
three bridges to make and five miles of road. It being Christmas
Day, issued to the men a gill of spirits and a new shirt each.
Examined the river to find the best place to cross it, and fixed on
a spot about 10 chains below where Mr. Evans crossed. The timber appears
to be bad and scarce about here. Cannot find any for sawing. The land on
both sides of the river extremely hilly, and awkward for road-making.

December 26.

Cloudy morning, with a south wind. At 8 a.m. sent T. Frost to
Clarendon for a good cart horse, to prevent delay after we cross the
river. Brought four men forward to get the materials for the bridge. Also
put up the forge, to repair the tools, they being much out of order. The
remainder left behind. Afternoon cold, with showers.

December 27.

Cloudy morning; wind east-south-east. Quite cold, which prevented
our catching any fish during the day. At 9 a.m. crossed the river
for the first time with Mr. Hobby, J. Tye, and a soldier and one
man to look at the ground a few miles to the west over the hills, to
ascertain the best place for a road. Went over the hills, bearing to the
south of west, and found it favourable for road-making. Continued going
west until we came to a valley bearing north-west, where the grass was so
good that I followed it till we came to the river in about an hour. The
grass in this valley was the best and thickest on the ground I have
yet seen in this colony. We made the river at a spot where a small stream
falls into it from north-north-east, about two miles below Evans'
Mountain, to the west. During our journey this day we saw six kangaroos,
a flock of 11 emus, wild ducks and pigeons, but for want of dogs killed
none. At 6 p.m. returned, and reached the river quite tired.

December 28.

Cloudy, unsettled morning; Wind east-south-east, and cold. Sent
two soldiers to mark some trees across the river on a ridge to the
west that I saw yesterday. The two carpenters came forward this morning,
having finished the last bridge on the road from the mountain to this
place (10 in number). Lewis reports the men getting on well at the road,
but that they will not complete it to this place before Saturday. Gave
directions for a party to be ready to go on a few days' journey to-morrow
by 2 p.m. with me to Campbell's River, consisting of Mr. Hobby, Lewis,
Tye, Watson, and two soldiers. The distance down the river is 40 miles;
in a direct line west, about 21 miles.

December 29.

A fine morning, which the birds seem most to enjoy on the banks of
the river. The shrubs and flowers also are extremely fragrant. Left
six men preparing materials for the bridge across the main river.
The remainder at work bringing up the road. Gorman came forward this
morning at 10 o'clock with the small stores, etc., and has charge here
during my absence. Sent two soldiers as a guard. The party going forward
are all preparing, and are to cross the river at 12 precisely. Wrote
to his Excellency the Governor with the proceedings down to this period,
but shall not send it away until my return from the western excursion.


January 1.

On Thursday, at noon, crossed the river, and after proceeding up
the hill bent our course west as near as the land would allow. At
half-past 1 made Emu Valley. We here started six kangaroos, killed
two, and stopped an hour. At three and a-half got to very fine
grazing ground. In 20 minutes after crossed Sidmouth Valley, a most
beautiful one; then over the hills, west, until 5, when we came to
a dry creek. This ground about three miles over is very fine. Steered
north-north-west, and in three-quarters of an hour made a ford on the
river, about seven miles due west from our crossing-place, where we
remained for the night. Started a kangaroo half-a-mile before we got in,
which we killed. At half-past 4, Friday morning, started steering due
west. At 6 crossed O'Connell's Plains, and at 7 stopped on a point of
the river to breakfast. Saw six or eight wild turkeys, and as
many kangaroos; one of the latter we killed. At 9 set off again
west-north-west, about three miles; then north-north-west, soon after
which, seeing Macquarie Plains, we went down to it on our right, and
followed the course of the river about three miles until we came to
the point where the Macquarie and Campbell's rivers unite, at 11.30,
where we sat down for the day. In the afternoon of yesterday crossed
Campbell's River, about three miles. Found it very good pasture for
sheep and cattle. On Saturday morning, at 4.30, started again, and
went about two miles up Campbell's River; then steered due east,
until 11 o'clock, witnout halting. Here meeting with water in a creek,
we stopped to refresh, and remained until 1, when my compass being
out of order we made our way by the hills and sun, and arrived at our old
encampment at 6.30, having been the whole length from Macquarie River
up to where we are building a bridge in the day. The day was cold,
with wind from east. No foot men could have performed it in the day.
During these three days' travelling we passed over a great quantity
of most excellent pasturage. Fine, dry, healthy hills, gravelly soil,
and good grass, and so thinly timbered, that it resembled parks in
England rather than a forest. There are few gullies and no swamps,
but the hills passed gradually into fine valleys, some of which have
fine grass in them. At Sidinouth Valley I never saw finer grass, or more
on the same quantity of land in a meadow in England than there was here,
and just in a fit state for mowing. The whole of the line, about 20 miles
due west, would make most excellent grazing farms, with the river in front
and the back on east and west line. This is the south side of the Fish
River I am describing. On the north side I have not yet been, but I see
there are some good farms to be had there. Ordered a bullock to be
killed for the use of the people, which I had issued to them in lieu
of giving them a ration of salt pork, It ran to about 12 lbs. a man.
Some fish have also been caught this week, and when the men were mustered
this morning they were extremely clean, and looked cheerful and hearty.

January 2.

Sent a soldier off with letters to the Governor and Commissary, and in
the afternoon received letters from the Governor and Clarendon. Sent
Lewis, Watson, and cart to ascertain if a better place could not be found
to make a road than the high hill in our front. Returned unsuccessful.
Mr. Hobby measured the road up to this place; it is 21 miles from the

January 3.

Went with Mr. Hobby up the south side of the Fish River, about four
miles. The land got hilly, and falls more into gullies than lower down.
It is also scrubby in places, and more timber on it, and altogether not
so good as lower down. There is room for two or three good grazing farms
on the front of the river from the bridge upwards. The men finished
filling in the piers at each end of the bridge, and a gang of 10 men
ordered to begin road-making to-morrow morning. In the afternoon went
over the hill in our front, and made considerable alterations in our
line of road. Got all the split logs brought in for the bridge. They are
very good, heavy logs, well split. Brought some of them three miles. The
cobbler finished mending the men's shoes again.

January 4.

At 8 a.m. went with Mr. Hobby, Tye, and two soldiers to Emu Valley,
to mark the intended line of road from thence to Sidmouth Valley.
Returned at 4.30, having marked very good ground for road-making. We also
traced down the rich valley. There are about two miles of it equally good
as where we cross, when it falls into a creek that goes to the Fish River
about north-north-west; distance, one mile and a-half. Much disappointed
at not receiving the Parramatta cart with provisions this evening.
Removed the gang of 12 men forward to Emu Valley this evening, three
miles. 'Smith employed repairing the tools, shoeing our horses, etc., as
it is not my intention to put up the forge again until we arrive at
Bathurst Plains. The carpenters getting on very well with the bridge over
the river, as also a small one over a creek near it.

January 5.

About midnight I was taken violently ill with excruciating pains
just above my left hip. In about two hours it became easier, when I
got into a perspiration and slept a little. Was in considerable pain
until about 9, when I again dozed, and got up at 11 considerably better.
Removed three soldiers and J. Tye forward to Sidmouth Valley, about seven
miles, this morning. Finished the bridge over the Fish River this
evening. It is a strong and well-built one. On each end is a pier of 25
ft., which is well filled up with stone, and a very little earth over it.
The span across is 25 ft. more, which is planked with split logs; and as
floods will go over it, there is no earth put on top. It is altogether 75
ft. long and 16 ft. wide. There is also another small bridge 10 ft. long
across a creek leading to it, which is also completed this evening,
and we remove to-morrow morning.

January 6.

At 8 a.m. crossed the river over the new bridge with the caravan and two
carts, as also our horses, and went as far as Sidmouth Valley. Measured
the road; it is seven miles from the bridge and 28 from the mountain,
which last reckoning I intend to keep until we arrive at Mount Pleasant,
on Bathurst Plains. In the afternoon marked the trees for our road from
the valley to the next creek, where we have a bridge to build, as also
one in the valley.

January 7.

1t began to thunder at daybreak, and to rain at 5.30. Continued
with little intermission until 2 p.m., when it cleared up. Ordered
the whole of the men forward to a creek about two miles ahead this
evening, and rode up to the head of Sidmouth Valley, about two miles.
Returned by the hills, which are very fine. An emu and kangaroo passed
quietly along. The valley in our front to-day.

Here the diary ends abruptly.

The party consisted of 28 men and six soldiers.

Memo. for watering and feeding stock:--

1st.--Nepean River to Emu Island, both grass and water.

2nd.--Five to six miles, grass and water at first depôt (Blaxland).

3rd.--Nine and a-half miles, grass and water in a valley to the right of
the road, about a quarter of a mile; entrance to it between two rocks
(The Valley).

4th.--Eleven and a-half to thirteen miles is forest land, and at 12 miles
good water to the right of the road (Springwood).

5th.--Fifteen and a-half miles, water to the right, amongst the rocks,
but no grass whatever.

6th.--Twenty-one miles, water to the right and coarse food for stock
(20-Mile Hollow).

7th.--Twenty-eight miles, running stream and coarse grass (Wentworth

8th.--Thirty-two miles, water to the right and coarse grass.

9th--Thirty-five miles, water to the left.

10th.--Thirty-seven and three-quarter miles, water and coarse grass
to the right.

11th--Forty and a-half miles, water and coarse grass, a large plain
to right (Blackheath).

12th--Forty-three miles, water and coarse grass to the right on a
low flat. This is the last place fit for watering stock until you
descend the mountain. (Mount Victoria.)

13th--Forty-nine and a-half miles, at the bottom of the mountain
water and good food, except in very dry season, when you must go to
the rivulet, about a mile and a-half north-west.

14th--At five miles west of bridges over two creeks, good watering-places,
rocky bottom, with grass most of the way from the mountain; after this
there are six or eight running streams before you get to the Fish River.



That road across the Blue Mountains, begun on July 7th, was finished on
January 14th, 1815, and in April of that year Governor Macquarie drove his
carriage across it from Sydney to Bathurst. It is utterly unbelievable
even now, with the official records to hand. To climb the mountains was
a task that had tried sorely the power of the best men, but to make a road
across the mountains in six months seems absolutely impossible, and
with such a small body of men, too! They had to hew their way across,
through dense thickets, such as we see there to this day. They had to
blast out vast rocks, bridge deep gorges, fill in great chasms, and make
a carriage road across the hitherto untrodden mountains. One would have
thought that such a labour would have taken a small army of skilled men
several years, yet this indomitable colonist, with a small party of
workers, made it in six months. When the Governor reached the river on
the far side of the range, he named it after the hero who had bridged
it--the Cox River; and so it stands to this day. He also gave him a grant
of land on what was called the Bathurst Plains, but it was, more correctly
speaking, on the right bank of the Macquarie River. This place Mr. Cox
called "Hereford."

At the same time, Governor Macquarie did one of those graceful acts which
only a man of sense and keen governing instinct is capable of. He wrote
Mr. Cox a letter, which was a public document, and which is still
preserved in the family archives as a precious document. It sets forth
clearly the services rendered to the State by William Cox, and runs as

"Government House, Sydney,
"June 10, 1815.

"The Governor desires to communicate, for the information of the public,
the result of his late tour over the Western or Blue Mountains, undertaken
for the purpose of being enabled personally to appreciate the importance
of the tract of country lying westward of them, which had been explored
in the latter end of the year 1813 and beginning of 1814 by Mr. George
William Evans, Deputy Surveyor of Lands.

"To those who know how very limited a tract of country has been hitherto
occupied by the colonists of New South Wales, extending along the eastern
coast to the north and south of Port Jackson only 80 miles, and westward
about 40 miles to the foot of that chain of mountains in the interior
which forms its western boundary, it must be a subject of astonishment
and regret that amongst so large a population no one appeared within the
first 25 years of the establishment of this settlement possessed of
sufficient energy of mind to induce him fully to explore a passage over
these mountains. But when it is considered that for the greater part of
that time even this circumscribed portion of country afforded sufficient
produce for the wants of the people, whilst on the other hand the whole
surface of the country beyond these limits was a thick and in many
places, nearly an impenetrable forest, the surprise at the want of effort
to surmount such difficulties must abate very considerably.

"The records of the colony only afford two instances of any bold attempt
having been made to discover the country to the westward of the Blue
Mountains. The first was by Mr. Bass, and the other by Mr. Caley, and
both ended in disappointment--a circumstance which will not be much
wondered at by those who have lately crossed those mountains. [Governor
Macquarie overlooks M. Barrilier's attempt.]

"To Gregory Blaxland and William Wentworth, Esquires, and Lieutenant
Lawson, of the Royal Veteran Company, the merit is due of having effected
the first passage over the most rugged and difficult part of the Blue
Mountains. The Governor, being strongly impressed with the importance of
the object, had, early after his arrival in this colony, formed the
resolution of encouraging the attempt to find a passage to the Western
country, and willingly availed himself of the facilities which the
discoveries of these three gentlemen afforded him. Accordingly, on the
20th of November, 1813, he entrusted the accomplishment of this object
to Mr. G. W. Evans, Deputy Surveyor of Lands, the result of whose journey
was laid before the public. The favourable account given by Mr. Evans
of the country he had explored induced the Governor to cause a road to
be constructed for the passage and conveyance of cattle and provisions
to the interior; and men of good character, from amongst a number of
convicts who had volunteered their services, were selected to perform
this arduous task, on condition of being fed and clothed during the
continuance of their labour, and being granted emancipation as their final
reward on the completion of the work. The direction and superintendence
of this great work was entrusted to William Cox, Esq., the chief
magistrate at Windsor; and, to the astonishment of everyone who knows
what was to be encountered, and sees what has been done, he effected its
completion in six months from the time of its commencement, happily
without the loss of a man or any serious accident. The Governor is at a
loss to appreciate fully the services rendered by Mr. Cox to this colony
in the execution of this arduous work, which promises to be of the
greatest public utility, by opening a new source of wealth to the
industrious and enterprising. When it is considered that Mr. Cox
voluntarily relinquished the comforts of his own house and the society
of his numerous family, and exposed himself to much personal fatigue,
with only such temporary covering as a bark hut could afford from the
inclemency of the weather, it is difficult to express the sentiments of
approbation to which such privations and services are entitled. Mr. Cox
having reported the road as completed on the 21st January last, the
Governor, accompanied by Mrs. Macquarie and that gentleman, commenced his
tour on the 25th of April over the Blue Mountains, and was joined by Sir
John Jamieson at the Nepean, who accompanied him during the entire tour.
The following gentlemen composed the Governor's suite:--Mr. Campbell,
secretary; Captain Antill, major of brigade; Lieutenant Watts,
aide-de-camp; Mr. Redfern, assistant surgeon; Mr. Oxley, Surveyor-General;
Mr. Mehan, Deputy Surveyor-General; Mr. Lewin, painter and naturalist;
and Mr. G. W. Evans, Deputy Surveyor of Lands, who had been sent forward
for the purpose of making further discoveries, and re-joined the party on
the day of arrival at Bathurst Plains. The commencement of the ascent
from Emu Plains to the first depôt, and thence to a resting-place, now
called Springwood, distant 12 miles from Emu ford, was through a very
handsome open forest of lofty trees, and much more practicable and easy
than was expected. The facility of the ascent for this distance excited
surprise, and is certainly not well calculated to give the traveller a
just idea of the difficulties he has afterwards to encounter. For a
further distance of four miles a sudden change is perceived in the
appearance of the timber and the quality of the soil, the former becoming
stunted, and the latter barren and rocky. At this place the fatigues of
the journey may be said to commence. Here the country became altogether
mountainous and extremely rugged. Near to the 18-mile mark (it is to be
observed that the measure commences from Emu ford) a pile of stones
attracted attention; it is close to the line of road on the top of a
rugged and abrupt ascent, and is supposed to have been placed by Mr. Caley
as the extreme limit of his tour. Hence the Governor gave that part of the
mountain the name of Caley's Repulse. To have penetrated so far was at
that time an effort of no small difficulty. From henceforward to the 26th
mile is a succession of steep and rugged hills, some of which are so
abrupt as to deny a passage altogether; but at this place a considerable
extensive plain is arrived at, which constitutes the summit of the
Western mountains and from thence a most extensive and beautiful prospect
presents itself on all sides to the eye. The town of Windsor, the River
Hawkesbury, Prospect Hill, and other objects within that part of the
colony now inhabited, of equal interest, are distinctly seen from hence.
The majestic grandeur of the situation, combined with the various objects
to be seen from this place, induced the Governor to give it the
appellation of the King's Table Land. On the south-west side of the King's
Table Land the mountain terminates in abrupt precipices of immense depth,
at the bottom of which is seen a glen, as romantically beautiful as can
be imagined, bounded on the further side by mountains of great magnitude,
terminating equally abruptly as the others, and the whole thickly covered
with timber. The length of this picturesque and remarkable tract of
country is about 24 miles, to which the Governor gave the name of The
Prince Regent's Glen. Proceeding hence to the 33rd mile, on the top of a
hill, an opening presents itself on the south-west side of The Prince
Regent's Glen, from whence a view is obtained particularly beautiful and
grand--mountains rising beyond mountains, with stupendous masses of rock
in the foreground, here strike the eye with admiration and astonishment.
The circular form in which the whole is so wonderfully disposed induced
the Governor to give the name of Pitt's Amphitheatre (in honour of the
late Right Honourable William Pitt) to this offset or branch from The 
Prince Regent's Glen. The road continues from hence, for the space of
17 miles, on the ridge of the mountain which forms one side of The Prince
Regent's Glen, and then it suddenly terminates in nearly a perpenclicular
precipice of 676 ft. high, as ascertained by measurement. The road
constructed by Mr. Cox down this rugged and tremendous descent, through
all its windings, is no less than three-quarters of a mile in length,
and has been executed with skill and stability, and reflects much credit
on him. The labour here undergone, and the difficulties surmounted, can
only be appreciated by those who view this scene. In order to perpetuate
the memory of Mr. Cox's services, the Governor deemed it a tribute justly
due to him to give his name to this grand and extraordinary pass; and
he accordingly called it Cox's Pass. Having descended into the valley at
the bottom of this pass, the retrospective view of the overhanging
mountains is magnificently grand. Although the present pass is the only
practicable point yet discovered for descending by, yet the mountain
is much higher than those on either side of it, from whence it is
distinguished at a considerable distance when approaching it from the
interior, and in this point of view it has the appearance of a very high
distinct hill, although it is in fact only the abrupt termination of a
ridge. The Governor gave the name of Mount York to this termination of
the ridge, in honour of his Royal Highness the Duke of York.

"On descending Cox's Pass the Governor was much gratified by the
appearance of good pasture land and soil fit for cultivation, which was
the first he had met with since the commencement of his tour. The valley
at the base of Mount York he called The Vale of Clwyd, in consequence of
the strong resemblance it bore to the vale of that name in North Wales.
The grass in this vale is of good quality, and very abundant, and a
rivulet of fine water runs along it from the eastward, which unites
itself at the western extremity of the vale with another rivulet
containing still more water. The junction of these two streams forms
a very handsome river, now called by the Governor Cox's River, which
takes its course, as has been ascertained, through The Prince Regent's
Glen, and empties itself into the River Nepean, near Mulgoa; and it
has been conjectured, from the nature of the country through which
it passes, that it must be one of the principal causes of the floods
which have occasionally been felt on the low banks of the River
Hawkesbury, into which the Nepean discharges itself. The Vale of Clwyd,
from the base of Mount York, extends six miles in a westerly direction,
and has its termination at Cox's River. Westward of this river the
country again becomes hilly, but generally open forest land, and very
good pasturage. Three miles to the westward of The Vale of Clwyd,
Messrs. Blaxland, Wentworth, and Lawson had formerly terminated their
excursion, and when the various difficulties are considered which they
had to contend with, especially until they had effected the descent
of Mount York, to which place they were obliged to pass through thick
brushwood, where they were under the necessity of cutting a passage for
their baggage horses, the severity of which labour had seriously affected
their healths, their patient endurance of such fatigue cannot fail to
excite much surprise and admiration. In commemoration of their merits,
three beautiful high hills, joining each other, at the end of their tour
at this place have received their names in the following order, viz.,
Mount Blaxland, Wentworth's Sugar Loaf, and Lawson's Sugar Loaf. A range
of very lofty hills and narrow valleys alternately form the tract of
country from Cox's River, for a distance of 16 miles, until the Fish River
is arrived at; and the stage between these rivers is consequently very
severe and oppressive on the cattle. To this range the Governor gave the
name of Clarence Hilly Range.

"Proceeding from the Fish River, and at a short distance from it, a very
singular and beautiful mountain attracts the attention, its summit being
crowned with a large and very extraordinary-looking rock, nearly circular
in form, which gives to the whole very much the appearance of a hill fort,
such as are frequent in India. To this lofty hill Mr. Evans, who was the
first European discoverer, gave the name Mount Evans. Passing on from
hence, the country continues hilly, but affords good pasturage, gradually
improving to Sidmouth Valley, which is distant from the pass of the Fish
River eight miles. The land here is level, and the first met with,
unencumbered with timber. It is not of very considerable extent, but
abounds with a great variety of herbs and plants, such as would probably
interest and gratify the scientific colonist. This beautiful little
valley runs north-west and south-east, between hills of easy ascent
thinly covered with timber. Leaving Sidmouth Valley, the country becomes
again hilly, and in other respects resembles very much the country to
the eastward of the valley for some miles. Having reached Campbell's
River, distant 13 miles from Sidmouth Valley, the Governor was highly
gratified by the appearance of the country, which there began to exhibit
open and extensive views of gently rising grounds and fertile plains.
Judging from the height of the banks and its general width, the Campbell
River must be in some parts of very considerable magnitude, but the
extraordinary drought which has apparently prevailed on the Western side
of the mountains, equally as throughout this colony for the last three
years, has reduced this river so much that it may more properly be
called a chain of ponds than a running stream at the present time.
[This seems very extraordinary after the exceedingly wet summer
experienced by Mr. Cox.] In the reaches or pools of the Campbell River
the very curious animal called the ornithorhynchus paradoxus, or
water-platypus mole, is seen in great numbers. The soil is rich, and
the grass is consequently luxuriant. Two miles to the southward of
the line of road which crosses Campbell River there is a very rich
tract of low lands which has been named Mitchell Plains. Flax was
found growing here in considerable quantities. The Fish River, which
forms a junction with the Campbell River a few miles to the northward
of the road and bridge over the latter, has also two very fertile
plains on its banks, the one called O'Connell Plains and the other
Macquarie Plains, both of considerable extent, and very capable of
yielding all the necessaries of life.

"At the distance of seven miles from the bridge over the Campbell River,
Bathurst Plains open to the view, presenting a rich tract of champaign
country of 11 miles in length, bounded on both sides by gently rising
and very beautiful hills, thinly wooded. The Macquarie River, which
is constituted by the junction of the Fish and Campbell rivers, takes
a winding course through the plains, which can be easily traced from
the high lands adjoining by the particular verdure of the trees on its
banks, which are likewise the only trees throughout the extent of the
plains. The level and clean surface of these plains gives them at first
view the appearance of lands under cultivation. It is impossible to
behold this grand scene without a feeling of admiration and surprise,
whilst the silence and solitude which reign in a space of such extent
and beauty as seems designed by Nature for the occupancy and comfort
of man create a degree of melancholy in the mind which may be more
easily imagined than described.

"The Governor and suite arrived at these plains on Thursday, the 4th of
May, and encamped on the southern or left bank of the Macquarie River,
the situation being selected in consequence of its commanding a beautiful
and extensive prospect for many miles in every direction around it.
At this place the Governor remained a week, which time he occupied in
making excursions in different directions through the adjoining country
on both sides of the river.

"On Sunday, the 7th May, the Governor fixed on a site suitable for
the erection of a town at some future period, to which he gave the name
of Bathurst, in honour of the present Secretary of State for the Colonies.
The situation of Bathurst is elevated sufficiently beyond the reach of
any floods which may occur, and is at the same time so near to the river
on its south bank as to derive all the advantages of its clear and
beautiful stream. The mechanics and settlers, of whatever description,
who may be hereafter permitted to form permanent residences to themselves
at this place, will have the highly import antadvantages of a rich and
fertile soil, with a beautiful river flowing through it for all the uses
of man. The Governor must, however, add that the hopes which were at
first so sanguinely entertained of this river becoming navigable to the
Western sea have ended in disappointment.

"During the week that the Governor remained at Bathurst, he made daily
excursions in various directions. One of these extended 22 miles in a
south-west direction, and on that occasion, as well as on all others,
he found the country composed chiefly of valleys and plains, separated
occasionally by ranges of low hills, the soil throughout being generally
fertile, and well circumstanced for the purpose of agriculture and grazing.

"The Governor here feels much pleasure in being enabled to communicate
to the public that the favourable reports which he had received of the
country to the west of the Blue Mountains have not been by any means
exaggerated. The difficulties which present themselves in the journey
from hence are certainly great and inevitable; but those persons who may
be inclined to become permanent settlers there will probably content
themselves with visiting this part of the country but rarely, and,
of course, will have them seldom to encounter. Plenty of water and a
sufficiency of grass are to be found in the mountains for the support
of such cattle as may be sent over them, and the tracts of fertile soil
and rich pasturage which the new country affords are fully extensive
enough for any increase of population and stock which can possibly take
place for many years. Within a distance of 10 miles from the site of
Bathurst there is not less than 50,000 acres of land clear of timber,
and fully one-half of that may be considered excellent soil, well
calculated for cultivation. It is a matter of regret that in proportion
as the soil improves, the timber degenerates; and it is to be remarked
that everywhere to the westward of the mountains it is much inferior,
both in size and quality, to that within the present colony. There is,
however, a sufficiency of timber of tolerable quality within the district
around Bathurst for the purposes of house-building and husbandry. The
Governor has here to lament that neither coals nor limestone have yet
been discovered in the Western country, articles in themselves of so
much importance that the want of them must be severely felt whenever that
country shall be settled.

"The road constructed by Mr. Cox and the party under him commences at
Emu ford, on the left bank of the River Nepean, and is thence carried
101½ miles to the flagstaff at Bathurst. This road has been carefully
measured, and each mile regularly marked on the trees growing on the
left side of the road proceeding towards Bathurst. The Governor in his
tour made the following stages, in which he was principally regulated
by the consideration of having good pasturage for the cattle and plenty
of water:

1st stage, from Emu Ford to Springwood.........12 miles
2nd   "                   " Jamieson's Valley..16   "
3rd   "                   " Blackheath ........13   "
4th   "                   " Cox's River .......15   "
5th   "                   " Fish River ........16   "
6th   "                   " Sidmouth Valley ....8   "
7th   "                   " Campbell River ....11   "
8th   "                   " Bathurst...........10½  "

Total                                         101½  "

At all of which places the traveller may assure himself of good grass
and water in abundance. On Thursday, the 11th May, the Governor and
suite set out from Bathurst on their return, and arrived at Sydney
on Friday, the 19th ultimo. The Governor cannot conclude this account
of his tour without offering his best acknowledgments to William Cox,
Esq., for the important service he has rendered to the colony in so
short a period of time by opening a passage to the newly-discovered
country, and at the same time assuring him that he shall have great
pleasure in recommending his meritorious services on this occasion to
the favourable consideration of his Majesty's Ministers.

"By command of his Excellency the Governor,

In the month of March, 1817, the Surveyor-General, John Oxley, received
instructions from the Governor to explore the River Lachlan, and
endeavour to discover where it emptied itself; or did it and the Macquarie
River join? This river had been discovered by Deputy-Surveyor Evans four
years before, and at the particular request of the Governor Mr. William
Cox had visited it, and suggested that a boat be constructed, and learn
whether it was navigable.

In the despatch conveying instructions to Mr. Oxley, the following
paragraph occurs:--

"On your arrival at Bathurst you will find William Cox, Esq., there,
and to him I beg leave to refer you for every information relative to
the provisions, stores, horses for carriage, and other equipments
ordered to be forwarded to the depôt on the Lachlan River for the use of
the expedition, the arrangement and conveyance of all of which has been
wholly entrusted to him. Mr. Cox having promised to accompany you as
far as the depôt on the Lachlan River, he will be able to remove any
unforeseen difficulties that may arise on your arrival there in getting
the provisions and stores for the use of the expedition forwarded."

This shows what implicit confidence the Governor had in the man who
constructed the road over the Blue Mountains, and who, through his
long and energetic life, had also the confidence and esteem of his


Memoranda by William Cox concerning rewards for services to Government
1814-18. (p. 5483f. Bigge Appendix. Box 25.)


Thomas Hobby--Assistant on the expedition: 500 acres of land and 6 cows.

Richard Lewis--Chief Superintendent: 200 acres, one horse and four cows.

John Tighe--Guide: 100 acres, two cows and £5.

Samuel Ayres--Servant to Mr Cox: Two cows.


James Watson--Leader of road workers.

James Dwyer--Leader of the fire making.

Thomas Gorman--Charge of stores.

William Dye, Samuel Freeman (William Freeman)--Rough carpenters.

Thomas Cooke, Thomas Carpenter--Sawyers.

Robert (Samuel) Fowler--Quarryman.

James Richards--Blacksmith.

William Herdman--Shoemaker.

John Hanley (Robert Henley), Samuel Waters (Walters),
Henry (Charles) Cryer--Bullock drivers with Govt. carts.


Samuel Crook (Cook), Patrick Merrian (Mernan), John Allan, Thomas Adams,
John Finch, Stephen Parker, Thomas Roddocks (Roddicks), John Manning,
John Tindall, James Kelly, Matt Smith, Harry Sullivan, John Ross,
William Lawrence, Thomas Kendall, Samuel Davis, Henry Morton (Martin),
Thomas Watkins, James McCarty, William Appledore, Patrick Hanraghan
(Henringham), Stephen Hockey (Huckey), (William Ramsay, George Keen).

The names in brackets are those included in the 1814 Muster who are
described as being 'at the mountains' and are indicative of the variation
in the spelling of surnames at this period.

The men were selected as being accustomed to field labour and supposed
to be best calculated to undergo the fatigue of hard work and sleeping
on the ground. The rewards of these convicts was as follows:--

Free pardons--Robert Fowler, William Appledore and James Dwyer.

Thomas Ruddocks (Roddicks)--a ticket-of-leave.

To all the others--emancipation.


This site is full of FProject Gutenberg Australia

View from top of Mt York.

William Cox had to cut through the rocks  such as below which turns sharply to the right

One gets a sense of how steep the descent will be    and how narrow. In the far distance is the valley floor

The plaque here reads.."Original hand cut stone gutter"

 Unfortunately the road has suffered from severe erosion over the years as the Blue Mountains Council permits its use for mountain bikes so tracks have eroded considerably.