Retracing explorers’ path

Explorers - re-enactment4By Ellen Hill

History will repeat when the Blue Mountains Blue Wave authentic costumed re-enactment of the first recognised European crossing of the Blue Mountains is held in May.

Dubbed “21 days on the mountain’’, the re-enactment will retrace as closely as possible the path picked through the bush by the original explorers Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth in 1813.

Along with an historic flyover of up to 200 aircraft over the Blue Mountains, the bicentenary will include a three-year program of events to commemorate and celebrate: the first recognised European crossing of the Blue Mountains in 1813 by explorers Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth; the building of the Cox’s Road and finally celebrating Governor Lachlan Macquarie visiting Bathurst, Australia’s first inland settlement

The bicentenary was officially launched by NSW Governor Professor Marie Bashir at Echo Point, Katoomba, on Saturday, February 23.

Blue Mountains Blue Wave founder John O'Sullivan at a recent fundraiser for the re-enactment. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Blue Mountains Blue Wave founder John O’Sullivan at a recent fundraiser for the re-enactment. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Blue Mountains Blue Wave instigator John O’Sullivan said he was excited to help celebrate and commemorate one of the most momentous events in Australia’s history.

The re-enactment, indeed the whole bicentenary program, would be an opportunity to honour Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth and their party, he said.

“We have a gift and we only have it because of them. We live in a place unparalleled anywhere else in the world and I want to acknowledge Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth and their whole party because I don’t think they were properly rewarded or honoured in their day.

“We have the opportunity to be the soul of the nation for 21 days. It’s really important to us as a people. This is our opportunity to showcase who we are at this present time.’’

The costumed re-enactment of the crossing will be held from St Marys in western Sydney to Hartley just west of the mountains from May 11 to 31.

Each day the party will consist of three “explorers’’ drawn from descendents of the original 1813 explorers, three “convicts’’, one “kangaroo hunter’’, four horses and five dogs.

Mosman real estate agent Andrew Blaxland is one such descendant. He and his children Oscar, 20, Priscilla, 18, and Wilbur, 7, will join the last leg of the journey.

The great-great-great-grandson of Gregory Blaxland said the crossing event was a proud moment to this day for the Blaxland family at large: “It was a significant event in the development of the colony: they were running out of pastoral land and the crossing was the opening up of the western plains.

“It was a crazy adventure. It took them six months to get to Australia by ship; they built their houses by hand; dug pits and milled their own timber. It was a very different world and you’ve got to take your hat off to them.’’

The historical account of the crossing should be highlighted in the school curriculum, Mr Blaxland, well known as an Elvis impersonator and Mosman community cause supporter, said.

“I hope the education of our kids will involve more of our early history and all the early pioneers who helped found the country. Newcomers to Australia need to know how this country was founded too otherwise we’re going to lose our culture and our history.’’

Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism chairman Randall Walker said: “Every great project begins with an idea from a visionary, and I congratulate John O’Sullivan as being that visionary for the Blue Mountains Crossings Bicentenary 2013-2015.

“The crossing is such a significant milestone in our nation’s history that to have the complete and enthusiastic support of so many descendants of the original explorers makes this moment even more authentic and memorable.’’

Details: http://www.visitbluemountains.com.au.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: