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October 1820 Gov. Macquarie’s Journey through Goulburn Plains

1820 – 16 October-6 November  (Parramatta/Weereewaa return)

Governor Lachlan Macquarie: Journey to the Western and Southern Countries


20 October
Macquarie, with a large entourage (including Charles Throsby, Rev Cartwright and two unnamed Aboriginal men), camped at Wallandilli (Arthursleigh) where Hannibal MacArthur (nephew of John) already had 1,854 sheep and 165 horned cattle grazing. Macquarie recommends this as a site for a township.

21 October
Macquarie’s entourage camped at the base of the Cookbundoon on the Cookbundoon (now Tarlo) River

22 October
Macquarie ascended with great difficulty the Cookbundoon range where they were met by  Nagaray, a fine old Patriarchal Native of about 70 years of age with his whole Family of Wives, Sons, & Daughters — in all 8 persons — and all of whom Mr. Throsby had engaged to accompany us to the great Salt Water Lake recently discovered by Joseph Wild. —This old man belongs to the Burra-Burra Tribe, of which his son Cookoogong is the Chief. —His next eldest son Bhoohan is a very fine intelligent Lad.

Macquarie names the crossing Wild’s Pass after its roadmaker, Joseph Wild.

After crossing the Cookbundoon, Macquarie’s entourage reach the Wallandilly River and cross it at the site of Kenmore. They continue to the junction with the Mulwaree River and follow it to the site of the present Lansdowne Bridge where they camp for the night, under heavy rain.  Macquarie described the site as a noble extensive rich Meadow near a fine large Pond of Fresh Water the Cattle being up to their Bellies in as fine long sweet Grass as I ever saw any where. —The distance from where we last crossed the Wallandilly River is about 4 miles to our present Camp  . . .  the grandeur, beauty, and richness, independent of the usefulness of the Country we are now in, sufficiently compensates for all the labour and Toils of this day’s Journey.  This area is Mulwaree.  Macquarie does not pass through the future Goulburn CBD.

23 October
The party travels across the Mulwaree/Goulburn Plains – a most beautiful rich Tract of Country, extending from “Breadalbane Plains” on the North to fine open Forest on the South . . .containing not less than Fifty Thousand acres of useful good Land, fit for both purposes of Cultivation and grazing — with a plentiful supply of Fresh Water Ponds, and hardly a Tree to be seen in this whole extent of Plain — but with plenty of good Timber on the Hills and Ridges which gird these Plains like a Belt. Emus abounded. Then they arrive at Bundong (Lake Bathurst) – where Macquarie also recommends it as a site for a township.

26 October
Macquarie had been waiting since 23 October for the British Royal Commissioner John Bigge and the explorer John Oxley to arrive from Bathurst, which they did on 26 October when they reached Lake Bathurst.  Their journey took them past Burra Burra Lake and Taralga, alongside the Cookbundoon Range, then following Macquarie’s route through Mulwaree.

27 October
The combined entourages travelled to Weereewaa admiring the magnificence and size of this noble Sheet of Water. They saw flocks of black swans, ducks, sea gulls and Native Companions (Brolgas), and noted that the water of the lake (at the site of Taylor’s Creek) was quite fresh. They realise It now appears evident that there is no outlet – or River flowing from this Lake – which is the more extraordinary as the Waters of it are now proved to be positively Fresh ­- and the size of it so great – it being at least Eighteen Miles long by five Broad. Throsby had gone ahead with the Aboriginal guide Taree to find the Murrumbidgee River which he believed flowed from Weereewaa, but realised that was not the case, and reported this back to Macquarie.

On the shores of Weereewaa We sat down to Dinner today at 1/2 past 5, and after Dinner we drank a Bumper Toast to the Success of the Future Settlers of the Shores of “Lake George” – which name I have given to this grand and magnificent Sheet of Water in Honor of His present Majesty.

29 October
Back at Bundong, the entourages participated in the first Christian service in these southern districts. It was conducted by the Rev Cartwright who preached a very excellent appropriate Sermon, strongly impressing the justice, good Policy, and expediency of Civilizing the Aborigines, or Black Natives of the Country and Settling them in Townships.

30 October
Both parties head back , camping at the site of Kenmore, finding the Cookbundoon crossing much improved, and viewing, between the Cookbundoon and Wallandilly rivers, the remarkable  large and most curious looking masses of rock called the Pudding Stone – and of various odd shapes – isolated – and about sixty feet in height; some of the sides of these masses being quite perpendicular, and like the walls of an old castle. These are the masses of conglomerate rocks – at Bush Bottoms, The Pinch or Gibraltar Rocks.  Macquarie gave the name Eden Forest to the Arthursleigh and Big Hill area, then continued home reaching Parramatta on 6 November.

On 25 November 1820 Macquarie officially gave permission for cattle and sheep to be allowed between Bargo Brush and the Cookbundoon.  On 9 December 1820, he announced that that those persons who may have herds or flocks at that time on those Lands will have permission to send them over Cookbundoon Range to Breadalbane and Goulburn Plains, and thence to proceed with them at their own Discretion . . .

Photograph by Jennifer Lamb, Wilds Pass, 2017

Photograph by Jennifer Lamb, conglomerate rocks or pudding stone at The Pinch, Brayton Rd, 2019

Cover Photograph by Jennifer Lamb, Mulwaree Plains looking toward Inveralochy, 2019
  1820  /  Art  /  Last Updated December 15, 2019 by jennifer lamb  / 

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