Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson - Tim Beer, Sebastian Mondry, Kevin Nguyen

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Gregory Blaxland
Born 17 June 1778 – 1 January 1853
Blaxland had an education in England at the Kings School, Centerbury.
The fourth son of John Blaxland, mayor from 1767 to 1774, whose family had owned estates nearby for generations
The Blaxlands were friends with Sir Jpseph Banks
Gregory sailed to Australia in the William Pitt on 1 September 1805 with his wife and three children
Gregory had become very rich selling many of his goods and cattle.
As he wanted to expand his business, he had bought land from William Wentworth's father D'Arcy Wentworth for 1500 pounds.
Macquarie would not agree nor would he allow Blaxland land in the interior for his own flocks. Since Blaxland then had to dispose of his livestock, it is not surprising that he joined the colonial opposition to Macquarie
Blaxland previously attempted to cross the Blue Mountains with the Governor but that expedition had failed.
Blaxland visited England and in February 1823 he published his Journal of a Tour of Discovery across the Blue Mountains:

Wife died december 1826
Blaxland committed suicide on January 1 1853

William Charles Wentworth
William was an explorer, barrister & landowner.
William was born on 1790 in Sydney
Son to
  • Catherine Crowley - a convict, who was sent to 7 years transportation for stealing fabric
  • Dr D'Arcy Wentworth - a doctor working in the colony of Australia in Norfolk Island.
William received an education in Bletchly, England.
After failing to achieve a placing in Military School, he returned to Australia where he took up competition horse racing.
Wentworth was appointed acting provist marshall and granted 1750 acres of land. He then became a grazier of sheep with the land.
Wentworth had an adventurous spirit and always wanted to discover new things.
Wentworth was friends with John Macarthur, a very rich man who lived in the colony grazing sheep. But during their political time, it was rivalry between the two.

William Lawson was born on the 2nd of June, 1774, and died on the 16th of June 1850. Lawson was born in Finchley, Middlesex, England. His parents were Scottish who lived at Kirkpatrick. when Lawson arrived in Sydney, he was immediatly posted to Norfolk Island.Shortly after 1808, Lawson was appointed aide-de-camp to George Johnston and was granted 500 acres (2 km²) at Prospect, which he named Veteran Hall, this was were he built a 40-room mansion. In 1813 Lawson, with Gregory Blaxland and William Wentworth, led an expedition westwards from Sydney to cross the Blue Mountains. Lawson's great surveying talent helped the expedition run smoothly. Lawson was rewarded with a grant of 1,000 acres (4 km²) of land, he became one of the largest land-owners in Australia. He was made a magistrate and was appointed commandant at Newcastle.
In 1819 Governor Lachlan Macquarie established a new settlement, Bathurst, in this new country, and appointed Lawson as commander of the Bathurst settlement, a position he held until 1823. From Bathurst, Lawson explored as far north as Mudgee.
After leaving the army, Lawson was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council from 1843 to 1848. He died at Veteran Hall, he had married and left descendants. The town of Lawson in the Blue Mountains is named for him.
In 1963 Lawson was honoured, together with Blaxland and Wentworth, on a postage stamp issued by Australia Post depicting the Blue Mountains crossing.

The Exploration of the Blue Mountains
When the colony of Sydney was under establishment, the mountains to the west were like prison walls. The first party to attempt crossing the blue mountains was in 1789 under the command of Major George Johnston (Head of the NSW Colonial Forces post-exploration) and William Daws. The exploration was abandoned because of the track that they had taken. Unlike the mountains in Britain where rivers would tend to lead you across the mountains, the Blue Mountains had many ridges and cliffs that were impassible. Governor King encouraged exploration in 1802 to dispel the myth of an inland sea, China or Timor across the mountains (Many of these rumours were caused by uneducated convicts and free settlers). Farmers and Graziers were also starting to run out of land at the time and that had to force them to find new land, but due to the blue mountains"trapping" them in, this caused trouble. There were many other failed attempts as described in a letter from Gregory Blaxland to his Uncle:
"This expedition, which has proved so completely successful, resulted from two previous attempts. One of these was made by water, by His Excellency the Governor, in person, whom I accompanied. We ascended the River Hawkesbury, or Nepean, from above Emu Island, to the mouth of the Warragomby , or Great Western River, where it emerges from the mountains, and joins itself to that river, from its mouth. We proceeded as far as it was navigable by a small boat, which is only a few miles further. It was found to lose itself at different places, almost entirely underneath and between immense blocks of stones, being confined on each side by perpendicular cliffs of the same kind of stone, which sometimes rose as high as the tops of the mountains, through which it appears to have forced, or worn its way, with the assistance, probably, of an earthquake, or some other great convulsion of nature."

Then on May 1813, explorers William Wentworth, William Lawson and Gregory Blaxland set out to explore the new land west. The journey was 21 days and the original plan was unlike the plans of the first expedition: the men would continue to walk along a river system and find a ridge that would lead through. The men set out with four servants, four horses and four dogs to help set out on their journey.

During their journey, the men struggled to survive due to the lack of food and water sources, the men also where under the fear of attack from Indigenous peoples. The terrain was also quite thick and rugged. The men after each day would have already walked three times as much due to hacking trees to create a path, returning to camp and then progressing on. The men had marked their track with the hacking of bark on young trees.

The men came into no contact with Aboriginal people. This could be due to the fact that the Aboriginal people may have been scared of the explorers or vice versa.

After the long journey, the men passed the mountains to discover rich and lush grounds good enough for grazing.
As William Wentworth had said:
"The boundless champaign burst upon our sight
Till nearer seen the beauteous landscape grew,
Op'ning like Canaan on rapt Israel's view."

"Indeed in some of the Vallies which are generally of a mossy Nature and extremely rich there are spaces of from 50 to 100 acres without a tree. But the principal cause of this Superiority
is the abundance of excellent Water, which is every where to be found"

After the men had reported the discovery to Governor Macquarie, he was not very happy due to the fact that the expedition was not an official government expedition. The discovery was only reported 8 weeks later. Each explorer was rewarded with 1000acres of land.
Governor Macquarie after hearing the news of the successful expedition, sent George William Evans to see for himself the successful crossing of the mountains.
After receiving the land grant, Wentworth (according to his Father) had developed a severe cough and had to return to England to recover and protect the families riches. Wentworth was nearly killed when stopping in New Zealand. The Captain of the ship Wentworth boarded died and Wentworth then sailed back to Sydney. Wentworth had applied to explore Australia east to west, but his application was denied. He published numerous books about his exploration and about the colony as well. In 1809 H.G. Bennett had sent a letter claiming that Wentworth's father had been sent to the colony as a convict for highway robbery but William went back to Sydney to defend his name.
While living in London, Wentworth then went to study in Cambridge University, he returned to the colony and became one of the most leading political figures during the 1820's - 1830's. Wentworth fell in love with Elizabeth Macarthur and wanted to marry her, but John had broken the relationship between the two because he simply wouldn't allow a girl like her to marry a man who had convict parents. Wentworth then went to found a privately owned newspaper company, The Australian (Not the Australian that we know today). Wentworth was elected into the Legeslative Council in 1843 and head of the conservative party. in 1853 Wentworth helped draft a constitution for New South Wales that you totally attain self-government from Britain.
Lawson continued to explore further, moving north and helping to unlock the land. He was apparently the first to move his livestock across the mountains
Blaxland settled down to be a happy citizen, he had published one book in London about the expedition and on 1 January 1853, Blaxland committed suicide.

This event pays much significance to Early Australian Colonial History.
The notion that this exploration is "unlocking the land" is why we are studying it today. Without this exploration the Blue Mountains may not have been discovered in the same way it did. Another reason why we are studying this is because during the times of Early Colonial History the land was vital and since the colony was running out of land very fast, the exploration could be why we have a civilisation like this today.

Today, we remember the exploration through many monuments and places. Some incude Wentworth Falls, Blaxland NSW, Wentworth NSW, Lawson NSW, Mount Blaxland Bowenfels NSW,

Select Bibliography
* Wikipedia 2012, 'Gregory Blaxland', wiki article, 12 June, accessed 7 June 2012,<>.