Gregory Blaxland

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Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson were wealthy landowners. In 1813, they found a way to cross the Blue Mountains, opening up more farming land to the settlement at Sydney. It was a drought year and new farming land was desperately needed to feed all the people who kept arriving in the colony.  Previous to this, the Blue Mountains, which stretched for hundreds of kilometres, had seemed like an impassable barrier - a 1000 metre high wall of rock. Six other expeditions had failed to find a way across the Blue Mountains.

Leaving Blaxland's farm at South Creek on 11 May, 1813, they decided not to follow the valleys like previous explorers. These had ended in steep rocky gorges that could not be climbed. They decided to do it a different way, by following the ridge between two main river valleys - the Grose River valley to the north and the Cox River Valley to the south. Today, the railway line to the Blue Mountains and the Great Western highway follow their route exactly.

It was a difficult journey and they had to hack their way through thick scrub. They were often cut by sharp undergrowth and it was hard for the horses to find food.

By the 27 May they had reached Mount York from which the country looked much better. Below them they saw forest and grasslands which they explored for some days. They then climbed a high hill called Mount Blaxland and from here they could see "forest land all around them sufficient to feed the stock of the colony for the next thirty years".

By this time their food was running low and their clothes and shoes were worn out, so they started their return journey, reaching Blaxland's farm on 8 June, 1813.

Because they had found a way over the Blue Mountains, Governor Macquarie presented them with a gift of 1000 acres (445 hectares) of the newly discovered country. Their successful expedition meant that a road could be built and surveyed across the Blue mountains and settlement could move out from Sydney.

 

Up Edward John Eyre George Bass Robert O'Hara Burke Matthew Flinders John Forrest Edmund Kennedy Ludwig Leichhardt Thomas Mitchell John Oxley Charles Sturt Gregory Blaxland