THE OBELISK, MOUNT YORK
In 1879 the surnames of the three explorers officially replaced the earlier names of three Mountain villages. Indeed, the importance of the explorers in the local consciousness had become such that in May 1895 a group of prominent citizens in Mount Victoria established an Obelisk Committee with the intention of arousing public interest and raising funds for the erection of “an obelisk to the memory of those who explored and developed the great unknown.” These were the words of one of the committee's strongest supporters, J. B. Suttor, who considered it “a duty” and argued “for something big and worthy of the occasion”. (Mountaineer 27 Sept.1895) In November that year he presented a lecture in the public hall at Mount Victoria in support of the project on the subject of Early History of Australia and Exploration of the Blue Mountains. (Mountaineer 15 Nov.1895)
Another supporter, James Ross, wrote congratulating the committee on their “education of the public mind upon a subject that appeals to the national instinct and leads us back with feelings of gratitude to the benefactors of our race.” This writer also offered the suggestion that “the obelisk should be unique in design, something between a lighthouse and a pyramid – more lighthouse than pyramid – not a tombstone, but something that will speak without words, that will make us feel at the first glance the true spirit of the explorers”. (Mountaineer 1 Nov.1895)
Preparations were made and funds collected over the final years of the century and a 'classic' white obelisk was eventually erected at Mount York in 1900 and inscribed to the memory of Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth.
© John Low 2001