Across the Blue Mountains


Lieutenant and Paymaster of N.S.W. Corps or 102nd Regiment

Governor Macquarie's Letter to Cox before the commencement of the Road
across the Blue Mountains


Governor Macquarie having determined on a road to Bathurst, on the plains beyond the Blue Mountains, wrote at once to William Cox, Esq., J.P., Clarendon:

(No. 43.) Government House, Sydney,

14th July, 1814.



1. Having some time since determined on having a carriage road constructed from Emu Plains, on the left bank of the river Nepean, across the Blue Mountains, to that fine tract of open country to the westward of them, discovered lately by Mr. Evans, and having recently received from you a voluntary offer of your superintending and directing the working party to be employed on this very important service, I now most readily avail myself of your very liberal and handsome offer of superintending and directing the construction of this road; and do invest you with full power and authority to carry out this important design into complete effect, Government furnishing you with the necessary means to enable you to do so.

2. The number of artificers and labourers--namely, thirty--and the guard of eight soldiers you have yourself already selected, or required, shall be allowed and furnished to you forthwith for this service, and they shall be supplied with a plentiful and adequate ration of provisions whilst employed upon it.

3. Herewith you will receive a list of the number of artificers and labourers allowed for this purpose, together with a scale on the back thereof of the weekly ration of provisions they are to receive. You will also receive herewith for your guidance copies of my letters addressed to the Deputy Commissary-General on the subject of the provisions, stores, tools, utensils, arms, ammunition, slops, and other necessaries to be furnished from his depÙt for this service, all of which will be forwarded to you to the depÙt established on Emu Plains forthwith, and which you will be pleased to receive and take charge of on their arrival there, placing such a guard over them as you may deem expedient, the sergeant commanding the guard of soldiers being instructed to receive all his orders from you for the guidance of himself and party, and for their distribution.

You will likewise receive herewith for your information a general list, or schedule, of the provisions, stores, slops, tools, implements, and other necessaries intended to be forwardal to you from Sydney by the two separate conveyances or convoys, illeluding one horse, two new carts (with harness), and two yokes of well-broken-in bullocks, it being my intention to send off the first convoy from Sydney to-morrow morning for Emu Plains, and the second convoy in a fortnight afterwards.

4. I am in hopes the provisions, tools, and other necessaries will arrive on the banks of the Nepean in time to enable you to commence the construction of the new intended road on Monday, the 18th inst. Entertaining the fullest confidence in your zeal, knowledge, and abilities for conducting and executing this service in the manner intended, it becomes unnecessary for me to enter into any detail on the subject, the more especially as you are already in full possession of my wishes and sentiments, as communicated to you on our late conversation on this head. Suffice it, therefore, for me to specify here a few of the principal leading points necessary to direct your more particular attention to:--

Firstly: The road is to commence at the ford (already determined on) on the river Nepean, Emu Plains, and from thence across the Blue Mountains to the Macquarie River, and a centrical part of Bathurst Plains, following the track laid down by Mr. Evans' map, of which I have already furnished you with a copy. But in case you should, upon further examination of the track he followed, find it advisable to inake any occasional deviations therefrom, you have my full permission to do so.

Secondly: The road thus made must be at least 12 ft. wide, so as to permit two carts or other wheel earriages to pass each other with ease. The timber in forest ground to be cut down and cleared away 20 ft. wide, grubbing up the stumps and filling up the holes, so that a four-wheel carriage or cart may pass without difficulty or danger.

Thirdly: In brush ground it is to be cut 20 ft. wide and grubbed up 12 ft. wide. Any small bridges that may be found requisite to be made must be 12 ft. wide. I conceive this to be a sufficient width for the proposed road at present; but where it can with ease and convenience be done, I should prefer the road to be made 16 ft. wide.

Fourthly: You will use your own discreation in ectablishing one or two more depots for provisions, according as you may find them necessary, after you have once crossed the Blue Mountains and descended into the plain country, taking care to establish such depÙts, however, in such places as affords plenty of good, wholesome water for man and beast.

Whatever extra expense you may incur in constructing these depots will be paid from the Colonial Police Fund, and also the amount of such slops, stores, or other articles as you may find it necessary to supply the working party with for their use and comfort during the time they are employed on this service.

5. I have now only to add that I shall at all times be happy to hear from you during the progress of the service you have thus been so good as to offer to see executed; and I shall most readily comply with any demands for provisions, stores, or tools you may have occasion to make during the continuance of it: having an entire confidence in your discretion and prudence, and being convinced that you will not make any demands that are not essentially requisite for promoting the present undertaking.

6. As it might prove of very great inconvenience, expense, and trouble to you personally, and greatly interrupt and disturb the working party, if the people, from motives of curiosity, were permitted to visit you or your party during the time you and they are employed on the present service, I have deemed it advisable to issue a Government and general order prohibiting such idlers from visiting you, or crossing the Nepean at Emu Plains, without a pass signed by me. I enclose you herewith some few printed copies of this order, which I request you will have posted up at proper censpicuous places, and give the necessary order to your guard and to your constable to see it strictly enforced.

I remain with regard, Sir,

Your most obedient and humble servant,


Governor-in-Chief of N.S.W.

To WILLIAM Cox, Esq.



news articles music resources galleries kids performance contact home