MEMOIRS OF WILLIAM COX, J.P.
Lieutenant and Paymaster of N.S.W. Corps or 102nd Regiment
Extract from the Journal kept by Mr. W. Cox in making a road across the Blue Mountains
from Emu Plains to a new country discovered by Mr. Evans to the westward.
THE MOUNTAIN ROAD: July 1814
After holding conversation with his Excellency the Governor at Sydney relative to the expedition, I took leave of him this day.
Began converting a cart into a caravan, to sleep in, as well as to take my own personal luggage, which was completed on the 16th.
Left Clarendon at 9 a.m.; arrived at Captain Woodruff's farm at noon. The carts from Richmond arrived at 2 p.m., and at 4 the two carts and waggon arrived from Sydney with provisions, slops, tools, etc. Mustered the people, and issued bread to them.
At daylight gave out the tools to handle and put in order. Issued half a week's provisions to the whole party. Began work at 10 a.m. to make a pass across the Nepean River; the banks very steep on the east side. In the afternoon issued to the workmen a suit of slops, and a blanket to each man (thirty in number). In examining the slops, two pairs shoes and three pairs trousers were deficient. Gorman, who had charge, states the case had been broken open when he took it out of the Parramatta store.
Wrote to his Excellency the Governor for additional bullocks and some small articles of tools. Weather fine, clear, and frosty.
Tuesday. Finished the road down the right bank of the river. The swamp oak on Emu side very hard to cut and root. In the afternoon began our operations on Emu Plains. A complaint being made of the pork, which was issued at 6 lb. pieces, were very deficient. I examined the Commissary's return, which stated there were 53 6 lb. pieces in each cask. Counted the remaining, and found 51 left. Examined the mess book, and found 18 pieces had been issued, making 69 in all, instead of 53. Weighed the 51 pieces, and they weighed 24 lb. over 4 lb. pieces quite, with brine and salt.
Ordered Gorman to issue the remainder as 4 lb. pieces until further orders.
Sent the 'smith to Field's to make four new axes and steel two of the English ones. Gave him 20 lb. of iron and 4 lb. of steel. Fine, dry weather.
The 'smith completed laying the axes, and steeled five others. Much trouble to-day with the axes; the timber being hard, they all turned. Kept the grindstone constantly going. Made good progress on Emu Plains; the men worked very well. Weather clear and frosty.
The 'smith steeled two more axes, and made nails of one. The working gangs removed two miles to the south-west on Emu Plains. Wind very high in the afternoon. One of the fellers, W. Lonain, received a hurt in the face and shoulder through the limb of a tree falling on him. Hard frost and clear.
Hard frost and clear weather. Sent all provisions, tools, etc., to a hut on the lett bank of the river, which hut is fitted up to receive our provisions as they arrive from Sydney. Gave the blacksmith the tools, iron, steel, etc. Lonain, who was hurt yesterday, much better. I wrote to the Governor for two men's pit-saws, iron, and steel. Examined the ground leading from Emu Plains, and fixed on the spot to cross the creek at, as well as one to begin ascending the mountain. The soldiers with Gorman and Kelly all went for Emu Plains to-day.
Examined the ground and marked the road from the creek to the first.:depÙt (with Lewis). Gave a pound of tobacco to Field for a lot of cabbage, which I gave to the workmen. Purchased 4 cwt. 1 qr. of bran for myself, which I forwarded to the depÙt, at 10s per cwt., delivered at Martin's. The workmen exerted themselves during the week, much to my satisfaction.
Finished a crossing-place over the creek, and worked from the creek to the crossing-place where you ascend the mountain. Sent the two carpenters to the depÙt to build a tent-hut, and put in order the depÙt fit for the receipt of the provisions, etc. Cloudy weather, but dry.
Made a complete crossing-place from the end of Emu Plains to the foot of the mountains, and began to work up them. The ascent is steep; the soil very rough and stony; the timber chiefly ironbark. Sent the stonemason to the depÙt to build or line the chimney, as also the 'smith to put up his forge. Sent the superintendent with a man to mark the road from the depÙt through the bush to the next forest ground, a distance of about five miles. Ordered the corporal and soldiers to prepare to remove in the morning from the bank of the river to the depÙt, with a cartload of provisions, and there to remain until further orders.
Removed the soldiers and provisions from the river to the depÙt. Worked up the mountain; measured the ground from the ford in the river to the creek leading from Emu Plains to the mountain, three miles; marked the trees at the end of each mile, at the left side of the road. Removed my caravan from the river to the depÙt on the mountain, a distance of five and three-quarter miles and slept there the first night.
Went to Clarendon, and left R. Lewis in charge.