There was cheer all round as the restored John Oxley memorial was unveiled at Town Beach in Port Macquarie on September 20.
The official opening marks the countdown to bicentenary events across the Hastings marking 200 years since explorer John Oxley first came to the region.
At the memorial’s opening, ‘200 Together’ – An Exploration through Time’ was launched along with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s community fun day scheduled for October 28 at Town Green.
Port Macquarie-Hastings mayor Peta Pinson said it would be a stellar event for the whole community.
“Today I am delighted to announce the ‘200 Together’ – An Exploration through Time’ community fun day which will bring people from across the Hastings together to celebrate our bicentenary,” Cr Pinson said.
“Our region has such a rich local heritage that is simply fascinating and the bicentenary offers a great opportunity for us all to come together to reflect and remember where we have come from and look towards our bright future.”
Cr Pinson said the restored memorial was a wonderful piece of local history that once again stands where John Oxley first camped in Port Macquarie.
“2018 marks 200 years since John Oxley and his team of explorers surveyed our region for early European settlement," she said.
“Imagine what they would have experienced as the team undertook the arduous journey from Bathurst along the Macquarie River, crossing the mountains in the west to reach the coast and so this memorial stands where he first camped.”
She said the community fun day would be a chance for the whole of the Hastings to come together and is just one of the community events happening.
“On October 28 we will have gourmet food stalls, market stalls, walking tours, live music, story telling, arts and crafts and kid’s activities for everyone to enjoy.
“We will also have an Aboriginal cultural experience with a smoking ceremony, food tasting and cultural activities.”
Janet Hyde, a member of the Port Macquarie-Hastings Bicentenary Working Group, said the ongoing celebrations will be great for the whole local community.
“The working group is collaborating with council to deliver projects, programs and events that relate to the Bicentenary of John Oxley first exploring the region in 1818,” Mrs Hyde said.
“We are excited to be able to celebrate just how much we have grown over the last 200 years and more importantly look towards what is to come.
“The bicentenary also provides many benefits for our local tourism industry with lots of activities for visitors to enjoy.”
The memorial restoration has been eight months in the making after council sought to restore the memorial back in February.
“The original plaque and compass stand have received much needed attention and placed onto a new marble plinth that will improve the visibility of the memorial at its original location,” Cr Pinson said.
Access to the memorial has been improved with a new pathway leading to it along with a total of 42 letters on the plaque being restored by Chris Killam from Rookwood Cemetery.
“Within two years you will not be able to tell which letters were touched up,” Mr Killam said.
For more information on the Port Macquarie-Hastings bicentenary visit pmhc.nsw.gov.au/bicentenary.