It was all about the timing when Port Macquarie Lions Club unveiled a replica plaque commemorating John Oxley’s arrival at Port Macquarie.
Supporters gathered at 3pm on October 8 at Lions Park to commemorate the arrival of John Oxley at Port Macquarie exactly 200 years ago.
The timing of the October 8 replica plaque unveiling was significant.
Historian, author and Port Macquarie Lions Club member Richard Grimmond said John Oxley’s diary entry on October 8 stated he built a bridge over a run of freshwater, now Kooloonbung Creek, “which we did by 2 o’clock”.
Then he passed through “clear forest” to arrive at Oxley Beach and then he said “we pitched our tents on a beautiful point of land commanding a fine view of the interior of the port” which he would have done by 3pm on October 8, 1818.
Mr Grimmond said the exact 200th anniversary day should be celebrated.
The Lions Club presented the town of Port Macquarie with a historic map 50 years ago commemorating the 150th anniversary of John Oxley’s arrival.
The map stood at Gaol Point for 48 years and the present day Lions Club would like to continue that tradition.
The club proposes to install a small monument and permanent plaque within the boundaries of the garden at Lions Park, pending council’s seal of approval.
Port Macquarie Lions Club president Ian Turner said they all waited for hopefully a positive response from the council later this year.
Mr Turner welcomed people to the short ceremony on October 8.
“It is appropriate at this time that we acknowledge the local Birpai people as the original custodians of the Hastings district,” he said.
“The journey of John Oxley and his party through the newly named Hastings area can be seen as the start of European contact with the Birpai people.
“This has resulted in a huge impact on their traditional and cultural way of life with the consequences still being felt today.
“The two are inexplicable intertwined.”