The journey John Oxley took to first get to Port Macquarie was no doubt a long one and during the Hastings’ bicentenary year, 10 surveyors decided to follow in the explorer’s footsteps.
Members from the Seniors Group of the Institution of Surveyors NSW left Bathurst on October 14 and after a week wandering through inland New South Wales, arrived in Port Macquarie on October 19.
John Reid, leader of the exploration group, said the trip had been a great success.
“The whole trip has been about tracing the epic journey of explorer John Oxley as he made his was from Bathurst to Port Macquarie and beyond in 1818,” Mr Reid said.
“At the time John Oxley was the surveyor general and so it is great that as retired surveyors we can go to the exact places he went and see what he saw.
“I think given our connecting professions we can have that special connection to him which is heightened in this bicentenary year.
“The trip has really given us an insight and appreciation of his hardships and just how epic a journey he took and we believe that it should be commemorated.”
Mr Reid said the group had travelled along John Oxley’s path and had been delighted and awestruck by what they had seen.
“You have to remember he was doing this 200 years ago and without the technology we are able to use today,” he said.
“And then to think about all the places he visited, you have to wonder what was going through his mind.
“In his exploration party he had 16 men and 19 horses and the group lived off the land and fished for their food along the way.
"For us it has been great to be able to bond as a group and learn more about one of our first surveyor generals.
“We are also learning so much about our country and about the towns that he went through on his epic trip.”
Mike Lavis, another former surveyor on the trip, said it has been a real bonding experience for the group.
“As one of the younger members of the group being able to see the history of the places we have been and then to hear from the other surveyors on the trip talk about their experience has been fantastic,” Mr Lavis said.
“Everyone on the trip has been so enthusiastic about everything and the camaraderie I have really been enjoying as we all sit around at night and chat.”
The group were in Port Macquarie from October 19-21 and participated in bicentenary celebrations at Douglas Vale before heading back to Sydney.
Bicentenary celebrations will culminate with a community fun day on Sunday, October 28 at Town Green in Port Macquarie hosted by the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.
The event is called ‘200 Together’ – An Exploration through Time’ and is open for the whole community with live music, demonstrations and stalls all day.
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