Author Archives: Wayne Olling

Werrington Kangaroos

Pic 1

The issue of the fate of the kangaroos at the Werrington Park Campus of Western Sydney University has taken a turn for the worse.

There are four stands of Cumberland Plain Woodland near the western rail line in an area zoned E2 Environmental Conservation on the campus. Cumberland Plain Woodland is listed as “Critically Endangered” under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act and Commonwealth Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act.

These stands provide foraging for the kangaroos but, more so, they provide shade for the kangaroos on the hot, sunny days of Western Sydney as opposed to the broad grassed area of the campus.

While Western Sydney University is developing its plan for a business park on the Werrington Park Campus an act has occurred which is, at best, environmental negligence or, at worst, a treacherous attempt to destroy the integrity of the stands of Cumberland Plain Woodland in order to get approval to knock down and build where the stands exist as part of the upcoming business park plan.

In either event, what has happened is a serious breach of trust on the part of Western Sydney University subsequent to the university canvassing environment groups in year 2011 to support its aim of achieving United Nations accreditation under the banner of the “UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development”.

Our email and photos of damage, sent to the university, received no reply until more than a month after the mulch smothering was noted. All the while, the herbs, grasses, groundcovers and juvenile trees and shrubs which make up the complement of Cumberland Plain Woodland are being killed by the mulch.

The reply from university speaks of engaging a bush regenerator to provide recommendations for rectifying this disaster. That is further unnecessary delay. The solution needs to be immediate viz sensitive raking out of the mulch.

What is on display here with Western Sydney University is far removed from “Education for Sustainable Development”.

Alliance for Public Parklands

Your public parklands and your access to them are under threat.

The NSW Government is serving vested interests who seek to derive income for themselves at cost to the liberties you have enjoyed with public parklands such as Western Sydney Parklands, historic “Fernhill”, Centennial Park, Callan Park, Parramatta Park, Sydney Harbour Foreshores.

What was originally intended for these public places is being overturned.

In typical flow-on effect, this practice once well entrenched at the State level, will become the practice of your local government with respect to your precious local parks.

Whether it be individuals offering themselves to manage parklands for salary and selling off parkland areas to pay for their salary or whether it be entrepreneurs wanting to make money from being given or leasing parkland space to conduct a business venture there is one sure loser – you. Through this practice you will either or both have to pay for access to areas that were once yours for free or be denied access to what will become private areas which were once yours.

Another loser is the natural heritage and cultural heritage that might exist in those parkland areas as they are lost or modified to accommodate the aims of the privileged few.

This is a tragic statement on the order of government and society today. You don’t have open government. It is the domain of self interested carpetbagger cum bureaucrats, entrepreneurs, business interests and their collective lobbyists who have access to government chambers which you are denied.

In an effort to resist these sell-outs, an alliance of concerned citizens – from the sea to the mountains – have come together to form Alliance for Public Parklands.

Blacktown & District Environment Group Inc is now affiliated with this newly formed alliance.

We urge the public to also join. Go to learn what is happening and get involved to prevent this ‘theft’ of your land.


Old Growth Trees – Mulgoa Rd Jamisontown

The NSW Government has done what no other generation of government representatives or previous land owners did before.

The NSW government of today has made a decision to destroy most of the old growth trees alongside Mulgoa Rd Jamisontown which previous generations of Australians kept as part of the landscape of the area. A part of the landscape that has been home for numerous species of Australian fauna.

This is a shameful time and a space occupied in our history by shameful people. They did not have it in them to do what earlier Australians had in them – leave these trees to fulfil hundreds of years of ecological function. Anyone standing underneath these trees will see the evidence of constant activity of arboreal fauna and hear the constant daytime chatter of diverse native bird species – unique in Western Sydney.

But that is not good enough for the NSW Government. The chainsaws and the bulldozers will insensitively remove the trees and the hollows containing various fauna species in one fell swoop. It is nauseating that there are people walking among us who could act so insensitively as this  Remember them come election time.

Werrington Kangaroos

There are the two development proposals threatening the long term home of the kangaroos at what has been the Werrington Park campus of Western Sydney University.

One is the university’s business park plan for the greater area of the site. That situation has not changed since our last report except to say that the university has told us that the kangaroos will be part of the future plan.

The other threat is the 28ha section of the overall site which the university sold to a developer and which Lend Lease submitted a proposal for intense development. That land has been labelled 16 Chapman St Werrington.

The Lend Lease proposal is before Penrith Council and will ultimately go to an external NSW Planning Panel for determination. Penrith Council will make a recommendation to the Planning Panel but has already indicated some concern for the future of the kangaroos with the loss of nearly a third of their habitat and foraging area. It was also necessary for Lend Lease to obtain the approval of the Commonwealth Government in accordance with provisions of the EPBC Act.

Blacktown & District Environment Group (BDEG) lodged a submission raising concern about the future of the kangaroos and the loss of their habitat and foraging area. The EPBC Act offsetting guidelines acknowledge the worth of derived grasslands between stands of Cumberland Plain Shale Woodlands and the importance of connectivity for fauna. However, in the past week we received advice that the Commonwealth Government, in another capitulation to developer interests over and above environmental protection and its own offsetting guidelines, waved through the development proposal. Only some cosmetic deference to reporting requirements were placed upon the development proposal.

It is sickening that the present administrators of the Commonwealth EPBC Act serve only to usher in the demise of Commonwealth environmental protection. What is their worth? Who could achieve any satisfaction from destroying that which they are employed to uphold and protect?

We battle on fully aware that societal sensitivity is in decline and this is reflected in the diminution of environment protection legislation through bureaucrats lacking the fortitude and sensitivity of those who foresaw the need for environmental protection decades ago.

Werrington Kangaroos

This is an update to the matter of the kangaroos at Werrington Park we have been pursuing.

Discussions have occurred with representatives of Western Sydney University (WSU) as to the future of the mob of kangaroos which (including their ancestors) have been a resident part of the environmental and social fabric of the property Werrington Park back as far as the 1950s.

Representatives of WSU said they have not come up with a definitive plan but there is an intention to have development on the site as part of a major precinct plan for the area including sites not part of the WSU’s ownership. However, the representatives said preservation of the kangaroos on the site will form part of the plan and discussions are taking place with scientists and the government to that end.

We have been invited to participate in further discussions along the way. How it can be that the area of of foraging and habitat for kangaroos can be sustained while areas are subjected to development is not clear to us and is a worry.

Meanwhile, a third of the area that has been foraging and habitat for the kangaroos has been sold and is in the hands of Lend Lease. That party has a Development Application lodged with Penrith City Council as 16 Chapman St Werrington and intensive housing development is the proposal. No consideration has been given to the kangaroos and only miniscule consideration of flora protection on site is proposed by Lend Lease. We lodged our objection to this parlous situation with Penrith City Council and the Commonwealth Government and we await the outcome of our protestations.

Proposed Extension of Prospect Cemetery

Blacktown & District Environment Group Inc was invited to submit comments on a proposal to reassign land east of the existing St Batholomew’s Church Cemetery, Prospect so that the cemetery could be extended into that area.

The area is shown hereunder:

Prospect - Cemetery Extension

We inspected the land and noted that much of the area was occupied by exotic grasses, herbs and blackberry.

There were, however, some areas of native canopy with native understorey, some areas of native shrubs and, near the Great Western Hwy, a drainage area.

Our submission to Blacktown City Council identified the canopy areas as providing fauna habitat/foraging value as well as providing immediate aesthetic value and, in practical terms, providing shade for attendees of burial services on warm to hot days.

The areas comprising stands of the native shrub Bursaria spinosa were said to provide potential nesting for the Superb Fairy Wren known to inhabit the area. Additionally, the shrubs could provide something of a natural screen to the heavily trafficked Great Western Hwy on the northern side of the area and the M4 Motorway on the southern side. Planting of a native shrub layer (quicker growing) and canopy inside the boundaries of the cemetery area were also recommended for screening purposes but they would also benefit avian fauna.

We also recommended enhancement of the drainage area to make a wetland area which would provide fauna foraging/habitat as well as being an aesthetic water feature of the cemetery.

We await the direction Blacktown City Council takes on this matter but it seems certain the cemetery extension will go ahead.

Protect the Mob of Werrington Kangaroos

Werrington Kangaroos

The image above shows just some of the near 40 kangaroos on what has been the Werrington campus of Western Sydney University (WSU).

Prior to take-up of the land by WSU the land was government land. Early citizens will recall driving past this site along the Great Western Hwy or travelling by train and seeing a mob of kangaroos as well as emus grazing freely under protection.

Well, today the emus are gone but kangaroos remain. The site, therefore, has sustained a population of Eastern Grey Kangaroos – an emblem of the natural heritage of the eastern margin of NSW for nearly 70 years, at least.

The NSW Heritage Register recognises the Georgian Revival style house ‘Frogmore’ on the land and, significantly, includes as part of the listing “The expansive undulating grounds provide an important parklike element which is visible from both the railway and road. These grounds serve to demarcate the South Creek basin from the Nepean Valley system.”  These grounds are the foraging area and habitat for the mob of kangaroos.

Sad to say, a real threat now exists from an educational institution looking for financial gain from the land at cost to the survival of the mob of kangaroos. More than a third of the approximately 80 plus ha of land has been quietly sold to a developer and the international company Lend Lease is seeking intensive residential development on the 28ha purchased. Even more sadly, Lend Lease has relied on a completely erroneous fauna survey which does not even recognise the presence of kangaroos foraging the site.

Now WSU is seeking to develop a business park on the remaining area of the campus site. Such a proposal cannot accommodate the mob of kangaroos and what is supposed to be an institution educating future generations on environmental sensitivity is set to be ordering the killing of kangaroos which have previously been protected in situ.

Blacktown & District Environment Group Inc opposes this wilful grab for dollars at cost to this representation of one of our national and cultural heritage. We will join with others protesting the actions of Lend Lease and Western Sydney University. In the interim please go to to sign the petition to protect the mob of kangaroos.

Old Growth Trees – Mulgoa Rd Penrith

Blacktown & District Environment Group has joined with other Conservationists in Western Sydney who oppose the destruction of old growth Eucalyptus amplifolia trees adjacent to Mulgoa Rd, Jamisontown, Penrith.

Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has initiated a plan to widen Mulgoa Rd and the Review of Environmental Factors commissioned for the project proposes destruction of the trees.

The trees can be seen immediately on the western side of Mulgoa Rd in the following aerial photo:

Mulgoa Rd Amplifolia (3)-Inked

Not all of the approximately 40 trees are old growth (some have regenerated from the older trees) but a little less than half are old growth with some almost certainly 200 to 400 years old. As such, the older trees are living emblems representing the landscape through which Aboriginal forebears and European settlers such as Sir John Jamison, William Cox, his son Edward Cox (who built historic “Fernhill”), James (Toby) Ryan MLC (who built historic “Emu Hall”) passed as they went about their lives. There were many other early people for whom space does not permit naming but it needs to be clearly said that as people moved between the locations which became Mulgoa and Windsor they would have passed by and perhaps took shelter under the older trees of which we speak.

If our society makes much of preserving built structures identifying with notable people or events of the past why is there insufficient regard given to preserving living organisms which formed part of the life, if only as landscape but quite possibly more, for notable people or events of the past?

In short we reply, “We should regard them!”

As trees age they lose limbs and create hollows which become habitat for a wide range of fauna. That has happened with the trees of 100 years or more age here alongside Mulgoa Rd. We don’t dare venture to quantify the fauna species inhabiting these hollows but a casual passer-by will see activity in and out of and on the edge of the hollows by Corellas, Red-rumped Parrots and Rainbow Lorikeets. Possum scratches are also visible on the trees. Other passers-by would see other species for it is well known to locals the extent of fauna activity with the large number of hollows these trees bear.

Also of high significance but inadequately addressed in the Review of Environmental Factors is the number of scars many of the trees bear. It would seem that a broad involvement of Aboriginal groups were not involved in assessment of the scars to determine whether there are any Aboriginal Scarred Trees. This is a shortcoming. More than one Aboriginal person should have been involved to determine whether any of the trees were used by early Aboriginals for resources in their living.

Take a look at the following aerial image of the location of these trees. The image was taken in 1943 and you will note that, apart from a stand of Eucalypts east of Mulgoa Rd, the stand of trees in the centre of the image were the few survivors from land clearing of the whole area:

Mulgoa Rd Amplifolia (2)-Inked

What that image tells us is that 75 years ago (and well before that) these trees were the subject of preservation wishes of past inhabitants of the area that became the City of Penrith. That which applied in the minds of people in the past has proven to be of benefit to ecology, landscape, cultural and natural heritage experienced past and present. Who is it then who has been born into the world in these present times who will overturn all the conservation endeavours of people in the past, people dating back in some instances, as much as 400 years?

It needs to be realised by RMS that there are only two principal routes from the south into Penrith CBD and beyond viz The Northern Rd and Mulgoa Rd (the only other route is Kingswood Rd but it is somewhat out-of-the-way). Traffic demand will only increase on these roads. Already, The Northern Road is under extensive widening and Mulgoa Rd is now under consideration. However, the future will produce greater demand and perhaps introduction of dedicated bus lanes or light rail will be placed on a future agenda. Such potential demands the provision of road reserve for further widening now and the only viable option to achieving that reserve is to acquire the residential properties on the eastern side of Mulgoa Rd.

What is proposed in the present Review of Environmental Factors to take out the old growth trees will still have adverse impacts on the residents living on the eastern side of Mulgoa Rd. The wider and more trafficked Mulgoa Rd will be closer to residents and a noise wall will be a visual and breeze barrier to residents.

This writer is well experienced with RMS road upgrades. He and his past neighbours have suffered the ill effects of the widening of the road outside their property from road to highway and the immense increase in traffic associated noise, air pollution and the ‘prisoner-like’ lifestyle as one attempts to limit exposure by staying indoors rather than making use of the full residential boundary. This writer eventually had to move out to quieter and cleaner surroundings. In doing so he found his property value was less than those properties not directly exposed to a major road in the area where he lived.

Further, a noise wall acts as a barrier to the movement of much desired breezes in the hotter months of the year yet it somehow fails to prevent the small carcinogenic vehicle emission particulates drifting into the residence despite windows and doors being closed. If not a long term health risk these particulates make the residence constantly dirty and requiring more regular cleaning than would otherwise be the case.

If I were a resident alongside Mulgoa Rd in the area of Jamisontown I would be pursuing resumption of my property by RMS, with adequate compensation to facilitate a move to a better location, and make a new start in life. Property value will not keep up with others in the area once the road upgrade commences so the better option is to take the early recourse of a move.

Sadly, Infrastructure – road, rail, plane or other is the ‘god of this age’ and is difficult to resist as it imposes itself on the lives of people, animals and the landscape. The Mulgoa Rd upgrade in Jamisontown has the potential to make life horrendous for humans and animals living alongside the road. Also, ecological function of the old growth trees and their place in the history of the City of Penrith is under threat. It need not be this way. A solution can be achieved if RMS and residents ‘bite the bullet’ now.

Riverstone Wetlands – A Destructive Precinct Plan

The Marsden Park North Precinct Plan was recently on exhibition. The precinct includes the Riverstone Wetlands. Submissions via closed on 19 October 2018.

A brochure presenting the values of Riverstone Wetlands and the threat they face from the NSW Government acquiescing to property investment speculators can be found here

Adding to earlier concerns it is now revealed that the wetlands are habitat for a population of Green and Golden Bell Frogs, a species of frog listed as “Vulnerable” in the NSW BC Act and the Commonwealth EPBC Act.

In an exercise guaranteed to destroy hope of continued survival of the Green and Golden Bell Frog population and extinguish altogether Riverstone being an annual destination and foraging for international shore birds the government is proposing to construct some sort of ‘wetland’ in the floodplain of South Creek to relocate the frogs and guess that the migratory shore birds will relocate themselves to the newly constructed ‘wetland’.

This strategy of the government is an obeisance to development interests, a craven pursuit of development dollars through the blade of bulldozers and all this ahead of environmental sensitivity.

This is an environmental fail in either of the short term or long term because, even if the frogs and birds attempt to oblige, the proposed ‘new wetland’ on the floodplain of South Creek will expose the frogs and birds to the destructive effects of the ‘introduced’ fish species Gambusia which inhabit South Creek. Add to that the threat of the frog population being washed away from the current of a flood breached South Creek so often experienced with heavy rain inundations and we are left to deplore the degradation of what passes for governmental decision making in the 21st Century.

No, no, no! A thousand times no!

This is a bad outcome for the environment of Riverstone and the Greater West of Sydney. Please make your concerns heard by Kevin Conolly MP, Member for Riverstone via email or in person if you see him somewhere.

Hereunder are pages of the aforementioned brochure prepared by community members aware of the worth of the Riverstone Wetlands:

Save Riverstone Wetlands_001

Save Riverstone Wetlands_002

Save Riverstone Wetlands_003

Save Riverstone Wetlands_004

Save Riverstone Wetlands_005

Save Riverstone Wetlands_006

Save Riverstone Wetlands_007

Save Riverstone Wetlands_008

Save Riverstone Wetlands_009 (1)

Save Riverstone Wetlands_010

Save Riverstone Wetlands_011

Save Riverstone Wetlands_012


Early Historical Extracts from the Sydney Gazette

Sydney Gazette 26 March 1803

Extraordinary Interposition of Providence –- On Saturday night last, as several carts were stopping to bait near the First Pond on the Hawkesbury Road, a tree of prodigious size and immense height, that had been loosened by successive tempests, fell among the travellers, and broke the carts to pieces, without injury either to the drivers or horses. A child was in one of the vehicles, upon which a forked branch happened to strike. By the violence of the concussion the infant was thrown to the distance of more than 20 yards, but also miraculously escaped unhurt !

Sydney Gazette 8 May 1803

On Thursday 19 boxes of Plants and Shrubs, procured here, were sent on board the Glatton by His EXCELLENCY, to be forwarded to England : many of which, it is supposed, are at present wholly unknown to the British Botanist.

During the night of Sunday the 24th ult. two prisoners in the watch-house at Parramatta broke from their confinement, and although diligent search was made after them, effected a temporary escape. In the course of the two following nights, however, they both voluntarily returned to their recent lodging, which they prudently preferred to the certain dangers of a romantic resort to the woods. This timely submission operated strongly on the minds of the Magistrates, who at all times consider contrition as a recommendation to mercy.

Sydney Gazette 15 May 1803

On Wednesday last the following statement of Timber, &c. sent on board the Glatton on account of Government was concluded, viz. 162 Pieces of crooked and straight Timber, from 41 and a half feet to 10 feet in length, and from 10 to 20 inches in Diameter : The species consist of Mahogany, Stringy-bark, iron-bark, Black and Blue Gum, and Box ; most of which are fit for Ship-building ; the number of solid Feet is estimated at 4,700. 55 Pieces of a Wood resembling Lignum Vitae, lately found ; It dyes a light yellow, and may be useful for that purpose as well as for the Pins and Sheaves of blocks. 30 Casks of Blue Gum Bark, which has been so successfully used in this Colony for tanning Leather. Some Grindstones. 2 Casks of Iron Ore, as a Specimen. Exclusive of the above, 113 Plank and Logs of She-oak have been sent to different individuals.

Sydney Gazette 29 May 1803

No rain (except a few passing showers of no use) has fallen since last July. This long drought has deprived many of the settlers of their late crop of Maize, but nowise injured the Wheat reaped in November last, or the first crops of Maize, owing to the heavy and fertilizing dews that have generally fallen in the nights. Although gardening has been much retarded, yet the rain that fell from Friday to Monday last, came very opportunely for the Wheat now sowing throughout the Colony, a quantity of which is out of the ground. From the long continuance of the heavy fall of rain, it was reasonable to apprehend that Hawkesbury would be laid under water; and it is the opinion of the inhabitants that had it not providentially ceased when it did, a flood must have been the consequence, as during the last day of the rain a heavy fresh made its appearance, and the water raised many feet above the usual height.

Sydney Gazette 26 June 1803

On Thursday two young Emues, procured at King’s Island, were sold to a Master of a Vessel for seven Guineas, a price by no means exorbitant, as they come under the denomination of WILD FOWL.


The following melancholy account has been given by John Place, who now lies in a very weak state in Parramatta Hospital, of an attempt made by him and three of his fellow prisoners, to escape from this Colony John Place declares, that he, John Cox, William Knight, and John Phillips, all late of the Glatton (prisoners) formed a resolution on the road from Castle-Hill to Hawkesbury, to attempt their escape. They formed this determination in consequence of having heard people say on board the Glatton, and while at work at Castle-Hill, that they could get to China, by which means they would obtain their liberty again ; being all married men (excepting one) they were very anxious to return to their families. On the seventh of May (three days after their arrival at Hawkesbury) they left Cornwallis-place, resolved to pass the Mountains, and took with them only their Week’s Ration, which they received on Saturday and consumed on the Wednesday following ; after travelling for seventeen days, in hopes of passing the Mountains, and despairing of accomplishing the object on which they set out, they resolved (if possible) to return. After they had eaten their provisions they found nothing to subsist on but wild-currants sweet-tea leaves, and had been oppressed with hunger for twelve days. Before they set off to return, John Phillips left them to gather some berries and they saw him no more; they heard him call several times , but could render him no assistance, they being so reduced by hunger and concluded he perished. Being asked in what direction they went, Place says, that they travelled the whole of the seventeen days with the sun on their right shoulder, and found great difficulty in ascending some of the Mountains, and also attempted to return by the direction of the sun. After travelling for upwards of Twenty-days, all (except Phillips) reached within five miles of Richmond-Hill, when William Knight, unable to proceed any further, lay down, where Place says he must have died. On the same day Place and Cox made the river above Richmond Hill, and in attempting to cross the Fall the current carried them down. One was carried to one side of the river, and the other to the opposite side, with difficulty pull- themselves ashore by the branches of the trees. Cox had only his shirt and shoes on, Place saw him lain along the bank, where, being very weak, and the night extremely cold, he supposes he died. Place also lay down, despairing of life, and was found on the day following by a man, who, with some of the natives, was in quest of kangaroos : he was then too weak to walk alone, but was led by the natives to the nearest hut, where he remained all night; in the morning he was taken to Hawkesbury, and from thence sent to the Hospital at Parramatta. None can read the above account without pitying the ignorance, and commiserating the sufferings of these deluded prisoners ; and it is fervently to be hoped, that the inconceivable hardships they have endured from hunger and cold, with the almost constant prospect of death before their eyes, will deter all other prisoners from either advising any of their companions or from making a similar attempt themselves. It is well known, that those are not the only unfortunate men who have perished in this wild attempt, many others have never returned to relate the hardships they underwent, and must therefore have perished under every accumulation of misery by their rashness and folly. Place who appears to be the only survivor, resigned himself to despair and death, and was found, within a few hours of eternity. He seems to have been preserved by a particular providence, to give the above awful admonition to all others who now do or shall in future, entertain any idea of regaining their liberty by a similar act, in which nothing but inevitable death must be the final event.

Sydney Gazette 3 July 1803

S Y D N E Y.

On Tuesday the 21st ultimo HIS EXCELLENCY ordered a party of Men from Parramatta to survey the Wild Cattle at the Pastures, and to slaughter one of the cast-off Bulls : In pursuance of which a young Bull was killed on the Friday following, which was brought into Parramatta and Sydney, and proves of an excellent quality.— The GOVERNOR has since directed, that a Butcher with several assistants should be employed in Killing and Curing the single Bulls until further Orders ; for which purpose they were on Monday last furnished with proper implements and necessaries. The inattention of the lower orders to the duties of the Sabbath has lately been such as render coercive measures necessary. Persons in all quarters of the Town have openly employed themselves in their customary weekly avocations, and others have preferred strolling idly about the streets to attending Divine Service. A number of these were on Sunday last taken into custody by order of the Magistrates ; but were afterwards reprimanded and discharged, upon a promise of amendment.

The night of the 24th ultimo, upon which the daring outrage was committed in the house of John Larkham, in the neighbourhood of Parramatta, Mr, Williamson’s Farm Residence was also attempted, it is supposed by the same party of villains, who there missed their aim ; and some evenings before, a quantity of poultry was stolen from an out-house of Mr. Evans, in the same neighbourhood, the villains having first barricaded the doors and windows of the dwelling-house, to prevent egression or alarm.—

Soon after the Robbery on Larkham’s premises, Thomas Dobson, a prisoner, was apprehended on suspicion of being accessary to the offence, or of knowing the perpetrators. This man has for some time absented himself from Government labour, and frequently took refuge, under a pretence of being off the Store, in the house of Larkham, in which he slept on the night of the burglary. Larkham’s Wife, who had been treated with much barbarity, declared on the examination, that four villains with their faces blacked, rushed into the house, which they ransacked, and afterwards cooked and eat a number of eggs ; during which interval Dobson lay near the fire, and was familiarly addressed by the robbers, one of whom she believed promised to see him in the morning, but the exact words, or their precise meaning, she could not ascertain. Dobson was forced to remain in custody, and every means taken that might leade to a discovery.

The dismal consequences that have invariably resulted from the rash project of crossing the Mountains, have proved, upon the most fatal evidence, the impossibility of its accomplishment, and the certain wretchedness and destruction of those who ignorantly presume on the attempt. From the numbers that have at different times fallen victims to the dangerous desire of emigrating, and who have absconded from the several Settlements under an illusory persuasion that an Establishment exists on the other side of these immeasurable heights, it becomes the duty of every well-wisher to his fellow-creature, by reasonable argument to point out the impracticability of performing such a journey, and the egregious absurdity of fostering the idea of an imaginary Settlement. It has been reported, by persons who were careless whether they asserted facts or falsehoods, that the natives of the interior have made mention of a set of people whose manners and customs strongly resembled our own ; and others, willing to give a still more improbable colour to the imposture, asserted in addition that these distant inhabitants were possessed of bells, churches, masted vessels, a sterling specie, and every other requisite that might seem calculated to convey the idea of civilization. The natives, upon whose verbal testimony this suggestion is pretended to have been founded, have too frequently convinced us of their ingenuity in dissimulation, to obtain the most distant shadow of belief where a doubt possibly could support ; and we are also well aware of their readiness to acquiesce in every thing, however absurd, that may obtain to them encouragement, or administer to their immediate wants. That such chimera may have so originated we cannot altogether question ; but nevertheless venture to affirm, that were two or more of these reports compared, the delusive supposition must vanish into nothingness, and this establishment prove indebted for its existence to the fertility of a romantic brain. To suppose that a body of civilized people should assemble on a coast, by shipwreck or other possible cause, and although possessed of the means yet entertained no desire to communicate with or return to their native country, would be as unreasonable as to imagine them set down in secret, and never after, become a subject of enquiry, as no transition has ever hinted at a circumstance that could possibly have given birth to so truly unreasonable, so preposterous a conjecture.

Were it therefore possible that an individual could make good this journey, and safely pass the numerous and large Lagoons by which these Mountains are intersected, no other reward awaits his fatal curiosity, than death under accumulated miseries. Missions, well directed and equipped, have indefatigably endeavoured to explore them, not in pursuit of a chimerical establishment, but upon useful discovery ; and they, altho’ provided with every necessary for the long and laborious travel, have been successively compelled to abandon the design, after an absence of many weeks : What then must be the portion of the rash and inexperienced few, who unconscious of the difficulties they are unprepared to encounter, yet dare to venture on the project ? Sorry we are to say, the consequences have already been too manifest—three out of four have L A T E L Y fallen victim to their rashness, and too late repentent of the credulity to which they were about to come the most wretched victims.

We understand HIS EXCELLENCY during his late visit to the Out Settlements, has given directions for making a more convenient Road to Hawkesbury from Parramatta, by which the mischief occasioned to Horses and Carriages from the necessity of crossing the Seven Hills will be totally removed.

Sydney Gazette 10 July 1803


By His Excellency PHILIP GIDLEY KING ESQUIRE, Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over His Majesty’s Territory of New South Wales and its Dependencies, &c. &c &c. WHEREAS there is great reason to suppose some Persons not duly Authorised, do make a Practice of going to those Parts beyond the Nepean, where the Strayed Cattle Resort for the purpose of Killing them, whereby several are Wounded: –To prevent which, it is hereby Ordered, That if any Person whatever frequent the Cow Pastures, or pass the Nepean, without a Permit Signed by the Governor, stating for what purpose that Permission is given, He or They will on Conviction, be put to Hard Labour for Six Months as a Vagrant. And if any Person whatever, not authorised, shall presume to kill any of the above Black Cattle, Male or Female, they will be Punished to the utmost extent of the Law. This Proclamation to be in force from and after the 15th Instant. Given under my Hand, at Government House, Sydney, in New South Wales, this 6th Day of July, 1803. (Signed) PHILIP GIDLEY KING. GOD SAVE THE KING! (By Command of His Excellency) W. N. CHAPMAN, Secretary.

From the irregularities practised by the Passage Boatmen that ply between Sydney and Parramatta, to oblige them to be more circumspect in their conduct towards their Passengers, the Magistrates are directed to make the present Proprietors an offer of their Licences being continued under the following Terms, viz.— The Proprietors to enter into a Bond of 50 Pounds Sterling, and two Securities in 25 Pounds each, for the due performance of the Regulations, by those they employ as well as themselves.

The boats to be always kept tight, furnished with at least four Oars in case the passengers may wish to assist in rowing, and with one Mast and Sail. To treat the passengers with civility, and any improper treatment on the part of the Boatmen, to be considered as a forfeiture of the Bond, unless mitigated by two Magistrates before whom the complaint is to be made.

A Bell is to be rung at the Hospital and Parramatta Wharfs, half-an-hour before the departure of the Boat, to give notice to those who mean to take a passage by it.

The boats to leave Sydney at the first low water, and Parramatta at the first high water, between Sun-Rise and Sun-set. The Boatmen stopping at any place morethan ten minutes, unless from necessity, will subject the proprietors to a forfeiture of the Bond and Security.

Any person not licenced by the Magistrates and approved by the GOVERNOR, plying the passage between Parramatta and Sydney for payment, will on conviction before two Magistrates forfeit two Pounds to the Orphan Fund. The Passage boat is not to go along-side any vessel for parcels or luggage of any kind, without acquainting the Wharfinger.

A Book is to be kept by the proprietors where all Goods, Parcels, &c. are to be booked for which one penny is to be given, which makes the proprietors responsible for the delivery.

Sydney Gazette 17 July 1803

On Thursday last a stump of a tree of prodigious size was removed from the end of South Row by a number of labourers, and thrown into the hollow of the Spring. The removal of this obstacle was attended with much labour and difficulty, which are however amply recompensed both in point of appearance and general convenience.

The Rains during the last week will, we hope, be found beneficial to the standing crops which have been hitherto much in want of seasonable falls.

Sydney Gazette 7 August 1803


The Military have at length completed the Streets in their respective District ; in the performance of which Eighty men have been employed Twenty-one Days. They have removed from their places of nativity Thirty-two Stumps of Trees, many of which were of a monstrous bulk : One in particular deserves remark — it’s circumference measured Nine Yards, and employed Sixteen Men Six Days to loosen and bury it in a gulph that was necessarily prepared close to the spot on which it grew. In turning it over into its place of interment, Ninety strong men pulled with all their might, and broke a two-inch tackle two different times ; by which sudden jerk numbers of the men were- thrown in heaps to the ground : but providentially no material injury sustained. By the above Improvement a more direct and commodious Road is opened from Sydney to Parramatta. The Street improvements and Repairs have made a sudden halt ; and change the Regulations have in most instances been duly attended to, yet from remissness and tardiness in others, they can at present only be said to disfigure the old style. The upper end of South Row forms a many-sided figure with which the Mathematics are entirely unacquainted.

A Parrot of a species perfectly distinct from any hitherto found, was lately taken at Kissing Point, and is now in the possession of the JUDGE ADVOCATE. Its size differs little from the Lowry, but the feather is by no means the same: those of the neck and breast are of a rich scarlet, with the head, wings, and tail of a clear straw colour. Whether this class may be possessed of the powers of SPEECH cannot yet be ascertained, but appearance declares it to be “a bird of promise”.

It may be justly wondered that the Tank or Bason at the foot or the Spring should be so totally neglected, at the same time that it is so essentially serviceable. A quantity of sand and rubbish has accumulated within the bason, which cannot be supposed to contribute to the purity of the stream —

Few will deny the justness of the remark, and none that are supplied from this valuable reservoir would perhaps be unwilling to contribute to its cleanliness ; but in its pre- sent neglected state it only furnishes us with a picture of “The Dog and MANY Masters.”

Sydney Gazette 14 August 1803




On the Use of Spiders as Prognosticators of the WEATHER.

It is generally known that the state of the atmosphere has a visual effect upon certain animals, and that, for instance, cats, dogs, frogs, hogs, &c. have a very strong presentiment of every change which is preparing in it. The spider possesses this quality in a more eminent degree than all other animals, and is peculiarly fit to serve as an unerring barometer. The spider says M. D’Isjonval, is a more unerring indicator of impending change in the atmosphere than the best barometer. These insects have two different ways of weaving their webs, by which we can know what weather we are to have. When the weather inclines to turn rainy or windy, they make the principal threads, which are the foundations, as it were, of their whole web, very short, and rather thick ; whereas they spin them much longer, when fine and warm weather is to be expected. Thence it appears clearly, that the spiders have not only a near, but also a distant presentiment of the changes which are preparing in the air. The barometer foretells the state of the weather with certainly only for about twenty-four hours whereas we may be sure that the weather will be fine twelve or fourteen days, when the spider makes the principal threads of its web long. It is obvious how important the consequences of this infallible signification to the state of the weather must be in many instances, particularly with regard to the operations of agriculture ; for which reason it has been frequently lamented, that the best Barometers, Hydrometers, Thermometers and Eudiometers are principally in the hands of consumers, and very rarely in those of the planters of the harvest. How fortunate is it therefore, that provident nature, amongst other gifts, also has bestowed upon the cultivator of the country such a cheap instrument, upon the sensibility and infallibility of which, with regard to the impending changes in the atmosphere, he can rely! The barometers are frequently very falliable guides, particularly when they point to settled fair ; whereas the work of the spider never fails to give the most certain information. This insect, which is one of the most economical animals, does not go to work, nor expends such a great length of threads, which it draws out of its body, before the most perfect equilibrium of all the constituent parts of the air indicates with certainty that this great expenditure will not be made in vain. Let the weather be ever so bad, we may conclude with certainty that it will not last long, and soon change for settled fair, when we see the spider repair the damages which his web has received. Those who will take the trouble to watch the operations of this useful insect, will be convinced by experience, that Mr. D’Isjonval deserves the thanks of his contemporaries on the communication of his important discovery, and in future show more indulgence to this object of almost general abhorrence than they have done hitherto.

Sydney Gazette 21 August 1803

A curious little native Animal, partaking in appearance of the squirrel & native cat is at this time in possesion of Dan M’Coy.- – The tail is of a remarkable length, the eyes rather prominent, the breast of a deep tan-colour, and the back a dark mixture. On either shoulder, a thin skin expands itself, which probably assisted in its flight or spring from tree to tree. From its hoarse droning noise when handled or molested, it at present passes under the appellation of the Buzzing Squirrel.

Sydney Gazette 4 September 1803

Some days ago a small Hive was found in the hollow of a Tree that had been brought into Town as fuel. When taken out a prodigious swarm of small Bees flew out upon the bystanders and nearly covered the person who held it in his hand, but without stinging him or any other person. About A pint of honey was taken from it, and the hive afterwards presented to a Gentleman.

Sydney Gazette 11 September 1803

A small viper was on Wednesday last killed in a house at the upper end of Chapel Row : It had concealed itself among some rubbish, in removing which it was at first perceived, and though very small, measured upwards of four feet in length.

A native Owl is in possession of the Judge Advocate, and may be worthy the notice of persons who may not have before seen any of its curious species. It chiefly resembles the European Owl in its inclination for sleep, and a total want of animation during the day. Its appearance is perfectly uncouth and grotesque, the beak sharp pointed, but of an unusual width next the throat, the eye is yellow, large and glaring; but the whole head during its slumbering state, is nearly concealed in the feathers of the neck and breast. Nature seems in the appearance of this bird to have consulted its security, as thousands might pass it as the fragment of a decayed bough.

Sydney Gazette 18 September 1803

A dog belonging to W. Miller, at the Hospital Wharf, has lost the use of his limbs from a feebleness and languor supposed to be occasioned by the ground tick burying in him; one of which was taken out from below the ear. The creature refuses nourishment, and appears to endure much pain.

A Snake of extraordinary size was killed last week on the Banks of George’s River, its length measuring more than 17 feet.

Sydney Gazette 2 October 1803

A Kangaroo of a species perfectly distinct from any hitherto taken was lately killed by Richard Palmer of the Brickfields, about a distance of 30 miles North of Richmond Hill. The animal, which the natives declared to be a very young one, weighed upwards of 80lbs, the Fore quarters differing little from the hind, but both are very different from those of any other species. The flesh he reports to be much finer than that of others, the skin differing in colour, being nearly black. Some of these NEW-DISCO- VERED creatures, if his account be accurate, may without exaggeration be estimated to weigh upwards of 200 lbs.

Sydney Gazette 9 October 1803

General Orders.

FROM the improvident method taken by the First Settlers on the Sides of the Hawkesbury and Creeks, in Cutting Down Timber and Cultivating the Banks, many Acres of Ground have been removed, Lands inundated, Houses, Stacks of Wheat, and Stock, washed away by former floods which might have been prevented in some measure if the Trees and other Native Plants had been suffered to remain ; and instead of cutting any down to have planted others to bind the Soil of the Banks closer ; and rendered them less liable to be carried away by every inconsiderable Flood ; nor is this the only evil:- – – The Public convenience having suffered by the numerous large Trees lying in the Stream, and fallen across, rendering water carriage on the Creek, almost impracticable, and in some Part of the Hawkesbury very dangerous.

As several Settlers have been, and are now fixing the Lower Part of the Hawkesbury, along the Nepean, South Creek, and Georges River, in Situations where the above Evils may be presented. It is hereby directed that no Settler or other Person, to whom Ground is Granted or Leased on the Sides of any River or Creek where Timber is now growing, Do on any account Cut Down, or Destroy by barking or otherwise, any Tree or Shrub growing within Two Rods of the Edge of the Bank, except for an Opening, One Rod wide, to have Access to the Water. ‘Mr. Evans, Acting Surveyor, of lands, is directed to communicate this Ordinance to those lately settled ; and to give the GOVERNOR a List of those who have not yet cut any Timber down in the above Situations, that it may be made a Condition in their Grant: And should they not be sufficiently sensible of the general and individual Benefit arising from this necessary Regulation, the Magistrates are hereby required to Levy a Fine of Fifty Shillings for each Tree cut down ; the Penalty to go to the Informer prosecuting to Conviction before two Magistrates.

Within the two Rods of Timber left on the Banks, another Rod is to be left for a Public Road along the Sides of the River or Creek ; which three Roads are not in future to be measured in the respective Allotments. it is earnestly recommended to those who already hold Farms by Grant, situated on the Side of any River or Creek liable to Floods, and which have bean cleared of Timber, to Replant the Banks with such binding. Plants and Trees as they can procure. By Command of His EXCELLENCY, W.N. CHAPMAN, Sec. Government House, Sydney, Oct 4. 1803

A hen belonging to a Settler at Hawkesbury lately hatched a clutch, amongst which an infant Cockatoo made its appearance, but whether the egg was introduced into the nest by accident or design we cannot exactly ascertain. The little intruder, which is described as the most uncouth in appearance of the unfledged brood, in common shared the good old hen’s regard. This chicken was the master’s favorite, and, as is commonly the case, repaid his indulgence with ingratitude: neglecting to clip the wings, as soon as the bird collected sufficient strength, it joined a flock of its own species, and has never since been recognized.

Sydney Gazette 16 October 1803

S Y D N E Y.

The inclosure of the Tank, undertaken by Government, will when compleated considerably improve the Town in its appearance, and render universal benefit in the preservation of its excellent stream Every appearance of rubbish has been removed from its sides, and the chrystal current flows into the basin with its native purity. A dam secures it from the heaviest falls on the side that lay exposed, and a high pallisade will cut off all access to the stream, save from the superflax of the grand Receptacle.


We are sorry to state, that the Hot Winds prevalent on Sunday last were productive of very disagreeable consequences at Parramatta, Prospect, the Northern Boundary, and places adjacent, where many fields have sustained a severe blight, Several Orchards in and about Parramatta shared the same fate: Upwards of 10,000 Peaches fell to the ground in a single garden, and many trees have lost their promising appearance. We have received no accounts which can authorise an apprehension on the part of Hawkesbury; and we sincerely hope that the injury sustained at the above places may have been exaggerated before it reached us. The Thermometer at Parramatta was at 92 ° in the shade at midday, and nearly the same height at Sydney. The Wind all the morning was at W. N. W ; at half past one it changed to S. S. E. in a violent gust at the commencement of which the Thermometer fell from 92 to 70 degrees in less than ten minutes.

Sydney Gazette 11 December 1803

S Y D N E Y.

Our last week’s Paper reported HIS EXCELLENCY’S excursion yesterday sen’night to the Cow Pasture Plains; Mrs. KING accompanied the excursion, and at about one o’clock the PARTIE halted on the Nepean,about 24 miles from Parramatta, without much fatigue. At day light the morning following HIS EXCELLENCY, attended by several Gentlemen, crossed the River, and proceeded towards the places chiefly resorted to by the Wild Cattle. The River was passed and repassed in the course of the day by Mrs. KING, who, we may confidently affirm, is the first and only Lady that has ever crossed the Nepean. On Sunday evening they returned to Parramatta, and on Monday morning HIS EXCELLENCY, accompanied by His Honor Lieutenant-Governor FOVEAUX, came to Sydney, but set out again for Parramatta in the afternoon. The GOVERNOR has also visited the Public Agricultural Settlement at Cornwallis Place, Hawkesbury, where the Harvest is nearly completed. Some of the Cattle at the Pastures appeared to be lame, from whence it is suspected that they have been wounded with fire-arms by persons frequenting the Pastures, although HIS EXCELLENCY’s Orders on that behalf have been so excessively determinate and conclusive. An opinion was ventured that the Cattle would in the course of time become so numerous as to be compelled to return towards Parramatta for want of sufficient Pasturage ; of this however, from indubitable authority we understand no probability exists for 50 years at least from the present period, allowing that they continue to increase in the same proportion that they have hitherto done from the time of their departure from the Settlement, and are not disturbed during that period. Exclusive of the very fine pasturage, the soil appears equally well calculated for tillage as are the Banks of the Hawkesbury, and these Plains are well watered by chains of small ponds, generally not more than half-a-mile apart, and which, though stagnant, are well tasted, and appear never to become putrid. There are also several kinds of grass, the principal of which is a species of wild oat, which grows in great luxuriance, and in fields that are each several acres in extent. Kangaroos, Emues, and Wild Ducks are in great abundance, and in all respects these extensive plains surpass any conception that can be possibly formed upon report.

Also 11 December 1803

The Thermometer on Tuesday & Wednesday last presented a phenomenon in the almost unchangeable position of the quick-silver, and consequently the unaltered heat of the weather during the greater part of those days. In the shade on Tuesday morning at 8 o’clock it was up to 79, and before 12 at noon it rose to 91 ; at 4 in the afternoon it sunk to 84, and between the hours of 4 and 8 it rose again to 90, where at 9 and 11 o’clock it appeared stationary, and there is much reason to suppose but little variation took place, as it was up to 88 at 8 o’clock on Wednesday morning. At 12, by the same Thermometer, it rose to 101; by 4 in the afternoon it had fallen to 96, and at 8 at night to 90, exactly where it was the night be- fore at the same hour. A Thermometer kept in a room to which the very sultry winds had no access, was only at 97º at the hottest time, and another in a position somewhat cooler, rose no higher than 94, but the latter, when taken into the air, rose 10 degrees in the space of a few seconds, being then so high as 104, which the Gentleman in whose possession it was accounted for from its being hung opposite to a wall upon which the sun set in at the time, by which the heat was so powerfully reflects as to occasion a difference of 3° from that which had been kept in the shade throughout. The Thermometer at Government House, Parramatta, on Wednesday, was in the air and shade 119° ; in the house and shade 93.

Sydney Gazette 18 December 1803

General Orders.

SOME unpleasant Complaints having recently been made of the Non-attendance of particular Individuals to the General Order of the 14th of October, 1802, HIS EXCELLENCY is reduced to the necessity of repeating that necessary Order, and insisting on its being strictly enforced, viz. If any person whatever is detected in throwing any Filth into the Stream of Fresh Water, cleaning Fish, Washing, erecting Pig-styes near it, or taking Water up but at the Tanks, on Conviction before a Magistrate their Houses will be taken down and forfeit, 5l. for each Offence to the Orphan Fund ; and if a Prisoner, on or off the Store, they will be punished by Imprisonment and Hard Labour for Twelve Months— Every Person, Civil or Military, and all others, are required to detect and bring forward all Offenders against this Order after the 17th Instant. It having appeared, that with a view to avoid detection, and with security to defeat the intent and meaning of the above Ordinance, whose only object is to preserve the Stream from Nuisance and Impurity, and thereby to prevent the Health of the Inhabitants from being impaired or hazarded, some Persons have privily found access to it by the means of Paling that may be removed at pleasure :—To prevent the possibility of future Complaint, therefore, it is His EXCELLENCY’S positive Order, that all Fences forming the Lines of Inclosure to the Running Stream be forthwith repaired, and that such Repair be henceforward duly unremittingly attended to ; as should any future Imperfection upon Examination appear, the Occupier of the Allotment of Ground to which that portion of the Fence belongs will be held responsible for a Breach of Orders, and, upon Conviction before a Magistrate, incur the full Penalties already specified in the General Order of the 14th of October, 1802. By Command of His EXCELLENCY, W. N. CHAPMAN. Sec. Government House, Sydney, December 16th, 1803.