In February 2013 the RAHS announced substantial funding to community initiatives that commemorate the crossings of the Blue Mountains. Drawing inspiration from the centenary celebrations organised by RAHS founding members in 1913, the Society selected projects that will leave a lasting legacy and encourage all members of the Blue Mountains community to engage with their diverse histories. The RAHS has also provided seed funding to the Western Crossing Foundation whose goal is to engage in regional community and economic development activities.
Below you can learn more about these RAHS supported community initiatives that connect us to our past and create new memories and interpretations of the crossings of the Blue Mountains.
In 1913 the RAHS issued a centenary medal to commemorate the 1813 Blue Mountains crossing by Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth. The front of the medal listed the names of these three explorers and the reverse had an image of the Mount York Centenary Memorial Pavilion. This centenary medal provided the inspiration for the RAHS 2013 school badge project.
The RAHS with the support of staff from the NSW Government Community Services and Education Department ensured that over 14,000 Blue Mountains and Emu Plains school students started the second term of 2013 with a gift from the RAHS. Students received a school badge to mark the Bicentenary of the 1813 crossing of the Blue Mountains by Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth. The school badges were designed not just to be a memento to be put away in a drawer but something to be worn during all the crossings commemoration festivities.
Crossing! Review the play by Gregory Blaxland’s descendant that brings the Blue Mountains crossings to life
Crossing!, a play for all ages, acknowledges all the different experiences of crossing the Blue Mountains including those of the Darug and Gundungurra people, European explorers, convict road builders and free settler families. The play was written by Gregory Blaxland’s descendant Wendy Blaxland. Three actors, Carl Batchelor, Lisa Bluthal and James Lee play twenty characters that represent the excitement, danger and humour of crossing the Blue Mountains. Crossing! is produced by Jessica Blaxland Ashby and Wendy Blaxland.
Crossing! had its opening night at Blaxland High School. The actors received a standing ovation from the audience which included Blue Mountains Bicentenary 2013-2015 patron, NSW Governor Professor Marie Bashir and Dr Anne-Maree Whitaker, RAHS President. Wendy Blaxland announced that over 7,000 school children will see this RAHS supported production.
Blue Wave Inc - Follow the footsteps of the re-enactment of the May 1813 crossing by Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth
Blue Mountains Blue Wave Inc.
With the support of an RAHS Western Crossings grant, Blue Wave Inc organised a re-enactment in May 2013 over the 21 day period of the original 1813 crossing by Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth. Three explorers drawn from the descendants of the original Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth families, three convicts, one kangaroo hunter, four horses and five dogs departed from Gregory Blaxland’s original property of South Creek Farm in Luddenham Road, St Marys on 11th May 2013.As close as practicable to the original route, in the same time frame, and with similar equipment as the original crossing, the Blue Mountains Bicentenary Re-enactment crossing arrived at the Mount York Civic Celebration on May 28.
The RAHS President, Dr Anne-Maree Whitaker, was one of the guests of honour and school captains and their teachers, many wearing their RAHS Bicentenary school badges, were there as part of the festivities.
Inaugural Gundungurra Ancestral Pathways Walk – The Bunburang Trail
In 2013 the Royal Australian Historical Society proudly supported the Inaugural Gundungurra Ancestral Pathways Walk, a multi-day hike across the Blue Mountains plateau, from west to east following traditional Aboriginal Pathways. The walk was a celebration of the achievements of all people who have crossed the Mountains throughout time, specifically highlighting the uniqueness, richness and successfullness of Aboriginal occupation of the area. Participants were exposed to a range of cultural encounters on the Bunburang Trail, including direct experience with: traditional sites, stories and story places; rich Aboriginal cultural links from west to east of the Blue Mountains; traditional names of local flora and fauna and their associated stories; and Aboriginal dance and ceremony, led by Aboriginal people.
The Ancestral Pathways Walk was one of many events during the bicentenary celebrations that have acknowledged the Aboriginal connection to the region, and the Royal Australian Historical Society congratulates everyone involved in this project. Download the full report compiled by Archaeologist, Michael Jackson.