The Frank Walker Crossings Collection is a digitisation project to commemorate the bicentenary in May 2013 of the crossing of the Blue Mountains by Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth. At the time of the centenary of the crossing in 1913, Frank Walker (1861-1948) was President of the RAHS and a passionate supporter of local history. For much of his life he was literally an historian-in-the-field. He bicycled more than 22,000 miles (almost 35,000 kilometres) around country New South Wales taking thousands of images on glass plate negatives, many of which he later used as lantern slides for his lectures.

Much of Frank Walker’s personal archive is now held by the Royal Australian Historical Society. As well as glass lantern slides, it includes scrap albums and booklets of news cuttings, photographs and ephemera. The Frank Walker Crossings Collection provides access to a selection of this material to honour both his contribution to preserving historical records about the original expedition, and the bicentenary of 2013.

Explore this amazing collection below.

Frank Walker's Centenary Album of the First Crossing

Frank Walker crossingsThis album contains newspaper articles, reports of meetings, in connection with commemorating the first European crossing of the Blue Mountains in 1813.

It was compiled by Frank Walker (1861-1948), who was determined that the information that he collected on this topic would not be lost to future generations.

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001001The Journal of Gregory Blaxland, 1813

Read the journal of Gregory Blaxland, one of the explorers to cross the Blue Mountains in 1813. Early in 1813 he requested Macquarie's approval of an exploring expedition across the Blue Mountains, and on 11 May he set out with William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth. This version of  journal was transcribed by Frank Walker and published in 1907. As well as Blaxland's original journal, it includes photographs and maps added by Frank Walker.

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002001Hartley and its Historic Court House

This album contains the thirty-two publication The story of Hartley and its historic court-house, New South Wales. Written by William Charles Samuel Foster, Bernard Thomas Dowd and Ward Havard – and published by in 1937 by Blaxland Shire Council – it explains the importance of Hartley as one of the first rural settlements west of the Blue Mountains, and the historical and heritage significance of its colonial courthouse, which you can still visit and imagine the convicts and magistrates that passed through its doors.

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The Great Western Road Illustrated by Frank Walker

The 1813 crossing was the catalyst for facilitating European expansion beyond the Sydney basin.The building of the Great Western Road was a critical part of this expansion, and was one of the three Great Roads built in the colony between 1815 and the 1840s: the others were the Great North Road (1826-36) and the Great South Road (1819-mid 1840s). This publication (details unknown) gives an overview of the history of the road and the major towns along the route.

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Nomenclature of the Western Districts of New South Wales

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Place-names are an important part of our geographical and cultural environment, and our history. Naming places mainly follows two paths –spontaneous or popular naming, and 'offical' naming by government representatives and institutions. In this small hand-written volume, compiled by Frank Walker, you can learn about the naming of the Western Districts including Mount York, Woodford, Springwood and Glenroy.

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