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Crossing Celebrations a Great Success in Hartley



So much has happened  over the past couple of weeks in Hartley. Things have really been buzzing – in the school, the village and in the air! What a celebration!

The HDPA’s 1813 Committee has created an amazing line up of events of their own, (see the Hartley Rocks Pages), as well as being a part of the celebrations organised by the Blue Mountains Bicentenary Crossings Committee, and need to be congratulated for all the hard work they have put into this project.

The  jewel in their crown is the Exhibition located at the Old School Hall in Mid Hartley Road, ‘A Moment in Time’. This has been open since 18th May and will continue until 16th June. Two years of research by local historian, Joan Kent, has produced a wealth of information and reproductions of old paintings and photographs too delicate to be removed from the libraries that protect them, and so rarely seen by the general public. Admission is a mere $5, and a book will soon be published containing all the information and images that are currently on display.

The Valley was honoured to have Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, Governor of New South Wales, come to inaugurate the Rock Cairn just inside the Old School Gate and to officially open the exhibition, A Moment in Time on Saturday 1st June. Not only did Dr Bashir share with the audience stories of her childhood visits to the Blue Mountains and her appreciation of its rugged beauty and its rich cultural heritage dating back 40,000 years, but we were also blessed to hear Aunty Flo Grant, Senior Elder of the Wiradjeri Nation talk of the positive changes brought by European penetration into her people’s traditional lands. It wasn’t all good, but it wasn’t all bad either.  Maree Statham, Mayor of Lithgow, and Duncan Wass, Chairman of the HDPA 1813 Committee also addressed the audience.

Dr Bashir also visited the Hartley Historic Village on Saturday morning where she opened the Kew-Y-Ahn Aboriginal Art Gallery in the Farmer’s Inn and then the Kew-Y-Ahn Walking Track leading from behind the Old Post Office to the majestic granite tors behind the village. Paul Toole, State Member for Bathurst, Maree Statham, Mayor of Lithgow, and Bob Morris, Chairman of the Historic Village Lands Trust addressed the audience as well as Steve Ring, National Parks and Wildlife’s Manager of the Historic Village. The Lithgow Pipe Band played Advance Australia Fair – a rousing welcome for our Governor, a very much respected and admired visitor to this valley.

On the weekend of 25th May the Bicentenary Fly Over thrilled audiences from Penrith to Bathurst – Hartley School being one of the special viewing points along the way. Not all of the 75 planes were close enough to be seen clearly, despite the perfect weather, but the RAAF’s acrobatic team, the Roulettes certainly made the day one to be remembered! Music and markets and sausages were organised at the Old School Grounds, sponsored by the Lithgow RSL and Lions Clubs and enjoyed by large numbers of people. Adams Shed down the road, also made the most of the day with a Field Day and more sausages, music and stalls of a more practically rural nature for everyone to enjoy.

There have been several well patronised walks leading from Mt York down the Old Cox’s Road, past the School and across Karingal to Butlers Paddock on the other side of the Cox’s River where it meets the River Lett at Glenroy – the closest spot one is able to get to the illusive Mt Blaxland.  As the Bathurst Plains are not visible from the top of this hill one wonders whether this was the end of Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth’s journey after all?  Ramsay and Susie Moodie have led 3 of the walks, assisted by Ian Campbell and John Facchina all intimately associated with this valley, its beauty and its history. It has been a grand adventure, very much enjoyed and appreciated by all those who have participated,  and so popular that two extra walks have been scheduled on Saturday 15th June, and Sunday 23rd June  – the walk on the 9th June being already fully booked.

This past week has also seen the culmination of the Blue Wave Bicentenary Re-enactment of the Crossing of the Blue Mountains by Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson, and William Charles Wentworth in May 1813 , organised over a period of six years by John O’Sullivan of Springwood and involving 200 people. Many of the descendants of the three first recognised Europeans to cross the Sandstone Barrier took part in the re-enactment, and the four horses and their handlers came from the Hartley Saddlery, which made it all the more special for Hartley.  This party trekked for 22 days from South Creek near St Marys to Glenroy in Hartley, but were not able to access Mt Blaxland to complete the journey.

Photo galleries of  all these events are available for viewing.  If you have photos of these events you would like to share on these pages, please send them to mail@hartleyvalley.org.au.

A Moment  in Time  Photo Gallery

Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir  at the Old Hartley School

Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir at the Historic Hartley Village

Music, Markets and Plane Watching.

Walking the Journey

Blue Wave Bicentenary Crossing Re-enactment group at Comet Inn, Thursday 30th May.  (Click on the image below to access the SmugMug Gallery) More photos of these events are available on our Facebook Pages.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

One Comment

  1. We just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed the Bicentennial Celebrations and to thank you and the 1813 Committee of the Progress Association for the excellent work in bringing it all together.
    We saw the Governor opening the art gallery and the walk up to the Hartley Tor and we were very impressed with the Moment in Time exhibit.  We put our names down to get the book, which is a particularly good idea.  Of course we were at the flypast as well and we also took in the opening of the Crossings Room at Mt Victoria train station.
    The highlight of the whole thing, though, was the walk along Cox’s Road which we did on 9 June.  The weather was perfect, the company was pleasant and the commentary was very enlightening.  We know how much work our neighbour Ian Campbell put into this and hope the he gets the recognition due to him for all of his efforts.  After Chris Bird he would appear to be the new “elder” of Hartley.  He is a font of knowledge about the area and his commitment to the community is extraordinary.  It was terrific to hear the stories of his tough life growing up here in the 40s and 50s.  It makes us all appreciate how easy we have it! 
    We understand that thanks are also in order to Dick Austen who allowed the walkers access across his land.  And of course a big thank you also goes to Ramsay and Susie Moodie for their excellent organisation and commentary during the walk.  They are real pillars of the community.
    We bought our place here in Hartley (opposite Ian and Judy Campbell’s house, next to the old bridge) four years ago.  It’s the best thing we’ve ever done.  We really love it up here and we have been made to feel very welcome in the community.  It really is an extraordinary part of the country full of exceptional people.
    Thank you again for your part in organising all this and we would be grateful if you could pass this message on to others with our sincere thanks and best wishes for a warm winter!
    Kind regards,

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