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Gregory Blaxland

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New South Wales 1813


By Gregory Blaxland
Historical

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Gregory Blaxland

 

 

Gregory Blaxland
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Gregory Blaxland

Gregory Blaxland (17 June 1788 — 31 December 1852) was a pioneer farmer and explorer.

Born in Fordwich, Kent, England in 1788 (or 1771 according to Burkes's Colonial Gentry), the fourth son of John Blaxland senior who was mayor 1767 to 1774 and whose family owned nearby estates for years.

He arrived in Sydney, Australia in April 1806, followed by his brother John Blaxland in 1807 as a free settler. In 1808 was associated with the Macarthur faction in the deposing of Governor Bligh. He made his peace with Governor Macquarie but fell out of favour later on.

In 1813, he led the first known European expedition across the area of the Great Dividing Range known as the Blue Mountains, along with William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth, on a journey which would open up the inland of the continent. He is also noted as one of the first settlers to plant grapes for the purpose of making wine.

He visited England and in February 1823 he published his Journal Of A Tour Of Discovery Across The Blue Mountains:

"On Tuesday, May 11, 1813, Mr. Gregory Blaxland, Mr. William Wentworth, and Lieutenant Lawson, attended by four servants, with five dogs, and four horses laden with provisions, ammunition, and other necessaries, left Mr. Blaxland's farm at the South Creek, for the purpose of endeavouring to effect a passage over the Blue Mountains ..."

Later the same year he was awarded the silver medal of the Royal Society of Arts for some wine he had exported to London, and five years later he received its gold medal. In January 1827 Blaxland was elected by a public meeting with two others to present a petition to Governor Darling asking that "Trial by jury" and "Taxation by Representation" should be extended to the colony.

Blaxland was engaged during the next few years in wine-making. and other activities, but took no prominent part in the life of the colony. For the last six months of his life he was suffering a great deal with pains in his head which affected his mind, and he died by his own hand on 31 December 1852. In 1798 he had married Eliza, daughter of John Spurden, and was survived by their sons and daughters. He is buried in All Saints Cemetery in Parramatta. The township of Blaxland in the Blue Mountains is named after him, as is the Australian Electoral Division of Blaxland.

See also

  • Ermington, New South Wales

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