Local historical societies are working toward the bicentenary commemoration of John Oxley’s 1818 expedition.
The celebrations will kick off in September 2018.
Wauchope District Historical Society’s Jean Hegarty says the official opening of the bicentenary event will be at Mount Seaview.
“Although the planning is in the early stages, some activities at Mount Seaview Resort will include guided bushwalks, 4WD trips and talks on John Oxley,” Mrs Hegarty said.
“There will also be information on Mount Seaview’s history and of the flora and fauna of the area. Botanist Dr Ian Telford from UNE will give talks on the botany of the Oxley expedition and botanical exploration in early Australia.
“There are plans for a travelling presentation of Oxley, Evans, Fraser and a couple of convicts that will take in local primary schools while there will be an opportunity for pupils to time travel back 200 years.
“Primary schools at Long Flat and Huntingdon along Oxley’s route, plus Beechwood, Wauchope, Tacking Point and Port Macquarie will be invited to participate.”
Mrs Hegarty said there were proposals to adapt the novel, Terrymidgee – written by Richard Grimmond – about Oxley’s interactions with local Aborigines.
As a play, it could be performed by a local group and taken to schools as well as being staged at an evening venue for wider consumption.
“Richard is now writing an account for young readers of the Oxley 1818 expedition through the eyes of one of Oxley’s assigned men. The historical society hopes to publish this as part of the Bicentenary,” Mrs Hegarty said.
A debutante ball is planned at the Wauchope showground hall with all the customary trimmings for country balls, an after-dinner speaker and a comprehensive display.
Historical society vice president, archaeologist and historian, Rob Tickle, is researching a book which will deal not only with the 1818 story as detailed in Oxley's journal, but also with surveyor Evans, botanist Fraser and the convicts whose hard labour enabled the whole journey to proceed and end satisfactorily.
Mrs Hegarty said the historical society was sourcing a grant from the commonwealth government’s building better regions fund to help financially support the bicentenary projects.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is also working toward the bicentenary as well as the 2021 bicentenary of the European establishment of Port Macquarie as a penal settlement.
Council wants to hear ideas from the community on how to mark this milestone. Feedback closes on May 21.
Port Macquarie Historical Society is working on several projects relating to the bicentenary of Port Macquarie settlement.