The Camden Haven Historical Society hosted the John Oxley Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, October 13 at the Laurieton School of Arts, drawing a big crowd.
The event commemorated 200 years since John Oxley and his team of 15 explorers traversed the mountains from the west, surveying the region for early European settlement.
Camden Haven Historical Society president Phillip Bowman opened proceedings before mayor Peta Pinson welcomed the healthy crowd, with speakers then taking the podium to share stories and research.
Dr Diane Solomon Westerhuis spoke before Harry Creamer gave an interesting insight into his discoveries while researching the area.
Mr Creamer spoke about a range of topics, including proposals by property developers in the 1970s and 1980s for the Camden Haven area.
“They included a cable car and chairlift up North Brother mountain with a revolving restaurant and light on top, canal subdivision for the estuaries and lakes in the Camden Haven area and a new coastal highway in the style of the Gold Coast which would include facilities for Japanese tourists,” he said.
“All had to be opposed by organisations such as the Camden Haven Protection Society for example.
“It shows we had to fight in the past for what we have now, and we still have to fight to make sure we maintain what we have.”
Camden Haven Historical Society secretary and long time local, Jan Mitchell, said she was proud of the town’s history.
“Today is all about when we were founded and named Camden Haven by John Oxley,” she said.
“It’s a very important day. Children today aren’t being taught this in school and don’t know what happened. We have a proud history here in Camden Haven.
“We are a very small place and other areas have taken over. We seem to be left behind so I feel it’s important that we do something about that.”
Mrs Mitchell said she was quite surprised at how many people attended the day.
“You will notice a lot of them are older people and I think that is because they are genuinely interested in our history,” she said.
“I think Oxley must have been marvellous to do what he did … to go from Sydney and come back around this way and across all the rivers.”
A replica of a map which marked the travellers’ route as they made their way across the Camden Haven was on display, complete with compass readings and the initial names of locations.
Port Macquarie’s major event to mark the milestone will be the 200 Together – An Exploration Through Time community celebration on October 28 at Town Green.