Revisiting George Evans


Yesterday I attended the unveiling of an interpretive sign in a small park on the Hampton Road, on the outskirts of Rydal, a rural village west of Lithgow. The new sign reminds those who stop to look, about the achievements of George Evans.

As Deputy Surveyor of Lands, he was instructed by Governor Macquarie in November 1813 to retrace the route taken by Blaxland’s exploration party after they crossed the Blue Mountains. Evans was to travel further than they did, surveying the the way and in so doing becoming the first European to cross the Great Dividing Range.

The sign was opened by Paul Brunton, the Emeritus Curator of the New South Wales State Library. He gave a very comprehensive and interesting talk on the life and achievements of Evans.

While sitting there I was reminded of the Footsteps In Time monuments that appeared on the Blue Mountains in the late 1980s. The idea of John Yeaman, they were designed to focus our attention on surveyor Evans. I had written a song about George Evans and I was invited to sing it at the Wentworth Falls and Glenbrook unveiling ceremonies. At those ceremonies I had the pleasure of meeting Mr A.K.Weatherburn, a great-great-grandson of Evans. He wrote a biography on his relative, published by Angus and Robinson in 1966. As far as I know, it is the only biography that has been written on Evans.

[image © Patricia Caffrey]

After the ceremony on Saturday we all headed back down the Hampton Road to the Bark Ridge property where morning tea was waiting. Here I sang some of my songs relating to Blue Mountains’ history including my song about Evans. There is something very satisfying when I sing a song like George Evans and, after all the years, it still feels fresh and appropriate to the moment.


Holden on to History


Today marks the sad end of Australia’s production of cars. Goodbye to the Holden car.

Last week, while exploring the Murray River, my good friends Pat and Jeff suggested we visit Echuca’s Holden Museum. This museum has a very large collection of Holden cars, the car that has travelled our roads for almost seventy years. The visit brought back wonderful memories.

Most Australian families have had some association with Holdens. As a child, our third family car was a Holden. My own family’s first car was a Holden station waggon.

My father bought me a Holden Dinky toy and I spent hours playing with that little car. We recreated the Redex car trials of the fifties. We pushed our cars along the dirt tracks we made, simulating the imagined conditions of ‘outback’ travel. I even gave my car a new paint job.

So, hold on to your hat and your Holden memories!

Winds of change are blowing.