Thursday, 3 September 2009

My Ancestry

My Ancestry

If you're interested, look at My Ancestry -

William Cox, an Officer in the New South Wales Corp, & Captain of Convicts, was in charge of a 'shipment' of Irish Political Prisoners, on board the sailing ship Minerva which arrived at Port Jackson in 1800. This was his second trip to those shores, but this time he was with his wife ( Rebecca Upjohn) and child (born on the ship) who sadly died soon after in Sydney Town. Two children were left in England being educated and came later.

He later became Comptroller of Finance in NSW, a Magistrate, a Farmer, Pastoralist, Sheep Breeder (in co-operation with the Rev. Samuel Marsden) & had many children, from one of whom I am (proudly) descended. (George Cox - youngest son of William & Rebecca Cox, 'Winbourne', Mulgoa NSW).

His biggest achievement was to be put in charge, by Gov. Lachlan Macquarie, ( 1810-1821 ) of the building of the first road across the, up until then impenetrable barrier, of the Blue Mountains - (not called that then). It may have been called 'The Great Divide'.

As children we were taught this name in Primary School in Australia. On modern Maps this very long range of mountains, which runs from Cape York to the Southern Ocean, (3700km) is often called 'The Great Dividing Range'.

He achieved it in the very short time of a few months, with a team of incredible men, who were all either given pardons or 'Tickets of Leave'. One of the first parties to cross to the West were the Governor with Cox and other notables. It was still a very difficult journey, especially in one part over Mount York. Here the road was so steep that a team of Bullocks had to be used to go up and down using a system of ropes and pulleys to control the wagons and coaches.

This was later by-passed by 'Bells Line of Road'.

Cox kept an accurate diary so all this is recorded. Other records exist of the surveying & the discovery of the route by Blaxland, Lawson & Wentworth. The first road went as far as Bathurst, and soon the land was settled and the story of the Australian West (as told by Europeans) began.

What is very sad and a blot on the memory of this, is the 'back-story' of Aboriginal loss and destruction, whose land it really was. That is another story though, one not told until much later.

Cox, I believe, was very sympathetic to the native people, but being a European Man of his day, probably thought of the land as belonging to the King, or occupied by 'no-one'. In later years he certainly was a friend of the Aboriginals, but by that time too they were being destroyed at an alarming rate and being pushed back with no mercy or understanding shown.

He was also known by convicts, freemen and some of the military, as a good man, and a fair and perhaps lenient Magistrate.

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