CUNNINGHAM'S TRACKS 1827
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On the 30th April 1827, Allan Cunningham accompanied by six men and eleven horses departed Segenhoe with supplies and equipment to follow "his intended route ... from 31° S., where Oxley had terminated his survey in 1818; thence to proceed to Peel's River (also discovered by Oxley) at the northeast of Liverpool Plains, and afterwards to travel to Moreton Bay on a line west of the meridian of 151°, and, upon reaching the northern point, to turn westward inland in order to ascertain the extent of the marshes which he then believed swallowed up all the western rivers" Source: Ida Lee
Fay & Laurie Cains and John Whitehead followed in the footsteps of Allan Cunningham and his team of explorers, seeking to identify the places where they walked, envisage how they experienced and what they observed. This book gives the reader the opportunity to do the same from the comfort of their reading nook.
MAP OF NSW AND QLD SHOWING
KEY LOCATIONS RELATED TO CUNNINGHAM'S 1827 JOURNEY
IMAGE CAPTURED FROM GOOGLE EARTH
"In 2009 Fay Cains of Warialda asked John Whitehead if he would be interested in helping her carry out an investigation into the location of Cunningham's exploration route from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales to the Darling Downs in Queensland in 1827, and more particularly, a close look at both of Cunningham's north and south routes that passed near Bingara and Warialda. She indicated that she had some difficulty in trying to establish the location of the various sites. After two trips to and around the area of study with Fay and Laurie and with many hours of interpretation using State Archives and Mitchell Library records, they pieced together a fairly accurate description of Cunningham's route through the Gwydir and Inverell Shires.
"In most books on Australian exploration, historians provide maps and diagrams that show the location of explorer's routes and camp sites. Their maps are usually large scale versions, with the lines roughly located in relation to known locations. In most cases these diagrams and maps are satisfactory for the general reader.
"It is when a local community wants to know exactly where the explorers crossed a creek or road, or discovered a mountain or river, that the location solution becomes a little tricky. Also, they may wish to publish a booklet that describes the area's exploration history,or they may wish to erect a monument, but I think that it is mostly curiosity that generates their enthusiasm. Everybody likes their local community history.
"For the above reasons, its important to establish the location of camp sites and routes as accurately as possible.
"In my investigation into the explorations of Evans, Cunningham and Oxley in the 1815 to to 1818 period, I found that previous location maps were quite inadequate, mainly, because they were not based on detailed navigation analysis. I suppose that for many reasons, historians do not appear to be interested in this process, and maybe not interested in the creation of accurate maps.
"As this study is based on the interpretation of Cunningham's navigation records, it may become a little mathematical for the usual history reader. I don't apologise for this, because I fee that it is most important that the location of his camp sites and travel routes are established in heir final and absolute positions.
"Therefore, to provide you with a detailed description of the country adjacent to Cunningham's tracks, I have included copies of pages from archive field books, drawn numerous diagrams, maps and taken photographs that are needed to show where he travelled and camped."
Source: "Cunningham's Tracks 1827" Preface: page 1
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Fay Cains is the president of the Gravesend and District Historical Society and a member Warialda Tourism Committee.
John Whitehead LGE MIE(Australia), Chartered Professional Engineer
F.I.M.E. Australia Associated Diploma, Land Management (SU)
He worked for Local Government Departments, in New South Wales, for 40 years. For 28 years he was Shire Engineer, Planner and Fire Control Officer for the Coonabarabran Shire Council. Earlier in his career he worked for Cooma, Gilgandra and Orange Councils.
He has been involved with the Warrumbungle National Park as Trustee and Advisory Committee member since 1972 and is now on the Advisory Committee of the North West Plains Region for the National Parks and Wildlife Service. He has also represented Local Government on the Central West Catchment Committee.
Since retiring from Local Government in 1994, he has been involved as a consulting engineer and planner to other councils and the Local Government Department. He has also worked extensively on private development and subdivision works.
Source: Adapted from Volume II Tracking & Mapping The Explorers
First Published 2011
Published by John Whitehead