By Ramsay Moodie
On the South bank of the Macquarie River at Bathurst stands an obelisk bearing an inlaid marble plaque erected in 1930 by the Royal Australian Historical Society. It commemorates Sunday 7th May 1815, when Governor Lachlan Macquarie proclaimed the town of Bathurst. It then goes on to state “after which the first Divine Service west of the Blue Mountains was held”. Truth is, it’s wrong, Macquarie didn’t conduct the first Divine Service west of the mountains in Bathurst, he did that in Hartley.
The Hartley District Progress Association in conjunction with The Macquarie Society is holding an event to commemorate and correct the record on this historical anomaly. On Sunday April 26th they are expecting a big crowd to see governor Macquarie’s military escort and their entourage, to hear Professor Dame Marie Bashir speak on Macquarie and Tim Mc Iver the Minister of St Johns at Hartley, celebrate Divine Service exactly as Macquarie would have in 1815. “This is an important historic event,” said Ramsay Moodie the Chairman of the Hartley District Progress Association’s organising committee. “We are putting a peg in the ground with a troop of Red Coats to back us up – Hartley is where the first divine service was celebrated.”
With the day starting at 11 am the main proceedings commence at 2 O’clock sharp. ”We are encouraging families to come from 11am so there is time to talk to the soldiers before they deliver their first volley in salute, on the arrival of Professor Dame Marie Bashir,” explained Ramsay Moodie. “The Hartley Fire brigade will be doing a sausage sizzle for lunch and the formal proceedings will commence at 2pm.” They are doing all this in Butlers paddock on Jenolan caves road 4kms from the Great Western Highway junction, as Ramsay added, “It’s a very historic place, Mt Blaxland in front of us and Macquarie’s campsite and Cox’s road just below, plus there is lots of room for parking.”
After formal welcomes, Professor Dame Marie Bashir will deliver the 2015 Macquarie Oration, the first of an annual series of talks on the virtues of Governor Macquarie, the fourth governor of New South Wales. Patrick Dodd the president of The Macquarie Society, who are partnering with the Hartley District Progress Association in the delivery of this event, said, “Dame Marie is a noted Macquarie Scholar and she graciously accepted the role of Patron of our society when she was still the governor of New South Wales.” He went on to explain, “At our event in Hartley, I am told, Dame Marie will give us an insight into what she sees in Macquarie’s attitudes and behaviour that have contributed to what we would regard today as our Australian Values.”
This is an event not to be missed, if you want more information go to www.hartleyvalley.org.au. It’s important that you book as this will ensure you get to enjoy a cup of tea with Dame Marie at the end of proceedings. To book call the Lithgow Visitors Information Centre on 1300 760 276.