2018 marks 200 years since John Oxley and his team of 15 explorers traversed the mountains from the west and surveyed our region for early European settlement. For thousands of years before our region was inhabited by the Birpai people, the traditional custodians of our land. 

  • John Oxley Portrait
  • Port Macquarie was named by John Oxley after the governor of NSW, Lachlan Macquarie in 1818. The Hastings River was named after the Governor General of India at around the same time. Although the area had been first noticed by Captain Cook on his voyage along the coast in 1770 and again later by Matthew Flinders in 1802, it was not explored in any detail until Oxley returned in 1819. Macquarie initiated Oxley's expedition as he was interested in the sites potential as a penal settlement.

    The penal settlement would be established in 1821 under Captain Francis Allman who landed at the "town green" at the top of what is now Clarence Street. Captain Allman immediately began directing the 60 convicts sent to establish the settlement, to clear the area of trees and begin farming in order to become self-sufficient.

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Lets celebrate our history and people

To commemorate the history, heritage and people who have made the Hastings what it is today, a flagship bicentenary celebration will take place between 11am and 5pm on Sunday, October 28. The event 200 Together: An Exploration Through Time, will provide an opportunity for residents to immerse themselves in stories from the past, amidst a picnic setting on Port Macquarie’s Town Green. 

A calendar of other Bicentenary festivities to celebrate throughout October can be found here.

Over the period 2018 – 2021, we as a community will come together to commemorate this milestone period of our region’s history and celebrate our rich and diverse region - the history, the heritage and people who make our region what it is.

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