Greening Bathurst’s contribution to the 2015 bicentenary celebrations of the naming and founding of Bathurst in 1815 centres on organising two projects with a biodiversity theme. The Cox’s Road tourism project (Cox’s Road Dreaming), focuses on interpreting the biodiversity and natural history of this road built in six months in 1814/1815. This important road in our European history and heritage remains mostly unknown and unprotected in spite of being a national treasure. Cox’s Road persists east of Mount York as fragments on the edges of the now dominant Great Western Highway, mostly buried underneath metres of filling and layers of bitumen, housing developments, and occasionally as a relic bituminised section.
Fortunately much of Cox’s Pass coming off Mount York remains in rude form. A significant relic has miraculously survived near the Woodford Trig and on the Linden ridge, west of Mount York. Much of Cox’s Road persists on private land, although not necessarily in its original form, or as readily accessible narrow bituminised or dirt minor public roads. The exact location of Cox’s Road after it crosses the O’Connell Road is less certain. Signposting indicates the direction and its likely location. A recent find of an historic map by Dr Robin McLachlan places Cox’s Road entering the proposed 1815 Macquarie town plan and confirms earlier work by the Cox’s Road Project Committee of the National Trust. We have identified 116 sites stretching from the Cumberland Plains just east of the Nepean River to the Flag Staff at Bathurst – a distance of over 160 kms. These sites have been chosen because linked together they provide a fascinating story (Cox’s Road Dreaming) about the natural history of Cox’s Road and subsequent routes that of necessity rapidly developed through to Bathurst.