In 1913, the centenary of the 'first' European crossing of the Blue Mountains celebrated the Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson expedition as a landmark achievement that allowed a small penal colony confined to the 'barren coast' to expand into a set of rich colonies and subsequently a wealthy and proud Dominion. This was a popular foundation story, although not exactly accurate history. Subsequent centenaries, sesquicentenaries and bicentennaries have also emphasised that the historical events commemorated were significant nation building events. Effectively, these commemorations have become prisms through which we view our past, for they promote stories of pioneering progress, which are not necessarily in accord with the complexities of historical reality. This paper briefly examines the ways in which we have celebrated our past both as a means to acknowledge our rich history and to create and promote foundation stories that shape our understandings about our past, present and future.
Speaker: E/Prof Richard Waterhouse
Presented by the History Council of NSW.
This event was supported by the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre.