Cox’s Road Dreaming - an innovative thematic tourism experience interpreting Australia’s first inland European Road (1814/15) from the Nepean River to the Bathurst plains - ‘History with one’s boot on’.
Greening Bathurst’s contribution to the City’s bicentennial celebrations in 2015 (Australia’s oldest inland European settlement), was the production of a Thematic Tourism Guide, Cox’s Road Dreaming – A Natural History of Cox’s 1814/15 Road – Australia’s First Inland European Road.
The Guide consists of a 100-page A4 coloured booklet and eight accompanying maps. 116 sites are described along the line of Cox’s Road, between the Flag Staff at Bathurst on the banks of the Macquarie River and Emu Crossing on the Nepean River – a distance of 160 km. Over 2000 packages have been sold with minimal advertising between Bathurst and the lower Blue Mountains.
The objectives of the project were to:
- Enable contemporary Australians and visitors to better understand the iconic nature of William Cox’s Road that opened up inland Australia to European exploration and occupation
- Understand the road’s adverse outcomes for First Nation people
- Facilitate experiencing ‘History with one’s boots on’ by visiting 116 carefully chosen sites to:
- Experience colonial and First Nation histories through the telling of interesting and confronting stories:
- Immerse tourists in the natural history of the road through skilled integrated interpretation of its ecology, geology, geomorphology, hydrology and human histories and conflicts.
This prize-winning initiative provides a working template for organisations and individuals, including SEGRA, to better focus their efforts to develop thematic touring opportunities across Australia. The author will also identify how this initiative has helped facilitate other exciting initiatives such as ‘The Great Western Walk’ and local thematic based tours around Bathurst.
BSc, Dip Ed, PhD, DSc (honoris causa CSU); 1986 NSW Environmental Educator of the year; 2001 DSc CSU for progressing the integration of ecology & production agriculture; 2005 Jo Ross Environmental Award, Greening Bathurst 2015 Bathurst Living Legend for local ecology initiatives 2017 Inaugural winner Chifley Heritage Award as author of Cox’s Road Dreaming 2018 Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to ecology.