This free Apsley Gorge tour is a highlight of the weekend

Aunty Sue Green at Apsley Falls which was originally called Bathurst Falls by Oxley who said of the site, "We were lost in astonishment."
Aunty Sue Green at Apsley Falls which was originally called Bathurst Falls by Oxley who said of the site, "We were lost in astonishment."

As part of the events on September 8, to mark the bicentenary of John Oxley’s visit to the Walcha region, the local National Parks and Wildlife Services ranger Patrick Lupica and Dunghutti elder Sue Green will conduct a tour of Apsley Falls.

“We’ll take people around the gorge rim walk for up to an hour and talk about Aboriginal and European cultural heritage in the area,” Mr Lupica said.

“Of course, people will also want to know about flora and fauna of the gorge but the focus of the weekend is John Oxley, so we’ll talk about when he came through that area and what he did.”

Aunty Sue will show where the Bora Ring, grinding stones and fish trap sites are as well as the Joe Woods’ (who was Walcha’s clever man) totem spirit site is.

Oxley’s journal indicates there was no animosity between his party and the Dunghutti tribe, however there will be an opportunity during the tour to see the area where it is said a large group of local Aboriginals were forced over the edge of the gorge by a team of Europeans after Walcha was established. While this is undocumented, even regional historians agree this type of horrendous activity did take place in the New England gorge areas.  Aunty Sue says the spot where this alleged act of genocide occured is uncannily quiet, unlike the rest of the bush.

Oxley’s journal and personal effects will be on show in the Oxley Room at the historic home ‘Langford’ which  is built near the site where Oxley’s party camped by the Apsley River on September 8, 1818.

Local historical society member Jane Morrison said it was important people had an awareness of the value Oxley added to the area.

“We just want people to enjoy themselves and get into the spirit of the weekend,” she said.