Bathurst’s First House

This week, a dedicated group laid markers delineating the very first European family home in inland Australia.

The house was built under the order of Lachlan Macquarie primarily for the superintendents who were sent to the settlement of Bathurst. It was located near the Macquarie River, on the corner of William Street and Elizabeth Street, adjoining the present day swimming pool.

The land now is vacant and is known as Elizabeth Park, named for Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Bathurst in 1954.

The first occupants were Superintendent Richard Lewis, his wife Mary Ann and their three young children, in 1816. Lewis was one of five men who accompanied George Evans on his 1813 expedition.

He also worked on the 1814/15 road over the mountains with William Cox, as one of his senior men. He was subsequently made Superintendent of the new settlement at Bathurst, and the house was built for him.

It was a single storey house, nine metres by seven metres in size, with four whitewashed rooms. One room was a pantry, another was a large common room with a fire place, and two smaller rooms were bedrooms.

The house was built of locally made bricks, with a wooden shingled roof, glazed windows, and a boarded loft. All the iron work for the locks, bolts and ‘ketches’ (as described by Evans in a report dated April 1818) would have been worked locally.

Imagine how, 201 years ago, the very first family Christmas in inland Australia happened in this little building.

This project has been to evoke a memory of the first house by placing corner stones and a threshold stone as a footprint where the house once stood.

Thought of the week…thanks to our National Trust for helping to enhance this important element of our heritage.