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Biographical entry Lawson, William (1774 - 1850)

2 June 1774
Finchley, Middlesex, England
16 June 1850
Prospect, New South Wales, Australia
Explorer and Pastoralist


William Lawson crossed the Blue Mountains in 1813 with G. Blaxland and W.C. Wentworth, thus opening up the interior to pastoralists. His knowledge of surveying made him a particularly valuable member of the expedition and his journal, with its accurate record of times and distances, enables the route to be precisely retraced.


Born Finchley, Middlesex, England, 2 June 1774. Died Prospect, New South Wales, 16 June 1850. Trained as surveyor, bought commission in the New South Wales Corps 1799, arrived Sydney 1800, Norfolk Island garrison 1801-06, commandant at Newcastle ca 1807, 1809, received a grant of 500 acres at Prospect, named Veteran Hall, lieutenant, New South Wales Veterans company from 1811, successfully crossed the Blue Mountains with G Blaxland and W C Wentworth (qq.v.) 1813, commandant of Bathurst 1819-24, took the first stock across the mountains 1815, escorted Freycinet's party of naturalists and botanists over the ranges 1819, made the first discovery of coal to the west of the mountains at Hartley Vale 1822, member for Cumberland in the first partly-elective Legislative Council 1843-48. Commemorated by the town of Lawson in the Blue Mountains and a portrait in the Mitchell Library.

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Rosanne Walker