William Parr's Route to the North
William Parr was a land surveyor and draughtsman transported on the Fortune in 1813 and assigned to the Surveyor General’s Department as a mineral surveyor. In October 1817, he set out with a party of men including Benjamin Singleton and Aboriginal guides. They almost reached the Hunter Valley, travelling along the Eastern edge of the Wollemi Range, despite Aboriginal people lighting bushfires in front of them to try to turn them back. Along the way, to the east, they saw Mt Wareng and Mt Yengo, two ancient peaks of volcanic basalt rock which were sacred to the Aboriginal people.
Although the party saw a huge valley to the north and east of them on 17th November, which might have been the Hunter Valley, Ben Singleton was unhappy and had already turned back. Some historians believe that Singleton thought he would get a better reward if he went on a private expedition rather than allowing this government-funded trip to succeed. He wanted a big land grant as a reward. Parr turned back soon afterwards and returned to Windsor, not realising how close he had come to discovering his way through to the Hunter.
Readers seeking more detail about Parr should consult a book published after this history was prepared: Somewhat Perilous by Andy Macqueen 2004 (self published)
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