Celebration of a pioneer of road-building

William Cox descendant Robert Bettington (right) and Rosemary Weaver from Nepean District Historical Society senior vice-president Rosemary Weaver. Photo: Geoff Jones.

William Cox descendant Robert Bettington (right) and Rosemary Weaver from Nepean District Historical Society senior vice-president Rosemary Weaver. Photo: Geoff Jones.

Robert Bettington has won the bloodline jackpot. He is the descendant of not just one, but three early pioneers who discovered and built routes from Sydney into the Blue Mountains.

Mr Bettington has blood rushing through his veins from road-maker William Cox, pioneer Archibald Bell jnr and pastoralist William Lawson. Mr Bettington and 20 relatives will attend this year's William Cox Festival at the Arms of Australia Inn Museum on July 20. The festival celebrates the building of a road across the Blue Mountains - and July 2014 marks the bicentenary of the building of the road by Cox.

Construction started in July 1814 at Emu Plains, made Mt York in four months then continued to Bathurst. The work was done by 32 convicts, four free persons and a handful of guards.

To mark the bicentenary, the Nepean District Historical Society and Penrith Council will re-enact the start of Cox's journey from Regatta Park, in Emu Pains at 10.30am to the Arms of Australia Inn Museum.

The festival will include food, stalls, entertainment, children's games, pony rides, an animal farm and a jumping castle. Mr Bettington said the festival honoured pioneers.

"It's about learning what happened 200 years ago and knowing how that has made us into the people that we are today."

"I think we need to really encourage and show what the convicts did for the country and show that they were go-getters. We also need to recognise the assistance of the Aboriginal guides."

Details: nepeanhistoricalsociety.org.au.

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