Governor Lachlan Macquarie investigated the districts north of the Parramatta River

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Slab timber hut, since demolished and rebuilt in Heritage Park Castle Hill
Slab timber hut, since demolished and rebuilt in Heritage Park Castle Hill

Wednesday November 14, 1810

At Noon, I set out in the Carriage along with Mrs Macquarie and Mrs Bent, and accompanied by Secretary Campbell, Mr Rowland Hassall, Dr Redfern, Captain Antill and Mr Blaxland to view the Farms in the Districts of the Field of Mars, Northern Boundary, Dundas, and Baulkham Hills. We rode through a great number of Farms in this excursion, ending it with those of Baulkham Hills - at which last place we halted for a little while at the House of Mr Andrew McDougal [Mrs Elizabeth and daughter Elizabeth, sons James and Thomas came with him on the Barwell arriving in May 1798] one of the most respectable Settlers in that District. The Farms I visited were in general in good order and well cultivated; but the Crops did not look well, and the Habitations of the Settlers were in general miserably bad and their own Dress still worse. We returned home to Dinner by the Castle-hill Road after a ride of about 20 miles in this day's Excursion.

Lachlan Macquarie's Diary, 1810, ML Ref A 778

Journeys in Time 1809-1822, the journal of Lachlan and Elizabeth Macquarie, accessed 13 November 2006, Macquarie University

Trevor Patrick is a local historian of the north-west of Sydney, Australia. His latest book, In Search of the Pennant Hills, recounts some of these stories (and others) in more detail.