First Lady Went Across the Nepean

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser

11 December 1803

Our last week's paper reported His Excellency's excursion yesterday sen'night to the Cow Pasture Plains; Mrs. King accompanied the excursion, and at about one o'clock the partie halted on the Nepean, about 24 miles from Parramatta, without much fatigue.

At day light the morning following His Excellency, attended by several gentlemen, crossed the river, and proceeded towards the places chiefly resorted to by the wild cattle.

The river was passed and repassed in the course of the day by Mrs King, who, we may confidently affirm, is the first and only lady that has ever crossed the Nepean.

On Sunday evening they returned to Parramatta, and in Monday morning His Excellency, ccompanied by His Honor Lieutenant Governor Foveaux, came to Sydney, but set out again for Parramatta in The afternoon.

The Governor has also visited the Public Agricultural Settlement at Cornwallis Place, Hawkesbury, where the harvest is nearly completed.

Some of the Cattle at the Pastures appeared to be lame, from whence it is suspected that they have been wounded with firearm by persons frequenting the Pastures, although His Excellency's Orders on the behalf have been so excessively determinate and conclusive.

An opinion was ventured that the cattle would in the course of time become to numerous as to be compelled to return towards Parramatta for want of sufficient pasturage; of this however, from indubitable authority was understand no probability exists for 50 years at least from the present period, allowing that they continue to increase in the same proportion that they have hitherto done from the time of their departure from the settlement, and are not disturbed during that period, Exclusive of the very fine pasturage, the soil appears equally well calculated for tillage as are the banks of the Hawkesbury, and these plains are well watered by chains of small ponds, generally not more than half-a-mile, apart and which, though stagnant; are well tasted, and appear never to become putrid.

There are also several kinds of grass, the principal of which is a species of wild oat, which grows in great luxuriance, and in fields that are each several acres in extent.

Kangaroos, Emues, and Wild Ducks are in great abundance, an in all respects these extensive plains surpass any conception that can be possibly formed upon report.