Surveyor, explorer and pioneer pastoralist William Lawson (1774 - 1850), with Gregory Blaxland and William Wentworth, was successful in finding a route across the Blue Mountains in 1813. Lawson was born in London and trained as a surveyor before buying a commission in the New South Wales Corps. He arrived in Sydney in 1800 and was posted to Norfolk Island, remaining there until 1806 when he returned to Sydney. Like many other officers of the New South Wales Corps, Lawson began to acquire land. In 1808 he was appointed aide-de-camp to Major George Johnston, who led the rebellion against Governor Bligh. He was summoned to London in 1810 as a witness in Johnston's court martial but returned to Australia without being called to give evidence.

By that time he had received a large grant of land at Prospect. His knowledge of surveying made Lawson a valuable member of the expedition with Blaxland and Wentworth. They traversed the mountains as far as Mount Blaxland by keeping to the ridge tops. As a reward for their valuable work, each of the explorers received a grant of land from Governor Macquarie. Lawson selected an area on the Campbell River near Bathurst. He was appointed Commandant of the new settlement at Bathurst in 1819.

The explorer opened up new pastoral land around Mudgee, accumulating in the process large properties which he stocked with imported merino sheep, shorthorn cattle and horses. Lawson also discovered coal beyond Bathurst in 1822.

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