In the 18th century, the Blaxland family lived in Fordwich, on the Stour river two miles downstream from Canterbury (Image 1). John and Gregory both attended King’s School, and spent free time in the cloisters where John carved his name and date (1780) in the shape of his foot in the stone of the seating immediately outside the martyrdom door (Image 2). Both brothers emigrated to Australia in 1805, where Gregory achieved some fame in 1813 as discoverer of the Blue Mountains passage (Image 3). Gregory later had disagreements with the colonial administration, and he committed suicide in 1853. Blaxland Estates are known today as a successful wine growing area in New South Wales.
What to see:
- the mark of John Blaxland’s foot in the cloisters
- the Blaxland blue plaque in Fordwich
Sources: McIntosh (1975); Cathedral pamphlet The Australian connection