During the first known recorded attempt to forge a second route to Bathurst through the Hawkesbury-Hunter ranges, convict William Parr takes a short cut via an Aboriginal pathway above the Colo River to reach the Putty district. He recognises Old Beeny, the “Chief of Mellon” and passes through many fires burning on ridgelines. He blames this obstructive behaviour on the Mellon natives behind and the Hawkesbury natives ahead:
“we saw a number of Natives this day generally about the skirts of the flames. I sent one of my men to them in the hopes of getting some information…but on hailing about twelve…all the notice they took of him was coo-ee”.
While the “natives” are somewhat friendly, they seem too busy exploiting fire to harvest game. (Parr 1817 Journal, Ford 118)