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Australian explorer who suggested the existence of an inland sea to solve the "riddle of the rivers." Oxley was born in Yorkshire around 1784 and joined the Royal Navy in 1799. He first arrived in Sydney in 1802 aboard the HMS Buffalo and was involved in coastal surveying until 1806. He became the first officer of the HMS Porpoise and escorted the deposed governor Bligh to England in 1809.

Oxley returned to Sydney after leaving the navy in 1911; he was granted a large tract of land near Camden and appointed surveyor-general by Macquarie's administration. In 1817 he attempted to trace the mouth of the Lachlan River, despairing of the inhospitable tracts and swampland the river led him into. The following year he attempted to trace the mouth of the Macquarie River, again encountering swamps and arid plains. On his return journey he noted the beautiful setting of what is now Port Macquarie. He wrote Journals of Two Expeditions into the Interior of New South Wales, in which he suggested that the marshes he had encountered on both rivers were the edges of a great inland sea.

In 1819 Oxley charted Port Macquarie and recommended it as a penal settlement. In 1823 he sailed north as far as Port Curtis and explored the Brisbane River many miles inland before recommending settlement. Oxley died in 1828 at Camden.

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