Old Great North Road, Between Devine's Hill and Mount Manning | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Old Great North Road, Between Devine's Hill and Mount Manning

Item details

Name of item: Old Great North Road, Between Devine's Hill and Mount Manning
Other name/s: Section 3 (in CMP)
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Transport - Land
Category: Road
Location: Lat: -33.3661226929 Long: 150.9873892400
Primary address: between, Wiseman's Ferry and Mount Manning, NSW 2775
Parish: Spencer
County: Northumberland
Local govt. area: Hawkesbury
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT41 DP755257
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
betweenWiseman's Ferry and Mount ManningHawkesburySpencerNorthumberlandPrimary Address
Between Devine's Hill and Mount ManningWiseman's FerryHawkesburySpencerNorthumberlandAlternate Address
Between Devine's Hill and Mount ManningWiseman's FerryGosfordMangroveNorthumberlandAlternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Office of Environment and HeritageState Government26 Nov 98

Statement of significance:

The Old Great North Road is a signifier of the outlooks of early colonial society. Its magnificent structures were powerful, tangible symbols of the colony's perceived place and role in the course of empire, unmistakable evidence that the civilised state was being attained and a truimph over a rugged and inhospitible landscape. It is associated with several notable figures in colonial administration, surveying and engineering including Governor Darling, Surveyor General Thomas Mitchell and Percy Simpson, one of Australia's earliest scientific road engineers (Karskens 1991: 12).

The Old Great North Road physically demonstrates the work patterns, skills and organisation of convict work gangs. This evidence is unavailable in documentary sources and has been essential in changing our views of work gangs. It has technological value in that it demonstrates the standards and practice of road engineering in the colony during the 'Great Roads' period of the late 1820s and 1830s (Karskens 1991: 12).
Date significance updated: 20 Dec 06
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Division intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Designer/Maker: Thomes Mitchell (surveyor general)
Builder/Maker: convict road gangs
Construction years: 1826-1834
Physical description: The Great North Road runs from the Windsor Road in Baulkham Hills to Wiseman's Ferry where it branches off to Maitland and Singleton. It is over 240 km long. A shorter section was built in 1830 between Five Dock and Pennant Hills, joining the original road at Dural. Another major branch line, Simpson's Track, divergerd from the main road at Ten Mile Hollow, and crossed Mangrove Creek, heading through Yarramalong towards Newcastle.

There are still some places where well-preserved sections of the original Road can be seen. The 43km section immediately north of Wiseman's Ferry, from Devine's Hill to Mount Manning run through very steep and rugged country and contains particularly fine examples of high walling with massive buttresses, drainage systems and quarries. The walls, up to 13m high, are made of interlocking stone blocks of varying shapes and sizes without mortar to hold them together. Some of the blocks weigh up to 660 kg. Examples of stone work at Clares Bridge and Circuit Flat Bridge are preserved within Dharug and Yengo National Parks. These ares are closed to vehicular access to preserve the remaining convict road works. Other sections of convict work can be seen at Mt McQuoid, Ramseys Leap and the Murrays Run Culvert. (Convict Trail Project 1997)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Archaeological potential is high. Physical condition varies.
Date condition updated:02 Oct 97
Further information: A Conservation Management Plan is currently being prepared for the entire length of the Road.
Current use: Walking Track, Service Road
Former use: Public Road

History

Historical notes: The Great North Road, over 240km long, was constructed between 1826 and 1834, and remains one of the major engineering feats of the convict era. Much of the road is still in use today, although some of the original surface is buried. A number of the original stone culverts, bridges and retaining walls are still in use. The road runs from the Windsor Road in Baulkham Hills to Wiseman's Ferry, where it branches off to Maitland and Singleton. At the time of construction the engineering was at the cutting edge of road building technology, incorporating the latest ideas from Europe (Convict Trail Project: 1997).

Work on the road began in 1826 after petitions from residents in the newly settled Hunter Valley for a decent route to take stock and travellers north. Construction proceeded under the direction of Thomas Mitchell, the Surveyor General and by Governor Darling who had recognised the need for infrastructure in the rapidly expanding colony. Construction was carried out by convicts working in Road Gangs. Up to 700 men worked on the road at any one time, suffering harsh conditions.

Construction was completed by 1833. Many travellers however, found sections of too isolated with insufficient water and feed for stock. As a result, alternative tracks were quickly searched out along the fertile Hawkbury and Macdonald valleys, providing a safer and faster alternative for travellers. Sections of the Great Road soon fell into disrepair.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Working for the Crown-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Experiencing secondary punishment-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Demonstrating convicts' experiences and activities-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of cultural and natural interaction-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Technology-Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences Technologies of road building and maintenance-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements Building and maintaining public roads-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements Engineering the public road system-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Great North Road is a signifier of the outlooks of early colonial society. Its magnificent structures were powerful, tangible symbols of the colony's perceived place and role in the course of empire and unmistakable evidence that the civilised state was being attained. It was a truimph over a rugged and inhospitible landscape. It is associated with several notable figures in colonial administration, surveying and engineering. These inlclude, Governor Darling, Surveyor General Thomas Mitchell and Percy Simpson, one of Australia's earliest scientific road engineers (Karskens 1991: 12).
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The Great North Road physically demonstrates the work patterns, skills and organisation of convict work gangs. This evidence is unavailable in documentary sources and has been essential in changing our views of work gangs. It has technological value in that it demonstrates the standards and practice of road engineering in the colony during the 'Great Roads' period of the late 1820s and 1830s
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for commentOld Great North Road, Dharug National Park, Draft CMP, prepared by Griffin NRM Pty Ltd for NPWS, dated March 2004. Comment provided on draft CMP by 21 June 2005 Jun 21 2005
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0099102 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
National Parks & Wildlife Service Section 170 Register  National Parks & Wildlife Service  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007The Great North Road View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007The Great North Road View detail
TourismConvict Trails Organisation2007Convict Trails View detail
WrittenGrace Karskens1991The Great North Road: Interpretation and Statement of Cultural Significance
WrittenNSW National Parks & Wildlife Service; Federal Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Populations & Communities2013I Phone app - The Great North Road View detail
WrittenThe Convict Trail Project1997The Great North Road and the Convict Trail Project (pamphlet)

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5051461
File number: S97/00244 (CMP), H06/00285


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