Culture and heritage

Heritage of NSW

Transport heritage in NSW national parks and reserves

The ability to travel longer distances and carry heavier loads has been the foundation of communication, trade and industrial development, and for the populating of NSW. The national parks and reserves in NSW are criss-crossed by roads, walking tracks, railways and old timber routes that provide a picture of the transport history of NSW.

Transport heritage is not just about roads and bridges. Tram lines in Dorrigo National Park, Nymboi-Binderay National Park and Cascade National Park were built from material provided by the timber industry. Wharves, such as Peats Bight Wharf at Muogamarra Nature Reserve near Cowan on the Lower Hawkesbury, jetties, breakwaters, slipways and shipwrecks are examples of our maritime and river transport history. Buildings such as lighthouses, customs houses, huts, workshops and garages show us the important role that transport played in NSW’s history. For example, the former Roads and Traffic Authority Cookhouse at the Gibraltar Range National Park at Cangai near Glenn Innes is of local historical and regional significance and is a rare example of a post-war road building camp.

An outstanding example of NSW’s transport heritage is the Great North Road, parts of which run through Dharug National Park near the town of Wiseman’s Ferry. Built to provide a land route between Sydney and the Hunter Valley, the Great North Road gives us a glimpse of the impressive ability of convicts, engineers and oversees who were able to build major roads in such remote locations during the 1820s and 1830s. Sections of the Great North Road, with its isolated, rugged mountainous bush setting, are examples of the harsh conditions and the strangeness of the new land that the British urban and rural convicts had to endure. The massive road cuttings, culverts, buttresses, bridges and stone embankments are evidence of the arduous labour that was the lot of convicts. A section of Great North Road (identified as the Old Great North Road) is one of a group of convict sites from across Australia to be nominated for World Heritage listing.

Did you know that the walking tracks in the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains of NSW are of state heritage significance? They give us an idea of the variety of original construction techniques, track materials and features such as shelter sheds, wells, railings and signage that were used. The walking tracks range from private tracks laid in the 1870s, to the efforts of the Blue Mountains National Park Trust in the 1960s. They chart the rise of the public’s interest in conservation and the expansion of the nature tourism industry. The solutions of the early trustees and track makers to overcome complex problems of design, particularly drainage issues, and the use of stone have significant research value today. The tracks have been an important factor in the growth of conservation values within the community.


Page last updated: 26 February 2011