Points of Interest on the Old Great North Road
Thomas James bridge
Oldest bridge in use in continental Australia - stone foundations constructed by the 25th Road party in 1830 under convict overseer Thomas James.
Massive buttresses, elaborate walls and culverts. Contains some of the finest engineering and convict workmanship on the Road
Drainage was an important feature of the 19th century road building revolution. 41 stone-lined culverts take water away from the road on Devines Hill.
Five large buttresses supported the road against the face of the hill. The fourth buttress slipped down the hill after heavy rain in 1856.
A natural overhang with a hole in the roof. Legend says it was used to hang convicts, but more likely it was used to store gunpowder, or as an observation post for overseers.
Up to 150 convicts camped here at any one time. Little physical evidence remains, but due to its high usage the area has never fully revegetated.
Constructed in 1828 and abandoned the following year, this early ascent reveals Jonathon Warner's more rough and ready approach to road-building.
Travellers chose this route to the Macdonald Valley and follow a less isolated way north.
The Darkinjung people
The Darkinjung people occupied this area north of the Hawkesbury River. They showed their tracks to early white surveyors, explorers and adventurers. Some of these became the route for the Great North Road. There are many signs of aboriginal occupation in this area.
An earlier section abandoned in favour of a slightly shorter route. Although requiring additional construction, it fulfilled Thomas Mitchell's desire to keep the road as straight as possible
Ten Mile Hollow
Originally Twelve Mile Hollow until Devines Hill reduced the distance from Wisemans Ferry by 2 miles.
One of the few remaining timber culverts on the road, now bypassed for its protection. Many other timber culverts along the Road have been burned by bushfires or were unwittingly destroyed by heavy 4WD and service vehicles in recent years.
An alternative shorter route to the Hunter, discovered by convict John Macdonald. Sections remained in use as the main road to the Central Coast until the Pacific Highway opened in 1930.
Believed to be an early inn. Samuel Paley operated an establishment providing "water, accommodation, a cup of tea and feed for horses".
The largest and most elaborate of the 7 surviving GNR bridges - built in 1830 by a bridge party under overseer Arnold Clare.
12 mile marker
Distance markers were carved into rock faces to reassure travellers of the distances. A number of timber mile markers have disappeared over time.
A hollowed basin cut into a rock shelf, replenished by water seeping into it. Provided water for convict workers and travellers.
About 100 metres west of the road are hut foundations believed to have been erected by Solomon Wiseman to store food he supplied to the gangs.
Mt Baxter ascent
Called Gibber Gunyah in early records. Stone quarried out of the mountainside was used to build the substantial battered retaining wall. Insert photo Mt Baxter - caption: stone walling on Mt Baxter
A good campsite with reliable spring water.
Features over 1 km of stone walling, a bridge, chiselled side cuttings, natural stone surfaces, and colonial graffiti. Some of the relics were damaged and the gully under the bridge filled when the Mangrove Creek Dam was being built.
Circuit Flat bridge
Circa 1831-2. Projecting buttresses flank each corner, and the seven stone supports projecting from each abutment would have braced the timber deck which has now gone. The stone was quarried from a hill about 1 km to the north west. Insert photo Circuit Flat bridge: Caption: Bridge abutment at Circuit Flat
Mt Manning intersection
The original road is joined by the road through St Albans. The St Albans / Mogo Creek Road remains the route for vehicular traffic to use.
St Albans Road ramp
Two battered stone walls up to 4m high and 50 m long support the roadway. Over 170 years of continuous use shows the lasting quality of the workmanship. (insert 2 photos of ramp - Caption: Fallen trees and debris were cleared away from the ramp wall by a team of prisoners working for the Convict Trail Project
Picked surfaces and stone gutters can be seen along sections of the road between Mt Manning and Mt McQuoid.
Mt McQuoid / Bucketty precinct
Arange of convict relics remains along a 400 metre section where the road has been re-aligned. Features include a curved wall which once flanked a small bridge, handpicked gutters and rock faces, a rock cutting with the road surface cut into the bedrock, a stone lined box culvert, and a very large culvert with (partially collapsed) winged walling. This precinct was constructed in 1829-31 by the No 29 Road Party. In 1990 some stones were stolen from the wall, and local community united to restore the damage. It was this activity which led them to establish the Convict Trail Project.