The Great North RoadPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Pupils of Macdonald Valley Public School / Sandra Brown

A monument commemorates the construction of the Great North Road which was built by convict labour to link Sydney and the newly settled areas in the Hunter Valley.

The road is over 240 kilometres long and was built between 1828 and 1834.


Address:Old Northern Road, Wisemans Ferry, 2770
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.385365
Long: 150.985893
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Landscape


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 8th April, 2000
Front Inscription

The Great North Road

The Great North Road, over 240 kilometres long and constructed between 1828 and 1834 remains one of the major engineering feats of the convict era.

It was constructed to link Sydney with the newly settled areas in the Hunter Valley.  Surveyed in 1825 by Heneage Finch, construction commenced almost immediately using convict labour.  A number of gangs of up to 50 convicts were stationed at various locations along the route.  Many of the men were repeat offenders who were required to work in leg irons.

The road was the largest engineering work undertaken in 19th century Australia and utilised the world`s best practice at the time.  It not only demonstrates convict labour but also adds to the understanding of the introduction of new technologies and their adaption to the Australian situation, of engineering and road building skills, of patterns of early settlement, of convict life and working conditions and of the ongoing development of travel and transport.

Most of the road continues to be used today, with many convict built features such as retaining walls, bridges, buttresses, culverts, elaborate drainage systems, as well as convict graffiti and remnants of layered surfacing still visible.  Some sections of the road fell into disuse almost as soon as construction was completed, as travellers chose to follow longer, but more hospitable routes where water, fodder, accommodation and habitation was available.

Many features along the Great North Road convict trail have been indentified as being of national heritage significance with items listed on national, state, regional and local heritage registers. Sites and features associated with the construction of the Great North Rad that are located within Wisemans Ferry and the surrounding area include : the disused bridge near Hawkins Lookout : the descent into Wisemans Ferry ; remains of the stockade (original campsite) ; Wisemans Ferry Inn, Wisemans Well, Wisemans Ferry Cemetery at Laughtondale ; the ferry crossing (the oldest crossing in Australia) ; Finches Line (ascent) ; Devines Hill (Buttresses and wall) and Settlers Road Bridge (which remains the oldest in use in Australia).

This Monument Was Erected By Hornsby Shire Council 
In Conjunction With The
Great North Road Convict Trail Project
And Unveiled On 8 April, 2000 By Mayor Robert Browne


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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