Telling the stories of the Great North Road

Convict marks Great North Road1 (Small)

The Great North Road was built between 1826 and 1836, extending 240 kilometres north from Sydney to the Hunter Valley and originally included 33 bridges.

It was built using convict labour. Up to 700 convicts worked on the road at any one time. Some would be clearing the area while others would be digging drains, quarrying stone, shaping the stone and shifting it in to position. Many of the convicts working on the road were secondary offenders and to add to the gruelling work they worked in leg-irons weighing up to six kilograms.

The Five Dock section of the road is the only section still retaining the original name,’Great North Road’. Locally, little evidence remains of the convicts’ efforts, other than some pick marks which survive at Abbotsford (pictured above).

Over the years the Convict Trail Project has done much to preserve and promote what remains of the Great North Road. The story of the Great North Road has now been brought to life through a series of colourful videos which can be viewed on youtube.

Posted on June 16, 2015, in Five Dock and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. That is so interesting! I will keep an eye out for the pick marks next time I am in Five Dock.

  2. I grew up in Five Dock, near Timbrell Park which was known locally as The Flat, it was still being drained and full of wonderful shells. Scarry stories of bodies buried at the peninsula on Rodd Point which turned out to be true, a family crypt. Playing in the WW2 fortifications was a great pastime. 24th May was cracker night with families gathering around bonfires which ringed the bay to let off crackers, such a fantastic sight. Great memories of a wonderful suburban life.

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