03 December 2013

Taking a walk up the Old Great North Road, Dharug National Park - Part One

240 km roadway, Sydney to Newcastle, was built by hundreds of convicts, many working in leg-irons 1826-1836

Seen on the the right side of the gravel roadway

and looking to the left side, across the Hawkesbury River, to Wisemans Ferry.  There are two vehicular punts, Webbs Creek, and Wisemans ferries, running back and forth the river.  

back on the high side

Christmas Bush stands tall in the valley, and the beautiful star-shaped flowers are seen easily from the roadside

23rd december, 1939 it was reported in Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners Advocate, that in the city, dozens of youngsters were selling Christmas bush for 6d a bunch.  Hundreds of women bought in abundance, and then headed home laden with colourful flowers on trams and buses.

the signage reads: "the convict in the background is using the Wedge Pits method to reduce a large sandstone block.  Reducing blocks to a uniform shape and size enabled them to be easily positioned.

The convict in the foreground is using a pick to face one of the reduced sandstone blocks.  The pick had a short handle and a curved head with both a sharp rock pick end and a chisel-shaped end.

The pick was used in a semi-circular motion working from the outer edges of the block towards the middle.  The pick or chisel end struck a glancing blow at the bottom of the swing arc, gouging off pieces of stone.

The grain ran horizontally within the sandstone the chisel end of the pick was used to remove larger sections of stone and produced a smoother finish to the block.

When the grain ran diagonally, the rock pick end was used to remove smaller sections of stone and left a rough pock-marked finish.

The different pick marks can still be seen today.

Most of the sandstone blocks were only faced on five of their six sides.  The sixth side of each block was not a visible part of the external wall as it rested against the interior filling.  The filling was made up of sandstone debris of irregular shapes and sizes and formed the roadway itself.  The blocks that were to be used in the construction of the buttresses were faced on all six sides because the outer blocks of the buttresses rested against faced inner blocks."

looking over the wall, some more of the Christmas Bush not yet coloured-up.

History Trail/Caring for the Great North Road website has a lot of good reading 


TexWisGirl said...

guess that's where the 'breaking rocks' phrase of convict life truly comes from.

Our photos said...

Nice place and photos!
Greetings, SK

Merlesworld said...

Is everyone out walking today, well it's lovely weather but a bit hot this afternoon in Sydney.
Hard work building a road in those times.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Thanks for the leisurely stroll, and the insight into what hard work really is!

Irma said...

Beautiful pictures of a very beautiful area for walking.
Very well photographed, Carole.
Greetings Irma

eileeninmd said...

Pretty spot for a walk, I love the view of the river. And the star flowers are pretty. Lovely series, have a happy day!

Beth Edwards said...

amazing. i love to see similar places. sort of reminds me of shot or scenes here in Virginia. love it!! thanks for sharing. happy week!! ( :

diane b said...

I didn't know that the road still existed. It would have been hard work building that road. I remember my Mum picking Christmas bush. I miss it, we don't get it up here.

Seraphina´s Phantasie said...

A wonderful trough this park and great rocks or stones.
Best regards, Synnöve

Christian Perrin said...

Pioneers working through that countryside sure had things hard - I would much prefer an easy stroll along a trail with some informative signs! :)

The Christmas Bush is a lovely tree, I'll have to keep an eye out for it up in Queensland and see if I can spot it.

Montanagirl said...

This is a nice series of photos. I really like that Christmas Bush - so aptly named!

John @ Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

The rock work is not quite up to par with the Inca.

Karen said...

An interesting piece of history! The Christmas bush is so pretty!

Wally Jones said...

Nice images of a slice of history. Looks like that area would be very interesting to explore!

Carole M. said...

it was so tough for those men when you read the signage and see what they created with their bare hands. Christian - as to the Christmas Bush, it is also known as NSW Christmas Bush and according to Hornsby Shire Council document it grows "Mainly coastal New South Wales from Bateman’s Bay north into the dividing ranges between NSW & Qld."

Jan Castle said...

Great walk Carole...TFS!