On squatters, settlers and early surveyors: the development of historic roads in rural areas of New South Wales

This paper describes how present day rural road networks are a historical vestige of past land-use decisions; a collection of travelling stock routes, pastoral boundaries of early squatters, rail reserves, county and parish boundaries, and an ad-hoc collection of mostly one-chain roads surveyed during the late 1800s. Investigations showed that many historic roads are a legacy of past land battles that erupted in the 1860-90s between squatters and new settlers. Other nuances in road design are often the legacy of the difficulties faced by 19th century surveyors in surveying the extent of NSW. Many roads were surveyed two or three chains wide to allow for predicted usage by travellers or for moving herds of domestic stock. In the 1870s, travelling stock routes were gazetted of varying widths from one to 80 chains wide (one mile) based on stock usage. Many of these routes are thought to have indigenous origins, and are now gaining new attention as historic roads in many rural areas. In this way, present day road reserves are a direct legacy of land policies, administrators and surveyors on the landscape today. (a) For the covering entry of this conference, please see ITRD abstract no. E214188.

  • Authors:
    • SPOONER, P G
  • Publication Date: 2005-11


  • English

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01043174
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ITRD, ATRI
  • Created Date: Mar 6 2007 8:25AM