New website reveals history of Australia's most significant road
12 February 2020
A book unearthing the history of Australia’s most significant road, the Hume Highway, is now available as an interactive online portal to encourage travellers to explore off the beaten track.
The landmark publication The Old Hume Highway - History begins with a road charts the colonial history, fascinating yarns, colourful characters and important events that make the Hume Highway unique.
Minister for Roads Andrew Constance said the book, published by Transport for NSW, is one of the first official online historic guides of its kind.
“The portal provides easy-to-use interactive maps so anyone travelling on the Hume Highway knows where to stop and explore interesting landmarks such as historic bridges, fine colonial buildings and scenic parks, rivers and locations,” Mr Constance said.
“The road was named a century after colonial-born Hamilton Hume and William H. Hovell made the first overland journey by white explorers from Sydney to the Victorian coast in 1824. Although it was still a rough and ready local track, in many places it was proclaimed a highway, and road engineering took almost another century to live up to the name.
“Much of the present highway is along the same route, from Ashfield in Sydney’s inner west, stretching past Camden, Goulburn, Yass and Albury, as well as smaller townships that with the passing of time have experienced mixed fortunes.
Minister for Regional Roads Paul Toole said the new website will help drivers find hidden rural gems not far from the highway’s alignment.
“This mobile-friendly site makes it easier to plan a holiday in the bush, leading drivers to destinations in our state that are waiting to be discovered by more people,” Mr Toole said.
“The site opens up this rich collection to a new audience. The online edition marks 200 years since Governor Macquarie ordered work on a ‘cart road' to the Goulburn area, running through Bong Bong (now Moss Vale and Sutton Forest) across to Arthursleigh and Greenwich Park.”
The original book was released at the dedication of the Holbrook Bypass on 23 June 2013, which completed the duplication of the Hume Highway between Sydney and Melbourne.
This ‘cart road’ was one of the many sections later proclaimed as the ‘Great Southern Road’ in 1858, and then the ‘Hume Highway’ 70 years later.
The portal draws on the stories and insights of the historical societies along the route and official documents sourced from Transport for NSW and its predecessors RMS, RTA and DMR.
The site is now available to the public on this link: Old Hume Highway.