Degree Name

Master of Arts (Research)


School of Humanities and Social Inquiry


Roads systems are frequently identified as a measure of society’s economic and social progress. The planning, financing and construction of roads is a central feature of urban spaces. Roads as religious and political artefacts date from a time of the Egyptian Pharaohs, while roads as transport and trade routes can be found along the Silk Route and Roman roads throughout Europe.

European settlement in Illawarra dates from 1816 when colonial government made the first land grants. Land was used mainly for grazing, timber-cutting, agriculture and later dairy farming. Gradual settlement took place between 1820 - 1840, with the Township of Wollongong laid out in 1834. Coal mining was established in 1848, with ten mines along the Illawarra Escarpment by 1890. Significant economic and population changes from 1830 brought increasing demands for roads, especially roads that might survive floods and increasing levels of traffic.

While it satisfied an economic imperatives of a colonial government keen to see a district develop its economy as well as plans of local business owners and developers, it did not please everyone. Some land owners saw it as an inconvenient intrusion.

This convict-built road, however, not only satisfied a government keen to promote its convict policy in punishment and reform but to also exploit cheap convict labour as it also became an important part of a district’s push to economic development.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.