On Squatters, Settlers and Early Surveyors: Historical Development of Country Road Reserves in southern New South Wales

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26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Country roads are an important social, economic and ecological component of agricultural landscapes in many parts of New South Wales. Using the Lockhart Shire Council area as a case study, 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 1 chain (20.12 m) roads surveyed during the late 1800s. Road reserves were allocated across the landscape at the discretion of early surveyors, so new land titles could access vital water resources. Nineteenth-century surveyors faced many difficulties in surveying the extent of NSW, sometimes resulting in misalignments which today give 'character' to many country roads. Road reserves were often surveyed 2 or 3 chains wide to allow for predicted usage and provide materials for road construction. In the 1870s, Travelling Stock Routes of varying widths from 1 to 80 chains wide (one mile) were gazetted, which often form an integral part of many country road networks. In this way, present-day conservation values of many road reserves is a direct legacy of land policies, administrators and surveyors on the landscape today.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-73
Number of pages19
JournalAustralian Geographer
Volume36
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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