DESCENDANTS of pioneer roadbuilder William Cox are celebrating the addition of his road over the Blue Mountains to the State Heritage Register.
The listing notes that ‘the surviving remnants of Cox’s Road, built 1814 to 1815, have state significance as the earliest road across the Blue Mountains and the first structure built by Europeans west of the Blue Mountains’.
Convener of the William Cox Fellowship Dr Anne-Maree Whitaker said the listing recognised not only the technical achievement of the road’s construction, but also the humanitarian attitudes displayed by Cox.
“Unlike later periods when working on a road gang was a punishment for repeat offenders, Captain Cox’s convicts laboured voluntarily on the road and were rewarded with their freedom,” Dr Whitaker said.
“The convicts in Cox’s working party made 101½ miles (163 kilometres) of road through rugged mountain country, building numerous bridges and splitting hundreds of posts and rails in six months without serious accident or loss of life.”
When the road was finished Governor Lachlan Macquarie travelled along it to found the town of Bathurst on May 7 1815.
Four precincts of the road have been listed: Hartley, Clarence Hilly Range-Mt Blaxland (Lithgow LGA); Sodwalls, Fish River Descent (Lithgow LGA); Woodford, Appian Way (Blue Mountains LGA); and Mt York, Cox’s Pass (Blue Mountains LGA).
The road was nominated by a committee formed in 2006 by the Lithgow, Blue Mountains and Bathurst branches of the National Trust and the listing approved by the Heritage Council and Minister Rob Stokes last month.