Devine’s Hill and the Great North Road Report

Sat 27th to Sun 28th June 2015


Bob & Monica – FJ

Sue & Chery – Prado

Bev – Prado

Steve & Tracey – Mitsubishi

Peter & Jack + Mia, Mikala, Chloe – Colorado

Sheryl & Trevor – Patrol

We started the day with breakfast and coffee at the Mangrove store – the meeting place for this trip. Monica gave a quick overview of the weekend ahead then we set off to begin our exploration of the convict history along the Great North Road.

The convoy meandered its way along the banks of the Hawkesbury River on Wisemans Ferry Road. An awesome sight of possibly 100 or more racing boats distracted us all coming up the river towards us, and we nearly missed the turn into the Mill Creek picnic area for morning tea. We all stopped to watch this spectacular sight. Over morning tea Monica shared brochures and maps of the Yengo National Park, an area packed with history and right on our door step.

At Devine’s Hill we strolled along the short (3.6 kms return) but steep walk to marvel at DSCF5425the hand built sandstone road built by the convicts in the early 1820’s. The Great North Road connected Sydney to the Hunter area replacing the need for early settlers to transport by sea. In this section of road we admired the skills of the convicts who had merely picks and gunpowder to carve out the road. Cleverly designed drainage culverts and 12 metre high buttress walls remain in their almost original condition impressing us all.

DSCF5483Lunch was enjoyed at the St Albans pub and photos taken with the camel. We arrived at Mogo Creek camping area mid-afternoon allowing for a leisurely setup and happy hour soon followed. A very pleasant evening around the camp fire conjured much discussion about convict life and the skills of our early pioneers.

Sunday morning we donned the walking shoes again and set off to find Circuit Flat Bridge, the fourth-oldest bridge in Australia and yet another interesting section of the Great North Road. This 5.5km loop was through some spectacular sandstone outcrops and shrubby vegetation. We discovered later, that we could have driven to the bridge and possibly put the vehicles into 4wd.

On return to camp we enjoyed lunch in the sun and a leisurely pack up before saying our farewells to Poppy Pete and Grandad Jack who bravely bought their three under 5 year old granddaughters. The girls thoroughly enjoyed their camping trip and we were all amazed at the energy they had for trekking the hills and then setting up camp as well.

With plenty of sunshine left in the day and no one wanting to go home yet, we all decided DSCF5539there would be time to head towards Laguna to explore some ‘Burragurra’  Aboriginal carvings on the Boree track. There was a bit of a scrabbly climb to reach the carvings, but the view at the top was well worth the effort.

Thank you, Bob and Monica for planning this great, leisurely paced weekend trip. We had a very relaxing 2 days involving some exercise, history, socialising and a little 4wding.

Sheryl Whittington