|Travel on the pass roads|
The road down Mt York on the Cox's Road was a grade of 1 in 4. The
descent was rather terrifying. Logs were tied behind carts to steady
them down the steep grade. At the bottom of the road, the logs were
unhitched and left strewn on the side of the road. These
would accumulate so badly that parties of convicts were sent to clean
To bring a loaded cart up the pass was a laborious process. Heavy staples were fastened into the rocks at the steepest points with iron rings attached which acted as anchors. with the aid of pulleys and ropes bullocks driven down the hill could assist laden vehicles up the worst pinches.
Reference was made to Cox's observations that sheep on the western plains would have to carry the wool on their backs up the pass and be shorn on the mountains. Soon after the completion of the road, a woolshed was established at Blackheath near Mount York where the shearing was done until the opening of the Victoria pass in 1832.
Cox's descent of Mount York was abandoned in favor of a route which was
credited to Lieutenant Lawson, who had accompanied Blaxland and
Wentworth on the first expedition. This route was in use in 1827
and carried traffic to the west until 1832.
On 13th August 1827, Governor Darling issued a Government Notice offering reward of a "Grant of Land, cattle or such other reasonable indulgence as maybe preferred " to any "free person" who reported to the Surveyor of Roads a better route to Bathurst. It was to be understood that the route was to "avoid if possible Mounts York and Blaxland, the passage of which presents serious Impediment to the Communication with Country beyond the Blue Mountains"
Archibald Bell had discovered a route in 1823 from Richmond via Mount Tomah to Cox's River. The track was extremely rough and some of the grades very steep. The route was never popular and abandoned in 1834.
In the early l830s a service to Bathurst (207 kilometres) was established by Ireland and Richards. It was the first route to necessitate an all-night stop on the journey.
You can see the amount of horses that is needed to pull the heavy piece of machinery across this dry river bed. There are 15 horses here exerting an enormous amount of effort in this image taken in the 1870's