Our photo this week shows automobiles in the 1920s on the Bridle Track.
The drivers of these fine vehicles were not too concerned about driving along the Bridle Track, obviously with a picnic lunch to consume on their way to Hill End.
The road, which needs a bit of attention, has a timber post and rail fence along one side.
After the discovery of gold along the Turon River in the mid-1800s, tracks were soon formed between goldfield locations and villages and townships. Prospectors and their pack-saddled horses formed the various tracks that locals called ‘bridle tracks’, which in a number of cases became proper roads later.
Our Bridle Track that has been used in sections for almost 170 years starts at the crossing of Winburndale Creek and continues to the now small village of Hill End.
Pack-horses carrying provisions could be seen on the track until 1891, when it was reported that the “road is now cut sufficiently wide to admit a cart or dray”, though at that time there were still many narrow sections on the trail.
In 1872, the first of the real improvements was made to the Bridle Track on the steep ascent and narrow track on Hawkins Hill. Workmen constructed a curving track that was suitable for carriages and buggies around the well-known hill.
The work came at an opportune time as massive amounts of gold were coming out of the deep mines at Hill End and Tambaroora. Locals needed more done, so they formed a Hill End Bridle Track Committee.
In December 1876, in a report on Hill End, it notes a meeting of the Hill End Bridle Track Committee that had been held the previous evening at Weir’s Hotel. The mayor, Mr L. Beyers, was in the chair.
Its object was to decide on a proposed route to be surveyed in addition to the one that was then laid out. A route had been selected by the New South Wales Government Road Surveyor for the district which was supposedly far in advance of the present Bridle Track.
However, there were some on the committee who thought that a better route could be laid out.
They wanted the Roads Department to promise to survey any line they might point out, to compare the two, and select the better. Among the committee were three men – Messrs Cline, Mosedale and Bragg – who proposed routes, all converging on Bruin Bun.
The two former proposed to cross the Turon at the mouth of Oakey Creek and ascend immediately by the spurs on the south side.
Cline’s track had a considerable advantage between the top of the hill and Bruin Bun, but required, it was said, a great outlay to mount the hill.
Mosedale would reach the ‘finger post,’ or trig station, by a very easy route, crossing at Oakey Creek.
Bragg would strike the same level a little beyond the ‘finger post’, but would make a start from the road already completed at the Root Hog racecourse.
The committee decided on Mosedale’s line, in consideration of it being two miles shorter than Bragg’s, and probably costing no more, considering that the difficulty of ascending by Cline’s more than counter-balanced its acknowledged advantages from the top to Bruin Bun.
Root Hog was the name given to a district situated on the Macquarie River some nine miles from the far-famed gold-mining centre of Hill End, on the Bathurst road.
Gold was the great topic of conversation in the coach in late 1891 when travellers left Bathurst for the district.
Some three miles of winding road had been cut from the mountainside, with a short distance fenced at a sharp pinch. The fence actually wasn’t for the safety of passengers but the road construction men. Turon Shire Council took over the ‘upkeep’ of the Bridle Track in 1908.