Up the Gorge
Following a preliminary survey in 1857, a group of army engineers were given
the 6 week assignment of constructing a bridle track up the Grose River Gorge, from the
Nepean River near Yarramundi. The gorge was being considered as a possible route for the railway, a tunnel under the Darling Causeway to Hartley Vale
being envisaged. It is interesting to consider how the mountains might have developed had
this route been adopted.
The tunnel beneath Darling Causeway would have been two miles long, used ten million
bricks, taken two years to build and cost £800,000. The colony did not have enough
bricklayers. Other problems with the route included landslides, & the route was
Out of Site, Out of Mind
The group of Royal Engineers, under the command of Sergeant Quodling,
consisted of 10 surveyors and 49 labourers. Possibly, some of these were convicts.
Bureaucracy being what it is, HQ more or less forgot about the engineers. Their
lifestyle in the bush being much more enjoyable than in Sydney, they simply kept on
working, and supplies kept on being sent. They built a very fine track, with extensive
After more than 18 months, some auditor realised what was going on. They were recalled
to Sydney, and put to more useful work.
A botanist, Louisa Atkinson, used the track and wrote about it in "Ranges of the
Grose", part of her "A Voice from the Country" series published in the
Sydney Morning Herald in the early 1860's. Her party found many sections already washed
away by flood.