Surviving the Great North Road
5.0 The Greatest Survival - The Great North Road
This article outlines the survival of the Great North Road. This covers physical evidence such as bridges and sections of road. The reasons for the roads survival are outlined, which range from abandonment, protection, and renewed necessity for the road with the introduction of motor cars. The article provides an understanding of how the Great North Road has stood the test of time.
This article focuses on stockade sites associated with the Great North Road. The selection of such sites was based on factors such as availability of water, fresh air, grass for bullocks, and ease of waste disposal. It includes firsthand accounts that describe life in a stockade and what it would have looked like.
5.02 The Smells
The smells that would have been associated with daily life when the Great North Road was built are outlined in this article. Descriptions of clothing, washing and bathing habits are outlined. Hygiene standards were much lower than modern day and products such as deodorant, toothpaste and toilet paper were not available.
5.03 How healthy were the convicts?
In 1830 the NSW colony reported back surveys to the Royal College of Physicians in London, indicating that for the majority of the population, NSW was a healthy place to live. While fevers and influenza were not common, outbreaks of disease did occur, and poor hygiene practices aided the spread. This article explains some of these examples, as well as describing some of the primitive medical practices employed.
5.04 Native Foods Along the Great North Road
This article proposes some of the native plants that Europeans may have used for food and drink. The native Sarsaparilla was known to convicts as Sweet Tea, and native figs were likely picked and eaten by the convicts. Written accounts accompany these suggestions and further examples are provided.
5.05 Flour for the Convicts from the Mills on the Hawkesbury
This article is about the three watermills on the Hawkesbury River that supplied flour to the Government store, which supported the convicts and free settlers of the colony. The article includes images.
5.06 Survival on the Great North Road
This article examines the basic elements of survival on the Great North Road. These include water, food and shelter, which are each explored in their own section. This lengthy article includes several photos and artworks.
5.07 James Delany per Brampton 1823
This article briefly outlines the life of James Delaney from his sentencing in 1822 in Ireland, through his assignments in NSW, time in the Asylum for the Insane, and to his death at age 88. It provides an example of the life of a convict who was transported to NSW for his crimes.
5.08 Mental Health of the Road Gangs
Mental health was not a consideration for those on the Road Gangs. Those who appeared abnormal were sent to Lunatic Asylums, while other mental health issues went unreported. Practices such as flogging and leg irons would have been distressing, as well as peculiar animal noises heard in the night. The new landscape of thick bush, heat and overcrowded huts would have greatly contrasted to England and Ireland. However, the routine in the lives of the convicts may have proved beneficial to the mental health of some. This article further explores the pro’s and con’s of convict life on mental health.