Razor-back Road

6 June 1832 The Sydney Monitor 


In reference to your remarks on the public roads of this Colony in your Journal of this evening, and particularly those respecting the new Razor-back Road, I beg to apprise you, that I have learnt that Mr. McArthur, exclusive of his former disinterested offer of a piece of land for the erection of a Roman Catholic place of worship (of which you are doubtless already aware), has made a gratuitous tender to the local government of a piece of land on his estate of Camden to be laid down as a Township.

I also learn, that our excellent and popular Under Secretary of State, Mr. Harrington (no doubt with equal disinterestedness), made a similar offer, from a consideration that the spot originally laid down for a Township (Narrellan*) was ineligible through the want of a proper supply of water; but in this act of munificence it should appear Mr. H. "reckoned without his host," for the estate on which he then resided, and now occupied by Mr. Horden J.P. being the property of Captain Irving, it was necessary for Mr. H. to procure his consent, of the result I am ignorant. 

I beg to observe, that when treating on the subject of the Campbell Town Road, it may not be amiss to notice, that the same, for the distance of twelve miles in the direction of Douglass Hill, has not a single hill, but may be considered level; which simple fact cannot fail to expose, or assist in exposing, the absurdity and impolicy of forming the Pyrenean route now in progress over Razor-back. 

I hope you will bear in mind what I mentioned as to the old road running through the most fertile part of Mr. McArthur's Camden Estate, which, by the bye, has the most parklike appearance of any I have yet seen in the Colony; and you will also please to recollect the apprehensions I suggested as to the probability of the parties interested in this affair, obtaining, through Council influence, the power of intercepting as much as possible, free communication in this direction with the interior, save by the road over the Camden Alps, to wit, Razor back mountain; which, if ever rendered passable for teams, will sooner or later be followed up by an attempt to stop up the old route by Menangle, and thereby make the new Alpine road the main outlet to the South. 

It is to be hoped, that the Government, as well as the public, will view in a proper light the motives by which the secret promoters of this extravagant, illiberial, and selfish project are actuated - extravagant, as causing a profligate expenditure of the public money in an undertaking which will finally merit the fate of the notorious Hunter's river road; illiberal as indicating a desire to exclude their neighbours from benefits, to which, by their local position, they are entitled; and selfish, as the grand and ultimate object seems evidently to be the enhancement of those vast tracts of Land, held by wealthy and influential individuals in that quarter; and for the promotion of which insidious object, no project, however absurd and expensive, wherein the Government must bear the responsibility, and the public the pressure, will be left untried. 

That a grand scheme has for some time been in contemplation for the erection of a Township on the bank of the Cowpastures, opposite Camden cottage, to which that struggling and enterprising Hamlet Campbell-town (although its local situation pleads strongly for it) is to be sacrificed by the removal of its Courts of Session, Requests, and Police, Gaol, Post Office &c. &i. is beyond a doubt; nor do the parties view with less apathy the additional sacrifice of the sums which the erection and formation of these establishments have and will cost the public.

For the present possession of these establishments, Campbell-town is indebted to her central situation, not to favour or intrigue. 

It is not unworthy of remark that, for the last 7 or 8 years, no gangs were stationed for any time worth notice on the Campbell-town road; whereas for the same period the Cowpasture road was seldom without two, and sometimes three, within a distance of four or five miles of each other!

A small bridge party of ten or a dozen men, may have visited us at wide intervals, but the stationary services of an efficient party of road makers and repairers, has been quite out of the question. 

I forget whether I mentioned to you that the first appearance of the Razor-back affair, was that of a gang of men forming a Bridle road as a pretence or feeler, at which they continued for about six months; when, by some hocus pocus, a wonderful augmentation of hands took place, and a coach road was commenced! 

I remain,

Sir, Your's very truly, 

A Thorn In The Flesh.  

*Situate on the side of the road adjoining the Estates of, Messrs. Hovell, Howe. Dixon, and Cogbhill.