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A WALK IN HISTORY
David BensonFri, 13/03/2015 - 2:42pm
From 1826 to 1831 an area of salt marsh to the east of Karuah on Port Stephens was the scene of intense activity as in excess of one hundred convicts employed by the Australian Agricultural Company strove to turn it into viable farming land. The site was known as Number One Farm and the scheme was the brainchild of Robert Dawson the AA Company's first Chief Agent. It was a miserable failure.
Every day for around five years, convict labourers trudged back and forth along the three kilometres of road between Tahlee and Number One Farm where they dug and drained and broke rock. They built bridges and walls and drains and they cleared the land of trees. The road they trudged along became what is now known as The Old AACo Road from Tahlee to Karuah. In 1841, Phillip Parker King drew the road onto his map showing how it linked to the punt at Karuah and then the road to Raymond Terrace.
The road from Tahlee to Karuah was then in continuous use over a period of one hundred and thirty years when the bridge at Number One Creek was destroyed and the road became blocked. Many Karuah and Tahlee locals remember using the road daily up to this point.
Since the 1950's, the road has been largely unused until in 2010, Karuah Progress Association organised the First in Fifty Years Walk from Karuah to Tahlee.
The event wasn't advertised widely, but on the 7th November, 2010 more than 100 people walked the road with the help of Gordon Latimore, a local oyster farmer who ferried parties across Number One Creek in place of the bridge. Since then it's been held every year!
This year the event will be repeated on Sunday 19th April 2015. There will be a charge of $30 to cover the cost of a light lunch before leaving, the ferry crossing, the guided walk, devonshire tea, a guided tour at historic Tahlee House and the bus trip back to Karuah by the main road. The newly published Walk Booklet will be available for sale for $5.
The 5 kilometre walk starts at 11.30pm at Longworth Park, Karuah and the event will take roughly three hours. For more information, go to http://aacoroad.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0249975579.