A Better Route
Mitchell's Pass was the third road to be built up the eastern
escarpment of the Blue Mountains. Major Thomas Mitchell surveyed & recommended
the construction of a road along this route, in preference to the
governor's suggestion of stationing a permanent repair gang on the
existing Lapstone Zig Zag Road (now Old Bathurst Road).
Mitchell believed in building things
to last, & was determined to have a stone bridge, rather than the
variety so far constructed in the colony. To Mitchell, well designed
bridges were one sign of a civilised society. They were ".....the
most indispensable of public works. Such works constitute the capital
of a nation - no country is thought anything of that does not possess
Unfortunately, no suitably skilled & experienced people were
thought to be in Australia at the time.
In a classic piece of good timing, one David Lennox arrived in
Sydney, having decided to emigrate after the death of his wife. A
master stone mason of twenty years experience, including several bridge
projects in England, Lennox was discovered by Mitchell building a wall
outside the Legislative Council Chambers in Sydney. Both men knew an opportunity when they saw it,
& Lennox ".....left his stone wall & with his shirt
sleeves still tucked up - trowel in hand - undertook to plan stone
bridges for this colony".
Lennox's job required him to "furnish the designs, construct
the centering, & direct the application of convict labour to stone
cutting & setting, & to all the branches of carpentry &
masonry necessary for the construction of a bridge". He was assigned a team of
convict workmen, with whom he is
said to have established a good relationship.
In July 1833, Governor Bourke rode up the new pass to the Pilgrim
Inn. The bridge continued to be part of the main route to the west
until 1926, when the highway was re-routed across Knapsack