Blue Mountains, Australia, History

Info Blue Mountains History Plaza
Mitchell's Bridge, Victoria Pass
3 Sisters, Blue Mountains, Australia.
Convict built, in use today



Mitchell's Bridge was opened in 1832 as part of Victoria Pass, on the western escarpment. Hand-built by convict labour, it remains in use on the Great Western Highway to this day.

Cox's precipitous route down Mt York had been superseded by "Lawson's Long Alley" around 1823. Lieutenant William Lawson's route was marginally less steep, and the descent was shorter. Whilst the best route would have been north along Darling Causeway to a descent near Lithgow, the country did not offer the water and feed needed by horses.

Between 1912 and 1920, Berghoffer's Pass offered an alternative route, more suited to the limited pulling power of cars. It suffered from sharp curves and was abandoned as cars became more powerful. It is now a walking track.

The bridge is named after Major Thomas Mitchell, the Surveyor General of the day. Mitchell's Pass, on Lapstone Hill, also bears his name.

Mitchell's Bridge no doubt causes some headaches for the Roads and Traffic Authority. With its heritage status preventing any alterations, it now creates a bottleneck which will not easily be by-passed. Another good reason to send more freight by rail.

The first solar powered car to cross a continent conquered Victoria Pass near the end of its epic journey. Although there had been some concern about the sun-powered car's ability to tackle the hill, there were no problems on the day.

Western Escarpment Map

Mitchell's Bridge, Mt Victoria, Blue Mountains, Australia
Mitchell's Bridge
Photos courtesy Blue Mountains City Library.


Hartley Vale, Blue Mountains, Australia
Titled "Little Hartely Vale", this photo is believed to show the Western Rd, now Great Western Highway, with Victoria Pass ascending the mountain in the background. Photographer is believed to be Bernard Holttermann. The original is one of ten photographs in an album in Blue Mountains City Library's possession which was presented, by J.B.North (owner of the Katoomba Coal Mine), to Dr. J.R.M. Robertson, in 1881.


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