Lake Macquarie History

Pacific Highway

In 1920, Lake Macquarie Shire Council commenced work in Charlestown in what was to become the Pacific Highway.

Reverend Lancelot Edward Threlkeld established his mission in Belmont in 1825. In 1826, the Great North Road was commenced from Sydney; this was a forerunner to the Pacific Highway. Unfortunately, it was never intended to go to Newcastle and south of Lake Macquarie it turned west to the Hunter Valley. However, Threlkeld saw the need for a supply road to Newcastle and wrote that his mission was approximately 16 miles from there. Due in part to Threlkeld's insistence, the road linking Lake Macquarie and Newcastle was built and crossed through several present day suburbs including Kahibah and Merewether. Threlkeld's mission road then allowed greater access to the eastern side of the lake. In 1831, Threlkeld left Belmont for Toronto.Surveyor General Sir Thomas Mitchell's map of 1834 clearly defines the road made by Threlkeld linking his mission to Newcastle.

In 1842, a mining settlement came into being at Cooks Hill called Lake Macquarie Road postal village. Lake Macquarie Road, so named in the early days, was the only road or track leading to Lake Macquarie. It seems that Threlkeld's road had become Lake Macquarie Road due to its destination from Newcastle. A section of Lake Macquarie Road at Cooks Hill was later named Darby Street. In 1843, the Borough of Newcastle was formed and later incorporated in 1859. One of the original Councillors was Lancelot Edward Threlkeld. In 1850, Surveyor Charlton was instructed to survey the road that had been cut by Threlkeld.

The government in 1883 spent 1000 pounds in formation of the road. The Main Roads Board was constituted in 1925 and work commenced shortly after on the highway. The first tar-sealed road in Lake Macquarie Shire was in Charlestown in 1925-26. The concrete section of highway built through Belmont is nine inches (230mm) thick. The section of the highway from Newcastle to Gosford was completed in 1931 and the name Pacific Highway was assigned.

The Pacific Highway surveyors, with modifications to the route, would have followed Lake Macquarie Road. On a Lake Macquarie Shire Council map of 1955, the section of the Highway from Newcastle to Kahibah is at this time, still named Lake Macquarie Road. The Pacific Highway is State Highway 10.

While it is not known if pioneering highway surveyors Capt. Parry or John Howe ever worked in this region they are remembered in Lake Macquarie at Glendale with streets named after them. In this region, Threlkeld's mission road, Lake Macquarie Road and the present Pacific Highway, may seem as being by location and purpose, all part of the evolution of this historical section of road. (Source: N.M Clout, B.W Champion, W.J. Goold, and the Dept. of Main Roads).