Threlkeld's Pioneer Road
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, and it actually turned west to the Hunter Valley. However, Threlkeld saw the need for a road to Newcastle for supplies and set about having this done.
Threlkeld's mission was approximately 16 miles from Newcastle and this road was constructed through several present day suburbs as well as passing through Kahibah and Merewether on its way to Newcastle. There is no doubt that this road would have been in use as soon as possible as it gave ready access to the eastern side of the lake. Threlkeld left Belmont in 1831 for Toronto. On the Surveyor General Sir Thomas Mitchell's map of 1834, the line of road made by Threlkeld from the mission to Newcastle is clearly marked.
In 1842, a mining settlement came into being at Cooks Hill called "Lake Macquarie Road Postal Village." This Lake Macquarie Road so named in the early days was the only road or track leading to Lake Macquarie so it appears that over the years Threlkeld's Road had become Lake Macquarie Road because of its destination from Newcastle. A section of Lake Macquarie Road at Cooks Hill later renamed Darby Street. In 1843 the first Newcastle District Council was formed and one of the Councillors was a Mr Lancelot Edward Threlkeld, if not the Reverend, it was his son. In 1850, Surveyor Charlton was instructed to survey the road that had been cut by Threlkeld. By 1883, the Government had spent a total of 1000 pounds on the formation of this road.
It is an interesting fact that the concrete section of the highway through Belmont is 9 inches thick. The section of the Pacific Highway from Newcastle to Gosford was completed in 1931. In our region, Threlkeld's Mission Road, Lake Macquarie Road and the present day Pacific Highway, may seem as being by location and purpose, all part of the evolution of this historical section of road. (Source: "Dept of Main Road, WJ Gould, BW Champion, and NM Clout).
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