Portal:Australian roads

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The Australian roads portal


Australia's National Highway
Australia's National Highway

Highways in Australia are generally high capacity roads managed by state and territory government agencies, though Australia's federal government contributes funding for important links between capital cities and major regional centres. Prior to European settlement, the earliest needs for trade and travel were met by narrow bush tracks, used by tribes of Indigenous Australians. The formal construction of roads began in 1788, after the founding of the colony of New South Wales, and a network of three major roads across the colony emerged by the 1820s. Similar road networks were established in the other colonies of Australia. Road construction programs in the early 19th century were generally underfunded, as they were dependent on government budgets, loans, and tolls; while there was a huge increase in road usage, due to the Australian gold rushes. Local government authorities, often known as Road Boards, were therefore established to be primarily responsible for funding and undertaking road construction and maintenance. The early 1900s saw both the increasingly widespread use of motorised transportation, and the creation of state road authorities in each state, between 1913 and 1926. These authorities managed each state's road network, with the main arterial roads controlled and maintained by the state, and other roads remaining the responsibility of local governments. The federal government became involved in road funding in the 1920s, distributing funding to the states. The depression of the 1930s slowed the funding and development of the major road network until the onset on World War II. Supply roads leading to the north of the country were considered vital, resulting in the construction of Barkly, Stuart, and Eyre Highways.

The decades following the war saw substantial improvements to the network, with freeways established in cities, many major highways sealed, development of roads in northern Queensland and Western Australia under the Beef Cattle Roads Grants Acts, and interstate routes between Sydney and Melbourne upgraded. In 1974, the federal government assumed responsibility for funding the nations most important road links, between state and territory capitals cities, which were declared National Highways. Some sections of the 16,000-kilometre-long (9,900 mi) National Highway system were no more than dirt tracks, while others were four lane dual carriageways. The network was gradually improved, and by 1989, all gravel road sections had been sealed. In the following decades, the National Highway system was amended through legislation, and was eventually superseded in 2005 by the broader National Land Transport Network, which included connections to major commercial centres, and intermodal freight transport facilities. Read more...

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View of Sydney and the Sydney Opera House from Jeffrey Street at dusk

Jeffrey Street or Jeffreys Street is a street located in Kirribilli, famous for being one of the most popular vantage points for views of the city skyline of Sydney, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. The street is located on the Lower North Shore of Sydney Harbour, directly across the harbour from Circular Quay and is a popular destination for tourists, particularly on Australia Day and New Year's Eve. The street leads uphill from the harbour in a northerly direction to the small shopping village of Kirribilli. The vicinity of Jeffrey Street is reported to be the site of the first European settlement on the lower North Shore of Sydney Harbour. This happened about 10 years after the colonisation of Australia at Sydney Cove in 1788. For many years the area was called the North Shore and the original land grant changed hands a number of times. Over the past 200 years the area has also been called Huntershill, St Leonards, North Sydney, "Kiarabilli", Milsons Point and "Kirribilli Point". The modern spelling Kirribilli was first used in 1853 and the use of Kirribilli as a locality is more recent.

There are 19 listed heritage properties along the street, one of the highest concentrations of listed heritage properties in Australia. All but one of the original structures on the east side of the street have been demolished, only "Wyalla" remains. But the west side of Jeffrey Street is notable because it contains a row of 17 terrace houses that have remained virtually unchanged for over 100 years. This is the longest row remaining on Sydney's North Shore and the second longest row in Australia. Most of the other terrace houses in the area were demolished in order to construct the approaches to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Read more...

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Eastern Freeway Belford St.jpg
Melbourne's Eastern Freeway at sunset

Did you know...

  • ... that the Canberra road Yarra Glen does not have one of the usual roadway suffixes because the name sounds better without them?
  • ... that part of High Street in Fremantle, Western Australia, was closed in the 1960s in order to reinstate Kings Square as a town square?
  • ... the decision to only use electronic toll collection for Melbourne's CityLink was made in 1992, at a time when there was little practical experience of such systems?



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