Emu Bay, a road to nowhere?

Emu Bay, a road to nowhere?

June 2016 | Wendy Laing

IN JUNE, 1827, Surveyor Henry Hellyer who worked for the Van Diemen’s Land Company commenced the cutting of Emu Bay Road. Its entry was close to the mouth of the Emu River (near Burnie).

It was intended to form the outlet to the coast from the company’s inland estates of Hampshire and Surrey Hills, and also a through road, via the Middlesex Plains and Gad’s Hill, to Deloraine and Launceston.

This ‘road’ in 1827 was the first inland thoroughfare opened along the North- West Coast.

The bridle road from Deloraine to Emu Bay was opened by Mr. N.L. Kentish Civil Engineer and Surveyor, on the 10th March 1845.

This bridle road extended across the plain and open forest between the Mersey and the Forth rivers and through the country between the River Mersey and Deloraine which consisted of open forest, requiring little cutting to show the route and little more was done than to mark it distinctly with strong pickets, driven firmly into the ground and painted at the top.

The Cornwall Chronicle of the 14th January, 1846 reported that a cart road from Deloraine to Emu Bay was to have been built and called the Great Western Road.

It had been hoped that the Probation Station gang would build this road and, in fact, work started at Deloraine.

However, the difficulty of penetrating and forming a road line meant that this idea was abandoned and the bridle road remained the only way to travel from Deloraine to Emu Bay.

On the 13th July, 1898, the Examiner newspaper stated that it was about time Emu Bay Road at Deloraine was changed to something more euphonic and appropriate, and an article on the 7th April, 1939 stated that it was a curious thing that the coast road from Deloraine should still be termed the ‘Emu Bay‘ Road.

If it had been termed the Latrobe road, or even the Devonport road, one would not consider it odd.