(Click on a map to enlarge it)
One of the great insights into the Old AACo Road from Karuah to Tahlee is provided by Phillip Parker King’s lovely map of Port Stephens. It shows the old road in detail as well as the foreshore, Karuah River, Yalimbah Creek and lots of other detail.
Phillip Parker King was a renowned hydrographer and map maker, having gathered a great deal of experience as a ship’s captain. His maps of the coast of Australia are of very high quality. His most famous voyage was probably when he captained the Adventurer, the ship that accompanied the Beagle on Charles Darwin’s famous voyage.
So, when P. P. King was appointed head of the Australian Agricultural Company, it was hardly surprising that some of his old shipmates should visit Tahlee at his invitation. Charles Darwin and his artist colleague Conrad Martens were both visitors at Tahlee. (One of Marten’s paintings of Tahlee sold at Christie’s Auction House recently for thirty five thousand pounds!)
This 1845 map reveals the fact that the orginal AACo Road crossed Yalimbah Creek (a bridge was there in 1845) and then wound its way around the back of the hill on the Tahlee side. Nowadays, it takes a short cut beside the creek courtesy some extensive stone work. The rest of the road though, follows the same route that it does today.
Phillip Parker King was associatd with the first voyage of the Beagle not the second voyage of the Beagle when Charles Darwin was onboard. Also Charles Darwin never visited Parker King at Tahlee.
In 1851 when Darwin landed at Sydney Parker King had left Tahlee and entertained Darwin at his property Dunheved west of Parramatta.
I have documentary evidence to correct both of these statements in your web site.
I would be happy to send you more details should you wish
I am curently unertaking a historical search on Parker King’s tim at Tahlee.
Thanks a heap Ron, I was mystified about the fact that I couldn’t find Darwin’s own reference to Tahlee. Now, Captain Stokes who shot himself while captain of The Beagle was in fact on the first voyage … is that the story?
I’m stumbling along with my own investigation of the Old AACo Road as you’ll see. I’d really appreciate it if you could run your eye over the talk I gave to Tea Gardens Historical Society last Wednesday and give me some feedback.