The Old Hume Highway

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Prior to 1928 the Hume Highway was known as the Great Southern Road, Argyle Road and also as Port Phillip Road and Sydney Road in the southern areas of NSW. In 1928 the NSW Main Roads Board adopted the principle of giving each important State Highway the same name throughout its length. After consultation with the Country Roads Board of Victoria (which had previously used the name North Eastern Highway for the route), it renamed the inland road from Sydney to Melbourne as the Hume Highway.

The name was a tribute to Hamilton Hume who, together with William Hilton Hovell, in 1824 led the first exploration party overland for Port Phillip in Victoria, and much of the present highway route is along the path followed by Hume. Hamilton Hume was born near Parramatta on 19 June 1797, his parents having been amongst the earliest settlers in the Colony. In his early days he was hardy and athletic, and grew up with Aboriginal friends from whom he learned his indispensable bushcraft skills. In addition to his exploration between Sydney and Port Phillip, he is also associated with other noteworthy explorations, particularly in the western portion of NSW with Charles Sturt in 1828. He died on 19 April 1873 at his home, Cooma Cottage, near Yass. He is buried alongside his wife Elizabeth in the Anglican section of Yass Cemetery. His exploration partner William Hilton Hovell died on 9 November 1875 aged 90 and is buried in St Saviour's cemetery in Goulburn.

For more details on the history of the highway and the towns that it passed through click here.

A copy of the book 'The Old Hume Highway - History Begins with a Road' is available to be downloaded here(PDF, 12MB).