Figure 1: c1830 convict built Tahlee to Karuah Corduroy road (PSC), photograph Garry Smith
Whilst remains of corduroy roads in Australia have been found, they are almost exclusively 20th Century in origin. If archaeological research indicates that this corduroy road is of 19th Century origin, it would be of great importance. It is certainly possible that given the twice daily dunking in salt water and the nature of the soils that form the salt marsh in which the road sits, the road dates back to the 1830s.
The following articles give some insight into corduroy roads:
A section of old road dating back to the early 1920s has been uncovered by workmen on the Mardi to Mangrove Dam water pipeline
A SECTION of road dating back to the early 1920s has been uncovered by workmen on the Mardi to Mangrove Creek dam water pipeline.
Known as a ‘corduroy road’, it’s made of sections of hard wood that were laid in boggy or swampy patches of roadway from as far back as 4000 BC to as recently as the mid 1900s.
While the Central Coast had many corduroy roads, especially in the swampy areas of the valleys, finding a large intact section in such good condition is rare.
The section of road was discovered late last week when pipeline crews were excavating near Kidman’s Lane off Yarramalong Rd. Work stopped immediately as required by the project’s approval until the find could be properly assessed.
The section is 6m wide and 10m long.
Archaeologist Andy Roberts, of Umwelt Australia, and two workers from the Conacher Environmental Group excavated the section and took photographs and other measurements for archival records.
Long time residents said they remembered driving over the old section of road which ran parallel to Yarramalong Rd.
Construction on the pipeline is continuing with about 8km of the 21km pipeline now in the ground and steady progress on associated works at Mardi Dam, Wyong River and the fishway at Lower Wyong Weir.
According to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corduroy_road,
Excavation of a corduroy road from the 16th Century in Oranienburg
A corduroy road or log road is a type of road made by placing sand-covered logs perpendicular to the direction of the road over a low or swampy area. The result is an improvement over impassable mud or dirt roads, yet is a bumpy ride in the best of conditions and a hazard to horses due to loose logs that can roll and shift. This type of road was already constructed in Roman times. It is known to have been used as early as 4000 BC with examples found in Glastonbury, England. Compare the puncheon or plank road, which uses hewn boards instead of logs, resulting in a smoother and safer surface.
Roads can also be built as a foundation for other surfacing. If the logs are buried in wet, acidic, anaerobic soils such as peat or muskeg they decay very slowly. A few corduroy road foundations that date back to the early 20th century still exist in the United States