Monday, October 6, 2014

History of the Lions Road

Source: - (offline)

The Lions Road is an initiative of the Kyogle Lions Club. The Lions road forms a scenic link between Queensland and NSW, passing through the exquisite Border Ranges National Park, and skirting the historic Spiral Loop railway line (see below in photograph).

Since 1932, people of the Northern Rivers of NSW had been endeavouring to have the direct route to Brisbane via the Richmond Gap in the McPherson Range constructed. It is 30klm shorter than the Summerland Way - Mount Lindsay Highway route.

When it was finally rejected by the NSW Government in 1969, the Lions Club of Kyogle became involved in promoting the building of the road, as a community development project.

After two years on investigating options for the route, a decision was made in 1971 to build the road across the McPherson Range connecting with the existing Shire Roads on Gradys Creek in NSW and Running Creek in QLD. The Beaudesert Lions Club became partners in the project at this point.

The project captured the imagination of the local community which contributed massive support in money, man hours and equipment time plus companies such as Shell Oil Co. (fuel), Hume & Hardies (pipes), McPherson Timber Co. (timber) and Mel Hogan (timber & machinery). Lion Murphy Standfield donated his D8 Caterpillar tractor for 80 hours and supervised the actual construction of the road.

Finally the road was opened on 15th December, 1970. Contributions by travellers, Beaudesert and Kyogle Shires, the Queensland, New South Wales and Federal Governments, the NSW Forestry Commission, the 2/3 Field Eng.Rgt RAE and the XX Division Engineer Support Squadron of the Australian Army, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the NSW Dept of Agriculture, the Moreton Rabbit Board and the property owners both sides of the border have enabled the Lions club to steadily improve the road. In 1995 the last section of the road constructed by the Lions Club was sealed. In the second half on 1995 only 4km of gravel remained on the Shire Roads.

From Queensland turn left at Innes Plain, 24km south of Beaudesert on the Mount Lindsay Highway (around 5km south of Tamrookum).

From Kyogle turn right at Wilson Avenue, 19km from Kyogle (5km north of Wiangaree), or take the Lynches Creek (National Park) road at Wiangaree.

From Murwillumbah turn right at National Park sign (Barkers Vale). Good weather only, or travel via Kyogle and Wiangaree.

Lookout over Spiral Loop
Overlooks the unique Spiral Loop in the Railway. Trains can be seen to come up one valley pass through the mountain twice to cross the original track thereby gaining 20 metres in height. The purpose was to reduce the length of the tunnel under the main range. Views of Gradys Creek valley and surrounding ranges. Barbecues and toilets. Sorry we cannot print train times but timetables are being changed continuously. Mostly there is a goods train at 12.35pm NSW time. The XPT travels south mid morning. Goods trains run at irregular times throughout the day. If panning a trip for that day, train times are obtainable from Casino... Telephone (02) 6662 1316.

Gradys Creek Lower Road
Swimming hole, two splash crossings down and four up from NSW. Ideal picnic spot at crossings. Dressing sheds and toilets. Please take your rubbish with you.

Rainforest Walk
South of the border. An excellent walking track from the Spiral Loop Lookout area, with all different species of tress identified; a project by the Kyogle Lions Club. Vast areas of forest are accessed readily over Simes Road.

Ode to The Lions Road

On McPherson's Range at Richmond Gap, Near Lynch's Creek on the council map, A road has been built by Kyogle's Lions, That countrymen's spirit and courage defines.

The twists and turns of the tortured tracks, Have been straightened out by unstraightened backs, Officialdom said "It couldn't be done". But the people knew better and finally won.

This road through Wiangaree offers so much, With staghorns and elkhorns, too lovely to touch, The scene at The Loop is grand and unique, As is the wild country approaching the peak.

Strong people must always be ready to fight, When Governments deny them a basic right, Kyogle's great effort, it's people's concern, Provides an example for all who would learn.

When the future provides its paved link, I hope there'll be some who will stop and think, Of the boldness, faith and vision of men, Who built the Road by the glow worm's Glen.

- Harry Jensen AO
Ex-Lord Mayor, Sydney,
Previous NSW Minister for Local Government and Roads.

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