The Devil’s Nest road

The Devil’s Nest road

The Devil’s Nest – The Great South Road, circa 1863.

An all-weather road was an essential prerequisite for an invasion of the Waikato basin. Overland access to the Waikato River from Auckland was severely restricted by densely wooded hills. Even the outlying settlements of Papakura and Drury were served by ‘roads’ that were little more than dry-weather dirt tracks. Construction of the Great South Road began in January 1862. Every available soldier was deployed to clear the forest and form the road. Each regiment was responsible for a section of the road, with bonuses offered for each cubic yard of scoria (hard volcanic rock) moved. On average 1700 men worked on the road each day.

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