Bulli Pass

illawarra-the-bulli-pass-front

With the holidays well and truly upon us, many people will be thinking of heading away for a family trip, often to the beach. Yet for those heading to the South Coast, the view in the image above might be a little different to the one they see today as they descend Bulli Pass!

Bulli Pass was discovered in 1844, by Captain Westmacott, who had arrived in Australia in 1831 and taken up a grant in the Bulli area in 1836. He discovered the new route up the mountain above Bulli and gained support from both the local citizens and the government to build a road, then known as Westmacott’s Pass, along the route. Yet no vehicles used the road until 1868 because up until this time, it was little more than a track. The new road was shorter and safer than the old road to Bulli and soon became the main route to the Illawarra from the North. The road was sealed in 1926.

Safe is a comparative word though! Throughout the history of the pass there have been runaway coaches and cars, lorries and trucks. In modern times, many of these have been accompanied by the smell of burning brakes! There have also been horse fatalities along the road, including Wirth Brothers circus horses hit by lightning. Perhaps the most interesting incident occurred in 1896 though, when an enraged bull escaped and took over the pass. It charged six pedestrians who escaped into the prickly blackberry bushes along the side of the road, and then overturned their carriage before it could be caught!

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