When Liverpool was first settled, the main method of transport, other than walking and riding, was by boat along the Georges River. The first land grants in the area were made to settlers along the river at what is now Chipping Norton. Other settlers soon followed, Eber Bunker, Thomas Moore, Richard Guise and Charles Throsby all had land on the banks of the Georges River. Others, such as James Badgery, followed the tributaries of the Hawkesbury. Liverpool was founded on 7th November 1810 by Governor Macquarie who, with Captain Antill and Acting Surveyor James Meehan, rode across from Parramatta to the banks of the Georges River, opposite the home of Thomas Moore. After breakfast at the Moore's, the party rowed down the river to survey the site for the town which Governor Macquarie named Liverpool.
In the early days the river provided transport for timber and firewood, wool, wheat and farm produce. An article about land for sale in Liverpool (Sydney Herald 28th October 1833) describes Liverpool as being
Only 21 miles from Sydney, by land, and a fine navigable River for vessels of forty tons burthen, from the Harbour of Port Jackson to the township itself, affords an opportunity of introducing a steam vessel, from which the most profitable results may be fairly anticipated.
The Liverpool weir was built in 1836 by David Lennox and his 'iron gang' for £100. The weir gave Liverpool a water supply and acted as a river crossing for sixty years until 1894 when a fifteen-feet wide wooden bridge was built across the river. This was replaced in 1958 by the present bridge.
In the early days of settlement there were only bush tracks leading to the town but the governor saw the need for proper roads to be built. In 1813 William Roberts, an ex-convict, was contracted to build a road, 'from a point on the Parramatta Road' to Liverpool. The contract called for a road 'thirty-three feet wide with three rods of ground on either side felled'. Roberts also contracted to build 'all bridges necessary to be erected thereon...'. The new road was opened in 1814. Roberts also built 22 miles of road connecting Liverpool to the Cataract River by way of Airds (Campbelltown) and the road connecting Liverpool and Windsor. (N.S.W. Department of Main Roads, The Roadmakers: a history of main roads in New South Wales, p. 14) In order to help cover costs, turnpikes were erected for collecting tolls from travellers. As land was opened up beyond Liverpool, roads followed, with one through Mittagong Moss Vale and Sutton Forest to Towrang near Goulburn commenced in 1819.
The need for a sturdy bridge across Prospect Creek became obvious as the first bridge, built by William Roberts, was destroyed by flood and later replacements suffered a similar fate. In 1832, £1,083/5/3 was voted to build a stone bridge over Prospect Creek. David Lennox was appointed to be in charge of the project and the bridge was built by convicts. Stone for the bridge was quarried from a site opposite the shipbuilding yards near Williams Creek and brought to the site by barge.
A new era in transport came with the opening of the line from Granville on 1st September 1856 when 400 passengers travelled from Sydney on the 'iron horse'. The original line was only a single track. Liverpool had to wait another thirty years for a double track. However, dreams of Liverpool being an important staging post were short lived with the opening of the line to Goulburn in 1869.
A branch railway line to the military camp was constructed during World War I. It was built in 1917 by internees at the German Concentration Camp (GCC) at Holsworthy and linked the Ordnance Depot, Remount Depot and the Anzac Rifle Range, ending at the GCC. The pylons of the bridge, which still remain, now support a footbridge over the river.
In an interview Bill Kennedy recalled the last horse-taxi in Liverpool
'The last horse-taxi that I recall was that of Angelo Sbarini who lived in Atkinson Street Liverpool. He had a horse-taxi right up into the 30s and he used to have his horse parked just outside the station in Liverpool. The carriage was a two-wheel vehicle with a canopy over the top of it which could be folded back, depending on whether you wanted the sun or you didn't. On a nice day he folded it back, and if it happened to be raining, or it was too hot, well you'd bring the canopy over. The sulky would take three passengers who would climb up the two steps to get into it.'
Horses were used for many methods of transport, taking people and goods and for hauling timber. Buses were later used for transport in the area.
Air transport too features in the story of Liverpool. In the late 1920s the Royal Aero Club (then Australian Aero Club) bought land at Hargrave Park (now part of Warwick Farm) and many well-known pilots, such as Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm used to fly to this aerodrome. Locals would have the opportunity of taking joy rides with these people. The aerodrome was taken over during World War II and activities transferred to Camden.
It is uncertain when Hoxton Park Airport was opened. It appears to be of the same period as Camden and Schofields Aerodromes which were built during the Second World War. This is used mainly for light aircraft and for training purposes. Its future is still under a cloud.
Badgerys Creek was originally declared the site for Sydney's second airport in February 1986 and land was bought up for the proposed airport but very little progress has been made. A second EIS has been released showing three alternative layouts for the airport. A decision as to whether to go ahead is expected to be made in late 1998.
More information on transport in Liverpool may be found on the Liverpool City Library's website at www.liverpool.nsw.gov.au.