Friday, 19 December 2014

First traffic lights in the Hawkesbury

Do you when the first traffic lights appeared in the Hawkesbury and where? 

These days we take traffic lights for granted as they appear on most major roads. A bit of background on traffic lights - the first set of traffic lights appeared in NSW in Sydney in 1933, on the corner of Kent and Market Streets but it wasn't until 1937 more lights appeared. In 1959 the then Department of Motor Transport actually established the first linked set of traffic lights in Australia along the Parramatta Road. 

It wasn't until the 1960s that traffic lights became more widespread throughout the greater Sydney Metropolitan area and rural centres in NSW. The first set located outside the Sydney metropolitan area and the districts of Newcastle and Wollongong was in Tamworth in 1966.

The image shows Mr Deane with 2 officers of Department of Motor Transport.
Windsor & Richmond Gazette 21/2/1968 

The first set of lights in the Hawkesbury was officially switched on in Windsor on the 19 February 1968, according to the local newspaper.[1] These were situated at the busy intersection of George Street and Richmond Road near McQuade Park which was (and still is) well-known for car accidents. They were a ‘vehicle actuated system’ which meant they were adjusted to the traffic flow. The lights were turned on by the local politician Mr Bernie Deane who gave a short speech to the small crowd. Deane was the local member for Hawkesbury between 1950 and 1971. He was was sure that the lights would assist the pedestrians particularly the young and the elderly trying to make their way across the busy intersection. He also thought the lights would be very useful if the local swimming pool went ahead in McQuade Park. Although there were plans for the pool in the park, it was eventually constructed in Church Street, South Windsor. 

Mr Deane also stated in his speech that the installation of the lights in Windsor was "yet another indication of the progress being made in this district."

For more information about traffic signals in NSW see Paul Rand's website.

[1] Windsor & Richmond Gazette 21 February 1968 p. 1

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