Maroota is located at a high point, about 200m above sea-level, on the ridge-following Great Northern Road (now renamed Old Northern Road). This was the main early road, constructed by convict gangs, from Sydney north to Singleton in the Hunter Valley.
Maroota is situated on, and owes its nature to, a residual mass of Tertiary river sand deposit (the Maroota Sand) which geologists think may be the oldest known remnant of the largest waterway in the Sydney region, the Nepean-Hawkesbury system.
The first attempt to settle Maroota, as a soldier-settlement, failed totally. Some of the soldiers leaving the Army during an across-the-Empire downsizing in the wake of the Napoleonic wars bought land (sight-unseen) at Maroota, hoping to begin new lives as farmers. However, all of them as soon as they visited their new purchases were shocked and disappointed with what they found. They protested to the government that such barren sandy soil could never support them and their families, asking for replacement land to be granted to them elsewhere. What these early men did not know was that at but a short depth below surface the Maroota Sand was rich in groundwater. Later on, the land proved quite good and profitable for a variety of farming and orchard growing applications, and for limited grazing, once its true values and potential were realised.
In recent years Maroota has undergone transformation, becoming a growing centre of sandmining. As Sydney's major sand and gravel quarrying centre, at Castlereagh just north of Penrith, nears the end of its life Maroota becomes increasingly important for supplying sand to many users in the Metropolis.
One place study, commenced in 2005, which seeks to draw together the history of Maroota, especially the natural history, is at http://maroota.sands.googlepages.com
The British garrison in Australia 1788-1841: military supervision of convict work gangs. Part 2: the great roads.
Jun 01, 2003; The Great North Road Although a settlement had been established at Newcastle by sea in 1810 and development had grown along the...