A sample of National Highway and National Route shields on Newell Highway near Tooraweenah, September 2004.

The National Route & National Highway system is described in much greater detail on the National System page for the entire country. This page focuses on the New South Wales routes which make up the National Route and National Highway system.

Presently, New South Wales has 23 routes that make up part of the National Route and National Highway system. As mentioned on the National System page, the only difference between National Routes and National Highways is the colouring of the shield. National Highways have a green/gold shield, while National Routes have the black and white shield. The reason for the different shields was to denote which routes were federally funded, however, now with the 'Auslink' program, these routes are not so clear cut anymore. It seems New South Wales will abandon the green/gold shields when they adopt their new alpha-numeric numbering system, unlike the other states which have converted so far. Personally, i think they are a great guidance tool, as the National Highways are links between only the capital cities, so if you follow the shields you know your on the major interstate highways. The shields are also even more distinctive now, with no other routes having shields as part of the alpha-numeric system.

New South Wales had the privilage of sharing with Victoria the first National Route, 31, which in 1954 was signposted along the Hume Hwy from Sydney to Melbourne. In the next year, 3 other routes were added, including National Route 1 from Brisbane to Adelaide. Over the subsequent years many routes have been added, and one decomissioned, National Route 13, to create the system of routes we have now. The Green and Gold shields of the National Highway system were introduced in 1974, originally with 4 routes. These were:

Route Numbers
Route Taken
Sydney - Brisbane

Sydney-Newcastle Freeway, Pacific Highway (Ourimbah - Swansea: interim alignment), New England Highway

Sydney - Melbourne
Hume Highway
Canberra Connectors
Federal Highway & Barton Highway

The National Highway shields also stopped on the edge of the Sydney Metroplitan Region, with the Syd-Melb link stopping at the Cross Roads, Casula and the Syd-Bris link stopping at the Pacific Hwy/F3 interchange at Wahroonga (not constructed until 1989 tho). In 1992 two more routes were added to the system; Sydney-Adelaide (Sturt Hwy) and Melbourne-Brisbane (Newell Hwy). In 1994, the decision was made by the Federal government to fill in the gaps through the capital cities, and the Sydney Urban Link was born. This consisted of the then 7 year old Cumberland Hwy and a section of the Hume Hwy from Liverpool to the Cross Roads. The National Highway scheme of federal funding was abolished in 2004, however the green and gold route shields which marked the National Highway routes have been retained and still form an important part of the route marking system in New South Wales.

List of active National Routes in New South Wales
Indexed in numerical order

Hume Highway

Last updated 13 December 2012
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