The night was pitch black when the white owl swooped low across the windscreen as the car drove over Razorback. The announcer of death they say of the owl but it is also said they herald good fortune.
Was this a message for the driver or did it portend yet another Razorback legend?
Whatever the message from the owl there is no doubting this stretch of road, once part of the Hume Highway, has seen its share of death, mystery, disaster and conflict.
Aptly named for its steep ascent and narrowness its story begins with harsh convict labour followed by explorers and settlers.
Tales followed of horrific murders, unexplained accidents and notorious bushrangers of the worst kind; of bullock wagons, horse drawn carriages and motor cars mysteriously going over the edge. Was the cause the ‘phantom’ road that appears causing drivers go in that direction or a ghostly aparition that frightened them? Many have heard the ghost of one bullocky hauntingly calling his team in the middle of the night.
Mysteries span the life of the road with horses suddenly being spooked, not stopping until they got to Picton, and cars being nudged as they travelled the road when no other car could be seen.
Many travellers over the mountain will remember the original Anthony Hordens’ oak tree. It mysteriously died when the store collapsed. Local legend tells how the landowner, no longer receiving payment for the use of its image, died of the same poison he used on the tree.
Then there was Ted ''Greendog'' Stevens, a semi-trailer owner-driver who became the face of a nine-day blockade, demanding the abolition of road taxes. Before the construction of the freeway he and other truckies blocked the Hume Highway in 1979. They were joined by more than 2000 other owner-drivers. A monument to their battle stands today on the side of the road.
But, does the mountain also have a healing power? D'harawal legend says if you stand on the mountain with your back to the wind your troubles will be blown away.