The Great North Walk was developed from Gary McDougall's and Leigh Shearer Heriot's proposal for a 'Sydney to Hunter Track', consisting of about 300km of walking tracks, submitted to the Australian Bicentennial Authority in 1988. Funding was received for development of the track and the Department of Lands accepted responsibility for the project.
In the Hornsby area the track incorporated the existing Benowie Track which had been mostly constructed with voluntary labour from organisations as diverse as the Scouts, Rotary, Hornsby Conservation Society and the Department of Corrective Services.
A small annual operating grant is made available from the Public Reserves Management Fund for maintenance of the Great North Walk. The Department of Lands maintains overall responsibility for the Walk while other stakeholders including State and local government organisations continue to have a role in managing and maintaining parts of the walk through cooperative arrangements.
Full details of the Great North Walk are given in the Department of Land's 'The Great North Walk -Discovery Kit' brochures and McDougall's and Shearer Heriot's book The Great North Walk.