As Villagers, we always find it interesting to learn about the history and stories that lie in our beautiful cities past.
In 1797 New South Wales’ second European settlement was established on the Coal River, about 100 kilometers north of Sydney Town by sea.
Escaped convicts had discovered coal there in the coastal cliffs. When Lt. John Shortland re-captured the convicts he reported the presence of coal to Governor King.
Coal River was basically a gaol for troublemaker convicts. The aim was for coal and cedar to be sent to Sydney Town for the use of settlers there.
Unfortunately, the settlement failed, and it was 7 years later, in 1804, that a better planned endeavour was begun, again gathering coal and cedar.
The name Kingstown was given to the town.
Later named Newcastle, Kingstown became the first industrial town in New South Wales, with a timber yard and several mines manned by convicts.
At the mouth of the harbour was an island, named Nobbys by Captain Cook in 1770. In order to protect the harbour a break wall was built using rock removed from the top of this island. The wall was called Macquarie Pier and connected the re-shaped island to the mainland. The area towards the pier was sandhills in those days, as was most of the land adjacent to the coast.
The river was later re-named the Hunter River, with the harbour at its mouth destined to become the greatest coal export harbour in the world.
Uninviting back then, Newcastle East south to Merewether has now become the most highly desired areas to reside and playground of fun and vibrant lifestyle.