Newcastle is a place with lots of ‘old’ history and vibrant modern history that is underpinned with coal, coal mining and now the largest shipping coal port in the world and growing. Hunter Street, made famous by pop songs and being a mile long Main Street is in need of reformation.
In September 1797 Lieutenant John Shortland became the first European to explore the area. His discovery of the area was largely accidental; as he had been sent in search of a number of convicts who had seized a ship
While returning, Lt. Shortland entered what he later described as "a very fine river", which he named after New South Wales' Governor, John Hunter. He returned with reports of the deep-water port and the area's abundant coal. Over the next two years, coal mined from the area was the NSW colony's first export.
In 1801, a convict camp called King's Town (named after Governor King) was established to mine coal and cut timber. A settlement was again attempted in 1804, as a place of secondary punishment for unruly convicts. The settlement was named Coal River, also Kingstown and then re-named Newcastle, after England.
Newcastle gained a reputation as a "hellhole" as it was a place where the most dangerous convicts were sent to dig in the coal mines as harsh punishment for their crimes.
In 1911, BHP chose the city as the site for its steelworks due to the abundance of coal. BHP brought rapid growth and a level of prosperity to the region.