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.

Newcastle is presently the largest coal exporting harbour in the world, exporting over 97 Mt of coal in 2009–10 with plans to expand annual capacity to 180 Mt by 2013.

The Anglican Cathedral in Newcastle is something special and makes up for some of the downtown disappointments. Be sure to take in the history.

The Catholic Church is also Cathedral like in dimensions. The Presbyterian is also an impressive and old iconic building.

The Newcastle War Memorials are modest acknowledgements given the size of the town.

There are only a few traditional down town pubs that have survived in the inner city precinct.

The Newcastle Museums are also  understated propositions. There not many old heritage buildings but there are some.

Allow up to a week to get the best out of this great city. Give careful consideration to basing the visit at Stockton; a five minute ferry trip to the heart of the city.

Heritage diary








Fireplace Dump Station
General Store Bottled Gas
Internet Caravan
Camping   4WD
Kitchen Facilities Disabled access
Laundry Toilets
Campervans Accommodation
Meals Airport
Pets Allowed Boat Ramp
Telephone Picnic Area
Roadside Rest Area Electricity
Scenic Swimming
Tap water   Thermal Area
Stream Water Walking tracks
Rotary Club Lions Club
Gymnasium Gardens
Winery Whitewater Rafting
Surfing   Skydiving
  Skiing Scenic Flights
Postal Service Police
Movie Location   Mountain Biking
Kayaking Jet Boating
Information Hospital
  Hang Gliding Golf Course