The Macquarie Pier Commemorative Plaque was unveiled by Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Governor of New South Wales at a ceremony at the Nobbys Surf Life Saving Club on the 4 August 2010 at 4 pm.
The occasion was kindly sponsored and organised by the Fort Scratchley Historical Society, The Newcastle Port Corporation, The University of Newcastle’s Coal River Working Party and the City of Newcastle.
Governor Lachlan Macquarie laid the foundation stone for the Newcastle breakwater, named in his honour by Commandant Captain James Wallis as “Macquarie Pier” on the 5th August 1818 at 4 pm.
Where exactly the foundation stone was laid is not known, many believe it was lost, but a map by the A.A. Company surveyor John Armstrong, drawn in 1830, indicates the point of commencement of the stonework with annotations on both sides of the Pier reading on the left “The stonework begins here on this side” and further along the Pier towards the present Nobbys surfhouse sheds “The stone work begins here on this side”. This plan is the key to possibly identifying the stone’s present location.
The Coal River Working Party has assembled an archaeological ‘Time Team’ team with the professional expertise drawn across Government, Business and community to re-discover the Macquarie Pier Foundation Stone.
To mark the spot a commemorative plaque cast in manganese bronze was commissioned with the financial assistance of the Institution of Surveyors (Hunter Manning Group) and Emeritus Professor John Fryer. This plaque is to be inlaid into the path adjacent to the spot that marks the start of the stonework.
This ceremony blessed the forthcoming archaeological works and honoured the Macquarie Pier as a land bridge safe guarding our Port, and connecting land and all peoples across time.
Following the unveiling Her Excellency then opened the Quest for Macquarie Pier exhibition at Fort Scratchley, and her husband, Sir Nicholas Shehadie AC OBE launched the search light and fired the guns in honour of Governor Macquarie, Governor Sir Roden Cutler and Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir.