Newcastle, formerly known as King’s Town, is a free port in the County of Northumberland. It is situated about eighty miles from Sydney, at the mouth of the Hunter, which, rising in the Liverpool Range, passes through a fertile and extensive tract of country, and receiving, below the thriving inland town of Maitland, two other navigable rivers – the Williams, and the Patterson – here, at length, flows into the Pacific.
Newcastle is the seat of a bishopric, and is thus entitled to the appellation of “a city,” although as yet one of the smallest in the British Dominions, – its population being probably not more than sixteen or seventeen hundred souls. Its chief importance is undoubtedly derived from large adjacent coal fields, which form the chief supply of that species of fuel to the colony, and which will doubtless materially contribute to its advance in wealth and consideration.
To the left of our engraving, in the extreme distance, will be perceived the mountains in the vicinity of Port Stephens, while in the centre, Nobby’s – a rocky island, of peculiar shape – is seen projecting boldly into the sea, and forming a convenient shelter to the entrance of the bay. At Coal Head, on the southern point (to the right), stands the light house, where the pilots are stationed to go off to vessels as they arrive; the building, surrounded by a wall, on the opposite headland, is used for the confinement of convicts. The City of Newcastle, conjointly with East and West maitland, returns to the Legislative Council )under the denomination of the Northumberland Boroughs), one member.
Gionni Di Gravio
University Archivist & Chair, Hunter Living Histories