Geological History of Hunter Region
See this 1960 vintage film Valley of the Hunter (1960) for an overview of the formation of the Hunter River Valley across millions of years.
See also: Kerr, Roslyn. Nobbys Tuff – The Rocks of Nobbys Head. [DRAFT] by Roslyn Kerr BSc, MSc, DipEd Geologist.
Aboriginal Dreaming Stories Newcastle (Mulubinba)
Lycett, Joseph (ca.1775 – 1828). Aborigines Resting by a Camp Fire near the Mouth of the Hunter River, Newcastle, NSW. (National Library of Australia). Original Scan Complete Scans from Drawings of the natives & scenery of Van Diemens Land, 1830
For more on local Aboriginal Dreaming see our Coal River link here or the Virtual Source for Aboriginal Studies in the Hunter Region
The following story of the Kangaroo within Nobbys was recorded by the Rev L.E. Threlkeld in the Christian Herald, 17th February 1855, Vol.III, p.5-6. [Published in Australian Reminiscences & Papers of L.E.Threlkeld, Missionary to the Aborigines, 1824-1859. 2 vols, ed. Niel Gunson. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, 1974:65]:
At the entrance of Newcastle there is a small high island, called by the English Nobby’s Island. The blacks have a tradition that it is the abode of an immensely large Kangaroo which resides within the centre of the high rock, that occasionally he shakes himself which causes the Island to tremble and large pieces to fall down, as any one can perceive has been, and still continues to be the case, on the eastern side of the Island. It is evident on the slightest inspection, that at some early period the Island formed part of the main land, the strata correspond with the similar ones of coal, sand, and other stone to those on the opposite shore, nothing but a general convulsion of nature could have affected such a change. Manual labour is now employed to fill up the space betwixt the Island and the main land so as to form a breakwater for the protection of the harbour at Newcastle, and a great part of the top of Nobby’s Island has been taken down without reaching the monster kangaroo said to dwell within the rock!
Additional information relating to this story can be found in the Percy Haslam Papers held in the University of Newcastle Archives A5410(i) leaves 7-8:
The story of the Giant Kangaroo is essentially a part of the Newcastle tribal scene that Threlkeld failed to record. The Awabakal clan of Muloobinba (Newcastle) mainly lived around Merewether and the city foreshore area and harbour entrance. The clan had good hunting and fishing facilities, and was the reasonably close to the clans of Lake Macquarie and the Hunter River and others located in what we now deem to be old waterfront areas – Honeysuckle (site of corroborees), Wickham, Carrington and Port Waratah, popular for mud crabs and shellfish, as indicated by the large middens that have survived.
So there was this giant kangaroo, selfish and lustful, who, putting desire before code of behaviour, attacked a female wallaby. Such an act conflicted with the laws governing kinship pattern of survival based on the purity of blood lines. It destroyed the totemic structure, so strongly emphasised in the Bora teaching.
After the deed became known, flocks of wallabies gave chase to the perpetrator, who fled over the hills and through the bush, heading for Newcastle. Though he kept ahead by superior leaping he knew that capture and death were inevitable because the sea offered no escape. But as he neared the sea a mist intervened and he was lost to the sight of his pursuers. He took advantage of this respite by swimming to Nobbys Island, which he entered and shut himself away from sight.
The wallabies gave up the chase believing the sea had claimed the kangaroo. But, according to tradition, the kangaroo was never certain of his safety. Now and then he would jump up and down his island and cause the cliff to tremble and break away as a warning to any wallabies and other animals not to come too close to his island refuge.
The following story of the Awabakal use of coal was published as part of the Aboriginal Hunter Supplement to the Newcastle Herald Tuesday, May 11 1993:4 Text by Greg Ray:
How Coal Was Made
The Awabakal are believed to be the only Aboriginal Tribe to discuss coal in their legends. They appear to have been aware of its combustibility and are thought to have used lumps of it in their fires. According to the Rev Threlkeld, the name for the Lake Macquarie district was Nikkin-bah, or place of coal. Their legend describes what sounds like a volcanic eruption, centred on Redhead, where an ancient volcanic plug is known to exist. The name of the volcanic plug is Kintiirabin.
A very long time ago, when the earth and sea were different from today, a great darkness fell on the land. This darkness, which seemed to come from a hole in a mountain and block out the sun, was so deep and sudden that the people were very frightened. Even birds and insects fell silent. Messengers were sent in all directions, bringing all people together to decide how light could be brought back to the world. The wise men of the tribes decided that the only way to bring the world back to normality was to cover up the darkness that was scattered deeply on the ground. Men, women and children dug up rocks and sand and broke down foliage from trees and bushes to cover up the thick darkness. People from miles around came together to stop the darkness breaking through the surface of the earth. The people feared that the ever-burning fires deep in the ground would release the darkness again. After the darkness was covered over, generations passed in which people walked on the ground, pressing the darkness and the flames together under the earth to become nikkin, or coal. Now, whenever coal is burned, the spirit of the ancient earth fire is again released.
European Migrations 1770 onwards
The following Colonial Secretary’s correspondence relating to early coal mining in Newcastle [Transcribed by Mr Errol Bannister and Digitised by Gionni Di Gravio] Newspaper Articles [Digitised and Transcribed by Nicholas Ellem and Gionni Di Gravio] Other references from “The history of early Newcastle, 1800-1870; documents and illustrations, selected and edited by D. O’Donnell” [Newcastle, The Author, 1969]:
1770, May 10.
Cook’s first sighting of Nobbys (H.R.N.S.W., Vol.1, p.24, from Cook’s Private Log): Thursday, 10 May 1770: Gentle breezes and clear weather. The extremes of the land from N.41 E’t to S.41 West; a small clump of an island lying close in shore S. 82 deg. West; dist. off shore, about 2 leagues. Latitude obs’d 32 deg. 53′. [see printed version of 1790 original here ]
Five Escaped Convicts
“Why the Hunter was not discovered earlier is amazing as there was an amount of traffic between Sydney and Port Stephens. As early as 1790 five escaped convicts, stole a boat from South Head Signal Station after escaping there from Parramatta in a punt. They were successful in reaching Port Stephens, where, upon putting in, their boat foundered and they were forced to live with the aborigines. According to the diary of Secretary of the Colony, Mr Collins, they were recaptured when Captain W.R. Broughton, of H.M.S. “Providence”, put into Port Stephens because of bad weather on the 23rd August, 1795.
Port Stephens was visited officially in 1795 when a party, under the direction of Lieut. Col. Paterson, reached there on 21st February. This party was to spend a week exploring the area, during which time the Deputy Surveyor General, Charles Grimes, was to survey the port and to write that he could see no reason why anyone should visit there again.
The escapees who were then living at Port Stephens, missed recapture on this occasion as they were inland at the time.”
Transcribed from: Deamer, Ross M Houses erected on original land grants in the Lower Hunter, Paterson and Williams River Valleys between 1800-1850 [manuscript] / Ross M. Deamer. University of Newcastle 1971. Location Auchmuty – THESIS 309 [pp. 2-3]
In 1791 a group of nine convicts and two small children escaped from the settlement at Sydney Cove. They successfully managed to avoid capture in a leaky boat before arriving in Timor, where they were arrested and re-imprisoned. Of the three accounts of the voyage known to exist, only one has ever come to light. It was the account attributed to James Martin, entitled ‘Memorandoms’. The writer(s) records the journey of the escapees up the coast to Swansea and later to what is possibly either Newcastle or (more likely) Port Stephens.
“I remained on the Island from January, 1788 unto March 1791. On the 28 day of March made my escape in Compy with 7 men more and me with one woman and two childn – in an open six oar boat having of provision on Bd one hundred wt of flower and one hundd wt of rice 14lb of pork and about eight galons of water – having a Copass Quardrant and Chart. After two days sail reach a little creek about 2 degrees to the northward of Port Jackson there found a quantity of fine burng coal. There remaind nights and one day and found a varse quantty of cabage tree which we cut down and procured the cabage. Then the natives came down to which we gave some cloathes and other articles and they went away very much satisfied. The apperanance of the land appears more better here than at Sidney Cove. Here we got avarse quantity of fish which of a great refreshment to us. After our stay of 2 nights and one day we proceeded our voyage to they northward, after 2 days sail we made a very fine harbour seeming to run up the country for many miles and quite commodious for the anchorage of shipping. Here we found aplenty of fresh water. Hawld our boat ashore to repair her bottom being very leaky the better to pay her bottom with some beeswax and rosin which we had a small quantity thereof – But on they same night was drove of by the natives – which meant to destroy us. We launched our boat and road off in the strame quite out of reach of them – that being Sunday. Monday we were of in ye stream we rowed lower down thinging to land some miles below. On Monday morng we attempted to land when we found a place convenient for to repair our boat we accordg we put some of our things – part being ashore. There came the natives in vase numbers with speers and sheilds etc. We formed in parts, one party of us made towards them the better by signes to posify them but they not taking the least notice. Accordingly we fired a musket thinking to afright them but they took not the least notice thereof. On perceving them rush more foreward we were forsed to take to our boat and to get out of their reach as fast as we could – and what to do we could not tell. But on consulting with wach other it was detirmined for to rowed up the harbour 9 or 10 miles till we made a little white Sandy Isld in the middle of the harbour – which landd upon and hawld up our boat and repair her bottom with what little materials we had. Whilst our stay of 2 days we had no interupon from the natives. Then we rowed of to the main[land] where we took in fresh water and a few cabage trees – and then put out to sea. The atives here is quiet naked of a copper colour-shock hair – have the cannoos made of bark. Then we proceedd the Northard, having a leadg breez from the S:W. But that night the wind changed and drove us quite out of sight of land – which we hawld our wind having a set of sails in the boat.”
Transcribed from pages 2-3 of: James Martin (fl.1786 – 1792) Memorandoms: Escape from Botany Bay, 1791 : being ‘Memorandoms’ / by James Martin ; introduction and notes by Victor Crittenden (Canberra : Mulini Press, c1991 ) Location: AUCH – RB/COLL 994.401092 MART-1 MEMO
See Henry William Hemsworth Huntington’s article relating to Collin’s Diary account of meeting between fishermen and Port Stephens Aboriginals, friendly disposition of the Newcastle Natives and the search for the “Wild White Woman”.
Lieutenant John Shortland. An eye sketch of Hunter’s River. 1797. Signed L.S. [initials presumed to be those of Lieutenant John Shortland]. Copy is held in the University Archives at Shelf Location A6472 (iii) Original is held in the Hydrographic Department. Ministry of Defence, Taunton, Somerset, United Kingdon: C642/1.
1797, September 10. H.R.N.S.W., Vol. III, pp. 481-482
Lieutenant John Shortland of the H.M.S. Reliance officially ‘discovered’ the River. [Transcription]
In addition please click here for The State Library of New South Wales: Papers of Sir Joseph Banks site who have scanned the following letter and map relating to Shortland’s discovery: Extract of a Letter from Lieut. John Shortland of H.M.S. Reliance, to his Father…, 10 September 1798 (Series 23.38)
J. Shortland, Jun., To J. Shortland, Sen.
HMS Reliance, Sydney Cove, Port Jackson,
10th September, 1798.
My Dear Father, About a twelvemonth since I went on an expedition in the Governor’s whaleboat as far as Port Stephens, which lies 100 miles to the northward of this place. In my passage down I discovered a very fine coal river, which I named after Governor Hunter. The enclosed I send you, being an eye-sketch which I took the little time I was there. Vessels from 60 to 250 tons may load there with great ease, and completely landlocked. I dare say, in a little time, this river will be a great acquisition to this settlement. The short time I remained at this river we had rain, which prevented my doing so much as I otherwise should.
David Collins (1756-1810) – Account of the escaped convicts in 1796, excerpts from Collins’ account in the first edition published in 1798 pp.484 – 485 and 2nd Edition published in 1802 in two volumes V.2 pp. 47-48 as a 364 KB PDF file
Collins, David, 1756-1810. An account of the English colony in New South Wales : with remarks on the dispositions, customs, manners, &c. of the native inhabitants of that country / by David Collins. To which are added, some particulars of New Zealand, compiled, by permission from the mss. of Lieutenant-Governor King. London : Printed for T. Cadell Jun. and W. Davies, 1798
AUCH – RB/COLL STACK/FOYE Q994.02/14
Collins, David, 1756-1810. An account of the English colony in New South Wales from its first settlement in January 1788 to August 1801 : with remarks on the dispositions, customs, manners &c. of the native inhabitants of that country : to which are added some particulars of New Zealand, compiled … from the Mss. of Lieutenant-Governor King, and an account of a voyage performed by Captain Flinders and Mr. Bass … abstracted from the journal of Mr. Bass. London : Printed by A. Strahan … for T. Cadell and W. Davies …, 1804 2nd ed [see pp. 302-305?]
AUCH – RB/COLL STACK/FOYE Q994.02/27
See Full Text Online versions here: https://archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A%22Collins%2C%20David%22
1798, January 10.
Governor Hunter to The Duke of Portland. H.R.N.S.W., Vol. III, pp. 343 – 350.
Excerpt relating to Runaway Convicts
Runaway Convicts (p.345)
I have now to inform your Grace that on the fifth day of September last, as our largest and best boat, (1) belonging to Government, was on her way to the Hawkesbury River, carrying thither a few stores, and to bring from thence some articles wanted here, a service on which she was constantly employed, she was taken possession of by a part of the crew, assisted by a few men in another boat, who threatened the life of the coxswain and all who dared to oppose them. They put him and three others on shore at Broken Bay, and went off with the boat we know not whither. And as another party of those villains went off some time after in another boat, and the very men who were landed from the first, as unwilling to go, were a part of the second gang, I am of opinion it had been a long concerted plan. Not having any fit vessel to pursue upon such occasion, I dispatched two row-boats, well armed; the one went about sixty miles northward (2). along the coast, and the other forty miles southward, but without success, a gale blowing soon after the escape of the second boat, which obliged the officer in pursuit to land upon the coast. There is every reason to believe that the last party have perished, as the vessel was very feeble. (3)Most of those people were of the last Irish convicts.
(1) The Cumberland. An account of the seizure is given by Collins (vol. 2, p.47)
(2) This boat was in charge of Lieutenant John Shortland, son of Lieutenant Shortland, the naval agent in charge of the transports of the First Fleet. It was on this trip that he discovered Hunter River. As early as June, 1796, the existence of coal at what is now known as Newcastle had been demonstrated by some fishermen who had been forced to take shelter there. For Lieutenant Shortland’s subsequent movements see the Naval Chronicle, Vol. xxiv
(3) These people remained at large until March, 1798. For an account of their movements see Collins, vol. ii pp. 52, 78, 94, 99.
Excerpt relating to Shortland’s discovery (p.347)
A small river has been lately discovered by a boat I had occasion to send northward in pursuit of the deserters: it is about sixty-five miles from this part: on its south shore and near the water a considerable quantity of coal was discovered, and specimens were brought hither. As soon as the public service will admit of my absence from hence, I propose to go thither in a boat and examine this discovery myself, after which your Grace shall be more particularly informed.
1799, July 4.
Governor Hunter to The Duke of Portland. H.R.N.S.W., Vol. III, pp. 686 – 690. Excerpt relating to the situation of the coal seams.
I formerly mention’d to your Grace that the coal discover’d to the southward was inaccessible, being upon an abrupt dead coast where there is no inlet to secure a boat in; but that discover’d to the northward may be got at. I have not yet had an opportunity of examining that place myself, therefore cannot say in what quantitys we may be able to procure it, and what may be the most safe and eligible way of providing a cargo for a ship; but the experiment shall be tried, my Lord, and I will endeavour myself to obtain the local knowledge requisite for ascertaining to what extent your Grace’s desire can be carried into effect.
1799, September 8.
Mr John Thomson to Captain Schanck, H.R.N.S.W., Vol. III, pp. 716 – 718 – Excerpt relating to First Export of Coal (See entry below for the first return Governor King to Sir Joseph banks April – 21 August 1801)
We have also some hopes that coal with which the country abounds will be of much Colonial advantage. A ship lately returned to Bengal loaded with coals, and it gave no small satisfaction to every person interested in the prosperity of the colony to see this first export of it; and I am hopeful from these advantages that New South Wales, however contemptible it may at present appear in the list of our colonies, may yet become an acquisition of value to the mother country. (p.717)
1799, October 25. H.R.N.S.W., Vol. III, p. 727
DISCOVERY OF HUNTER RIVER
When the last accounts left New South Wales, the Governor was going to send Lieut. John Shortland (first lieutenant of his Majesty’s ship Reliance) in the Colonial schooner, to survey the coast. Some months previous Lieutenant Shortland discovered a very fine river, which it is thought will prove of great advantage to the colony, as, from the survey he then had an opportunity of taking, he thinks vessels from 60 to 250 tons may load there, and be completely landlocked. The river lays N.N.E. about 63 or 65 miles from Port Jackson.
[Reprinted from the True Briton of 25th October, 1799. The river was named Hunter River, in honour of Governor Hunter, by Lieutenant Shortland, its discoverer. The native name of the river was “Coquon.” Shortland discovered the river in September, 1797, when in quest of convicts who had seized the Cumberland – the Government boat for trading to the Hawkesbury. – Ante, pp. 347, 481. As early as June, 1796, a party of fishermen reported the discovery of gold in the vicinity of Port Stephens. – Collins, (1798) p.484; (1802) vol. ii, p. 48.
In the Christian Observer, July, 1802, appeared the following paragraph:- “Governor King had formed a small settlement at Hunter River for the purpose of working the coal, which is of the same nature with that of Newcastle.”]
1800, September 28.
Governor King to the Duke of Portland, H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, pp.184 – 6 regarding Irish rebels and Newcastle. [Transcription]
1800, September 28.
Governor King to Sir Joseph Banks (Banks Papers.), H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, pp.205 – 6 regarding coal mining. [Transcription]
1801, March 10.
Governor King to the Duke of Portland, H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, pp.324. [Transcription]
1801, April 28 – August 21.
Governor King to Sir Joseph Banks (Banks Papers.), H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, pp.355, 359. First Return. [Transcription]
The first cargo of coals brought from the Coal River in a Government vessel I exchanged with the master of the Cornwallis, who goes to Bengal from hence for iron, which he gave at 30 per cent. Profit for our coals at two pounds five shillings per chaldron. I believe this is the first return ever made from New South Wales. (p.359)
1801, June 8.
Governor King to Lieut. – Colonel Paterson (King Papers.), H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, pp.389. [Transcription]
1801, June 9.
Governor King to Lieutenant James Grant (King Papers.), H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, pp.390 – 391. [Transcription]
1801, June 9.
Memorandum By Governor King (King Papers.), H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, pp.391. [Transcription]
1801, June 14.
Hunter River. REMARKS, &c., on board His Majesty’s armed surveying vessel, Lady Nelson, in Hunter River, 1801. By LIEUT. GRANT, COMMANDER, H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, pp.404 – 409. [Transcription]
1801, June 24.
Ensign Barrallier to Governor King (King Papers.), H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, pp.413, 414. [Transcription]
1801, June 24.
Ensign Barrallier’s map of the entrance to Hunter’s River. Held in State Library of NSW Microcard collection Catalogue no. BT36 Image 0072. Could this be the map mentioned in his correspondence to Governor King?
1801, June-July 1801.
Ensign Francis Louis Barrallier. ‘Coal Harbour and Rivers, On the Coast of New South Wales, surveyed by Ensign Barrallier, In His Majesty’s Armed Surveying Vessel, “Lady Nelson”, Lieut. James Grant, Commander, in June and July, 1801. By Order of Governor King’. CO 700/ New South Wales 16/ Successfully rediscovered in its complete form by the University of Newcastle’s Coal River Working Party and presented on the 1st February 2008 by Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO Governor of New South Wales to the Staff and Students of Wollotuka School of Aboriginal Studies, Stockton Historical Society, the Lord Mayor of Newcastle John Tate and Vice Chancellor of the University of Newcastle Professor Nicholas Saunders. A further copy was presented to Her Excellency on behalf of the University of Newcastle by Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Kevin McConkey. Five framed copies were made with the support of the Hartley Bequest Program.
Ensign Francis Louis Barrallier. ‘Coal Harbour and Rivers, On the Coast of New South Wales’. (2.36MB) Another version of the Barrallier Survey with detail of the Hunter islands and Fullerton Cove. [Shelf Location: 435 Press 45B United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, Taunton, Somerset, England]
1801, June 25.
Lieutenant-Colonel Paterson to Governor King. (King Papers), H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, pp. 414 – 416. [Transcription]
1801, June 25.
Surgeon Harris to Governor King. (King Papers), H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, pp. 416 – 418. [Transcription]
1801, circa. July.
Governor King to Colonel Paterson (King Papers.), H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, pp.428 – 429. [Transcription]
1801, July 3.
(Reel 6037, SZ 988, pp. 38-9) Regulations regarding coal at Newcastle. [Transcription]
1801, July 3 – 1818, January 3.
(Reel 6039; SZ756, pp. 73-83) Orders and regulations re ships going to Newcastle for coal; duties to be levied; signals. [Transcription]
1801, July 8.
Governor King to the Duke of Portland, H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, pps.433, 439. [Transcription]
1801, August 11.
Lieutenant-Colonel Paterson to Governor King. (King Papers), H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, pp. 447 – 448. [Transcription]
1801, August 21.
Governor King to the Duke of Portland, H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, pp. 476 – 477. [Transcription]
1801, September 20.
Government and General Order, H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, p. 520. [Transcription]
1801, October 24.
MR. M. MASON [Mr. Martin Mason was appointed a magistrate for the districts of
Parramatta and Toongabbie in January, 1801 – ante, p. 288] TO GOVERNOR KING (King Papers) H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, p. 597 – 598. [Transcription]
1801, November 14.
Governor King to the Duke of Portland, H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, pps. 620 – 621. [Transcription]
1801, November 21.
Mr M. Mason to Governor King (King papers.) , H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, pps. 627 – 628. [Transcription]
1801, December 11.
Mr Surveyor Grimes on Hunter’s River, H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, pps. 634 – 635. [Transcription]
Includes Greville’s translation of a letter received by Greville from Francis Barrallier titled `Extract from Ensign Barrallier’s Letter to Mr Greville’, ca April 1802. Contains a description of the entrance to Hunters River and Patersons River, with descriptions of the Natives seen there. [Sir Joseph Banks’ Papers ] State Library of New South Wales.
1802, August 29.
Lord Hobart to Governor King. H.R.N.S.W., Vol.IV, pps. 823 – 830. [Transcription]
1803, May 8 Sydney Gazette, 3a.
A new mine is found at Hunter’s River and a sample will be sent to England on the Glatton. [Original and Transcription ]
1803, June 12 Sydney Gazette, 3a.
Coal being shipped from the new colliery at Hunter’s River. [Original and Transcription ]
1804, March 24.
(Reel 6037, SZ992, pp. 30-4) Regulations regarding Coal at Newcastle [Transcription]
1804, March 25 Sydney Gazette.
Hunter’s River Settlement to be known as Newcastle. [Original and Transcription ]
1804, May 2.
(Reel 6037, SZ992, p. 46). Individuals not being permitted to mine coal at Newcastle. [Transcription]
1804, May 27th Sydney Gazette, 1b.
Mention of Coal Island and secret signals. [Original and Transcription ]
Public Records Office London. CO 201/32: A Plan of His Majesty’s Coal Mine at King’s Town New Castle District County of Northumberland New South Wales in its present Situation of working, July 1804. [FULL VERSION 1MB ]
Menzies Commission 1804 (Newcastle Region Library)
The Commission is dated 15th March 1804 and bears the official seal, to appoint Lieutenant Charles A. F. N. Menzies of the Royal Marines to command & superintend the settlement of Newcastle.
The Commission is signed by Philip Gidley King, Governor of the Colony of New South Wales.
The text of the warrant
“Whereas it is expedient, in consequence of an instruction from His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies and War Department, as well as from existing causes, that the settlement at the Coal Harbour and Hunter River, now distinguished by the name of Newcastle, in the county of Northumberland, should be re-established without loss of time; and you having offered to take the charge and command of that settlement, which you have been enabled to do by resigning the command of the detachment of Royal Marines, and by being discharged from His Majesty’s Ship Calcutta at my request:
You are, therefore, hereby required and directed to take upon you the charge and command of the said settlement; and I do hereby charge and command all His Majesty’s subjects that may be within our command to obey your directions, and you to obey all such Orders and directions as you may from time to time receive from me, or any other your superior officer (sic), according to the rules and discipline of war. For which this shall be your authority.”
Philip Gidley King
1804, September 24.
(Reel 6039; SZ756, p.283,4) Settlement at Coal Harbour and Hunter’s River to be named Newcastle. [Transcription]
1804, October 7. Sydney Gazette. 4c
“When the Integrity went last to King’s Town, she took down one of the capital salt pans imported for the use of Government by the Coromandel; where it is now erecting to obtain that necessary article.”
1805, March 3. Sydney Gazette. 2b
“The very capital salt pan at King’s Town has been erected in less than a fortnight, within a few feet of an excellent coal mine, from whence it is supplied with fuel, and the water not exceeding four feet from its front. The prodigious utility of that and the other sent out by Government, which is to be erected here, will be generally felt, as has the scarcity of salt hitherto severely been.
1805, May 5th Sydney Gazette.
Account given by John Platt a coal miner of the coal mines at Newcastle. [Original and Transcription ]
1805, September 8. Sydney Gazette. 2a
On Friday arrived the schooner Governor Hunter, with 20,000 lbs. of salt on account of Government, made from the Salt pans worked at Newcastle under the direction of Mr. Throsby.
(State Library of New South Wales)
Browne, T.R. (1776 – 1824). Newcastle, 1807. Watercolour on paper. (Courtesy Newcastle Region Art Gallery)
Lewin, J. W. (John William), 1770-1819. Nobby Island from Coal River (1807). (Courtesy Newcastle Region Art Gallery)
Lewin, J. W. (John William), 1770-1819. The Coal River or Port of Newcastle New South Wales 1808. (State Library of New South Wales)
1809, November 6.
(Reel 6001, SZ757, pp. 83a-84a. Supplied from NSW to Cape of Good Hope in return for wine, under contract with Simeon Lord. [Transcription]
1810, Jan 10.
(Reel 6042, 4/1723, p. 85) Coals shipped to Cape of Good Hope for use of Navy [Transcription]
1810, January 30.
(Reel 6042; 9/2736, pp. 44-6) Copy of a letter from William Lawson giving a report for the settlement of Newcastle re stores cargoes, rations and prisoners. [Transcription]
1810. [July 31]
Memoir of the Public Service of the Late Captain John Shortland, of the Royal Navy (3.2MB PDF File).
Naval Chronicle Vol. XXIV pp.1-21, 312-313. Contains plate of Shortland’s Eye Sketch.
The Present Picture of New South Wales (1811), by David Dickinson Mann. (Project Gutenberg EBook)
1811, September 7.
(Reel 6043; 4/1726, pp. 247-9) Exploration of cedar wood from Newcastle. [Transcription]
Browne, T.R. (1776 – 1824). Newcastle, in New South Wales, with a distant view of Point Stephen. 1812. Copper Engraving. (Courtesy Newcastle Region Art Gallery)
Browne, T.R. (1776 – 1824). View of Hunters River, near Newcastle, New South Wales. 1812 Copper Engraving. (Courtesy Newcastle Region Art Gallery)
Preston, W. (Walter). Newcastle in New South Wales with a distant view of Point Stephen, taken from Prospect Hill. Sydney : Published by A. West, Novr. 30, 1812. 1 print : engraving ; 27.5 x 40.5 cm. (Courtesy National Library of Australia).
Browne, T.R. (1776 – 1824). View of Hunters River, near Newcastle, New South Wales. 1812; and Newcastle, in New South Wales, with a distant view of Point Stephen. 1812. (316 KB) Copper Engraving. Photographer Bruce Turnbull. (Courtesy Newcastle Region Art Gallery)
Presented as a complete Panorama identified by Mr Russell Rigby, and prepared as a 360 Quicktime Panorama by Mr Michael Meany. Be sure to view with the Quicktime Viewer for 360 effect.
1812, January 3.
Macquarie’s Tour of Inspection to Port Stephens and Newcastle (1 – 6 January 1812) Visit to Newcastle and the coal mines. [Transcription] From Macquarie University’s Journals of Elizabeth and Lachlan Macquarie entitled Journeys in Time 1809 – 1822.
1812, May 14.
(Reel 6043; 4/1727, p. 111) Coal being sent from Newcastle to India for sale [Transcription]
1812, August 10.
(Reel 6002; 4/3491, pp. 308-10) To C. W. Gardiner, Bengal, regarding production and export of coal. [Sections 7 & 8 describe mines at Newcastle] [Transcription]
1812, December 21.
(Reel 6003; 4/3492, pp. 187-8) Benjamin Granger & Hamilton sent to Newcastle to assist in opening of new mines. [Transcription]
1813, June 5.
(Reel 6002, 4/3491. p. 473) To W. Collins, Mast. “Hope,” regarding sending coal to Cape of Good Hope. [Transcription]
1813, October 25.
(Reel 6043; 4/1728, pp. 251-3) Letter from Lieutenant Skottowe re shipments of coal and pine planks from Newcastle; visit of “Lady Nelson”; etc. [Transcription]
1813, October 28.
(Reel 6002, 4/3491, pp. 576-7) To D.D. Mathew regarding opening of coal mine on Middle Harbour [Mentions mines at Newcastle] [Transcription]
1814, January 22.
(Reel 6044; 4-1729, pp. 19-20) Regarding conditions at Newcastle [Transcription]
1814, April 16.
(Reel 6044; 4/1729 pp.372-4) Reporting on escape of four prisoners from Newcastle; sending returns; re urgent requirements. [Transcription]
1815, May 23.
(Reel 6045, 4/1732, pp. 146-7) Regarding freight of coal to India per “Frederick” [Transcription]
1815, June 7.
(Reel 6045; 4/1732, p. 151) The Humble East India Company To David Allan Esq. Deputy Commissioner General [ ] of His Majesty’s Government in New South Wales. [Transcription]
1815, September 2.
(Reel 6045; 4/1733, pp. 49-50) Coal to be used as fuel by troops and Government departments, firewood being too expensive. [Transcription]
1815, September 28.
(Reel 6045; 4/1733, p. 58) Coal to be shipped per “Baring” for Calcutta. [Transcription]
1815, October 30.
(Reel 6045; 4/1733, pp. 66-71) Regarding bills of lading and account for coal shipped per “Baring” to India.
[Some of the pages are duplicates, hence only three are transcribed] [Transcription]
Jeffries, Lieutenant C. Survey of Part of the Hunter’s River (Or the Coal River), 1816. [John Turner Papers, University of Newcastle]
1816, March 20.
(Reel 6045; 4/1734, pp. 42-3) Cargo of coal discharged at Ceylon. [Transcription]
1816, May 13.
(Reel 6018; 4/3521, p. 76) Coal exchanged for Rum. [Transcription]
1816, July 18
(Reel 6005; 4/3495, p. 42) “Elizabeth Henrietta” making first voyage to Newcastle for cargo of coal. [Transcription]
1816, August 7.
(Reel 6005; 4/3495, p. 88) “Lady Nelson” proceeding to Newcastle for cargo of coal. [Transcription]
1816, October 10.
(Reel 6005; 4/3495, p. 180) Re coal to be loaded on The Nautilus. [Transcription]
1816, October 23.
(Reel 6005; 4/3495, p. 224) “Elizabeth Henrietta” dispatched for a cargo of coal. [Transcription]
1816, October 30.
(Reel 6005; 4/3495, p. 238) “Lady Nelson” dispatched for a cargo of coal. [Transcription]
Lycett, Joseph (c1775 – 1828). Newcastle, New South Wales, looking towards Prospect Hill. A gift by Port Waratah Coal Services to Newcastle Region Art Gallery. (Courtesy Newcastle Region Art Gallery) [Original Size] [Full Image ] [Detail 1 ] [Detail 2 ] [Detail 3 ]
1817, January 10.
(Reel 6005; 4/3495, p. 448) Request for cargo of coal. [Transcription]
1817, February 18.
(Reel 6047; 4/1739, p. 153) 12 tons of coal delivered to Thomas Raine, Captain of “Surrey” [Transcription]
1817, December 24.
(Reel 6053; 4/1755, pp. 225-236) Instructions issued to Major Druitt by Governor Lachlan Macquarie p. 231 refers to Government works. [Transcription]
A view of King’s Town (Newcastle) / Whitelocke. Wood engraving shewing mine excavations on military gardens, now Hospital for Insane grounds, in 1817. (Courtesy National Library of Australia)
Meehan, James. Plan of Newcastle August 7 1818. Archives Office of NSW NLD 811 253/1818/1 (University of Newcastle John Turner Papers)
Pagoda c.1818. Built by E.C. Close. Original is in the Mitchell Library. Detail from a sketch made by Thomas Mitchell during his field trip in 1828.
Campbell, Sophia, 1777-1833. [Panorama of Newcastle in six parts] The parts are: 1. Newcastle from the Mill; 2. Newcastle [Hospital and signal station] 3. Newcastle [present King Edward Park] 4. Newcastle [windmill and Sugarloaf Mountain in the distance] 5. Newcastle [Hunter River] 6. [Christ Church tower and steeple at right]; In: Sophia Campbell sketchbook. (National Library of Australia)
Campbell, Sophia, 1777-1833. Sophia Campbell Sketchbook [1818?] (Courtesy National Library of Australia)
Newcastle. (Commandant’s House?)
Newcastle. (View towards Commandant’s House)
Newcastle. (Home of John Laurio Platt, Ironbark Hill?)
1818, January 3.
(Reel 6038; SZ759, p. 421) General Order re loading of coal at Newcastle by Govt. men & price of coal [Transcription]
1818, August 5th 4pm.
Macquarie’s Journal to and from Newcastle 27 July 1818 – 9 August 1818 laying foundation and first stone of the Causway or Pier known as Macquarie Pier. [Transcription] From Macquarie University’s Journals of Elizabeth and Lachlan Macquarie entitled Journeys in Time 1809 – 1822. [Contains the first mention of Nobbys island as ‘Nobby’ (4 August 1818)
Wentworth, William Charles. Statistical, Historical and Political Description of the Colony of New South Wales and its Dependent Settlements in Van Diemen’s Land With a Particular Enumeration of the Advantages Which These Colonies Offer for Emigration, and Their Superiority in Many Respects Over Those Possessed by the United States of America by William Charles Wentworth. A Free Read Book
Visit of Mrs Macquarie to Newcastle in 1820.
As reported in the The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Register for British India and its dependencies. Volume IX January-June 1820. London: Black , Kingsbury, Parbury & Allen, 1820. p. 98.
1820, June 13.
(Reel 6050; 4/1747, pp. 68-9) Request for extra allowance of coal for the General Hospital; with reply. [Transcription]
Campbell, Sophia, 1777-1833. Sophia Campbell Sketchbook [1820?] (Courtesy National Library of Australia)
Part 1 [Commandant’s house from in front of the old gaol, Newcastle]
Part 2 [Newcastle, view of houses with windmill on hill]
Part 3 [Newcastle with Christ Church in the distance]
Part 4 [Newcastle looking NW]
Part 4 [Sketch of Newcastle with windmill and Sugarloaf Mountain]
Part 5 [Newcastle showing Nobby Head]
Artist unknown. Nobbys Island and Pier, Newcastle 23 January 1820. (Courtesy State Library of New South Wales.)
Preston, Walter (fl.1811-1820). Corroboree, or dance of the natives of New South Wales, New Holland. 1820. (Courtesy Newcastle Region Art Gallery)
1821, June 27.
(Reel 6051; 4/1749, pp. 394-5) Request for license to load “Hawies” with coal at Newcastle. [Transcription]
1821, 8 August 1821 – March 1824, 1832.
1821, September 26.
(Reel 6008; 4/3504, p. 391) Re quantities of coal from Newcastle mine. [Transcription]
1821, October 4.
(Reel 6008; 4/3504, p. 405) Re persons travelling overland to Newcastle. [Transcription]
1821, November 19.
Macquarie’s A Voyage – and Tour of Inspection – from Port Jackson – to the Settlements of Port Macquarie, and Newcastle: – In November 1821. Visit to Newcastle and progress of the construction of Macquarie Pier. [Transcription] From Macquarie University’s transcribed Journals of Elizabeth and Lachlan Macquarie entitled Journeys in Time 1809 – 1822.
Panorama of Newcastle 1821. [Panorama of Newcastle : watercolour drawings by Edward Close – Sophia Campbell]
Panorama Part 1 (Newcastle)
Panorama Part 2 (Shepherd’s Hill)
Panorama Part 3 (Windmill)
Panorama Part 4 (Islands)
Panorama Part 5 (Whole View)
(Courtesy State Library of New South Wales)
Full View Panorama (1.35MB) prepared as a 360 Quicktime Panorama by Mr Michael Meany. Be sure to view with the Quicktime Viewer for 360 effect.
1822, May 9.
(Reel 6039; 4/424, p. 57) Coal to be delivered to Newcastle 2nd note on p. 57. [Transcription]
(Reel 6067; 4/1808, pp. 117-9, 137-8, 162, 177, 202, 206) Frederick Dixon, Clerk to Govt. Meter of Coals & Cedar, Superintendent of Govt. Cattle & Sheep at Newcastle. Re his salary or metage of coals. Also mentions need to open a new mine. [Transcription]
(Courtesy Newcastle Region Art Gallery)
1824, May 5.
(Reel 6067; 4/1810, pp. 26-31) Report of John Busby on the pier and coal mines at Newcastle and the iron in the district. Estimate of expense of finishing the Pier at Newcastle & of continuing it 75 yards. [Transcription]
1825, April 17.
(Reel 6035; SZ17, pp. 24-5) Cunningham discovering coal in Upper Hunter Valley. [Transcription]
1825, September 30.
(Reel 6015; 4/3515, p. 362) Re loading of coal on board vessels at Newcastle. [Transcription]
1826, June 30.
“A Travelling Correspondent’s Trip to Hunter’s River in 1826″ Sydney Monitor Correspondent Report. Description of Newcastle and location of the salt pan near Macquarie Pier. [Transcription]
Cross, Joseph. A View of King’s Town (Late Newcastle) 1828. Published in Henry Dangar’s Index. (University of Newcastle Rare Book Collection) Full Version (1MB)
Cross, Joseph. A View of King’s Town. (Courtesy Newcastle Region Art Gallery)
Armstrong, John. Plan of the Town of Newcastle New South Wales shewing it’s present actual state with part of the adjoining Country, and the coal works of The Australian Agricultural Company from a Careful Survey in 1830 by Jno. Armstrong. (Courtesy Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand)
Nobbys island from Mullumbimba Cottage, Newcastle. [c1830s] John Turner Papers University of Newcastle. [Courtesy of Newcastle Regional Art Gallery]
Jackson, J.A. Newcastle From a Sketch by J.A. Jackson, Esq. [c1840] University of Newcastle John Turner papers.
Westmacott, Robert Marsh, 1801-1870. Newcastle, the coal mines of N.S.W. c1840-1846 (Courtesy National Library of Australia)
Artist Unknown.Newcastle in 1843 Ben Champion Papers, University of Newcastle Archives A5614(iv)
The Adventures of Ralph Rashleigh A Penal Exile in Australia, 1825-1844 by James Tucker (1803-1866). A Project Gutenberg Ebook. First published in 1929 by Jonathan Cape. ‘This 1929 text was the first edition of the manuscript and was substantially edited. It includes an introduction by Frederick Edwin Smith, The Earl of Birkenhead (1870-1930). The 1844-45 manuscript of the novel cites the author as Giacomo di Rosenberg, presumed to be a pseudonym of James Tucker.’ For the 1952 edition ‘first authentic edition’ is under the title of Ralph Rashleigh. Includes a novel account of life as a convict at Newcastle.
Panorama [Full] Part 1 . Part 2 . [Nobbys] Part 3 . Part 4 . [Weslyan Church] Part 5 . Part 6 . Drawings – 6 watercolour panels mounted onto linen to form 1 panorama that folds into sections within a bound album – 24 x 334 cm., folding into an album 35 x 35 cm. (Courtesy State Library of New South Wales)
Swainson, William 1789-1855 Newcastle Light House & Nobby Island. NSW Augt. 1851. (Courtesy Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand
Swainson, William 1789-1855. Long Beach near Newcastle N.S.W. . (Courtesy Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand)
From Shepherd’s Hill c1851 (John Turner Papers University of Newcastle)
1852, August 31st.
New South Wales. Parliament. Legislative Council. Select Committee. Newcastle Light House. Report from the Select Committee on Newcastle Light House with Appendix and Minutes of Evidence. Ordered, By the Council, to be printed 31st August 1852. Sydney: Government Printing Office, 1852. [1.1MB PDF file]
The Nobbies from Newcastle. (John Turner Papers University of Newcastle)
1854, July 18th.
New South Wales. Parliament. Legislative Council. Nobby’s Island. Laid upon the Council Table by The Colonial Secretary, and Ordered by the Council to be Printed, 18th July, 1854. Papers relating to the blowing up of Nobby’s Island. [727KB PDF file] Thanks to the New South Wales Parliamentary Archivist.
Australian Agricultural Company Map (1854). (John Turner Papers University of Newcastle)
William Keene (Examiner of Coal Mines) Copy of Stratigraphic sketch from Nobby’s Island Newcastle to Burwood, showing coal seams and their Order of Superposition. 31 May 1854. Photographed by Bruce Turnbull. Archives Authority Map No. SZ325 (Courtesy State Archives of NSW)
Conrad Martens – [In pencil]19b. Newcastle, showing the soil reclaimed by enclosure from the sand – 16 May 1855 . From Colonial sketches: an album of views of Sydney and N.S.W. by E. West, F. Terry, C. Martens and others (Courtesy State Library of New South Wales)
Plan of Flag Staff Hill Newcastle (1856)
Photographed by Bruce Turnbull. Archives Authority Map No. 4604 (Courtesy of State Archives of NSW)
Legislative Assembly. New South Wales. Breakwater at Stockton. (Report of Mr. Moriarty Upon Advisability of.) Ordered by the Legislative Assembly to be Printed, 27 April 1858. [5.9 MB PDF File] With Moriarty’s Plan of the Harbour of Newcastle Shewing the Proposed Extension of the Northern Pier. Thank you to Mr Rod Caldwell who kindly arranged for his personal copy to be digitised and provided for us to publish to the wider research community.
[PDF Image] Key to the View of Newcastle. (from The Illustrated Sydney News &… Glass Slide 68 from A5193 n.d.)
Cooke, A. C. (Albert Charles), 1836-1902. The Nobby Rock, Newcastle, N. S. W. February 1, 1872. (Courtesy State Library of Victoria)
1881, May 6th.
“Flagstaff Hill Coal Drives” Newcastle Morning Herald & Miners Advocate, p.2. Mr Mackenzie, Examiner of Coal Fields for New South Wales, accompanied by Mr Mills, makes an official examination of the old coal workings under Flagstaff Hill. [Original and Transcription ] (291KB PDF)
1881, May 7th.
“The Fortification Works and the Old Coal Workings under Flagstaff Hill.” Newcastle Morning Herald & Miners Advocate, p.8 [Original and Transcription ] (328KB PDF)
1881, May 24th.
“The Newcastle Fortifications.” The Sydney Morning Herald, p.6 [Transcription ]
1881, May 24th.
“Continuing work to trace the coal drives under Captain Allan’s Hill.” Newcastle Morning Herald & Miners Advocate, p.2 [Original and Transcription ] (203 KB PDF)
1881, May 24th.
“The Newcastle Fortifications” Newcastle Morning Herald & Miners Advocate, p.2. Colonels Scratchley and Roberts accompanied by Mr Campbell, Government Civil Engineer in charge, inspect the fortification works on Flagstaff Hill and examine old coal workings at base of hill. [Original and Transcription ] (218 KB PDF)
1881, May 28th.
“The Newcastle Fortification Works” Newcastle Morning Herald & Miners Advocate, p.4. Mr Thomas Croudace J.P. manager at Lambton colliery appointed to administer mining engineering work to render old coal workings safe. [Original and Transcription ] (209 KB PDF)
1881, October 6th.
“The Fortification Works” Newcastle Morning Herald & Miners Advocate, p.2. Colonel Roberts, Major Murphy, Captain Mackenzie and Brigade Sergeant-Major Green inspect the fortification works. [Original and Transcription ] (254 KB PDF)
1881, October 10th.
“The Fortifications” Newcastle Morning Herald & Miners Advocate, p.2. Major Murphy, Brigade Sergeant-Major Green and Battery Sergeant Major Bennett with a detachment of men remove the 80-pounders on Fortification Hill. [Original and Transcription ] (221 KB PDF)
1881, October 13th.
“The Fortifications” Newcastle Morning Herald & Miners Advocate, p.2. Works on fortifications under contractor Mr Russell are nearing completion. [Original and Transcription ] (251 KB PDF)
1881, October 29th.
“Official Inspection of the Fortification” Newcastle Morning Herald & Miners Advocate, p.4. Official Inspection of the fortifications by Colonel Roberts and Colonel Richardson on Allan’s Hill.
[Original and Transcription ] (250 KB PDF)
1885, January 1st.
“The Fortifications Wall” Newcastle Morning Herald & Miners Advocate, p.2. Recollection of old coal workings at foot of the hill (Captain Allan’s Hill) and discovery of leg-irons and manacles now all encased behind a wall of concrete. [Original and Transcription ] (153 KB PDF)
Nobbys (John Turner Papers University of Newcastle)
The History of the Pilot Boatmen’s Cottages Nobbys Road, Newcastle. By John John Turner 18 October 1992. Includes file of newspaper clippings and photocopies of reference material. C880(vii) E16 [1.8 MB PDF file]
Huntington, H. W. H. (Henry William Hemsworth) Newcastle Coal Mines: account prepared by Huntington for Millard and Sparke court appearance. Newcastle : [s.n.], [n.d.]. Rare Book CHAMPION F622.33099442/1 [254KB PDF] [Note: This work is a good introduction and overview to the history of the Newcastle Coal Mines, however we do advise you treat this work with caution as we have identified numerous historical errors.]