Customs House, Wharf Road, Newcastle, 1900. From the Ralph Snowball/Norm Barney collection, University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

Place - An overview

The towns and cities of the Hunter Valley have evolved much over time from a wilderness inhabited by the Aboriginal peoples of this area, to small pastoral communities, to towns with bustling trade and commerce. As the land was colonized, small communities started to grow, spurred on by good farming land and the availability of cedar and coal. The people who colonized the Hunter Valley came from many places, but mostly from the United Kingdom. This is reflected in town names, such as Cessnock, named after a castle in Ireland.

The opening of a mine often inspired the growth of a township. Kurri Kurri, Catherine Hill Bay, New Lambton and Minmi all thrived after a mine was established nearby.  Each town in the Hunter Valley has its own story of development, and the links in this section explore that history.  

 Illustration, 'The Town of East Maitland', artist unknown, undated. From the Dr. John Turner collection, University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.

Aerial view of land near the University of Newcastle, 1992. From the University Archives, University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections. 

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