Newcastle Through the Years.......
Newcastle in 1857
|The following article is from the
Historical Records of Newcastle 1797 - 1897.......
Notwithstanding the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the
Hunter River - Newcastle in the year 1857, still but resembled a
bush township, and very little of the surrounding land had then
been cleared of the scrub.
A resident of Newcastle, who
arrived in that year, has supplied the following description:
"I reached Newcastle in 1857 from South Australia, the
passage to Sydney occupying 9 days. The landing place from
vessels was at the foot of
Watt street, where we had to pick our steps along rows of
stones. The first thing that struck me was the absence of large
buildings, and the wretched thoroughfares.
I stoppd at
Mr. Croft's hotel,
which stood on the site now occupied by the A.J.S. Bank at the
corner of Watt and Hunter streets. At the back of the hotel
there was a theatre (the first one, I believe opened in
Newcastle), where I was present at an entertainment in which
Mr. Clarence Hannell took the part of Hamlet, and other
local men also appeared.
In walking round I visited
Broughton and Downey's store in Watt street, called in at the
Ship Inn (kept by the late
Mr. James Hannell), which was on the site of the Union Bank
at the corner of Bolton and Hunter Street.
The Rouse Hotel in
Hunter street where Pearson's furniture shop now stands, was the
principal hotel, and kept by Mrs. Rouse. The Albion Hotel kept
by a man named Magney was in Watt street.
At the other
side of the A.A. Coy's Bridge, the Black Diamond Hotel was
erected in 1857 by the late Mr. James Brown, whose residence
stood alongside. The Black Diamond was put up to meet the
requirements of railway passengers and it was thought that the
terminus would remain at Honeysuckle, which it did for years
till the line was extended to the present railway station in
Scott street. The Flemming family had a residence at
Honeysuckle Point, which was pulled down to give place to the
terrace of houses now standing opposite Carrington Bridge in
Hunter Street West.
The Union Inn, Cameron's Inn, and
the hotel now known as the Empire, were also doing business at
that time; the latter was the last building to be seen in that
direction for many miles.
From Watt street right along
was but a bush track made by bullock teams. Where the High level
bridge now stands, crossing from Hamilton to Islington, there
was a level crossing which went by the name of the "White Gate".
The hill at the back of the gas works was then covered
with honeysuckle, and was used by the aboriginal tribes as a
camping ground. In that year, "King Bully" the last of the
kings of the Newcastle tribes of aboriginals, died, and was
buried close to the camp. "King Bully" left a piccaninie named
"Kitty" who subsequently became a notorious character. In the
following year I was present at Mr. Rodger's foundry when the
'Monkey' was cast to drive the first piles for the construction
of the Queen's Wharf which runs along the southern shore of the
harbour. There was a considerable fleet of vessels then trading
to Newcastle, which, however, were of small tonnage."
Windross, John, & Ralston, J.P., Historical Records of
Newcastle 1797 - 1897, Newcastle, Federal Printing and
Bookbinding Works, p. 32