Henry William Hemsworth Huntington's History of Newcastle - Henry William Hemsworth Huntington was a noted authority of colonial history. He compiled a history of Newcastle and the Hunter District, N.S.W., which was published in a series of 101 columns twice weekly in the Newcastle Morning Herald. The series begins in 1770 when Captain Cook noted Nobbys in his journal and continues through to the 1840s.
Discovery of Coal by escaping convicts in 1791 - various accounts of the famous escape of William and Mary Bryant and their companions from the colony of New South Wales in 1791. Their escape from the colony is significant for Newcastle as they are believed to be the first Europeans to discover coal in the colony.
The Francis was Launched in Sydney in September 1793. The Francis made many voyages to Newcastle including the Expedition to the Coal River in 1801. She returned to Sydney with a cargo of coal which was exchanged for nails and iron and shipped out on the Earl Cornwallis. This is believed to be the first shipment of coal exported from Newcastle.
Expedition to the Hunter River in 1801 - Members of the expedition included Lieutenant James Grant, Lieut-Colonel Paterson, Dr. Harris, Surgeon of the New South Wales Corps; Ensign Barreillier, Surveyor; John William Lewin, artist. There were also a number of workmen and labourers, for the purpose of cutting and sawing timber, digging and loading coals etc; and also one of the natives named Bungaree.
Lieutenant James Grant - Returned to England via the Cape on the Anna Josepha in 1802. The Aberdeen Journal later published Lieut. Grant's account of the young colony and of the expedition to the Hunter River in 1801.
Castle Hill Rebellion - March 1804 - The Castle Hill Rebellion was Australia’s first uprising. It was an attempt by a Irish convicts to overthrow British rule in New South Wales and return to Ireland where they could continue to fight for an Irish republic. Sometimes referred to as Australia's Battle of Vinegar Hill, the uprising was quelled by soldiers of the NSW Corps and resulted in executions and severe corporal punishment to those involved. Many of those involved were sent to the Coal River to toil in the coal mines.
Convicts from the Castle Hill Rebellion - Having been abandoned by Government towards the end of 1802, the possibility of establishing valuable commercial enterprise coupled with a desire to remove the worst of the Irish insurgents from Sydney district in the aftermath of the rebellion at Castle Hill, encouraged Governor King to re-settle Coal River.
Thomas Brady - Irish Rebel. Sent to Coal River penal settlement in the aftermath of the Battle of Castle Hill 1804
Early Convict Coal Miners - Governor King established a settlement at 'Coal River' with the intention of mining coal to contribute to financing the colony and to separate worrying Irish political leaders from the main colony.
Government Rules at Newcastle 1807 - It was thought necessary to prevent the prisoners at the settlement having any contact with the outside world and to that end Crews of Vessels at Newcastle were forbidden to Trade Stores. New orders were issued to that effect.
George Crossley arrived on the Hillsborough in 1799. In the aftermath of the Bligh affair, he was sent to the penal settlement at Newcastle.
William Gore - Provost-Marshall - In 1808 in the aftermath of the Bligh affair, William Gore was charged with perjury by a rebel court. He was sentenced to transportation and sent to work at the penal settlement at Newcastle
Sir Henry Browne Hayes was sent to Newcastle penal settlement in 1808. He acquired a cottage while there which was later converted to a hospital. This was probably the first hospital in Newcastle and may have been the only one until about 1817.
Lieutenant William Lawson was appointed Commandant at the penal settlement at Newcastle in December 1808 to replace Ensign Villiers who returned to Headquarters in Sydney
Thomas Crump arrived on the Surprize in 1794. He was employed as a boat builder at Newcastle c. 1804 - 1810
Roger Farrell's Correspondence - Roger Farrell was sent to Newcastle penal settlement in 1808 having been a supporter of Governor Bligh. He later wrote to Governor Bligh telling of the injustices he had suffered since.
Newcastle Penal Settlement in 1810 under command of Lieutenant John Purcell of 73rd Regiment who arrived per Anne in February 1810 and was appointed Commandant at Newcastle soon afterwards. A month by month account of the difficulties he faced in providing lime, coal and timber desperately needed in Sydney.
James Hardy Vaux was one of Australia's most famous convicts. He was transported three times over a period of thirty years. First on the Minorca in 1801, then on the Indian in 1810, and in 1831 the Waterloo. While serving at Newcastle penal settlement in 1811 he wrote his Memoirs including the Vocabulary of the Flash Language, Australia's first dictionary - More about James Hardy Vaux
Governor Macquarie's Tour of Inspection at Newcastle Settlement. In 1811 Governor Macquarie embarked on a voyage to inspect distant settlements. He first sailed to Hobart on the Lady Nelson, then an overland journey to Port Dalrymple; a voyage to Port Stephens followed and then to Newcastle where they arrived on 3rd January 1812.
William Harrison Craig, convict artist, arrived on the Guildford in 1812. In August 1812 he was convicted of forgery and sentenced to 50 lashes in the public market place (Sydney) and then to be sent to Newcastle for seven years hard labour.
Pirates Seize the Speedwell in 1814' Edward Scarr, Joseph Burridge, Herbert Styles and John Pierce made their escape from the Newcastle settlement on the night of the 7th April at about 11 o'clock in the sloop Speedwell.
Walter Preston - Convict Engraver arrived on the Guildford in 1812. He was sent to Newcastle for a colonial crime in 1814
Joseph Lycett - It is over two hundred years since convict Joseph Lycett embarked on the General Hewitt to begin his years in exile. He remained in Australia only seven years and by the time he died in England in 1828 he was a convicted criminal several times over.
Rev. Lancelot Threlkeld made two voyages from Sydney to Newcastle in 1825, the first in January and the second in March, prior to moving with his family in May. He made the voyages on the cutter Lord Liverpool, the only vessel regularly visiting the settlement at that time. He was permitted to reside at the government cottage at Newcastle and remained there with his family until December 1825 before they moved to the Mission at Reid's Mistake.
Newcastle and Maitland in 1826 - In 1826 a correspondent to the Monitor who possessed land in the vicinity of Wallis Plains, made a voyage from Sydney to Newcastle. In a series of letters to the Monitor in June 1826 he described the trip to Newcastle where he observed the salt works and Macquarie pier.
Newcastle in 1828 - There were less than fifty houses in Newcastle in 1828, mostly cottages and houses built by convicts and trades people. Other buildings included government buildings such as the Commissariat, gaol and hospital.
Newcastle in 1829 - In correspondence to the Sydney Gazette a visitor describes the township as it was in 1829
Australian Agricultural Company - In 1830 the government handed over its Newcastle coal mines to the Australian Agricultural Company and coal mining became the most profitable arm of the company for the rest of the century
Sophie Jane Steamer - A Voyage to Newcastle on the Sophie Jane in 1831 and list of residents in the town
Frank the Poet - Australia's well known convict poet Francis McNamara 'Frank The Poet' arrived on the Eliza convict ship in 1832
Sea Grave Yard - In the early days before the coming of steam boats, the picturesque coastline up from Sydney and welcome sight of Nobbys on a clear day were an event to be looked forward to by the crew of the little 'sixty milers'. However if the weather turned foul and a south easterly gale whipped up mountainous waves, it was a different story and the narrow passage became a nightmare
Sandhills - By 1852 the East end of Newcastle and the harbour were filling with sand. Read about the proposed (environmentally friendly) solution to this problem in the Report on the Sandhills at Newcastle 1852