Culture and heritage

Maritime heritage

Hunter Valley

MAP - NSW maritime heritage sites

In the nineteenth century, the fertile plains of the Lower Hunter River quickly developed as a centre for timber, farming and dairying. The discovery of massive deposits of coal in the Hunter Valley then turned the region turned into a mining and industrial heavyweight. It held this position well into the second half of the twentieth century. The Hunter became the main source of coal for the entire Pacific Rim. At the mouth of the river, Newcastle was unmatched for shipping tonnage, arrivals and departures.

For many years the river was the chief means of transport. Shipping took coal and other goods to and from Sydney market and overseas markets. However, coming into or going out of the harbour was often a nightmare. Despite extensive harbour works, the infamous Oyster Bank made the entrance to the Hunter River one of the most treacherous on the coast. There are around 400 shipwrecks near the entrance to Newcastle Harbour.

Page last updated: 31 August 2012