Lake Macquarie City is widely known for its spectacular beaches and pristine lake; maybe it is time to discover why Lake Macquarie is also for history lovers.
Lake Macquarie has numerous historic places, but how do you sift through them all to find the stories that interest you? You hit the trails and get to know your City through these top 10 historic sites and stories.
Sweeping views of Lake Macquarie and Newcastle – Historical, Mount Sugarloaf was an important teaching and ceremonial place for the people of Awaba, as it provided a vantage point over the whole region. Location: Mount Sugarloaf Road, West Wallsend.
Wander ‘The Golden Mile’ – West Wallsend township was founded on coal mining, with is first mine opening in 1888. Location: The ‘Golden Mile’ is now Withers Street, West Wallsend. Grab a coffee at colourful Colliery Park café and read up on the local history at the interpretive panel found just up the road.
Nature reserve with an industrial past – Green point takes its name from ‘The Green Hills Coal Works’ which operated there in the 1860s. Today it is one of the City’s most treasured green spaces, a nature reserve full of bushland, walking trails and secluded picnic spots. Location: Parking located off The Shores Way, Belmont.
Heritage by the ocean – The small beach community of Redhead is home to several notable historic sites, including the Redhead Shark Tower, constructed during the Great Depression, and Lambton Colliery, site of Australia’s, first fully mechanised mine. Location: Redhead Shark Tower is located on Redhead Beach, off Beach Road. View Lambton Colliery on the corner of Collier Street and Geraldton Drive.
Walk or cycle the heritage rail route – Adamstown to Belmont train line opened in the early 1890s and for years was used to transport coal from numerous Lake Macquarie mines to the port of Newcastle. The train line closed completely in 1991 and was disused until it was redeveloped into the Fernleigh Track we know today. Location: The Fernleigh Track’s southern point is located on Railway Parade, Belmont.
The stories of Swansea Heads – The name ‘Reids Mistake Head’ comes from 1800, when Captain William Reid erroneously sailed into Lake Macquarie believing it was the Hunter River. Location: End of Lambton Parade, Swansea Heads.
Character-filled, heritage listed coastal mining village – Named after an 1867 shipwreck, Catherine Hill Bay township was born when coal mining commenced in the area in 1873. The Wallarah Hotel (now Catho Pub) has existed on the same site since 1874 and became famous in the 1970s as the first pub in Australia with an Aboriginal Licensee. Location: Catho Pub, 24 Clarke Street, Catherine Hill Bay.
Explore Lake Macquarie’s wartime history – The most intact example of an RAAF WWII seaplane base in Australia, Rathmines, is significant through its association with notable WWII events including the Battle of the Coral Sea, and synonymous with the Catalina, one of the most successful flying boats ever produced. Location: 1 Stilling Street, Rathmines.
An historic holiday destination – One of the oldest buildings in town, Toronto Hotel has been called the birthplace of Toronto. Following the opening of the Hotel and Pleasure Grounds in 1887, Toronto became a popular day-trip destination for Novocastrians. Location: 74 Victory Parade, Toronto.
Experience Lake Macquarie 250 years ago – With the power of virtual reality, you can now journey back in time to when the people of Awaba (Lake Macquarie), traditional owners of this land, were the sole inhabitants of the region. Access the experiences via headset at Lake Macquarie City Gallery and Swansea Library.
To download a map of the sites, visit lakemactrails.com.au/creative-lake.