There are a lot of historical landmarks and villages to explore in the Port Stephens Area:
First settlement of the Australian Agricultural Company which was set up in 1824 to "produce wool of the finest quality in New South Wales for the markets of Great Britain ...". By 1830 Carrington had a population of 500 and a school for 50 children. This was the first school built in Port Stephens. Port Stephens' first hospital was also situated at Carrington. Site of the former Holy Trinity Anglican Church, the first church in Port Stephens - built by convicts from stone, cemented with lime obtained from oyster shells, and with cedar fittings (later used as a youth hostel). The oldest grave in the cemetery at Carrington dates back to 1837. The general layout of Carrington is much the same today as it was in the past. Site of memorial to William Cromarty erected by A.A. Co. The A.A. Co. was also responsible for establishing vineyards at Carrington and the first wine was successfully produced in 1831. Hawks Nest. Supposedly named because of the hawks that nested in a large tree used as navigational marker.
Legges Camp Guest House
The two storied guest house was completed in 1927. Much of the timber for the guest house was salvaged from the sunken drogher, 'Bellbird'. Provided accommodation for 70 people, who came to the Myall Lakes for game hunting and fishing. The 29k track to Big Gibber and Seal Rocks was constructed between 1934 and 1936 by Harry Legge and his sons, Ron and Allan. The track was created without destroying trees.
This was the name given to the coastal rain forests which once contained cedar. Still remaining are paper barks, cabbage palms and red gums. The Mungo Brush Regatta commenced in 1909, a three day social event for the people of the lakes with visitors coming from Sydney, Newcastle and elsewhere.
Aboriginal word meaning 'wild'. Aboriginal shell middens occur frequently along the coast and on Broughton Island. Excavation has revealed the bones of dingoes and macropods as well as fishbones, shells and implements. Human skeletons have also been found. White settlement reduced the Aboriginal population. There was a substantial timber trade on the lakes. Cedar trade commenced in 1816 and was well established by the early 1820s. In the early 20th Century the residents of the Myall Lakes could travel only by water. Supplies were brought in by the storeboat "Nepean" travelling from Tea Gardens around the lakes. The vessel carried food, medicine, clothing, hardware etc. Mining for mineral sands commenced in the late 1960s. In 1972 Myall Lakes National Park, a small area on the eastern side of Myall Lakes, was established. Mined areas were revegetated. The national Park was extended in 1976 to include the western side of the lakes. All sand mining in the National Park ceased in 1983.
North Arm Cove
The site for Walter Burley Griffin's great city (the New York of Australia), planned in the expectation that Port Stephens would become the main seaport for New South Wales. The land was purchased by Henry F. Haloran, land developer and surveyor, but the city never eventuated. Plans for the city show two railway stations, a business district, Federal and State office sites, a factory district, car parks, wharves, parks and playgrounds. The subdivision commenced in 1918, the outline of which can still be seen from the air.
Aboriginal name meaning 'Black Possum'. The site was proposed for the development of Pindimar City as a port for overseas shipping in 1918. Pindimar was also the suggested site of a naval base for the Pacific Fleet by Admiral of the Fleet, Viscount Jellicoe, in 1919. The proposed city was designed by W. Scott Griffiths and covered an area of 7000 acres. Plans for the development included farming lots for returned soldiers, a railway link, industrial and educational zones, a cathedral, golf links and cemeteries. The proposal was later rejected and the city never eventuated. A shark catching and processing station opened in 1927 and was later converted into an ice factory.
Originally built of sandstock brick in 1826 for Robert Dawson, the first manager of the Aust. Ag. Co. and home to the first four commissioners of the A.A. Co. The house was destroyed by fire in 1860. The Hon. R.H.D. White, a Sydney stockbroker, purchased Tahlee in 1880 and built a new residence on the remains of old, utilising the remaining walls. The home featured a beautiful garden, ball room and tennis courts and was the centre of extravagant hospitality, entertainment and general carousing. The boat harbour at Tahlee was originally built by convicts.
Tanilba House c1831 is the oldest original home in Port Stephens. Tanilba is an indigenous word and means "Place of white flowers", presumably due to the many flannel flowers that originally covered the peninsula. Tanilba House was built by convicts for Lieutenant William Caswell who retired from the English navy. Arriving with his young wife Susan in 1829, he took possession of a 50 acre land grant in 1831 and romantically set out to build his wife, and many children, a comfortable and impressive home.
Chinese gardeners tried unsuccessfully to grow tea here in the time of the Aust. Ag. Co. It later became a shipping point for cedar from the Myall River and Lakes area. The site of lime kilns used for the burning of shells from aboriginal middens.