Newcastle is at the mouth of the Hunter River about 150 km north of Sydney in the Hunter Valley region. Newcastle is the seventh largest city in Australia and is the largest city which is not a state or federal capital. It has a population of approximately 300,000. Newcastle was founded on 30th March 1804 as a penal settlement, so has a selection of buildings old by Australian standards, as well as beaches, surf, impressive coastal scenery, bush land and a well-known lake. It is also an important port, especially for the export of coal, of which resource some 70 million tonnes passes through the city annually.
Newcastle is very popular for it's great beaches.They are mostly located on the eastern side of the city with Newcastle Beach being the main beach in the area. The Ocean Baths are manmade and are an enclosed swimming area. Nobby's Beach is near the baths and is a popular swimming and sunbathing beach. Mereweather Beach, just south of Newcastle has great surfing conditions.
This is a swimming hole cut in the natural rock, at the order of Commandant Morisset in 1819. Originally it was his private swimming place, but it became a public pool in 1863. The term ‘Bogey' Hole is evidently derived from the aboriginal word for bathing.
Located just to the east of the railway station, this building is recognizable for its clock tower with a time ball on top. Since Customs House was constructed in 1876, the ball was dropped every day at 13:00 as a visual time signal. However, since the earthquake it has not worked properly. The building is now used as a pub and restaurant. Next to it is the old Paymaster's Office for New South Wales Government Railways, dating from 1879. It also is now a restaurant.
Convict Lumber Yards
This is the oldest surviving example of a convict industrial site. It was in operation between 1814 and 1846. Moreover, beneath it is an aboriginal site which dates back several thousands of years.
Foreshore Park ,
This area used to be railway yards, but now has been transformed into a park, with the old warehouses used as shops and restaurants.
This fort was constructed in 1882, because of fears of a Russian invasion. However, its first and only action occurred on 7th June 1942, when a Japanese submarine arrived and fired 24 shots at Newcastle Fort Scratchley fired two rounds in reply before the submarine disappeared.The fort is now a Maritime and Military Museum. Beyond the fort is the Breakwater constructed by convict labour to protect the port.
A large saltwater lake with parks on the shores.
Newcastle Regional Museum
With almost 5000 works of art the Newcastle Regional Art Gallery is one of Australia's leading regional art galleries. 1 Laman Street, Newcastle (02 4974 5100).
This is a great way to take in the inner city historical sights, the tram departs from the railway station hourly and is a 45minute ride. (02 4963 7954).
King Edward Park
Given to the city in 1865, but renamed later after the monarch of the time. This park overlooks the ocean.