Home' Hunter Its People : Hunter Our Backyard June 2011 Contents Maitland
1Walka Water Works was built between 1879 and
1885 as part of the first water supply scheme
for Newcastle. It was the first permanent, clean
water supply and, at the time, the largest industrial
complex in the Hunter Valley. The works were
classified by the National Trust in 1976 and restored
and re-opened in the 1980s.
2A statue immortalising boxer Les Darcy was
erected in King Edward Park, East Maitland,
in 2000, financed through $90,000 in community
donations. This year $60,000 is expected to be spent
restoring the Darcy vault in East Maitland Catholic
Cemetery. North of Woodville School of Arts there's
also a small grove containing a memorial cairn to
Darcy, who was born there.
3The NSW State Emergency Service, now with
around 10,000 volunteer members, was set up in
response to the Maitland flood of 1955.
4At the corner of Church and High streets,
Maitland, is a relic from the past, a Blackboy
horse-hitching post from the United States made in
the 1880s and initially erected outside the post office
in 1886. It's been on the present site since 1892.
5Outside Maitland Visitors' Information Centre
in Ministers Park there are 15 telegraph poles
each reflecting on one of 15 major floods that have
wreaked havoc on Maitland. The poles record the
flood dates and flood levels.
6People are moving to Maitland from
other Hunter areas. Between the
2001 and 2006 Census, 2192 people
moved to Maitland from Newcastle,
while 1539 moved from Lake
7There were 16 births and 16
executions at Maitland Gaol (13
executions for murder and three for
rape) between 1843 and 1897. The
executions were by hanging and were
open to the public until 1861.
8Maitland is the world birthplace
of speedway racing, with the first
meeting at Maitland Showground on December 15,
9The first policy speech by an Australian Prime
Minister was made by Sir Edmund Barton at
West Maitland Town Hall in 1901.
10 The city has a slightly higher percentage of
people employed than the Hunter average.
Its labour force in 2006 was 28,766 people, of which
9372 were part-time (32.6 per cent) and 16,753 full
time (58.2 per cent).
11The woman on the Australian $5 note for
more than 20 years, Caroline Chisholm, ''the
immigrants' friend'', visited Maitland around 1842
and set up an immigrants home. The building
remains in Mill St.
12In 1835 Maitland had 18 pubs to Newcastle's
two, and in 1841 Maitland's population was
2768, about twice that of Newcastle.
13The Maitland Mercury, first issued on
January 7, 1843, as a weekly newspaper, is
Australia's oldest regional newspaper.
14 Thirty years ago yesterday the Hunter
Valley Training Company opened its doors,
and since then has trained more than 18,000
apprentices and trainees, its first 200 apprentices
helping build Bayswater power station.
15One of Australia's greatest cricketers, Charlie
Macartney, was born in West Maitland in 1886.
He was considered the best batsman in the world
from 1920 to 1926 and Bradman said he was the best
No 4 in history. He was elected to Cricket Australia's
Hall of Fame in 2007.
16 Between 1831 and 1841 when Morpeth (then
Green Hills) was a private town, visitors had
to pay a toll of a penny a person and a halfpenny per
vehicle wheel to enter the town.
17 Some 7.3 per cent of the Maitland population
earns an income of more than $2000 on an
individual basis, with 10.2 per cent of households
bringing in between $1000 and $1199.
18The oldest building in Maitland is believed to
be The Toll House, built by Samuel Clift after
he bought the land in 1826. It was later used for
toll collection over the bridge at Wallis Creek.
19 Almost half -- 43 per cent -- of
Maitland's employed residents, some
27,266, work in the city itself, while 23.5
per cent or 6417 travel to Newcastle and
much smaller numbers to Port Stephens
(1648), Cessnock (1441) Singleton (1325)
and Lake Macquarie (1267). A significant
number, 2945, travel to other areas apart
from Muswellbrook (208), Dungog (137),
Wyong (85) and Gosford (71).
20National Trust property Grossman
House, now a museum, features the
only operational gas lighting in a house in
public ownership in NSW.
Maitland is better known for heritage
buildings than natural wonders, although
Walka Water Works, as well as being a popular
picnic area, has a large lake with more than 300
species of birdlife.
There is one natural wonder Maitland shares
with the rest of the valley although it seems
more connected to the city than any other area:
the Hunter River. Along its 462 km journey from
three small streams in the Barrington Tops, the
river passes through Muswellbrook, Denman,
Singleton and Raymond Terrace before pouring
into the sea at Newcastle, but it is the river
and Maitland that seem to belong together. The
river's mud provides Maitland with its rich soil
but it also brings tragedy, including the 1955
flood, one of the most devastating in Australia's
history that killed 14 people and left 20,000
The river drains a basin of about 22,000 sq
km, collecting the waters of the Goulburn,
Williams and Paterson rivers and Wollombi
Brook among others, before its esturine mouth
forms one of the state's largest harbours in
The NSW Office of Water operates ''real time''
data sites along the river with the Greta station
the last downstream gauge at the tidal limit,
and at any time anyone with internet access
can see how much water is travelling past the
gauge. For example, at 3.30 pm on February
14 the Greta gauge was indicating a volume
of 226.6 megalitres per day flowing past. By
comparison, during the June, 2007, floods, the
gauge recorded just over 500,000 megalitres per
day at the flood's peak. That's the entire volume
of Sydney Harbour flowing past in one day. In
the 1955 flood, records indicate the total flood
volume for the entire river system was about
2,100,000 megalitres -- roughly one million
Olympic-size swimming pools.
In terms of a rough figure for annual average
discharge, the Australian Natural Resource
Atlas states that the Hunter discharges about
water per year.
On that figure
an average of
just over 4900
day makes its
way to the sea.
At Hunter Valley Grammar School
we believe that education is best
achieved in a caring, balanced and
values-based environment that
promotes a passion for life and
Our vision is to give students the
con dence needed to meet life s
challenges. We aim to empower
students to be the best they can be.
Hunter Valley Grammar School
is known for it s commitment to
excellence in education with the
right balance of sporting and
For further information
phone the registrar or email
NORFOLK ST ASHTONFIELD 2323
P 4934 2444
Holly Lawrence, 2011 Australian
Schoolgirl Single Scull Champion
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