Home' Hunter Its People : Hunter Our Backyard June 2011 Contents 33
buggy ride through
the vines, a
friendly town several times in tidy town competitions,'' she says.
''We are a picturesque place, particularly with the backdrop of the
Brokenback Range, but it is the common touch that we have here.
Everyone is very supportive of each other. They rally in times of crises.''
Davey believes that ''whatever you want'' is available and that while the
area is ''rural in nature, it has big city advantages''.
''This place is fabulous because you can get everything you need if you
try. It is all here,'' she says. ''The town has more for young people than
most other places, because we have all the sports from archery to football
and netball, church youth clubs, music and drama classes and a skate
''There is a diverse range of activitvies and we have very good quality
''If you work hard you can get a good education.''
The tourism industry has brought with it plenty of work for locals,
as has Kurri Kurri's Hydro Aluminium, a smelter which employs 700
workers and 3000 indirectly.
The centrally located position of the city also means people can travel to
other centres for work.
About 8787 people - or 48.9 per cent of the population - work within the
city, while 7479 or 41.6 per cent travel to other locations, including the
mines at Singleton and the Upper Hunter and industries in
Newcastle and Maitland.
The process of moving from a prosperous mining town during the first
half of the 20th century to a wine centre of world-wide repute over the last
30 years has not been without its problems.
It has been a time fraught with concern over jobs, rapid development
and a distinct change in culture, but the city has weathered the storm
attracting big name developments and visitors, not the least of which was
US television talk show host Oprah Winfrey's entourage late last year.
Pokolbin vigneron Brian McGuigan, an Australian Medal recipient and
more recently named as a Hunter Valley Living Legend, says the area is
an exciting place to be and one that he and his wife Fay are pleased to call
''Fay and I live in Pokolbin, which is halfway between Cessnock and
Singleton, and we just love it here,'' he says.
''This region has so many aspects to it. In the first place I guess we are
with nature. We live basically in the bush but then we have viticulture.
We have all that grazing, but then we are within close proximity to rural
towns and close to cities. There are great benefits in a very short distance.
''We have the best coastal regions in the world, coupled with all that
''It is comfortable for us. We were born here and we know it backwards
and we love the people, because the people have made our lives. They have
been supportive with all our endeavours, be it with wine, health or just
McGuigan has been at the forefront of the Australian wine industry for
more than 40 years, and says the entire Hunter is an exciting area to be in
because it is a mixture of industrial, business, manufacturing, mining and
fishing and it has one of the biggest ports in the world.
''Because of the F3 we are part of the metropolis of Sydney,'' he says. ''We
live only two hours 20 minutes from there. We enjoy the best of it, but can
escape the worst.
''It is clean, spectacular, tidy and overriding it all is that it is the safest
area in the world. It is easy to live with safety and take it for granted until
you go to other countries to see what issues they are faced with. We are
The town, which was once only known for its coal mines and for having
very little infrastructure, continues to evolve at a rapid rate. It is now
better known as the gateway to the vineyards of the Hunter Valley, and
buildings and amenities are being planned and developed almost at a
There is something for everyone and coupled with its central location,
easy going style and ability to nurture talent, it makes it an appealing
place, not just to live, but to live well.
It is a little bit of magic as a sunset turns the
sky purple and some of the world's greatest
entertainers take the stage in a Cessnock wine
The massive concerts, which can attract between
8000 to 19,000 people, are a relative newcomer
to the vineyard scene but are growing in star
power and popularity every year.
They are also highly profitable for the region,
an estimated $13 million flowing into the area in
just one weekend when Fleetwood Mac played in
Stars who have played the vineyards in recent
years include Elton John, Tom Jones, Neil
Diamond, Whitney Houston, The Who, Eric
Clapton, Rod Stewart, The Beach Boys, Simply
Red, Blondie, Lionel Richie, James Taylor and
Carole King, The Pretenders, Matchbox 20, Paul
Kelly and Jimmy Barnes.
Named in 1848
after a town in
the first MP for
MULBRING Has two native
meanings, ''big mountain'' or
''where wild mulberries grow''.
Named because a flour
mill operated there.
Aboriginal for ''meeting
of two waters'' as it's
the junction of two
arms of a brook.
Conveniently located on the highway at East Maitland
107 NEWCASTLE ROAD
Market leaders in profile and
marketing fine heritage homes,
rural and riverfronts as well as
an extensive client base for all
levels of residential property.
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