Home' Hunter Its People : Hunter Our Backyard June 2011 Contents 35
1Kurri Kurri is believed to be Aboriginal for the ''very
first'', as Kurri was the first planned town in NSW.
2Almost half (47 per cent) of the Cessnock City
population lives in Cessnock or Kurri Kurri.
3Pokolbin may be a wine drinkers paradise now, but
the origin of the word is believed to be German,
meaning ''hell'' or ''hell hole''.
4The Richmond Vale Railway Museum, four
kilometres south of Kurri Kurri, was formed in 1979
to preserve the railway and mining heritage of J&A
Brown and the Hunter. It's at the old Richmond Main
Colliery where trains run the first three Sundays of each
month and every Sunday during school holidays. It's
closed in December.
5The top 10 overseas birth places of Cessnock
residents are the United Kingdom (1334), New
Zealand (382), Germany (197), Netherlands (85),
Philippines (85), China, (49), USA (48), South Africa (37),
Austria (36) and Italy (36).
6Sections of the Great North Road, built by 3000
convicts between 1826 and 1834, can still be seen
in the area but the road, the largest job in the colony at
that time, was obsolete on completion as the nine-day
land trip was reduced to 12 hours by the steamship
7Manufacturing is the top employment industry in the
area with 2512 employees followed by the retail trade
(2338) and health care and social assistance (1885).
8 One of the bloodiest events in Australian industrial
history took place at Rothbury in 1929 when police
fired into thousands of miners protesting against scab
labour during a lockout. Miner Norman Brown was shot
dead and nine others were hit. A monument to what is
now known as the Rothbury Riots is at North Rothbury.
The site of the riot is home of the Hunter Valley Railway
Trust, containing locomotives, rail memorabilia, buses
and road vehicles, and a rail museum with one of the
most extensive railway carriage collections in the
9Spion Kop, at Kurri Kurri, is named after the
famous Second Boer War battle in 1900 where an
8000-strong South African force defeated a 30,000-strong
British force. Mahatma Gandhi was a stretcher bearer at
10 Vignerons from Rothbury cannot use the name
on products because beverage giant Fosters has
the right to trademark it, despite selling its vineyard in
the area. Because of the Rothbury ban winemakers have
applied to trademark other area names such as Belford
and Mount View.
11At Bucketty -- part in Cessnock and part on the
Central Coast -- stands Koolang Astronomical
Observatory with one of the largest public access telescopes
in NSW. The observatory has a Space Science Centre filled
with displays. It's open every night but with no limits up to
a full house of 50 on Friday and Saturday nights.
12 The annual Abermain Eisteddfod is the oldest in
NSW and celebrates its 94th year this year. The
schools section is now held at Mount View High School
in August with the rest at the Plaza Hall, Abermain, in
the September/October holidays.
13 A total of 5751 people in the Cessnock LGA are
paying off their homes with the highest number in
the $950 to $1199 a month payment bracket.
14 The Heddon Greta Drive-in is one of only two
drive-in theatres operating in NSW. Originally
opened by Greater Union in 1967 it closed twice in the
mid 1980s to early 1990s until being reopened in 1996.
It's open Friday and Saturday evenings during school
terms and seven nights during holidays. Yes, they do say
if you don't like the movie you can slash the seats.
15 The most common weekly housing rental in the
area is $140 to $179.
16 Dr Jurd's Jungle Juice is the infamous invention
of locally born Mel Jurd, who purchased the
Wollombi Wine Saloon in 1957. Legend has it that he
saved the leftovers from the night before and put them
in a single container, which became jungle juice. It's still
available at Wollombi Tavern.
17 Apart from English, German is the most common
language spoken at home in the Cessnock area,
followed by Cantonese and Italian.
18 Anglican is the area's most common religion
(15,163) followed by Catholic (10,107) and Uniting
19 One of the state's great tourist attractions, Hunter
Valley Gardens, covers more than 300 hectares
at Pokolbin with 10 feature gardens. The gardens took
four years to build and contain 8000 roses, a 10-metre
waterfall, eight kilometres of walking track, 6000 trees,
one million ground covers and 600,000 shrubs. It won
the best significant tourist attraction in NSW in 2004,
'05 and '06 and went into the hall of fame in 2007.
20 Pioneer vigneron Audrey Wilkinson took over
the Oakdale property at Pokolbin, planted by his
father in 1866, when he was only 15 and ran it until he
died in his 80s, but he was a life-long teetotaller and
never tasted the wine he produced.
BY THE NUMBERS
1 The number of coal mines left in the Cessnock coalfields that once had more than 40 mines. Last mine
standing is the underground Austar mine about 10 km from Cessnock on Wollombi Rd, which has been
operating since 1916.
2 The world championship darts finals lost by Cessnock-born Simon ''The Wizard'' Whitlock, runner up in
the BDO world championship in 2008 and the PDC world title in 2010, the only player never to have won a
title after reaching the finals of both.
3 The number of times Cessnock's Andrew Johns won the Dally M award as the NRL's best player -- 1998,
1999 and 2002. He also won the Golden Boot award as the best player in the world in 1999 and 2001.
4 The number of Rs in Kurri Kurri, where a mural project begun in 2003 to get people to stop in town instead
of just passing through, now has 52 paintings. In the spirit of Where's Wally, each mural has the symbol
of Kurri Kurri, a kookaburra, in it somewhere. Coach groups now arrive to look at the paintings and there are
guided mural tours seven days a week. There's a book, Kurri Kurri -- A Town Of Murals, published in 2006 that
covers the first 38 murals.
5 The number of times Harry Littlefair tried to enlist for World War I before he was successful. Littlefair
was one of 70 Neath miners who volunteered to fight and left his miner's lamp for safekeeping at Neath
Hotel before he went off to France where he was killed in 1918. The lamp is lit every year on ANZAC Day in his
Murals: One of Kurri
Kurri's 52 murals
on the wall of the
494-498 Pacific Hwy
Cnr Baker St & Maitland Rd
6 Alfred Cl
Offer valid from 28/05/11 to 31/07/11 at listed stores while stocks last. Excludes 4WD, light truck, fleet, government or trade customers.
^Minor service available at Mayfield & Belmont stores only. Some 4wd, luxury cars and 8 cylinder cars may incur a surcharge.
- Grease & oil change
(up to 5 litres oil)
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205-207 Maitland Rd
9 Hartley Dr
40 Wermol St
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