FUN FACTS ABOUT NEWCASTLE AND SURROUNDS
• • • • • Newcastle: sporting as well as artistic.Four-time surfing world champion Mark Richards came from Newcastle – and the city has also produced more dancers for the Australian Ballet company that any other city in Australia. Fort Scratchley was originally a coal mine. In fact, it was Australia’s first coal mine and it was excavated by convict labour. The entrances to the mine were sealed when the fort was built in 1885. People have lived in Newcastle and surrounding areas for at least 6500 years. The original people here were the Awabakal, Worimi, Wonarua, Geawegal, Birrpai and Darkinjung tribes. Port Stephens has a bridge that sings. It crosses the Myall River and in a strong southwesterly, it acts like a wind harp. Virgin Australia has made it easier for Kiwis to access the Hunter Valley and Port Stephens regions with a new direct seasonal service from Auckland to Newcastle, starting on November 22. • • • • • Keep your eyes peeled for the northern brown bandicoot, a small native creature the size of a small rabbit. Its young are born just 12.5 days after conception. The Worimi Conservation Lands include over 25km of coastline, most of stunning Stockton Beach, which curves 32km from the Hunter River at Newcastle to Buribi Point in Anna Bay, Port Stephens. The first people to live in the Hunter Valley were the Wonnarua and Awabakal Aboriginal people who occupied the upper valley for at least 30,000 years. Europeans discovered the valley when they were looking for convicts, escaped from the penal colony at Newcastle. They named it Hunter Valley, for John Hunter the captain of the HMS Sirius, the flagship of the First Fleet. By 1823 about 20 acres of vineyards had already been planted on the northern banks of the Hunter River.