Port Stephens is a large natural harbor located about 160 kilometers (99 mi) north-east of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia.
An idyllic coastal Paradise where the emphasis is on pleasure. From the fabulous scenery typified by volcanic peaks along the coastline to crystal clear bays fringed by golden sand, Port Stephens has lots to offer.
Captain James Cook in the Endeavour, sighted the entrance on 11th May 1770 and named the bay after the Secretary of the Admiralty. It was first entered in 1791 by the British ship “Salamander” from the Third Fleet, and surveyed in 1795 by Charles Grimes.
Later that same year, Captain W.R. Broughton turned the HMS Providence into Port Stephens and was shocked to find five whites living with the Worimi. These turned out to be five convicts who had escaped from Parramatta, which lies near Sydney. They had shipwrecked at Port Stephens in 1790. They were welcomed into the tribe by the Worimi, who gave them wives and took them along on their wanderings.
Port Stephens was a haven for convicts escaping from Sydney. This led to the establishment of a garrison in 1820, which today is known as Soldiers Point. The area continued to grow throughout the 1800s.
Early shipping of timber and wool to Sydney commenced in 1816 with Capt Corlette in his 62 ton cutter “Lambton”. The Australian Agriculture Company carried produce from the hinterland to North Arm Cove from 1824, and there was a timber mill at Winda Woppa. They operated “Karua”, one of the first steamers in Australia. Whalers were frequent visitors.
Port Macquarie is a large town on the mid-North Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Port Macquarie was named by John Oxley after the governor of NSW, Lachlan Macquarie in 1818. The Hastings river was named after the governor general of India at around the same time. Although the area had been first noticed by Captain Cook on his voyage along the coast in 1770 and again later by Matthew Flinders in 1802, it was not explored in any detail until Oxley returned in 1819. Macquarie initiated Oxley’s expedition as he was interested in the sites potential as a penal settlement.
The penal settlement would be established in 1821 under Captain Francis Allman who landed at the “town green” at the top of what is now Clarence Street. Captain Allman immediately began directing the 60 convicts sent to establish the settlement, to clear the area of trees and begin farming in order to become self-sufficient. Timber supplies further south near Newcastle where dwindling providing further impetus to the clearing.
Sugar Cane was first grown in Australia on the site by a prisoner from the West Indies and a sugar mill was established in 1824. The penal settlement endured into the early 1840′s after the area was opened up to free settlers in 1830. After being hard hit by the depression in 1840 and the final relocation of the remaining convict labor in 1847, the settlement began declining.
The town began to recover in the early 1860′s upon the arrival of pastoralism and by the 1880′s the town had a Catholic Church, a bank, a newspaper and local government was formed in 1887. The North Coast Railway passed by Port Macquarie in 1910 changing the way goods were transported marking the end of the town’s harbor traffic. Throughout the 1960′s the town experienced rapid growth and its popularity as a holiday spot was beginning to manifest. Today the town has more than 40,000 residents and is a popular tourist destination and the old buildings that remain are a testament to the towns colorful history.