Lake Macquarie History

Speers Point

Name Origin:

Named after William Speer who purchased 1280 acres there in 1870. The aborigines had called the spot Milloba or Biddaba and the original grantee Brooks had named his property Lochend but these names were forgotten while Speers' name remained.

Early Land Grants:

William Brooks selected 1280 acres in 1828 (Kahibah Parish). He did not receive the title deeds to his grant until 18 3 9. The grant was on the eastern bank of Cockle Creek and encompassed the present day townships of Boolaroo and Speers Point. He called it Lochend. William Speer (also known as Spier or Spear) a wealthy business man and an alderman from Sydney acquired part of Brooks' 1280 acres in 1870. Speers' section stretched from the present Main Road down to Fairfax Road and his residence was erected near the comer of Main Road and Park Road. i.e. opposite the present Council Administration Centre.

Early Subdivisions:

The first subdivision was in 1902 and created allotments bounded by Main Road, Council Street, Albert Street, Lakeview Street and the Esplanade. Further subdivisions followed from the first to Fairfax Road, and in 1912 a subdivision occurred which joined Speers Point with Boolaroo between Council and Seventh Streets.

Early Settlers:

The earliest known settler was R. Sadleir who occupied the land before Brooks took up the grant. William Brooks selected his grant in 1828 but did not receive the title deeds until 1839. In 1887 a Mr. Ryan, the manager of Speer's estate was the only resident in the area.

Early Industries:

In 1843 Mr. Brooks opened the Lochend Colliery and began mining coal at the foot of the hills at the top end of the present Hopkins Street. The coal was carried by trolleys on a line to a jetty at Speers Point. In 1916 T.D.H. Rhodes opened the Speers Point Gully mine. Soon after 1870 William Speer built a dairy. Prior to 1874 a citrus orchard was cultivated near the lakeside.

Early Transport:

Steam trams were introduced in 1912 but ceased in 1930 for financial reasons. This service connected to the Newcastle-West Wallsend tramlinc at Brush Creek (Edgeworth). In 1920 Harry Linsley began a ferry service by rowing-boat across Cockle Creek. He had lost a leg at Passchendaele in France in 1917. He expanded his service to include ferries and hire boats. A footbridge over the Creek was built in 1928.

A private bus service commenced in 1931. It was not allowed to go further than Broadmeadow, where it met the trams.

In 1937 the government bus service took over and operated two routes from Speers Point to Newcastle: one through Cardiff and one through Charlestown. In 1938 a bus service to heavy industries at Port Waratah was inaugurated.

First Post Office:

Opened on 2 October 1916 and closed 8 October 1976. The first postmaster is unknown but various members of the Oughton family were in charge until 1940.

First School:

Public school opened in January 1957. Speers Point East public school was opened in January 1959.

Town:

The winner of the first Sydney to Hobart yacht race, a 35 foot cutter named "Rani", was built just after the second world war at Speers Point by Les Steel. The present park site at Speers Point was originally applied for in 1887 by a Mr. E. Abell. The park was vested in the Wallsend and Plattsburg Councils until 19 10 when it was transferred to the Lake Macquarie Council. It was used particularly by coal miners and their families on Eight Hour Day picnics and regatta days.

The Lake Macquarie Council Chambers moved from Cardiff to the comer of Main Road and Council Streets Speers Point in 1915. These offices were used until 1955 when they moved to a new building on the comer of Main Road and Park Road Speers Point. The current Administration Centre was completed in two stages and occupied in 1977 and 1979 respectively.

Sewerage:

1945.

Further Reading:


Yachting in Australia by Lou d'Alpuget. Richmond, Vic., Hutchinson, 1980.

Streets in Speers Point