Lake Macquarie History

Blackalls Park

Name Origin:

Named after Tom Blackall, a Newcastle dentist, whose father had purchased E.C.G. Chapman's estate on the promontory which became the park. The father, W. Blackall, was a chemist with a shop at 36-38 Hunter Street, Newcastle. He lived at the Lake and travelled to work by train, our earliest commuter.

Aboriginal Occupation:

At the head of Blackalls Bay a large number of petrified tree trunks stood in the water. This was the petrified forest, called by the aborigines "Kurra Kurran": men turned into stone. Most of the tree trunks have now been removed and some may be seen in a fence in Venetia Avenue, Blackalls Park.

Early Land Grants:

Parish of Awaba. Prior to 1870, Chapman and Lyster (or Leicester) had taken up 200 acres adjoining Ebenezer on the western side of Stony (Stoney) Creek. Their farm was known as "Terzeny Park". Later it became known as Sunderland and eventually a part of Blackalls. The area on the eastern side of the railway line was granted to E. C. G. Chapman.

Early Subdivisions:

D.P. 1097, "Sunderland", surveyed 11/5/1883, 564 allotments, encompassing Crown, Faucett, Michael, Foyle, King, Queen, Coronation, Ada, Nicholson, Burleigh, High and Bridge Streets. This was part of old Terzeny Park. Tom Blackall subdivided Portion 15 in 1915. This comprised North Parade, Bay View Avenue, Blackall Avenue and Park Avenue.

Early Settlers:

Mr. Chapman prior to 1870. Mr. Lester (Leicester, Lyster) prior to 1870. Mr. Blackall, Mr. Riesbeck, Mr. Forsyth, Mr. Steel, Mr. Donaldson.

Early Industries:

Chapman and Lyster's farm grew potatoes, millet, arrowroot, sorghum and the castor oil plant. Unsuccessful crops: Wheat, maize, grapes, orange orchard. To supplement farm income three other industries were developed: fish curing, broom manufacture and goat breeding. The brooms were made from fibre of the native lily. In 1870 Chapman's farm had 50 goats, contained on a small island, probably at the mouth of Stony (Stoney) Creek.

Railway:

In 1889 the Excelsior Company secured permission to construct a private tramway from Fassifern to Toronto. It was opened on 2/8/1891. The Government acquired the line in 1910, and relaid the rails and upgraded equipment. A regular service operated through to Newcastle from 1911.

First Post Office:

Opened under the name of 'Blackall's Platform' on 2 April 1923. It was renamed 'Blackalls Park' on 1 October 1954.

First School:

Agitation for a school in 1921 failed because of lack of numbers. Another move in 1952 was successful. An infants section was started in the Park Hall, with Miss Coco as first teacher (in January 1953). The primary school was formed in the same hall in 1954, with Mr. McNeil as the principal. The whole school was transferred to the new building in that year with Mr. C. Northam as principal.

Town:

Even in the 1920s, the village was mostly bush and unformed roads, with homes dotted about. For many years it was the venue of large picnics, and the playground of the lake for churches, unions and sporting organisations.

Sewerage:

The Stony (Stoney) Creek area was sewered in 1942 and this was extended in 1963.

Streets in Blackalls Park