Lake Macquarie History

Bonnells Bay

The City Council of Lake Macquarie acknowledge the Aboriginal people known today as the Awabakal, as the traditional Custodians of the land, respecting Aboriginal Elders past, present and future. Lake Macquarie City Council recognise the local Aboriginal community today in all of their diversity, who came forward to share their experiences, knowledge, images and memories.

Name Origin:

The Bonnell family were early settlers in the area. The area was originally called Scarborough. The public school was also going to be called Scarborough but the Education Department wouldn't allow it as there was already a public school called Scarborough on the south coast of NSW. The school was then called Morisset East but in 1948 the name was changed to Bonnells Bay Provisional School following a submission from the teacher in charge, John Constable. The local telephone exchange was also called Bonnells Bay. In 1967 The Geographical Names Board of NSW changed the name of the suburb from Scarborough to Bonnells Bay so the school and suburb names were aligned.

Early Land Grants:

Portions 24 (50 acres), 25 (42 acres), 35 (40 acres), 37 (40 acres), and 41 (40 acres) (Morisset Parish). Granted to William Laing, Thomas Brooks and Charles Sweetland, jointly, on 5 June 1884.

Early Subdivisions:

D.P.1996, private subdivision for "Village of Scarborough" of portions 24, 25, 35, 37 and 41. This subdivision, which was declared 26 November 1886, was bounded by Albert, Brooks, Dailey, St. Clair, Stewart and William Streets, and Grand Parade. Unsuccessful in 1887, it was re-advertised after World War II, when many lots were sold and a small shopping centre grew up. Development was slow until the building of Eraring Power Station in the 1980's when there was an influx of population and many new homes were built.

First School:

Provisional school opened January 1912. Public school from June 1912 until December 1938. Reverted to provisional school May 1942 until April 1955. Opened as a public school in May 1955. The school was known as Morisset East until September 1948.


Bonnells Bay once had a rough racecourse at which picnic races were held.

Water Supply:



Nilson, Laurie & Leis, Susan & Noble, Rodney & Lake Macquarie (N.S.W.). Council 1985, Lake Macquarie : past and present, Lake Macquarie City Council, [Boolaroo, N.S.W.]

Saxon, Doug 2012, Bonnells Bay Public School (formerly Morriset East) : celebrating the centenary 1912-2012, Doug Saxon, Fishing Point, NSW

Geographical Names Board of NSW. (2018). Extract - Geographical Names Board of NSW. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Sep. 2018].

Streets in Bonnells Bay