Lake Macquarie History


Name Origin:

Aboriginal word meaning "place of many flies".

European History

Early Land Grants:

Government grant of 1280 acres (Portion 10) (Kahibah Parish) to William Brooks on 16 May 1839. This grant extended from the railway line at Cockle Creek down Cockle Creek to the lake, along the shore of the lake to Fairfax Road and then north to join the railway again in the vicinity of the Cardiff Railway Workshops. Brooks had selected the land in 1829. By 1886 the land was owned by Sir James Fairfax. Two subdivisions occured in the 1890's and in February 1900, Thomas James Thompson purchased all the vacant land from Sir James Fairfax.

Early Subdivisions:

D.P.3494; "Boolaroo Estate" subdivision, which was declared on 8 October 1896, formed part of Portion 10. This subdivision lay on either side of Lake View Road and was bounded by First and Seventh Streets.D.P.3655; the second "Township of Boolaroo" subdivision of Brook's grant was surveyed in September and declared in October of 1899. Main Road, Creek Road, First Street and Seventh Street were the boundaries of this subdivision.In 1902 another subdivision created lots fronting the main road and what are now Council and Albert Streets. The vendor was the Sulphide Corporation.

Early European Settlers:

When Stockton Borehole Mine was opened in 1886 men came to work there and lived in tents and bag huts behind the present Police Station. Boolaroo began to develop in the 1890's and at the turn of the century the family names of the area included: - Ebbeck, Mitchell, Howell, Bliss, Frith, Johnson, Shaw, Odgers, Wardley, Cressey, Hawkins, Gilbert, Denham, Briggs, Coventry and Rees.

Early Industries:

The transport and construction firm of G. Hawkins and Sons was founded in 1896 by George Hawkins. It was managed by his son Albert Hawkins from 1914 until 1980. A sawmill owned by Mr. Finlay was built about the turn of the century on the Boolaroo side of Watkins Bridge.

Early Transport:

In 1896 Boolaroo consisted of bullock tracks and a few houses. All cartage was done by bullock teams and horses and carts. Private buses began to run to Broadmeadow in 1931.


The Boolaroo platform landing was brought into use on 14/5/1942 for the convenience of miners and others at the Stockton Borehole Colliery.

First Post Office:

On I March 1901 an official post office was opened at Boolaroo.

First School:

Provisional school opened 1897, and attendance in the first month averaged 22 pupils. It was opened as a public school in July 1900. Boolaroo Evening School opened only during 1927.


Mr. T. Frith established the first shop (a grocery store) in Main Road, Boolaroo, in 1898. The firm of G. Hawkins and Sons was founded in 1896. Its principal work at that time was the cartage of the material for the construction of the Sulphide Corporation works.The First Fire Brigade began duty in 1910.The first bank (Bank of NSW) opened in July 1937.Watkins Bridge was built in 1899 and crossed Cockle Creek from First Street. The approach was later changed to Second Street. It was named after Davey Watkins, state M.P. for Wallsend in 1894,1895 and 1898, who was elected to the first Commonwealth Parliament for the Division of Newcastle in 1901. The new Watkins Bridge was built in 1973 over the Five Islands.The first soccer club was formed in 1912. In 1920 electric light for houses and streets was supplied by the Sulphide Corporation. In 1926 the supply of electricity was taken over by Newcastle Council.

Water Supply:





Boolaroo School 1975, Seventy-fifth Anniversary, Boolaroo, N.S.W.

Campbell, Jeanette 1983, A glimpse of the past : a short history of the Boolaroo Baptist Church, J. Campbell, [Boolaroo, N.S.W.]

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.]

Watt, Joyce 1985, Albert George Hawkins, B.E.M., a biography and the Hawkins Masonic Village, Joyce Watt, Abermain, N.S.W (2018). Extract - Geographical Names Board of NSW. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Sep. 2018].

Streets in Boolaroo

Acknowledgement of Country

We remember and respect the Ancestors who cared for and nurtured this Country. It is in their footsteps that we travel these lands and waters. Lake Macquarie City Council acknowledges the Awabakal people and Elders past, present and future.

Council acknowledges traditional custodians throughout Australia. We commit to listening deeply to and collaborating with First Peoples in our work.

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