Lake Macquarie History


Name Origin:

Cardiff was originally known as Winding Creek, a creek which had its source in the Cardiff Valley near Tickhole Railway Tunnel and winds its way down on the southern side of the railway through Cardiff and Edgeworth until it reaches Cockle Creek.

With the arrival of coal mining in the area it became known as Lymington after one of the mines owned by Jonathan Warner (Lymington in Hampshire was Warner's birthplace). The name Lymington kept being confused with Flemington by postal authorities, so another name change was suggested. A number of Welsh people lived in the area and a Mr. Edwards - who was originally from Cardiff, Wales - suggested this name and it was adopted in 1889 . Cardiff South was also known as Evelien .

European History

Early Land Grants:

Joseph Weller granted Portion 24 of 2560 acres at "Amersham" in 1833. Weller selected this portion in 1830. Later, but before 1869, this grant was transferred to the Wallsend Coal Company.

Portion 33 Michael McNamara 4/3/1862, 100 acres.

Portion 34 Michael McNamara 4/3/1862, 100 acres.

Portion 35 John Lorey 11/3/1862, 50 acres. Transferred to Samuel Quintral in 1875.

Portion 36 Samuel Quintral 11/3/1862, 100 acres.

Portion 37 Shadrach Morgan 4/3/1862, 60 acres.

Portion 38 Peter Honson 4/3/1862, 100 acres.

Portion 39 Barnett Lambourne (Barney Larnbert) 11/3/1862, 40 acres. Transferred to Vincent Stone.

Portion 85a Thomas Phillips 22/l/1863, 82.5 acres. Transferred to James Edwards on 18/5/1868, to John Edwards in 1891 and then to Margaret Edwards in 1901.

Portion 86 John Jones 22/3/1863, 40 acres.

Portion 89 Michael Quinn 30/4/1862, 80 acres.

Portion 90 Michael Quinn 7/8/1862, 50 acres.

Although these applications were made as early as 1862, none of the selections were surveyed before 1863. They were then re-surveyed in 1869. All portions are in parish of Kahibah.

Early Subdivisions:

The first was D.P.196, known as "Coalbrook" in what is now Cardiff South, bounded by 1st and 5th streets. It was part of Shadrach Morgan's original grant of 60 acres and was divided in October 1875.

D.P.343 was known as "Jonestown", bounded by Elizabeth and Fifth and Sixth Streets, April 1876. This was part of John Jones' original grant, now part of Cardiff South. The remainder of "Coalbrook" was divided in 1887 and was bounded by Second, Middle and Pine Streets. This was also part of Shadrach Morgan's original grant.

Early European Settlers:

In 1883, when a decision was made to extend the railway, a navvies camp was set up near Winding Creek (the early name for Cardiff). MacNamara, Quintrell (Quintral) and Hanson (Honson) were among the first to commence work on the railway.

Among the early orchardists were Peatties, Cherry, Rowe, Briggs, Honson, Edwards, Jones, McLean, Hopkins, Longworth, Webster, Jackson, Gibson and James.

Early Industries:

Cardiff was a coal mining centre with four main collieries - Cardiff, Cardiff Borehole, Lymington and Myall. Borehole and Lymington had branch railway lines. Myall took its coal to the railway in horsedrawn carts.

While the men were at work in the mines their wives and children often tended and harvested the crops, and took them to Newcastle by horse and cart.

Early Cardiff was noted for its fruit growing, especially peaches and plums. Poultry farming was an early industry.

During the Depression of the 1930's 8 small pits operated: Tickhole, Austral, Rosebank, Ajax, Jubilee, Rising Sun, Hillside and the old Myall Extended, which was reopened. An opencut operated during World War II and closed in 1947. Lake Macquarie Shire Council had its offices in Cardiff from 1906 until 1915.

The N.S.W. Government Railway Works were re-located from Honeysuckle Station (Newcastle) to a site near Cardiff in 1928. Repairs to rolling stock were carried out and locomotives constructed until the introduction of the diesel. After this the workforce fell from a peak of 1,915 in 1947 to 600 in the 1970's. A special feature of the Workshops was a "shop committee" which had representatives from all unions.

Early Transport:

In the early days produce grown in Cardiff was transported to Newcastle by horse and cart via the Main Road, a track that followed the ridges over what is now known as New Lambton Heights. In 1931 a private bus service operated to Broadmeadow. In 1937 it was merged with a new government bus service from Newcastle to Speers Point via Cardiff (Route 4). In 1938 a direct bus service to heavy industries at Port Waratah was instituted. From 1942-46 buses once again met the trams at Broadmeadow and did not go into the city to save petrol during the war.


Construction of the railway began in 1883, and was completed in 1887. The first Cardiff railway station, known as Winding Creek, was opened in 1888.

It was renamed Cardiff in February 1889. The original line was found to be too steep and a deviation was constructed and completed by June 1902. A new station was built on the deviation in 1904.

First Post Office:

First opened on 16 July 1891 at the office of the timekeeper of South Wallsend Coal Co., a Mr. Duthie. He became the first postmaster. Cardiff Heights' office operated as a receiving office before being raised to a non official post office on 1 January 1927. This office closed 31 December 1976. Cardiff South post office was known as 'Ulinga' until 18 December 1930.

First School:

The Public School opened in July 1891 in a Methodist Church rented by the Education Department. A more permanent building was provided in 1897 on land purchased from the Wallsend Coal Company. Cardiff High School opened in January 1962. Cardiff North opened as an Infants School in September 1956. It became a Public School in January 1968. Cardiff South opened as an Infants School in January 1952. It became a Public School in January 1953.


Cardiff developed as a residential area for workers in the heavy industries and the Cardiff Workshops because it had good transport and land was not expensive.


An Urban Area Committee was formed for Cardiff in 1947, consisting of 5 members, who met monthly to attend to necessary work on the roads and bridges. In 1951 there were 6 members: Mr. Fordham (Chairman), Mr. Williams (Secretary) and Messrs Hobson, Emanuel, McInnes and Rainor. The committee had administrative power in Cardiff and received a percentage of the rates collected by the Lake Macquarie Council.

Water Supply:

1922 and extended 1927.




1891-200 persons.

1911-145 homes and 667 persons.

1921-313 homes and 1522 persons. Including Cardiff Heights.

1933-881 homes and 3843 persons. Including Cardiff Heights.

1947-1160 homes and 4755 persons. Including Cardiff Heights.


Andrews, Brian John & Coal Services Pty Ltd 2011, Coal mines of NSW, Coal Services Pty Ltd, [Sydney]

Edwards, Lorraine 1984, Cardiff : early photographs, L. Edwards, [Cardiff, N.S.W.]

Preston, R. G. (Ronald George) 1999, A great place to work : the Cardiff Workshops story, Orion Fine Arts, Strathfield, 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.]

1947 'Cardiff West Against Urban Area', Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954), 14 March, p. 6. , viewed 10 Sep 2018,

1951 '£8000 For Works At Cardiff', Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954), 19 December, p. 6. , viewed 10 Sep 2018,

Streets in Cardiff

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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