Lake Macquarie History

Eraring

Name Origin:

Aboriginal for "that which gleams or glitters".

Early Land Grants:

Percy Simpson's grant of 7th April 1838 (Coorumbung Parish) covered Eraring. He had originally chosen a different area but, through a surveyor's error this had been allocated to someone else and Eraring was given to Simpson instead. He already had 2,000 acres at Cooranbong and complained that the Eraring land was useless. He was in financial difficulties and sold his grant the same year that he received it:1838.

Early Subdivision:

Simpson's grant passed through several hands before Mr. Smart of Sydney bought it and subdivided it in 1840 as the town of Newport. The first subdivision is believed to have been along the northern shore of Lake Eraring and later it was extended as far as Dora Creek. An advertising campaign in the Sydney papers sold many lots, some to speculators who re-sold, some to settlers. The paddle steamer "Kangaroo" was used to show prospective buyers the site.

In 1910 the Excelsior Land Co. sold farming blocks at Eraring. D.P.6747, which showed a subdivison of part of Portion 86, was declared 28 March 1912. Streets formed included Foreshore, Macleay, Border, Cross and North Streets, and Point Piper and Rocky Point Roads.

Early Settlers:

The small ship "Ann" brought some of these settlers to Newport. They usually engaged in agriculture or timber-getting and by 1843 Newport had a hotel. But Newport stagnated during the Depression of the 1840's. The new road from Gosford to Maitland failed to materialise, rust ruined the wheat crop, and growers did not as hoped, bring their wool to the "new port". Only a few residents remained as subsistence farmers and fishermen.

Early Industries:

Eraring remained a backwater while industries developed at Dora Creek and Cooranbong. After 1910 settlers worked market gardens and planted orchards.

Early Transport By water or horse and dray until the opening of Dora Creek station in 1889.

Second Subdivision and Settlement In 1910 the Excelsior Land Co. resubdivided Eraring into small farm blocks. James Simpson bought a waterfront block. He was no relation to Percy Simpson who had the original grant. His brother-in-law, Dr. Leighton Jones, bought his property when he died and became famous as the Monkey Doctor because he conducted rejuvenation operations using monkey glands. The operations were done at a private hospital in Morisset and the monkeys were kept at the Eraring house. This was during the late 1930's and early 1940's.

The new settlers supported themselves growing vegetables and planting orchards. After 1928 a truck took the vegetables to Newcastle markets. After World War I the Council declined to repair the roads so the settlers did it themselves, grading them with a homemade grader pulled by horses. The first car arrived in 1925. The electric light was connected in 1936.

First Post Office:

It operated as a receiving office until its status was raised to a non-official post office, on 1 January 1927. This office closed 30 November 1973.

First School:

Public School opened in January 1924.

Town:

In the 1960's Eraringwas suggested es the site for apowerstation because ofthe availability of land and the proximity of the lake for cooling water. The decision to go ahead was made in 1973 and construction began in 1975. It was finished on 17 April 1984. It cost $1653 million and has a capacity of 2640 MW. The construction workforce was 2,300 in 1981, the permanent staff approximately 600. Operating at full capacity, the station would consume 6.5 million tonnes of coal p.a. It is supplied with coal by 4 collieries:

Cooranbong, Myuna, Awaba and Newstan. The first two use conveyor belts, the other two truck the coal in. During construction, many components came by the "old road" to Eraring, being floated up Swansea Channel and towed across the lake. It has two stacks 200 m high.

In 1981 the station was sold to a consortium of 13 companies operating as Eraring Power Company for 1653 million dollars. The power station did not turn Eraring into a town but into an island, almost cut off by Lake Eraring to the south, the new highway with its flyover to the west, and the outlet canal for the cooling water to the north.

In the 1920's most of the population had been farmers but because there was insufficient good quality land for commercial agriculture, after World War II the younger generation took advantage of better roads and car ownership to seek employment elsewhere and many moved away altogether. The building of the power station brought an influx of workers but few settled in Eraring as the State Electricity Commission bought much of the area for the station and its buffer zone.

Water Supply:

1941.

Further Reading:

Eraring Public School 1924-1984. Eraring, 60th Anniversary Committee, 1984.

Streets in Eraring