Lake Macquarie History

Reid's Mistake : the early history of Lake Macquarie by Keith Clouten

Reids mistakes : the early history of Lake Macquarie by Keith Clouten

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.

Lake Macquarie City library would like to express our gratitude to author Keith H. Clouten for granting permission to digitise and share his definitive history of Lake Macquarie, Reid's Mistake, with the wider community. Mr Clouten, comes from a family long associated with the Lake Macquarie district. He spent two years on the staff of the Mitchell Library, Sydney before taking up a position as the Librarian of the Avondale College at Cooranbong. Keith currently resides in Canada.

reid's mistake

Reids Mistake contains the first reliable and connected account of the early years of european settlement in the Lake Macquarie region.

The story is presented in two parts. The first part covers the unusual story of white discovery of the lake in 1800 by William Reid, and goes on to record the early explorers, surveyors, pioneer settlers, convicts and bushrangers.

The second part traces the commercial development of Lake Macquarie following the gold rush period. Coal and timber and were the key items of trade and the Lake played a vital role in the transport of these commodities. The shallow entrance to the Lake presented a problem to shipping, and the story of ships wrecked, sailors lives lost and frustrated entrepreneurs is graphically told.

The story concludes with the building of the northern railway just prior to 1890, this event brought remarkable changes in the pattern of transport, industry and population, ushering in the present era at Lake Macquarie.

(The jacket sketch, an imaginative rendering of the entrance channel to Lake Macquarie by Sir William Dobell, is reproduced by courtesy of the artist. "As an artist belonging to the Lake Macquarie area, I was very happy to do this illustration" said Sir William.)


Clouten, Keith 1967, Reid's mistake : the story of Lake Macquarie from its discovery until 1890, Lake Macquarie Shire Council, [Speers Point, N.S.W.]