Lake Macquarie History

Gateshead

Name Origin:

It is possible that Mr W.T. Verge, the first surveyor of the area, named the suburb in 1876. The name would have been taken from Gateshead in the county of Durham, near Newcastle-on-Tyne.

Early Land Grants:

Portion 64 (Kahibah Parish) of 60 acres bought by Sidney Casey in 1851, at one pound an acre. Mr. Alex Lindsay of Darby Street, Newcastle, later obtained the land.

Early Subdivisions:

D.P.299, encompassed Goundry, Jamieson, O'Brien, Sydney, Casey, Oxford, Heshbon and Church Streets. On 21 October 1876 Mr. J.C. Bonarius conducted an unsuccessful auction. In 1884 another unsuccessful subdivision sale was held. A second sale, of about half of this land, was conducted in the early 1900's.

This sale may have been organised by Alex Lindsay. It is known that in 1905 Lindsay had a land auction, at which Andrew Jennings bought 17 half acre lots for 5 guineas an acre. This land was later subdivided into quarter acre blocks valued at six pound, eight shillings each.

Early Settlers:

The families of Bums and Brokman who arrived in 1887, were among the earliest settlers. Later the Kirrin family settled in what is now known as Heshbon Street. The Cains and Creeces settled prior to 1895. The Seidenkamp and Fitzsimmon families arrived in 1896. In 1897 the Warners arrived.

Early Industries:

During the 1800's timber workers lived temporarily in the area. Farming was an early industry. In the first decade of the 1900's Mr. T. Inglis operated an orchard and dairy at the Windale turn-off; Mr. W. Jennings grew fruit trees in Heshbon Street and Mr. McNicholl owned a poultry farm. Other early farms included Mr. West's orchard and Mr. Presbury's Church Street orchard.

In 1917 the "Wattle Glen Colliery" both opened and closed. This mine was situated within the Waratah Colliery holding. It was owned by the Date Brothers of Adamstown. Many men walked through the bush to the Burwood and Dudley mines.

A number of small mines were started during the depression by unemployed local men. These mines usually delivered about two tons of coal each day, at a selling price of about 11 pounds- a ton. During the 1930's rabbits were trapped on the present site of the Metro Drive In. The Drive In opened on 18 February 1958.

Early Transport:

Prior to the turn of the century transport to Newcastle was most commonly by horse-drawn bus.

After 1918 a bus service ran to Swansea. The Pacific Highway to Sydney opened in 1920 and was completed in 1930. In 1937 a government bus service to Newcastle commenced. From 1942-46 buses terminated at Broadmeadow due to wartime petrol shortages.

First Post Office:

Opened 1 March 1946, at the comer of Main Road and Sydney Street; on the premises of the Armitage family. During World War II post office transactions included petrol ticket applications and War Savings Certificates. Gateshead West post office opened 1 October 1965.

First School:

Gateshead Public School opened September 1950. Prior to this date students went to school at Charlestown. Gateshead High School opened January 1959. Gateshead West Public School opened January 1967.

Town:

In 1877 Mr. W.T. Verge produced a design for the town. Little development occurred during the nineteenth century. By 1910 there were only three houses. Drinking water from Merewether was brought by Mr. Jennings. John Young - the slaughter man delivered meat and bread. Groceries were delivered by Sheedy's of Adamstown in a horse and cart. Papers, mail and food could also be obtained from Charlestown.

By 1929 there were seven houses at Gateshead. During the 1930's Gateshead was mainly a collection of two to three acre farms. Water was used from tanks, or taken from springs which were once located at Bulls Garden Road, Running Creek and old Belmont Road. These springs now form part of the creek. Although the Pacific Highway was completed during the early 1930's most Gateshead roads remained unpaved. A small shop began selling produce from Milroy's farm.

In 1934 the Emergency Relief Scheme constructed drains and cleared streets to provide work during the Depression. During the war there was an army camp on the site of the present Gateshead High School.

In 1945 the Housing Commission took possession of some houses (located on Schroder Avenue and the Crescent) which had been used by the Army during the war. Seventy more houses were completed and occupied between 1948 and 1950.

Sewerage:

1961.

Population:

By 1945 one hundred and thirty adults were residing in the town.

Further Reading:

An Australian Post Office History: Sydney, Department of Posts and Telegraphs, no date.

Streets in Gateshead