Lake Macquarie History

How We Grew - the 1880s

photo: first swansea bridge

The Lake Macquarie Improvement Association was formed in 1883 for the purpose of promoting the development of the Lake's resources. It included a number of well-known business men, who in August of that year organised a field day inspection of potential mining sites around the lake and inspection of the works at the heads. The day enticed many business people from Sydney and Newcastle with a view to ascertaining the potential for establishing business in the area.

The start of construction of the rail line from Homebush to Waratah in 1881, and the continuation of the mining boom began a large period of growth for Lake Macquarie. There was a huge need for timber sleepers and this bought an influx of workers to the Western side of the lake. New villiages and towns sprang up, and shops and hotels were established.

Wyee became a railway construction depot, and quarries were established at Teralba to provide the ballast needed for the tracks.

On the eastern side of the lake, much activity was happening at Swansea with the a pilot station being built at the heads in 1884 and the first bridge across the channel opening in 1886.


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.]

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.]

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.

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