Lake Macquarie History

Forty Years at Fishing Point

Jeanette Campbell

We moved into our house at Fishing Point (then in Lake Macquarie Shire) seventeen months after we were married. It was 13th December 1975. I remember the date as it was Federal Election Day after Gough Whitlam had been dismissed. We had purchased the old house for $18,000, paying $129 a month off our loan with Newcastle Permanent – it was very hard to find that money.

photo: house at sealand avenue fishing point

Although I was a girl from southwestern NSW, my husband's roots were in the Hunter. His great great grandfather, Archibald Scott had emigrated from the County of Durham, a mining area in "the old country" in 1887. His first known address was Winding Creek, Fassifern. The location seems obscure as "Winding Creek" goes through Cardiff and was the name of that area until it was changed to Cardiff in 1889. Fassifern Station opened in 1888, the year before Winding Creek (Cardiff) Station. Maybe the address was really Winding Creek via Fassifern. Archibald would most probably have worked one of the nearby mines.

At the time of our marriage, my husband's family lived at Marmong Point. My husband had completed a carpentry apprenticeship at Civic Railway Workshops (starting off at $16 a week) and later transferred to Sydney where he and I met. He then brought me back to Lake Macquarie.

When we moved into our house there were vacant blocks either side, behind us and in front of us. There was a tiny free-standing Realty office near where the boat ramp is now as land sales in the subdivision behind us progressed - their advert proclaimed "Every day's a holiday at Fishing Point". There was a General Store on the corner at Rathmines (where the café is now), a Post Office/newsagent in the next building (now between the café and Westlakes Medical Centre) and the service station. That was our local commercial centre. A year or so later Dr Bruce McArthur commenced his medical practice in Sealand Rd. To fill prescriptions we had to go into Toronto until Rathmines Pharmacy opened in new shops in 1981.

Merrions Bakery delivered our bread. Milk was delivered in the re-usable glass bottles (silver tops for pasteurised; red tops if we also wanted it homogenised). We always put the money out with the empty bottles and it was never stolen. Bill the fruito sold fresh produce from his ute once or twice a week and his wife was the Avon lady. Ash floated into our gutters from Wangi Wangi Power Station until Eraring came on line in the 1980’s. (When Wangi was commissioned back in 1958 it was the largest power station in NSW).

We had a septic system but the 'night cart' would clang along the street in the middle of the night to empty the pans of those less fortunate.

A house was soon built next door and our new neighbours moved in. Our children grew up together. Untamed backyards were jungles for small boys. They raced their little plastic bikes down our driveway and veered off onto the front grass just before they went out onto the road – somehow we never worried that they would end up under a car. They walked freely between both homes without fences to impede them. One day I went next door to get our son for lunch to find that our neighbour thought that both boys were at our place. How long had they been missing? Concern mounted – had they wandered down to the lake? Were they both floating face down? We were frantically planning our search when a lady came driving slowly around the corner. There we saw our sons in her car. She told us they had walked into her tent where her family were camped on their recently purchased block. They had trekked with bare feet over scrubby land and crossed roads, thankfully with few cars. The lady asked them where they lived. Our neighbour's son, who was six months older than our son, but still only 3, declared "Speers Point". This quick-thinking lady knew that was not possible and tried Fishing Point instead. So, the day ended happily, except for when their battered feet were plunged into the bath.

We have remained in the same house, gradually renovating over the years, next door to the same neighbours. Those two boys, and our second son, all married Lake Macquarie girls, and now have children of their own. There's nowhere else we'd rather be.