Lake Macquarie History

A history of Belmont Lagoon

Fresh insights on a natural asset in Lake Macquarie City, NSW

Edited by Grahame Feletti, PhD

This study developed from a desire to understand ecological data about Belmont Lagoon wetlands, a habitat for over 120 resident or migratory bird species and a natural asset in suburban Lake Macquarie. Further curiosity led to recognition of the integral part the lagoon played in the life and culture of its custodians, the Awabakal, its mapping by colonial surveyors, and its modification and exploitation since that period. Inevitably this search was simplified by reviewing data from several perspectives. A final goal emerged; to clarify the geological classification and likely origin of this natural asset.

Results of this study are presented within three nominal timespans, in reverse chronological order. The most recent period, 1920-2019, is reviewed first because it provides more reliable information about this lagoon's environmental status and importance in helping to protect Lake Macquarie. This period also includes social history on the impact of early industrial development - coal, sand and mineral mining, and timber-milling - near the site. The second period, from 1820-1919, begins with the 'accidental discovery' of Lake Macquarie and it's natural resources which led to mapping the area for colonial settlement. The third and less precise timespan is that before 1820. This includes insights and cultural wisdom from Aboriginal custodians, and geological maps of the Quaternary Period and research models on coastal formation. Each timespan raises anomalies in attempting to identify the likely formation of Belmont Lagoon, but integrating different perspectives gives us a clearer picture.

1920 - 2019

1820 - 1919

Time before 1820