Lake Macquarie History

Natural resources

Westies are resourceful people. The small and relatively remote townships of West Wallsend, Stockrington, Seahampton, Estelville, O’Donnelltown, Killingworth, Ladysmith, Mafeking, Rhondda, Wakefield, Holmesville and Barnsley gained and suffered through boom and bust economic cycles. Westies thrived, endured and built strong interdependent communities through these experiences.

Westies were small scale farmers. They grew food in their backyards, made and made do. They helped each other. Women and children worked. Their labour was necessary for both the smooth running of households and many businesses. Dairy production called for physical strength and endurance. Everyday tasks like keeping food cool using evaporating water technologies and trapping insect pests with sugar water created constant work.

Cleared lands, creeks and the slopes of Sugarloaf were alive with resources. Westy is surrounded by bushland. Wild rabbit, or underground mutton, and fish from Salty Creek fed many Westies in lean years. Powered mills, pit sawing operations and individual efforts provided timber for buildings, furniture and pit props.

Children trapped small birds for sale and to keep as pets in backyard aviaries. Native red browed and double barred finches endemic to local bushland were popular pets. Children collected mushrooms, blackberries and other wild grown foods in season.

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.

Council acknowledges traditional custodians throughout Australia. We commit to listening deeply to and collaborating with First Peoples in our work.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website and Council's cultural collections may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material.

This website may contain place names, opinions and terms that reflect authors' views or those of the period in which the item was written or recorded. These may not be considered appropriate today.

If you experience any issues with the website or its content please contact us [email protected]