Lake Macquarie History


The City Council of Lake Macquarie acknowledge the Aboriginal people known today as the Awabakal, as the traditional Custodians of the land, respecting Aboriginal Elders past, present and future. Lake Macquarie City Council recognise the local Aboriginal community today in all of their diversity, who came forward to share their experiences, knowledge, images and memories.

Name Origin:

The district was known as Teralba until April 1891 when the name Barnsley was adopted for the school. Early settler David Johnson's property was called "Barnsley", probably named for the town in the coalmining district of Yorkshire, England, approx. 20 km from Wakefield.

Aboriginal Occupation:

Some Awabakal aborigines were known to have been in the area in the earliest days of white settlement. Axe sharpening grooves have been found on Cockle Creek. These grooves are usually found in groups in the sandstone creek beds.

Early Land Grants:

Parish Teralba. Captain James St. John Ranclaud held the first grant near Barnsley but it reverted to the Crown on his death in 1832. Portion 40, David Johnson, 55 acres. Portion 41, Duncan Cherry, 60 acres, 8/8/1865. Portion 56, Duncan Cherry, 40 acres, 20/3/1871. Portion 57, granted to J.C. Bonarius, 40 acres, 7/12/1880. This land, which was previously designated as Portion 30, had been selected by A. Brown, and was called "Highgate". Portion 58, Thomas Gray, 40 acres, 22/2/1875. Portion 62, W. Kerr Lockhead, 10 acres, 1 1/9/1863. Portion 32, C. Outram, 53 acres. This portion number is no longer in use, due to portion number re-allocation. Portions 41, 56,57, 58 and 62 make up the present town.

Early Settlers:

The family of Captain Ranclaud arrived circa 1829. Their house was probably sited on the southern side of what is now Barnsley, near Sandy (or Burke's) Creek, at the northern boundary of their estate. There was a dray track to Wallsend. Ranclaud named the property "Trialba". When he died on 30th May, 1832, his family moved to Sydney. After 1861 a small number of settlers secured parcels of land in the district. Among them were William Johnson, Duncan Cherry and Job Morgan. The Johnson family have a private cemetery at Barnsley.

Early Subdivisions:

D.P.63 1, "Plan of Highgate being a subdivision of portion 57", surveyed 25/2/1880 by T. Verge. This subdivision was bounded by Flaggy Creek, George Street, Thomas Street, and both sides of the Northville Road.

D.P.774, a subdivision of portion 41 into two lots, was declared 8/2/1882. This land was bounded by Government Road, Cockle (or Sandy) Creek, and Flaggy Creek. Lot I was later subdivided as D.P. 1 145.

D.P.872, 15/7/1882; includes Macquarie and Codrington Streets. Related to Portion 56.

D.P. 1 145, surveyed 16/8/1882, 290 allotments called "Bramcote". Related to Portion 41.

About 1890 Mr. J.C. Bonarius had tried to float a coal mining company known as Central Wallsend and had subdivided the adjoining area naming it Barnsley.

Early Industries:

Orchards, dairy farms, and vegetable farms were typical of the area.

Early Transport:

By foot or on horseback. The road connecting Brisbane Water and Cooranbong with Wallsend ran through this area but at Barnsley a branch road led north to Minmi and on to East Maitland.

First Post Office:

Opened I July 1907.

First School:

Public school opened on 15 December 1865 (on Duncan Cherry's property) and closed in November 1873. It reopened in January 1876. This school was known as "Teralba" until 13 April 1891, when its name was changed to Barnsley.

Water Supply:



Census 1911 - 50 Homes and 216 persons.


Lake Macquarie (N.S.W.). Council 1985, Lake Macquarie : past and present, Lake Macquarie City Council, [Boolaroo, N.S.W.]

Streets in Barnsley