Lake Macquarie History

Wangi Wangi

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 word Wangi has been translated variously as water, night owl or dark green tree so that Wangi Wangi would mean place of much water, many night owls or many dark green trees. Early settlers and fishermen used the word to mean peninsula and Point Wollstonecroft was called "Little Wangi". Captain Dangar's 1826 sketch of the Lake marked Wangi Point as "Wonde Wonde". There is no explanation of the marked difference between spelling and pronunciation.

Aboriginal Occupation:

There was a campsite found in Wangi Wangi.

Early Land Grants:

In September 1829 Edward Gostwyck Cory of Paterson selected portion 38 of 560 acres, which covered the whole of the Point (Awaba Parish). It was granted in 1842.

Early Subdivision:

First subdivision D.P.8840 was declared on the 1/2/1916, being part of portion 38. Newcastle businessman D.R. Israel formed the Wangi Wangi Development Company and began to subdivide in1916. A reserve had already been declared over the area at the actual Point in 1 897. A 100 ft reserve was also placed on the entire foreshore. Early sales were mostly for weekenders. With the development of the Cessnock coalfield, Wangi became a popular Christmas camping spot for the miners. A tent city sprang up along the shore of the bay during December and January when the mines were closed. The Company continued to subdivide, although sales were slow during the Depression.

Early Settlers:

Cory did not develop Wangi as he already had large land holdings at Paterson. It became a haunt of cattle thieves because of the ease with which the cattle could be penned on the peninsula. D.R. Israel bought the land about the turn of the century. Until 1 916 a Chinese market garden, on the site of the Workers' Club, and a vineyard were the only permanent residences. There was a tollgate near Lakeview, where a 6 pence entry fee was charged.

Early Industries:

Tourism was developed by D.R. Israel, using his three ferries. There were three wharves: at Lake View, Wangi Wangi and Wangi East, and baths were constructed nearby. There was a guesthouse at Lake View.

Early Transport:

The few roads were so bad that most people caught the train to Toronto and the ferry to Wangi. There were three ferries: the Wangi Wangi, Wangi Pioneer and Wangi Queen, bringing provisions and passengers.

When roads were provided in the early twentieth century, they favoured communication with Cessnock rather than Newcastle. So Wangi became a favourite holiday area for Coalfields families. Albert Hawkins drove the first car, an Australian Six, to Wangi and needed four men to push it through Stockyard Creek.

A bus service to Toronto began in the late 1930's.

First PostOffice:

Opened on 19 April 1923.

First School:

Opened as a provisional public school in September 1920.


During the Depression many people lived in tents and shacks at Wangi, eking out the dole with fish and rabbits. Wangi Power Station was begun after World War II by the Railways Department and completed by the Electricity Commission in 1958. In 1954 a branch line connected the Power Station with Awaba State Mine but this is now disused. Wangi's three stacks are approx 250 ft high.

The artist Sir William Dobell moved to his family's weekender at Wangi in 1945 after winning the Archibald Prize and subsequent court case his painting 'Storm Approaching Wangi' won the Wynne Prize for landscape in 1948. He made it his home until his death in 1970. The house is now a museum.




Lake Macquarie (N.S.W.). Planning Department 1974, Wangi Wangi planning district : report of the Shire Planner to the meeting of the Planning Committee, Lake Macquarie Shire Council, Boolaroo, N.S.W.

Dobell, William, Sir & Gleeson, James, 1915-2008 1964, William Dobell, Thames and Hudson, London

Streets in Wangi Wangi