Lake Macquarie History

Warners Bay

Name Origin:

Named after Jonathan Warner, the first settler.

Early Land Grants:

Jonathan Warner, a retired army lieutenant was granted Portion 11 of 1280 acres in 1839. Parish of Kahibah.

Early Subdivisions:

In August 1840 Warner subdivided part of his grant, advertising it as allotments constituting the township of Lymington (his hometown in England). The colony was in the grip of a land boom which collapsed soon after into the depression and Lymington remained unsold. It was Lake Macquarie's second subdivision, the first being Newport at Eraring. In 1855 a second attempt was made to sell the Lymington lots but was again unsuccessful and it was not until the third attempt in 1885 that some lots were sold. In 1878 "Biddaba" and its orange orchard were advertised for sale as Lot 1 plus 6 other lots and 679 acres of land but does not seem to have been sold.

On 5/3/1927 a subdivision D.P.14751 was declared. It encompassed James, Mills and Beryl Streets. In spite of numerous subdivisions Warners Bay developed slowly during the first half of the 20th century and it was not until the end of petrol rationing and the widespread use of the private car that it became a popular residential area.

Early Settlers:

Warner selected his land in July 1829 and was authorized to take possession on 8 February 1831. He was a disbanded officer from the New South Wales Royal Veteran Battalion. He had also been Assistant Surveyor of Roads and Bridges in the Wiseman's ferry district and had been sent to check a proposed road from the Hawkesbury to Maitland via Lake Macquarie. He built a two-storey weatherboard house called "Biddaba" ("silent resting place") on a hill near the present Warners Bay Primary School and established a farm and orange orchard. He had a number of assigned convicts to work on the farm, besides his sons. In 1833 he was appointed Police Magistrate for Brisbane Water, which involved fortnightly horseback journeys to Gosford to attend court sittings. He died in 1842, leaving his widow to manage the estate. The orchard was a showplace as late as 1870 and visitors came from Newcastle to see it. The Warner homestead was demolished about 1932.

Early Industries:

The Warner family had a small coal mine in the form of a tunnel on the waterfront below their house, the coal being taken away by boat from a jetty there. A second tunnel had been dug for coal in a gully near the homestead but it was uneconomic because of the difficulty of transporting the coal to the waterfront.

In 1883 a company headed by Hyde, Waterhouse and Cowlishaw leased the Warner estate from the surviving heirs with the intention of drilling a third tunnel but the project does not seem to have materialized.

On 24/7/1884 Archibald Gardiner notified the closure of the Warners Estate mine on behalf of the South Wallsend Coal Co.

Early Transport:

By water or horse. Jonathan Warner made his fortnightly joumeys to Brisbane Water on horseback accompanied by two of his sons for safety. There was a horse and dray track to Newcastle, used for farm produce. In 1931 a private bus service operated from Speers Point to Broadmeadow via Warners Bay and Charlestown. This was converted to a government service in 1937 and extended to Newcastle.

Railway:

A railway was planned for Warners Bay but never established. The park between King and Queen Streets was the land left vacant for it.

First Post Office:

Opened as a non-official post office on 1 January 1927. Prior to its official opening it acted as a receiving office.

First School:

Opened as a provisional school in July 1892. It became a public school in April 1904. The school was called "Warner" until November 1913. Warners Bay High School was opened in January 1966.

Town:

The shopping centre expanded rapidly after 1980. The Council created a reserve along the edge of the Bay by filling and it is now a landscaped park. There is a large industrial area along the Hillsborough and Cardiff Roads.

Water Supply:

1929.

Sewerage:

1955.

Streets in Warners Bay