Lake Macquarie History

Wyee

Name Origin:

Place of bushfires. Also spelt Wyhee in early days. When the railway opened in 1887 the station was called "Norahville" after the nearest coastal village but was soon changed to Wyee, the name used locally.

Aboriginal Occupation:

There was a campsite at Wyee Point.

Early Land Grants:

Thomas Walker was granted 1120 and 640 acres in 1839 but never took up residence and failed to make any improvements, so the grant reverted to the Crown (Morisset Parish).

Early Subdivisions:

An early subdivision of Wyee Point was called Ramsgate but it was unsuccessful and the name fell into disuse.

Early Settlers:

In November 1835 John Moore, a property owner of Avoca Beach east of Gosford, had constructed a stockyard to collect about 200 head of cattle that were running wild. Two of Moore's assigned servants built a hut beside the stockyard. However, Moore was convicted of cattle stealing the following year. One of the assigned servants (convicts) was Joseph Frost, who later took up land near Cooranbong. The track from Wyong to Dora Creek and Maitland led through Wyee and a branch track went out to Lake Macquarie around Chain Valley Bay. A settler named William Forster owned a dairy farm in the area but he had left by 1860. At this time the only residents were the Freemans: James and his son. Their hut and stockyard were situated between Wyee Creek and Mannering Creek, they sold cattle but did not hold title to the land.

From the Freemans' hut a track led to a small wharf at the head of navigation on Wyee Creek, where a boat was kept. E. H. Hargraves of Norahville (the gold discoverer) had a waterfront block and wharf at The Hole (now filled in by Vales Point Power Station ash). Timber was shipped from the wharf.

Early Industries:

In 1874 a large steam sawmill was built on the lake at Wyee Point. This belonged to a Mr. Wakefield who had contracted to extend the northern railway from Murrurundi to Tamworth and needed large quantities of sleepers. A large wharf was built near the mill and a lighter was built at Brisbane Water to take the sleepers out of the lake. Joseph Lancaster was the manager and by 1875 it was employing 60 men and turning out about 40,000 ft of timber weekly. The opening of the mill drew a small resident population and some selections were taken up along the lake shore.

Most of the mill hands preferred to live near Cooranbong.

Transport:

By horse and dray over the various tracks to Wyong, Dora Creek or the lake, or by boat from Wyee Creek.

Railway:

The railway from Sydney to Newcastle passed through Wyee and a station was opened in 1887. Itwas named Norahville after Sir Edward Hargraves' home on the coast but in 1888 the name was changed to Wyee.

First Post Office:

Opened on 16 May 1890.

First School:

In 1878 the residents built a school and employed a teacher at their own expense. It closed in 1883. In May 1879 a government provisional school was opened. It became a public school from February 1886 until July 1887. In May 1890 it again opened as a provision school, in October 1892 it was raised to public school status. During the 1880's the school's name was also spelt, "Whyee".

Town:

When the railway was under construction the contractors established a depot at Wyee and many navvies arrived. Some remained when the construction gangs moved on and the village developed, being proclaimed a town on 22nd August 1891. The construction of Vales Point Power Station led to a similar expansion of the town in the 1960's and the electrification of the line between Sydney and Newcastle in 1984 gave the residents good transport.

Bethshan Holiness Mission was founded in 1908 by Mr. and Mrs. E.J. Rien and Miss Wood, all of local landholding families.

Further Reading:

An Historical Tour of Wyong and District by F.C. Bennett. Wyong, Wyong Shire Historical Society, 1969.

Streets in Wyee