Lake Macquarie History

Freemans Waterhole

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.

In 1860, the only residents near Wyee were James and Mary Ann Freeman and their 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 Freeman's hut, a track led to a small wharf on Wyee Creek

Mandalong School closed on December 1947 and the building was removed to Sunnywood (Freemans Waterhole) in 1953. Sunnywood Provisional School opened in 1953 and was changed to a public school in 1957. In 1980 Sunnywood School closed (Source: "Government Schools of NSW From 1848").

Freemans Waterhole was the name given to the intersection of Old Maitland Road, also known as the Gap Road, bringing the traffic from the north and south and Palmers Road from western Lake Macquarie. Well known to motorists at the time, as a rest stop, its popularity grew. Picnic facilities, toilets and an Information Centre were established, as well as the Oak Restaurant, a service station, mining museum, Dairy Farmers restaurant. A music shell for concerts had been built and weekend markets were also held there. Tame wallabies and an old railway locomotive could be found in the park area.

The council renamed Old Maitland Road as Freemans Drive, notified in the Newcastle Morning Herald in 23 October 1975. After the F3 Freeway was completed in 1987 the use of Freemans Waterhole as a rest area soon declined. Heatonville, a one-time timber settlement was just south of The Gap, now officially known as Freemans Waterhole. (Source: Tumblebee Number 1, February 1997 p.5).

Today the Geographical Names Board designates the name Freemans Waterhole as a suburb and the boundaries are defined by the Board. These boundaries cover a large area in the Awaba State Forest and apparently enter the Cessnock Local Government Area. The Board used the plural spelling of Freemans "Waterholes" until 2001, suggesting that there is more than one waterhole in the area.

Diega, Boggyhole, and Lords are names of some of the creeks in the suburb of Freemans Waterhole. The name Freemans Waterhole would seem to be established for all time.


Fletcher, J. (Jim), 1939-. Government schools of New South Wales since 1848 & New South Wales. Department of Education. Management Information Services Directorate & New South Wales. Department of School Education. Library 1993, Government schools of New South Wales 1848 to 1993, 4th ed, Dept. of School Education Library, Management Information Services Directorate, New South Wales Dept. of School Education, Parramatta, N.S.W
1997. Tumblebee: February p5

Streets in Freemans Waterhole