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:

From the Aboriginal name word "Ky-yee-bah", which meant either a place for games or to be active and eager. Originally the Awabakals used the word Kahibah to refer to the area now called Pelican Flat.

Aboriginal Occupation:

The nearby Glenrock Lagoon area, which was called by the aborigines "Pillapay-Kullaitaran" (and meant "Valley of the palms"), was a favoured aboriginal camp site. Commonly, such camps were placed on the dunes between the sea and the lagoon. The banks of some of the creeks draining into the lagoon show rubbing grooves, the result of grinding stone axes. Some local caves have aboriginal wall paintings.

Early Land Grants:

Portion 19 (Kahibah Parish), owned by Waratah Coal Co. and granted on 19/11/1868.

Early Subdivisions:

First subdivision was D.P.2412 declared on 14/11/1889 which encompassed Hamilton, Waratah, Burwood, Hexharn, Glebe, Redhead and Wallsend Streets. Related to Portion 19.

Sale of the second subdivision took place on 8 January 1921. It included Kenibea Avenue, Princes Avenue and Edward Street. The vendor was the Assurance and Thrift Association, George Street, Sydney.

Early Industries:

Circa 1850 the Burwood Colliery was established near Glenrock Lagoon's south-western bank. This mine was initially worked by Dr. Mitchell, who was the proprietor of the land known as the Burwood Estate.

In 1853 the right to work the coal in this, and adjoining mines, was obtained by the Coal and Copper Co. - a company which had been formed by Mitchell in 1853. A number of rail problems, and a dispute with its miners, caused this company to withdraw its mining operations from the area. As a consequence the property associated with these mines reverted to the landowner, Dr. Mitchell.

In 1894 the Burwood No.1 Colliery, and another shaft known as Burwood No. 2, were purchased from the Burwood Coal Company (the successor of the Coal and Copper Co.) by the Scottish Australian Mining Company. (See Whitebridge for further details). The first tannery in Newcastle was established in 1866 by William Mills, at Flaggy Creek within the Burwood Estate.


In 1850 Dr. Mitchell was authorised to construct a railway from his Burwood Colliery to a Newcastle wharf. This railway line crossed the lagoon on its run to Newcastle.

First Post Office:

Opened 2 April 1923.

First School:

Kahibah Infants School opened January 1938; closed December 1951. The public school opened in January 1952.


A Scout Camp was opened at Glenrock in 1932 and was visited by Baden Powell. Kahibah became the name of the state electoral district in 1949. A neighbourhood shopping centre is planned for Glebe Street.


1971 - 8304; 1976 - 8051; 1981 - 7660.


Newcastle Flora and Fauna Protection Society 1983,Glenrock natural history : a proposal for the establishment of a coastal State Recreation Reserve between the Newcastle suburbs of Merewether and Dudley, Newcastle Flora and Fauna Protection Society, Wickham

Grothen, John F. (John Fredrick) 1982, The history in and about Glenrock Lagoon, Rev, J.F. Grothen, [Belmont North, N.S.W.].

Tonks, E. "A Relic of Hunter Coal mining", Newcastle Morning Herald 27.2.1982 page 7:

Nilson, Laurie & Leis, Susan & Noble, Rodney & Lake Macquarie (N.S.W.). Council 1985, Lake Macquarie : past and present, Lake Macquarie City Council, [Boolaroo, N.S.W.]

Streets in Kahibah