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:


Aboriginal Occupation:

An aboriginal camp existed at Mandalong in the 1860's.

Early Land Grants:

Henry Osborne and Thomas Walker bought blocks in the 1838 to 40 period. By 1875 Mr. John Taylor and Mr. C.F. Solling had both selected land in the area.

Early Settlers:

In 1852 Carl F. Solling purchased his first block but he had probably occupied the area from an earlier date. He is regarded as the first permanent settler. Others such as the Osbornes, Walkers and Capes used Mandalong for cattle but did not live there.

In 1861 the families of James Charles Bonnell and John Kelly moved to the Mandalong district for timber and dairying. Joseph and Eliza Frost arrived in 1864, to raise horses and cattle. The number of farmers and timber-cutters who had settled in the area prior to 1870 included the families of Kelly, Moran, Booth and Tobin. The families of Thomas Durrington, Peter Carroll and Thomas Kennedy came to the area prior to 1878.

Early Industries:

Farming and timber-working.

Early Transport:

By foot and horse.

First Post Office:

Opened 16 October 1884 and closed 19 July 1892. This office reopened on 1 September 1892, but closed on 14 November 1968.

First School:

A provisional school opened from 1872-1873. It re-opened from November 1878 - October 1891, George Taylor was the school master. The school operated as a half-time school with Grenton from June 1892 - July 1894. Its status changed to that of a provisional school in 1899, to a public school in 1910, and to a provisional school in 1932. This school closed in December 1947 and the building was removed to Sunnywood (Freemans Waterhole) in 1953. The school's name was spelt as 'Mandelong' until 1882.

About 1876 a private school operated from the Catholic Church, Miss Buckley being the teacher.


Mandalong had a small population of farmers and timber-workers by 1870. Most early settlers were Roman Catholics and they had erected a church by 1876. In the 1840s a new route for the Old Maitland Road was surveyed but owing to the severe depression the project was shelved. The timber industry declined and the soil was not good enough for successful farming on a commercial scale. Mandalong became a quiet backwater which is now regaining popularity as a hobby farm area.

The new (1985) Sydney-Newcastle freeway west of Lake Macquarie passes through Mandalong and may cause changes to the resident population.


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.]

Swancott, Charles 1953, The Brisbane water story, Printed by C. & E. Ironmonger, Gosford

Streets in Mandalong