Carrington Boat Harbour

In today’s Newcastle Herald, Mike Scanlon has a fascinating article about the various boat harbours that were part of Newcastle port over the years. He mentions five boat harobours, of which only the Pilot’s boat harbour still exists.

  1. Stockton
  2. Pilot’s boat harbour
  3. Watt St
  4. Market St
  5. Perkins St

There was also another boat harbour on the eastern shore of Carrington. Overlaying a portion of an 1890 Port of Newcastle map into Google Earth we can see that it was approximately in line with Cowper St.

Carrington Boat Harbour
Approximate location of Carrington Boat Harbour. The building on the left side of the photo is the Carrington Pump House.

Carrington was originally called Bullock Island, and on 22 August 1878 a correspondent to the Sydney Morning Herald wrote …

“Amongst the many local wants that were brought under the notice of the Hon. the Minister for Works upon his late visit to Newcastle, perhaps none are more legitimately entitled to consideration than that brought forward by a deputation from Bullock Island, with reference to the construction of a suitable boat harbour along some portion of the dyke. The construction of a boat harbour in the neighbourhood of the present hydraulic engine house, connected with the waters of the harbour, would not only prove an immense boon to the inhabitants and the shipping community generally, but would materially enhance the appearance of a portion of the harbour which the Government has lately been at great pains, to convert to practical uses. The position is certainly a favourable one for such a work to be carried out, there being no natural obstacles in the way, but, on the other hand, every facility for its construction. The dyke abuts on the deep waters of the harbour, to which an opening could, with ordinary labour, be made, whilst an abundance of the stone ballast brought here by ships is always available on the spot to be used in connection with the work.”

The request was received favourably, and the following year the Government Estimates and Appropriation Act for 1879 contained a line item for “Construction of Boat Harbour, Bullock Island, £2000.”

On 22 October 1880, the Newcastle Morning Herald reported …

“His Grace the Duke of Manchester, as prearranged, yesterday morning honoured Newcastle with a visit … steaming up along the wharves, and thence up the channel along Bullock Island Dyke, a view of the city and shipping was obtained ; a landing being finally made at the newly-formed boat harbour opposite the hydraulic cranes.”

A 1924 newspaper report notes that the boat harbour was resumed by the Railway Commissioners in 1908.

In Barrett’s 1910 map, the Carrington Boat Harbour is gone, replaced by rail lines to the various wharf cranes.

Old News

Here’s an excerpt from a newspaper article relating to the pandemic, stating that the NSW Government…

“has decided to restrict passenger traffic from Victoria to this State, and to prevent further infection from Victoria. After to-day passengers by train or road will be precluded from entering New South Wales. To make the cordon effective police patrols have been constituted. People recognise where the tardy action of the Victorian health authorities has placed the people of the neighbouring State, and are fully justified in imposing strict quarantine on the border.”

But that story is not from today, but from 30 January 1919!

Wet again

This week I was reminded of the crisis we were having before the current one. On 2 January this year I visited the Hunter (not so) Wetlands in Shortland, when the water supply was pretty dire. I revisited the same spot today. What a difference in 5 months!

While walking around I took a photo of a water droplet nestling in the depression of a plant leaf, and was rather pleased at how the reflections made the droplet look like a miniature earth being cradled by nature.

Old style medicine

Struck on the head by a plank falling from 12 feet? A leech will fix that!

Mr. Davis was engaged in the erection of some new screens near the tunnel; and; whilst walking along a plank, over balanced himself, and fell to the ground, a distance of about 12 feet. It also appears that the plank on which he had been walking followed him in the fall, and struck him on the head whilst on the ground, rendering him insensible. He was taken home, and leeches applied under professional direction.

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 15 June 1878

Then and Now Tram 5

Today’s post comes from Hobart Rd New Lambton. At this point in the road there used to be an overhead railway bridge for the rail line to the Lambton Colliery.

What’s interesting about this old photo is there is the tram line has what’s known as a “gauntlet track”. The tram line was a dual track (inbound/outbound), but in order to get through the narrow gap under the rail bridge the two tracks, while not connecting, interleave with each other. To avoid collisions, tram drivers had to collect a wooden staff from a signalling box at the site and only proceed through the gauntlet section if they had possession of the staff.

Old tram photo from University of Newcastle Living Histories.