The Megalomaniacal Mine Manager Myth

I’ve seen it written before (but I can’t recall where) and seen it again recently, an assertion that Thomas Croudace was a megalomaniacal mine manager who built his house (Lambton Lodge) at the top of the hill so that he could watch his workers go to and from the mine, monitoring their movements.

Apart from this being an unfair and very one-sided representation of Croudace’s character, it’s also a topographical absurdity. The Lambton colliery was in a valley (where Lewis Oval is today) that is not visible from the site of Lambton Lodge. Similarly Lambton township is in a valley, and a large proportion of the  town is not visible from the Lambton Lodge hill 1.6km away.

Google Earth Pro has a neat feature called viewshed analysis, that shades in green areas that are visible from a specified point.  Even from a height 10 metres above the ground at Lambton Lodge, both the township and colliery are hidden from view.

Areas visible from the site of Lambton Lodge.

The lost municipality of Mulibimbah

The “Municipal District of Lambton” was proclaimed in June 1871. I recently discovered that instead of celebrating 150 years of Lambton next year, we might have celebrated 150 years of the “Municipal district of Mulibinbah” last year.

In November 1868, a petition of 209 inhabitants of Lambton and The Borehole (Hamilton) was presented to the Governor calling for a large municipality extending east to west from Newcastle to Jesmond, and north to south from Lambton to Kotara South. The municipality never eventuated because there was a counter-petition submitted in February 1869 signed by 248 people opposing the establishment of the Mulibimbah municipality.

The reason for the opposition was …

“That owing to the majority of inhabitants being residents on sufferance, upon the Town Commonage land of Newcastle, they would have to pay all rates, without the slightest prospect of any improvement … many persons were induced to sign the Petition by misrepresentations, and now regret having done so.”

Using the description of the municipality from the initial petition, I have shaded the proposed area in Google Earth as shown below, with the Commonage (Newcastle Pasturage Reserve) outlined in red. Note that the Mulibimbah area is indicative only, not authoritative, as the description in the petition of the area (particularly regarding the southern border) is a bit vague.

Proposed municipality of Mulibimbah (1868) shaded, with Commonage area outlined in red.

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!