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.

Carrington Council

Carrington Council was incorporated on 30th March 1887. During World War 2 the council building was used by military authorities.

Carrington council chambers building, Young Street, Carrington, New South Wales. nla.pic-an24071503 Seselja, Loui, 1948-

Carrington Council Chambers. Newcastle Morning Herald, 21 May 1938.

Carrington Council Chambers. March 2016.

Carrington Council Chambers. March 2016.


One of the aldermen in the early days of Carrington Council, was David Owen, who was first elected to the council in February 1891. Owen served a brief term as Mayor from November 1891 to February 1892 to fill the vacancy of the previous Mayor, David Scott M.P. At the council meeting on 20 November 1891 Scott stated that “owing to Parliament sitting on Fridays in future he would be unable to continue his position as Mayor.”

On 27 November 1891 David Owen was elected as Mayor for the remaining months of the Mayoral term. Following the council elections February 1892 George Marsden was elected Mayor. David Owen continued serving as an alderman, and in February 1895 was again elected Mayor. Owen resigned from the council in October 1895 due to his departure from the district, moving to Western Australia. Owen served as an alderman for a total of nearly five years, and was Carrington’s fifth and ninth Mayor.

The first 10 terms of Mayoral office in Carrington were …

  1. James Stewart Rodgers (June 1887 – 1888)
  2. Alexander Mathieson (1889)
  3. James Morison (1890)
  4. David Scott (February 1891November 1891)
  5. David Owen (November 1891 – February 1892)
  6. George Marsden (1892)
  7. Alexander Thornton (1893)
  8. George Butts (1894)
  9. David Owen (February 1895October 1895)
  10. Thomas Garrett (November 1895 – 1896)
David Owen aged about 40 years, in the Carrington Council Mayoral robes. Photo courtesy of Steven Ward.