Historical Publications

The Maitland City Heritage Group have produced seven publications since 1999 involving detailed research programs, community activities and professionally produced booklets.

The most recent publication ‘Bound for Wallis Plains’ , Maitland’s Convict Settlers introduces a small, distinctive group of individuals considered to be the first European settlers of Maitland. Richly illustrated, the book provides impressions of personal life, and the political circumstances of these early times.

Publications are available from Maitland City Council, Maitland City Library, Maitland Visitors Centre and local commercial book outlets.

 TITLE:  Bourke Street , Maitland
 AUTHOR/DATE:  Cynthia Hunter 1999
 PRICE:  (out of print)
TITLE: Horseshoe Bend, Maitland
AUTHOR/DATE: Cynthia Hunter 2001
PRICE: RRP $22.00
TITLE: Hay Barns and Dairy Buildings of Maitland
AUTHOR/DATE: Clive Lucas Stapleton and Partners 2002
PRICE: RRP $13.95
TITLE: Time Gentleman Please
Maitland’s Hotels Past and Present
AUTHOR/DATE: Cynthia Hunter and Ranald Boydell 2004
PRICE: RRP $30.00
TITLE: Out of the Closet,
Maitland’s Water Stories
AUTHOR/DATE: Cynthia Hunter 2006
PRICE: RRP $29.95

Hearths & Homes
Maitland Architecture - 19 Decades of Residential Design

AUTHOR/DATE: Cynthia Hunter 2008
PRICE: RRP $30.00



 "Bound for Wallis Plains"

Bound for Wallis Plains, Maitland’s Convict Settlers

AUTHOR/DATE: Cynthia Hunter 2012
PRICE: RRP $25.00

Bourke Street, Maitland

Bourke Street Maitland, by Cynthia Hunter, 1999
Illustrations by Marea Kozaczynski-McCaig, published by Maitland City Council, 1999

This historical publication on Bourke Street, Maitland uncovers its compelling history, bringing one of the cities most interesting and significant residential streets to life.

Bourke Street demonstrates an intact and diverse range of housing dating from the 1850’s to the early twentieth century with direct parallels to the development and status of Maitland as the second city of NSW during the mid to late 19th century.

The street has important historical associations with the early settlers of Maitland including Mary Hunt, the only woman farmer of the convict settlers who predated the free settlement of the Hunter Valley. The subdivision of the original land grant during the ownership of John Burke remains highly intact today. The street also had important associations with Maitland’s leading business and professional people, as well as artisans and labourers whose lives parallel the growth of district services and industries at a vital time in the States historical development. The buildings demonstrate a diverse range of architectural styles reflecting the social mix of the time where grand Victorian houses were built along side modest workers cottages.

The Maitland City Heritage Committee launched the book during the Heritage Festival in April 1999.  The use of historical photographs, and a series of commissioned drawings of Bourke Street houses by Maitland artist Marea Kozaczynski-McCaig, together with key historical maps, has created an unusual publication aimed at fostering appreciation of an urban residential area in a major city.

Horseshoe Bend, Maitland

Horseshoe Bend Maitland, by Cynthia Hunter 2001

Horseshoe Bend, Maitland was produced as a part of the Maitland City Council’s Heritage Group ongoing program of historical investigations into significant places and areas within the City.

Horseshoe Bend is so named for the shape of the river when Europeans first came to Wallis Plains, a shape that no longer exists. The area now known as Horseshoe Bend was originally swampy with the higher riverbanks covered with dense cedar brush. Despite its low lying nature, however, its proximity to commercial activity was to encourage European residential settlement.

The historical study, undertaken by Cynthia Hunter, provides a detailed insight to the areas development and the significant human forbearance shown by the community in the face of relentless adversity.

Hay Barns and Dairy Buildings of Maitland

Clive Lucas Stapleton and Partners 2002

Rural outbuildings are a group of structures which have heritage significance to the Maitland region. A survey study was initiated by the Maitland City Heritage Group in 2002 which identified the geographical location of the structures and provided a historical background and assessment of significance. Clive Lucas Stapleton and Partners were commissioned to undertake the study.

The study has, for the first time, provided publically  available information relating to rural structures within the historic farming cultural landscape of Maitland.

It has focused on the haybarns and dairy buildings which were considered to be the most identifiable physical architectural forms remaining.

As a result of the study, which included a survey and this commercial publication, it is hoped that the intactness and rarity of these buildings in their setting will be appreciated as part of the unique character of the area, and as attributes of benefit to the tourism viability of the City.

Time Gentleman Please
Maitland Hotels Past and Present

Cynthia Hunter and Ranald Boydell 2004

Hotels have played an important role not only in the early development of the Maitland area, but also in their architectural contribution as substantial and often landmark structures.

This publication investigates licensing, the relationship between hotels and the government, brewing and hotel architecture. Research on 205 individual hotels has been reproduced on a CD ROM which comes with the publication.

Out of the Closet
Maitland’s Water Stories

Cynthia Hunter, 2006

This publication covers many different topic areas associated with the development of water usage methods in the Maitland region including the background to early entrepreneurs of the region, such as John Portus, who set up the first and major steam flour mill at Morpeth in 1836.

With this book almost twice the size of previous publications, it is absolutely full of fascinating insights.

The introduction to the publication by the Chairman of the Maitland City Heritage Group reflects on the importance of the research in the context of current water issues:

We are often told Australia is the driest continent on Earth and, more recently that our planet is warming. Will this increase our quest for potable water in the future? It must if we are to sustain the population numbers currently being predicted for the very near future. This book makes it clear that our ancestors in the Hunter were well aware of the need, and attempts to show what they did about it.

Hearths & Homes
Maitland Architecture - 19 Decades of Residential Design

Cynthia Hunter, 2008

By the time this monograph is published it will have been 220 years since Captain Arthur Phillip arrived from England to establish Britain's largest penal colony at the other end of the earth.  Policy dictated that convicts don't deserve decent architecture and so it took some time before the new colony was able, or cared, to build anything other than the most basic of buildings.  As progress is often a synonym for destruction any collection like this of people's architecture is of value.  It is instructive to remember that the Houses of Parliament in London were built at or about the same time as Maitland was finding its architectural feet in the 1840s.  How different it might have been if the first fleet was full of blue-blooded aristocrats.

As Maitland is some distance from Sydney and communications were difficult, not suprisingly things took a little longer to get up and running.  Nevertheless Maitland still managed to be one of the earlier cabs off the rank architecturally speaking and this study attempts to take a magnifying glass to each decade using surviving examples where possible, concentrating on people's homes, rather than public or commercial architecture.

Bound for Wallis Plains, Maitland’s Convict Settlers

Cynthia Hunter 2012
The first Europeans to settle in Maitland feature in the newest publication from the Maitland City Heritage Group series. The book tells the story of the first small settlement of Wallis Plains, and gives an illustrated, personal account of the lives and circumstance of the first Wallis Plains settlers from 1818. These people were farmers who settled along the west bank of the Paterson River, the Hunter River and Wallis Creek.

John Swan was believed to be the earliest settler, first visiting the area as part of a timber getting gang. His property was near one of Maitland’s most historic colonial sites known as Old Banks at Mindaribba.

Patrick Riley, a convict assigned a thirty acre farm at Wallis Plains is of unusual significance. The crafting of the one of the NSW State Library’s most significant pieces of colonial furniture, the c1818 Macquarie’s Collectors Chest, has been attributed to Riley. The Chest has had a book written about it in its own right, ‘Rare and Curious: The Secret History of Governor Macquarie’s Collector’s Chest’ by Elizabeth Ellis OAM. It was taken to the United Kingdom and languished forgotten unnoticed in a Scottish castle until it was rediscovered in the late 1970’s.

Places and names familiar to us today are markers across the Maitland landscape from these early times – Stockade Hill, Wallis Creek, Brush Farm Road and Pitnacree.

The publication was launched on December 11th, 2012 and is available for $25 from local retail outlets, Maitland City Council, and the Maitland Visitor Information Centre.