Queens Wharf is an important site within the City of Maitland providing one of the very few public access points to the Hunter River.
The precinct was the location of the first wharf and store in Morpeth in the 1830’s and was the site chosen for the public wharf in 1836 – 1838. It remained a focus of economic activity and shipping in Morpeth , becoming the first terminus of the branch railway line in June 1862 and the site of coal staithes in 1864 – 1867.
With the economic decline of Morpeth, Queens Wharf closed in 1920 and the last use of the staithes was in 1940.
The precinct retains its historical setting with both Tank and Steamer Street forming part of the street grid of the town, and possesses the characteristic sandstone kerb and guttering which is a widespread distinct town feature. The precinct also retains its close relationship to the neighbouring farming and grazing land along the Hunter River floodplain.
The area as a whole, has the potential to reveal much information relating to the development of the town, living and working conditions in the river port, and the nature of specific development including the site of the first stores in Morpeth (1830’s), wharfage, various inns and other buildings.
This exhibition explores the historical value of Queens Wharf.
The Hunter River defines the region in which we live. The region is named for the river whose tributaries reach high into the surrounding hills that mark the valley boundaries.
The Hunter is the confluence of myriad rivulets, runnels, brooks, creeks, streams and other rivers. Pathfinders who recorded the river 200 years ago described the ground on each side as susceptible to overflow and full of lagoons and swamps. The soil was good and full of brush with trees of great magnitude.
Take a stroll along the Maitland Riverside walk to learn more about the way the river has influenced the evolution of the City.
Bridges of Maitland – Crossing the River
Information about early river crossings and the two bridges across the River, their appearance and their history.
A description of the Aboriginal significance of the river and its
surrounds. The panel has been compiled with the assistance of the Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council and includes artwork from local artist, Kelly Griffiths.
The Restless River – Forever Changing
Reflects on the early history of the river including timber cutting, floods and tragedy.
Churches of Maitland – The Cathedral Street Precinct
Identifies the significant buildings of the Cathedral Street area, adjacent to the River, and includes historic images and descriptions of the early religious movements.
The Maitland Environment – Years of Diversity
A description of the natural environment of the river and floodplains at the time of European settlement, including animals and birds.
Industrious Maitland – Business is Business
Explore early riverside industries and learn how businesses evolved within the riverside precinct over the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Transvaal Avenue is situated within the main public park of the City of Maitland which is frequented by over 250,000 users for passive and recreational activities throughout the year. The park is often used as centre stage for major civic events such as Steamfest, sporting events, and memorial services.
The planting of the original Transvaal Avenue stemmed from the local communities desire to both beautify its main park, and to provide a permanent momento of the British and Colonial successes in the Boer War. Over 200 men of the Maitland District had served in the Boer war, and the area was the base for “D” troop of the NSW Lancers.
In particular, it was an allied victory at Mafeking that led to the establishment of the Transvaal Avenue. A celebration of the victory was attended by over 20,000 people in Maitland Park. The Avenue was officially opened on August 31, 1900 when 107 trees were planted, and each tree was named for generals of the Boer War, battlefields and victories. However, over the years, the Avenue has diminished in size with only 15 of the original 1900 plantings remaining.
In 2004 a conservation project was undertaken involving the reinstatement of 25 Avenue plantings, the completion of a detailed conservation study on the Avenue, the erection of interpretive signage in addition to the restoration of the remaining Boer War memorial. A new memorial wall funded by the Maitland RSL Sub Branch and community donations was also designed and erected. The wall displays the names of all those volunteers from the Maitland region who fought in the War.
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