Newcastle History and Heritage
There’s a whole lot of history on display in Newcastle on the NSW North Coast – if you know where to look for it. Did you know it’s home to Australia’s only coastal fortification to fire upon a World War II enemy vessel? And that you can swim in a rock pool built by convicts? The city has a seriously interesting past.
Newcastle’s history is many thousands of years old. Learn about the local indigenous people’s deep connections with the land on an Aboriginal cultural heritage tours. The Yamuloong Centre offers a bush tucker walk in beautiful native gardens, or join Sand Dune Adventures for a cultural quad bike tour to ancient Aboriginal campsites.
Colonists from Sydney arrived in the area in the 1790s in search of escaped convicts. In doing so, they discovered rich natural resources and a fine natural harbour and the rest, as they say, is history. Begin your discovery at the Newcastle Museum where historical exhibitions include the 1989 Newcastle earthquake.
A range of tours delve into the city’s European heritage. For military history and spectacular views, the Fort Scratchley Historic Site is a must-see. The guns here shot at a Japanese submarine attacking Newcastle during WWII in June 1942 - check out the fort’s intricate tunnel system on a tour.
Discover the heritage-listed Bogey Hole, a rock pool carved out by convicts in 1819 for the personal use of Major James Morisset. For maritime heritage, join Nova Cruises, Spitfire Pilot Boats or Newcastle Kayak Tours and explore the port. Or hop aboard a Nova riverboat to historic Morpeth, where the Arnott’s family biscuit dynasty began in 1847.
It’s easy to travel between the city’s historical attractions on the Newcastle Coastal Explorer and Newcastle’s Famous Tram. Both tours include a stop at the historic King Edward Park, a city reserve with breathtaking ocean views.