Suburb’s colourful history revealed with new heritage trail
Published on 07 January 2021
A new heritage walk in Warners Bay reflects on a time when the town centre was little more than an overnight camp for bullock teamsters, and when a billabong stood where sports fields now take pride of place.
The 2.2km self-guided walk from Jones Avenue north to The Esplanade just past Fairfax Road features seven footpath stickers and one fixed sign at regular intervals, with each linking via QR code to an online portal providing insights into what the area was once like.
The joint initiative of Lake Macquarie City Council and Warners Bay Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group covers the area’s first recorded European visitor – Reverend Lancelot Threlkeld – and its 1830 settlement by Lt Jonathon Warner, after whom the suburb is named.
People using the trail can also see visualisations of what Lake Mac looked like 250 years ago, prior to European settlement.
Lifelong Learning and Engagement Coordinator Jess Dowdell said many locals were likely unaware of the area’s diverse history.
“Parts of what is now suburban Warners Bay were once a thriving fruit orchard,” she said.
“Further back around Lakelands and the industrial estate, coal was mined extensively until the early 1930s.”
The heritage walk notes how North Creek, which now opens onto the lake next to John Street Field, once had its outlet further east, with a huge billabong and an island that was popular for camping.
“The landscape has changed significantly since European settlement, but this heritage walk provides a glimpse of what it was once like,” Ms Dowdell said.
Warners Bay Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group Lake Macquarie Chairperson Gabrielle Clappison said Warners Bay was one of the first places in Lake Macquarie where Europeans came into contact with the Awabakal people.
“Our group recognised several years ago the need to better make known the Warners Bay area’s local heritage,” she said.
Mayor Cr Kay Fraser congratulated the Sustainable Neighbourhood Group on the initiative.
“It’s fantastic to learn about the history of our City,” Cr Fraser said.
“This new walk provides an easy way to do so, while also getting outside and enjoying some exercise.”
Go to lakemac.com.au for more information.