Glory days: Industry provides the valley’s lifeblood

INDUSTRY has always been the lifeblood of the Hunter, and some of the nation’s greatest companies have been born in the region.

Coal giant Coal & Allied sprang from a crude Brown family mine at Four Mile Creek near Maitland in 1844; Arnott’s grew from bakeries at Maitland and Newcastle to selling biscuits in more than 40 countries; Brambles, which operates in more than 50 countries, started with Walter Bramble, who grew up in Hinton; and Toll Group, with 45,000 employees in 55 countries, began with Albert Toll hauling coal around Newcastle by horse and cart in 1888.

Coalmining first occurred on the continent in 1801, at what is now Fort Scratchley.

The nation’s first export cargo, 50 tons of coal, sailed out of Newcastle to Bengal, giving birth to what is now the greatest export coal port in the world.

A gold rush dragged 3000 people to Copeland, near Gloucester, in 1876.

Shipyards at Walsh Island and Newcastle State Dockyard made the Hunter a maritime base and between them produced 140 vessels, and the nation’s first steamship, William the Fourth, was built and launched at Clarence Town in 1831.

And, of course, there’s BHP, the steelworks that opened in 1915 and at its peak in 1964 employed 12,000 people.

These glory days of industry are all recorded in a special, 56-page Newcastle Herald magazine, The Hunter: Glory Days, which will be published free with The Herald on Thursday.

The glory days of industry and memorable moments in sport, the arts and many other aspects of Hunter life are contained in Glory Days.

Don’t miss it.

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