Aboriginal for “that which gleams or glitters”.
Early Land Grants:
Percy Simpson‘s grant of 7th April 1838 (Coorumbung Parish) covered Eraring. He had originally chosen a different area but, through a surveyor’s error this had been allocated to someone else and Eraring was given to Simpson instead. He already had 2,000 acres at Cooranbong and complained that the Eraring land was useless. He was in financial difficulties and sold his grant the same year that he received it: 1838.
Simpson’s grant passed through several hands before Mr. Smart of Sydney bought it and subdivided it in 1840 as the town of Newport. The first subdivision is believed to have been along the northern shore of Lake Eraring and later it was extended as far as Dora Creek. An advertising campaign in the Sydney papers sold many lots, some to speculators who re-sold, some to settlers. The paddle steamer “Kangaroo” was used to show prospective buyers the site.
In 1910 the Excelsior Land Co. sold farming blocks at Eraring. D.P.6747, which showed a subdivision of part of Portion 86, was declared 28 March 1912. Streets formed included Foreshore, Macleay, Border, Cross and North Streets, and Point Piper and Rocky Point Roads.
The small ship “Ann” brought some of these settlers to Newport. They usually engaged in agriculture or timber-getting and by 1843 Newport had a hotel. But Newport stagnated during the Depression of the 1840’s. The new road from Gosford to Maitland failed to materialise, rust ruined the wheat crop, and growers did not, as. hoped, bring their wool to the “new port”. Only a few residents remained as subsistence farmers and fishermen.
Some of the first families to Eraring were Jayne 1913, Roberts 1918, Johnson 1920 and Kelso 1926. Second generations of Roberts and Kelso families still reside at Eraring. 1
Eraring remained a backwater while industries developed at Dora Creek and Cooranbong. After 1910 settlers worked market gardens and planted orchards.
Early Transport was by water or horse and dray until the opening of Dora Creek Railway Station in 1889.
Second Subdivision and Settlement. In 1910 the Excelsior Land Co. re-subdivided Eraring into small farm blocks. James Simpson bought a waterfront block. He was no relation to Percy Simpson who had the original grant. His brother-in-law, Dr. Leighton Jones, bought his property when he died and became famous as the Monkey Doctor because he conducted rejuvenation operations using monkey glands. The operations were done at a private hospital in Morisset and the monkeys were kept at the Eraring house. This was during the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. Leighton Jones house “Lingo Longo” is still in use today.
The new settlers supported themselves growing vegetables and planting orchards. After 1928 a truck took the vegetables to Newcastle markets. After World War I the Council declined to repair the roads so the settlers did it themselves, grading them with a home-made grader pulled by horses. The first car arrived in 1925. The electric light was connected in 1936 and the water supply was connected in 1941.
First Post Office: Below: Eraring Post Office after its relocation to Eraring Public School
It operated as a receiving office until its status was raised to a non-official post office, on 1 January 1927. This office closed 30 November 1973.
The post office building was relocated to the grounds of the Eraring Public school in 1993. This was appropriate as its link’s date back to Essie Johnson, the first female pupil recorded in the records of Eraring Public School. She was the daughter of Thomas and Lillie Johnson, the family responsible for the establishment of a Post Office at Eraring. 2
Below: Eraring Public School, established 1924
Public School opened in January 1924.
In the 1960’s Eraring was suggested as the site for a power station because of the availability of land and the proximity of the lake for cooling water. The decision to go ahead was made in 1973 and construction began in 1975. It was finished on 17 April 1984. It cost $1653 million and has a capacity of 2640 MW. The construction workforce was 2,300 in 1981, the permanent staff approximately 600. Operating at full capacity, the station would consume 6.5 million tonnes of coal p.a. It is supplied with coal by 4 collieries: Cooranbong, Myuna, Awaba and Newstan. The first two use conveyor belts, the other two truck the coal in. During construction, many components came by the “old road” to Eraring, being floated up Swansea Channel and towed across the lake. It has two stacks 200 m high.
The station was sold to a consortium of 13 companies operating as Eraring Power Company. The power station did not turn Eraring into a town but into an island, almost cut off by Lake Eraring to the south, the new highway with its flyover to the west, and the outlet canal for the cooling water to the north.
In the 1920’s most of the population had been farmers but because there was insufficient good quality land for commercial agriculture, after World War II the younger generation took advantage of better roads and car ownership to seek employment elsewhere and many moved away altogether. The building of the power station brought an influx of workers but few settled in Eraring as the State Electricity Commission bought much of the area for the station and its buffer zone.
Eraring Public School 1924-1984. Eraring, 60th Anniversary Committee, 1984.
1 Mrs Shirley Delaney (nee Jayne), Oral History, 2008
2 The Westlakes Courier, Wednesday, 18th August, 1993
Right: Essie Johnson on the mail run
Summary of References by Dulcie Hartley
ERARING, NEWPORT, DORA CREEK
The Australian, 4.2.1841 – A new township at Lake Macquarie, Newport – Many allotments have been sold – A new road from Maitland to Gosford discovered by WH Wells avoids hilly range of Wyee and Sugarloaf Mountain, also shorter than old road – Newport on this road, Lake Macquarie on one side and road on the other – a bridge nearly a furlong in length newly constructed across a small arm of the Lake (Muddy Lake). A punt crossing at Dora Creek – Entrance to Lake Macquarie at Reid’s Mistake navigable – settlers from Upper Hunter will bring their wool down to Newport – ‘Kangaroo’ (paddle wheeler) will shortly travel from Sydney to Newport through Reid’s Mistake.
SS ‘Kangaroo’ paddle wheeler 1841 visit to Newport, Eraring, probably the first steam ship on Lake Macquarie. John Korff built ‘Kangaroo’ at Dockyard on the Hunter River above Raymond Terrace in 1840-1 – Varied career, ended her days as a tug boat in Port Phillip Bay, survived until 1891 when broken up (Bar Dangerous – Callen)
Hunter River Gazette, 17.1.1842 – Sale of seven suburban farms – 3 miles from Newport town, Lake Macquarie – farms from 35 to 45 acres – ½ mile of road reserved for communication between Maitland & Gosford.
NMH – P A Haslam –Ludwig Leichhardt, after leaving Rev Threlkeld, visited Newport (Dora Creek) where a Mr Holden had a property – Mr Holden had hoped to develop a township there – At this time only afew tenant farmers who were not doing well – Mr Rogers, the Clergy from Brisbane Waters preached to a small gathering – Leichhardt observed “The people here cannot be called “over devout” due to the small number in the congregation. He thought vine growing could be suitable for the area – Threlkeld grew vines on his conglomerate soil. (See Mr Bowden’s reminiscences)
NMH 15.11.1924 – Eraring Estate, Dora Creek – Waterfrontage lots, pick of the foreshore – orchard and farm blocks – Also lots fronting Dora Creek close to Railway Station – Apply The Excelsior Land Company, 250 George St, Sydney or local Richard Weppler, Dora Creek.
NMH 26.10.1943 :2 – Death of Dr Leighton Jones – used glands from Rhesus monkeys for grafting operations on humans – died at his Eraring home – Use of glands from monkeys was developed by famous surgeon Serge Voronoff, a Russian who practised in Paris – Dr Jones trained under Voronoff, only pupil of Voronoff practising in Australia – Monkeys were imported from India at £20 each – Hospital Macquarie Street, Morisset – Mrs Ethel Lower assisted in operations and lived at Morisset. Main hospital at Morisset. (Surgery & hospital at Dora Creek)
Excelsior Land, Investment & Building Co and Bank purchased the land in this area 2000 acres 6.9.1892 – See Vol 1069 F19 – LTO
Map of Lake Erraring (sic) showing Little Lake (Mudd Lake) , Biddulph’s Bay (Whiteheads Lagoon) – Good Map – List of names of first purchasers. (See all of this subdivision plan in foolscap file at Speers Point Library Local studies)
Excelsior Land, Investment & Building Co and Bank Ltd – IN LIQUIDATION 16.7.1926 – See Vol 4180 Fol 216 – LTO
Above: Eraring School of Arts, built 1928 demolished 1980
ERARING SCHOOL OF ARTS
The Eraring School of Arts was built on donated land in 1928. The first Trustees were Mr W. Jayne, Mr Mobs, Mr Pope and Mr Wilcock. May and Arnold Jayne held their wedding reception in the School of Arts in December 1931. Ossie Rowe had his 21st Birthday in the Hall in 1935. Dances were held in the hall every Saturday night. Entry was 2/- (2 shillings). The ladies brought a plate, tea and coffee were served. It was a large dance hall and had two large rooms at the back, one being the kitchen and the other a cloak room and library.
The land was donated by Mr Parkinson, who had quite a bit of land which he also built his home on. This hall played a most important part in the social history of Eraring. Picnics, fetes and fun events were held to raise the money to build the hall. The stool from the piano is in the museum at Eraring School.
Eraring School got their 2nd teacher in 1953, their class was in the hall until a classroom was built, but in 1977 this classroom burnt down so once again the hall was used for a class until a new classroom was built. Tank water was used and the billy for tea was boiled on a fire outside.
The State Electricity Commission bought the land and quite a lot of other land and homes, being for the power station and its buffer zone. The School of Arts regrettably deteriorated and was knocked down. In 1980 the School of Arts was no longer there.
Disclaimer: While all due care is taken to ensure the accuracy of articles published in this Newsletter, the Lake Macquarie and District Historical Society Inc. accepts no responsibility for any errors. The views expressed in this Newsletter are not necessarily those of the Society.Copyright: Articles included in this Newsletter may be reprinted provided acknowledgement is given to author and original source. Reproduction is not permitted if an article is specifically copyrighted.