Main Births etc

New South Wales, Australia

Maitland Town Hall
Maitland Town Hall, High Street

Australia New South Wales location map blank
Red pog.svg
Population: 61,431 [1]
Density: 155.1/km² (401.7/sq mi)
Established: 1820
Postcode: 2320
Coordinates: 32°43′55″S 151°33′04″E / -32.732, 151.551Coordinates: 32°43′55″S 151°33′04″E / -32.732, 151.551[2]
Elevation: 3 m (10 ft)
Area: 396 km² (152.9 sq mi)
Time zone:

 • Summer (DST)



LGA: Maitland City Council
Region: Hunter
County: Northumberland
Parish: Maitland
State District: Maitland
Federal Division:
Mean Max Temp Mean Min Temp Annual Rainfall
24.4 °C
76 °F
11.5 °C
53 °F
815.6 mm
32.1 in

Maitland is a city in the Lower Hunter Valley of New South Wales, Australia and the seat of Maitland City Council, situated on the Hunter River approximately 166 kilometres (103 mi) by road north of Sydney and 35 km (22 mi) north-west of Newcastle. It is on the New England Highway about 17 km (11 mi) from its start at Hexham.

It has approximately 61,431 inhabitants, spread over an area of 396 square kilometres (153 sq mi), although the main built-up area predominantly forms a strip along the New England Highway between the suburbs of Rutherford and Metford respectively. The city centre is located on the southern bank of the Hunter River, protected by a levee from potential flooding.

Surrounding areas include the cities of Cessnock and Singleton Local Government Areas.


Originally Maitland consisted of three separate towns which arose roughly all around the same time. West Maitland, now just Maitland, was a privately founded town which grew because of its proximity to the river and which today is the commercial centre of the city. The other areas were East Maitland, which was established by the colonial New South Wales government, and Morpeth, another private town founded by Lieutenant Edward Charles Close (1790-1866), a Peninsular War veteran. Each town functioned as if they were separate municipalities.

The present city was proclaimed in 1945 with the amalgamation of the three local government areas. The city's boundaries have been increased by incorporating parts of other local government areas since then (most notably Kearsley Shire which from 1946 to 1949 was the only local government area in Australia's history to have a Communist majority of councillors).

West Maitland was founded in 1820 close to the tidal reach of the Hunter River where vessels with a shallow draft could navigate. Nearby Morpeth served as the head of navigation for larger ships (later, steamships), and goods would be transhipped upriver to West Maitland on barges and smaller vessels. Originally the route river route between Morpeth and West Maitland was 26 kilometres (16 mi), today after various floods and river course changes this has reduced to just 9 kilometres (5.6 mi).[3]:10

Maitland was therefore the point at which goods were unloaded for, and distributed to, the prosperous riverland of the Hunter Valley. Accordingly there were large warehouses (some of which still exist) built, which faced onto the main High Street and backed onto the Hunter River. For almost 20 years until the Victorian gold rush, Maitland was the second largest town in Australia. The arrival of the railway from Newcastle in the 1850s, coupled with the increasing silting of the river and larger ships spelt the end of the traditional river traffic.

The first electricity connected in the area was to Maitland Town Hall in 1922, to the Hall's front light.[4]

Belmore BridgeEdit

The first bridge to link West Maitland with what is now the suburb of Lorn was opened in 1869 and named in honour of the then Governor of New South Wales, the 4th Earl of Belmore.[5] Although the bridge proved vital to the city's development, the floods of 1893, 1913 and 1930 began to heighten the need for a new bridge that could withstand periodic flooding. A second Belmore Bridge, designed to withstand the impact of debris during floods, was built adjacent to the 1869 bridge in 1964. The new bridge, which redirected traffic away from St. Andrews Street to a new intersection at the Maitland Court Couse, is one of the city's three main river crossings.[5]


Maitland floods
Year Details
1806 Prior to settlement, but biggest on record. Reports of floodwaters being as high as 24.4 m (80 ft).
1820 Settlers report finding driftwood in trees 18.9 m (62 ft) above the normal river level.
1832 Seven killed, floodwaters peak at 8.9 m (29 ft).
1834 Floodwaters peak at 8.9 m (29 ft).
1857 Floodwaters peak at 9.2 m (30 ft).
1893 Extensive flooding destroys homes in Louth Park and Victoria Street. Nine killed.
1913 Floodwaters inundate central Maitland. Homes are lost on Mount Pleasant Street and in Horseshoe Bend.
1930 Floodwaters inundate Maitland.
1931 Floodwaters inundate Maitland.
1949 Floodwaters invade lower High Street, Maitland.
1951 Flooding in Maitland.
1952 Flooding in Maitland.
1955 Twenty five killed, 2,180 homes invaded by water.
1971 Biggest flood on record since 1955.
1998 Minor flooding in the Maitland district.
2007 Floodwaters invade suburbs of Maitland; central Maitland escapes flooding.

Maitland's proximity to the Hunter River has resulted in a succession of floods since European settlement. Over 200 floods have occurred on the Hunter River since settlement, 13 of those higher than the river's normal peak limit of 10.7 metres (35.1 ft). Of these 13, all have had a direct effect on the city of Maitland.[6]

Between 1830 and 1834 Maitland experienced five floods. The 1832 flood was severe with water reaching about 8.84 m (29 ft) and killing seven people. The 1834 flood water reached the same height. In the winter of 1857 the Hunter River rose again to record heights, reaching 9.2 m (30 ft). Flooding continued for the next 30 years with the floods of the 1890s being the most disastrous. Much of the riverbank collapsed and many people were left without homes or personal possessions.[6]

However, the 1940s and 1950s saw an increase in rainfall and the river rose again and again.[6] In February 1955, Maitland and the Hunter Valley experienced its most severe flood in recorded history. The 1955 Hunter Valley floods, also commonly known as "The Maitland Flood", was the first Australian natural disaster to be broadcast by the media on an international scale.[6] This flood is considered to be one of Australia’s worst floods.[7] The waters reached 12.5 m (41 ft) and caused catastrophic damage. The volume of flood water was approximately 3,750,000 megalitres (8.2×1011 imp gal) and the cost of damage, in today’s currency, would have been over A$2 billion. Seven thousand buildings and homes were damaged and the flood claimed the lives of 14 people.

In early June 2007 an intense low pressure system which caused devastating storms to hit the city of Newcastle and the Central Coast also caused major flooding throughout the lower Hunter Region including the Maitland area. During the flooding on 11 June 2007 the Hunter River was expected to reach a peak of 11.3 m (37.1 ft) at Maitland's Belmore Bridge and break levee banks. Some 4000 residents of the suburb of Lorn were evacuated before the floodwaters became stable at 10.7 m (35.1 ft) and did not invade central Matiland.[8] Other areas did not escape with waters inundating homes in Branxton, Louth Park and Raymond Terrace. The flood has been compared to the devastating 1955 Hunter Valley floods.

Flooding at Maitland

Maitland Flood 1955.jpg
A deserted farmhouse on the outskirts of Maitland during the 1955 flood
1955 Flood Sign Central Maitland.jpg
Signs on Maitland's power poles indicate the depth of the 1955 floods
2007 Flood Maitland.jpg
Flooding along the Maitland riverfront during the 2007 flood

Jewish CommunityEdit

Headstones at Maitland Jewish Cemetery

The motif of outstretched hands can be found on memorials to the priest's family in Maitland's Jewish Cemetery.

The Maitland Jewish Cemetery in Louth Park, one of only two provincial Jewish cemeteries in New South Wales, is testament to the Jewish community that was active in Maitland up until the 1930s.[9] Between about 1846 and 1934, 53 Jews were buried in the low-lying cemetery. Burials ceased after this time due to dissipation of the community and the cemetery being full. One exception was Lea Abadee in 2010.[10] The city's former synagogue, located on Church Street, was the place of worship for about 70 families between 1879 and 1898.[11]



Maitland has many shopping precincts including Stockland Green Hills (East Maitland), (Centro Maitland Hunter Mall) High Street Mall (City Centre), Rutherford, Melbourne Street (East Maitland) and Lawes Street (East Maitland). Morpeth, a suburb of Maitland, is also popular for its fashion boutiques, cafes and speciality shops.


Tourism is also a significant local industry. Local attractions include the historic Maitland Gaol, the industrial history of the Walka Water Works, the historic river port town of Morpeth and the Maitland Regional Art Gallery.


Opening of the Maitland tramway in 1909
Maitland Station 2010.jpg
Maitland station is the city's main transport hub

Maitland Station lies on the Hunter line and is the branch point for the Main North Line and the North Coast Line. Other railway stations in Maitland include:

A passenger tram system ran from East to West Maitland between 1909 and 1926 after which it was replaced by buses which continue to service the route today.


The Maitland Mercury Building

The Maitland Mercury is Australia's oldest regional newspaper

Maitland is serviced by a number of regional newspapers, radio stations and television stations. The Maitland Mercury and The Newcastle Herald are the foremost newspapers in the city. The Mercury, established in 1843, operates out of offices on High Street and is Australia's oldest regional newspaper.[12] The Lower Hunter Star is an adjunct to the Mercury and is published every Thursday.[13] With a circulation of almost 20,000, The Lower Hunter Star is delivered to most residents within the City of Maitland.

Annual eventsEdit

Hunter Valley SteamfestEdit

Hunter Valley Steamfest is an annual festival celebrating the history of steam power. It was established in 1985 in response to the temporary closure of the extensive South Maitland Railway network to Cessnock.

Bitter & Twisted Beer Festival Edit

Bitter & Twisted is an annual international boutique beer festival held at historic Maitland Gaol. It is a celebration of beer, food and music.

Morpeth Jazz FestivalEdit

The Morpeth Jazz Festival is an annual music festival held at the popular historic riverside port of Morpeth. It is a celebration of music, wine and food.

Groovin' the Moo Edit

Groovin' the Moo is an annual music festival held at the Maitland Showground.

Maitland ShowEdit

Annual agricultural show held at the Maitland Showground.


Maitland has many training facilities including short course vocational training schools to international standard Phd studies. The Hunter Institute of Technology has a campus in Maitland, as does the privately owned Hunter Valley Training Company (Australia's largest group trainer). These facilities provide excellent training in all fields, especially building and construction, engineering, mining, tourism and business administration. A new technical college is being developed within the city.

Maitland has twenty primary schools and seven high schools. The high schools are:

There are also numerous pre-school and day care facilities.

Notable peopleEdit

Scenes of MaitlandEdit

PLJohnson Maitland, NSW, Heritage Mall..jpg
Heritage Mall on High Street  
PLJohnson Maitland NSW river walk.jpg
River Walk viewing downstream  

See alsoEdit

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Maitland (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 28 February 2008. 
  2. ^ "Maitland". Gazetteer of Australia online. Geoscience Australia, Australian Government. 
  3. ^ Walsh, Brian; Archer, Cameron (2007). Maitland on the Hunter (2nd ed.). Tocal, NSW: CB Alexander Foundation. ISBN 0-7313-0596-5. 
  4. ^ George, Peter. The Walka Power Station 1953-1977. Bolwarra, NSW. 1997. P.1.
  5. ^ a b "BridgePanel" (PDF). Retrieved 9 December 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Maitland Area History". Maitland City Council. Retrieved 2 May 2008. 
  7. ^ "Maitland Flood Fiftieth Anniversary". Parliament of New South Wales. 23 February 2005. Retrieved 28 April 2008. 
  8. ^ "Central Maitland escapes peak of Hunter flood". News Online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 11 June 2007. 
  9. ^ "Maitland City Council - Maitland Jewish Cemetery". Retrieved 9 December 2010. 
  10. ^ Benjamin, Henry (9 July 2010). "First burial in Jewish cemetery in 76 years!". J-Wire. Retrieved 9 December 2010. 
  11. ^ "Jewish Historical Sites in Australia". 22 January 1931. Retrieved 9 December 2010. 
  12. ^ "Maitland Mercury | State Library of New South Wales". State Library of New South Wales. 23 October 2008. Retrieved 9 December 2010. 
  13. ^ "Rural Press Sales". Rural Press Sales. Retrieved 9 December 2010. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ The Sydney Morning Herald. 

External linksEdit

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Maitland, New South Wales. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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