A journey to the past

When Newcastle was first settled, Carrington, as we know it  today, didn't exist. It was a low lying tidal island that was known to the local Aboriginals as "wuna - r tee" and was known to be abundant with fish, mud crabs and oysters. Originally named Chapmans Island during the convict era, then later Bullock Island, it rose from the mud from 1859 when extensive dredging commenced in Newcastle Harbour to help alleviate flooding (probably following the 1857 floods) with the spoil spread over the tidal flats gradually raising the island above the tidal influence. Then during the 1860's Bullock Island became a ballast dumping ground for the visiting coal ships and as the demand for coal continued to grow, more expedient methods were sought on the loading of the colliers with Mr. E O Moriarty, the Chief Engineer of the NSW Steam Navigation Board, expanding Bullock Island to accommodate the growing coal trade. In 1874 Mr Moriarty commissioned the British based  Armstrong Hydraulic Machinery Factory to design  a hydraulic crane delivery system for the Bullock Island site. James Barnet was commissioned to design  the Power Station to accommodate the new fangled  equipment and so in 1878 Newcastle led Australia when the £20,000 ($16 million) Carrington Hydraulic Power Station began operations with the first load of coal dispatched using this new system on the 18th March 1878. It wasn't until 1916 -17 that electricity replaced the steam pumps and in 1964 the last of the internal machinery were removed from building for scrap. Recently the building has been purchased by the NSW State Government which intends to restore this excellent example of 19th century industrial architecture to its former glory after nearly 50 years of disgraceful neglect. (information courtesy of )
30 ton Crane, Dyke Point
 

Bullock Island high tide

Steam Powered Crane circa 1900


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