• Quentin von Essen | intouch magazine | #09

WARNERS BAY | History and Discovery all in one place

Located at the northern end of Lake Macquarie, the historically significant and scenic lakeside suburb of Warners Bay offers a relaxed lifestyle complete with community events, alfresco dining and specialty shopping.

Named after its first settler – Jonathan Warner, Warners Bay is full of history and discovery and the perfect place to spend a day or a weekend with family and friends and a popular meeting place. It’s also a great spot to take some time for yourself as you shop or browse for chic fashion, charming collectables, affordable accessories and one of a kind jewellery in the variety of boutiques spread throughout the two main shopping precincts. Alternatively, enjoy a quiet lunch or cup of coffee at one of the many cafes or restaurants while taking in he spectacular views. Above image courtesy of Lake MacquarieTourism www.visitlakemac.com.au

The Early Years Once home to the Awabakal People who lived on the foreshore of Lake Macquarie, Warners Bay is renowned for its beautiful and culturally significant sites and magnificent salt water lake which formed approximately 10,000 years ago when rising sea evels inundated the coast.

Named ’Biddabah’ (the silent resting place) by the original inhabitants, here a number of freshwater creeks drained into the lake providing a resource rich environment for a range of water birds, fish, shellfish, terrestrial animals and plant species.

European Settlement The focus of white settlement was initially around the discovery of coal in the late eighteenth century, originating in Newcastle, then spreading to the shores of Lake Macquarie.

The first non-Indigenous settlement in the area was a failed attempt by Reverend Threlkeld of the London Missionary Society, who in 1825 attempted to establish a mission among the Awabakal people at what is now Warners Bay. Unfortunately for Threlkeld, his mission came at a time when the traditional Aboriginal lifestyle was in decline largely brought about by European introduced diseases and conflict between the Aboriginal people and the Europeans and also with those Aborigines from neighbouring areas.

Jonathan Warner Shortly after Threlkeld’s attempt to establish a mission in the area, in 1829, Jonathan Warner, a retired army lieutenant from the New South Wales Royal Veteran Corp, obtained a grant of1280 acres for the north-eastern portion of Lake Macquarie.

The land he selected was at Threlkeld’s original missionsite, where he built a two-storey weatherboard house whichhe named ‘Biddaba’ on a hill near the present Warners BayPrimary School and set about establishing a farm and orchard.In addition to his sons, Warner had a number of assignedconvicts to work on the farm and transport farm produce toNewcastle.

In 1833, Warner was appointed Chamber Magistrate forBrisbane Water, which involved fortnightly horseback journeysto Gosford to attend court sittings which meant having to leavemuch of the establishment of the farm and orchard to his wife,sons and convict servants.In 1840, a portion of land from Warner's estate was allocatedfor a township in 1/4 acres lots.

At that time the colony wasin the grip of a land boom which was shortly followed by thedepression and the land remained unsold. Warner died in1842, leaving his widow to manage the estate. The Warner Homestead was demolished in 1932.

Warners Bay – Taking Shape

Warners Bay Primary School first opened as a provisional school in July 1892, later becoming a public school in April 1904. Warners Bay High School was opened in January 1966. The shopping precinct expanded rapidly from the 1980’s with the development of Warner's Bay Foreshore. In 2001 the conveniently located Warners Bay Village was built with capacity for more than 20 specialty retailers.

Mingled in between the cafés, bakeries and restaurants is a treasure trove of retail magic where there is truly something for everyone from unique jewellery, designer clothing and accessories, health food and supplements, homemaker outlets, travel agencies, real estate, beauticians and professional services.

With spectacular views across Lake Macquarie, the Foreshore is a hub for recreational activity, specialty shopping, entertainment and dining. It’s also an important year round venue for community-based recreation and leisure activities that include walking, jogging, roller-blading, cycling, as well as significant festivals and large community events.

Annual events include The Hunter Track Classic, the Newcastle Permanent Lake Macquarie Running Festival held each August, Rotary Club’s Loop the Lake at Speers Point on the 13th of March and Lake Macquarie City Farmers Marketheld at neighbouring Speers Point on the fourth Saturday of every the month.

With its village atmosphere and unique combination of history, heritage and beauty, this bustling lakeside suburb is the ideal base to explore all that Lake Macquarie has to offer and has become a destination of note for food lovers and high quality retail shopping. With a surprising diversity of shops and stores for such a small town, it is little wonder that Warners Bay is so busy.

Local Businesses

Of course its not just the people that make Warners Bay so special - there's als the great local businesses that all add to the vibe of the area. Check out some of our favourites:

Information for this article was sourced from: Lake Macquarie City Library (www.history.lakemac.com.au/page-local-history) Warners Bay The Early Years – Peter Murray 2011 Edition. © Photography by Matt Shearer courtesy of LakeMacquarie Tourism www.visitlakemac.com.au

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