Explore the history of Port Stephens.
From the time of the First Nations and Colonial settlers to Federation and beyond.
Nelson Head Inner Light House is an inactive lighthouse located on the headland between Little Beach and Shoal Bay. Established in 1872 it has guided ships into Port Stephens for 150 years where it began as four kerosene lamps on a wooden tower.
Since 1862 the `Outer Light’ Lighthouse on Point Stephens at Fingal Bay has been guiding ships to Port Stephens and warning of the dangerous entrance to what was then known as False Bay.
Until a calamitous flood in 1955, King Street in Raymond Terrace was the main Street and business district of the town…
The Mariners Walk Heritage Trail is a 3.3 km, 40 minute walk along the shoreline of Salamander Bay created by the Port Stephens Historical Society and the Port Stephens Council to commemorate the fascinating maritime history of the area.
A humorous account by `Stinker’ Clarke of the first motorised boat to `fire up’ in Fingal Bay.
The Depression years during the 1930’s forced ingenuity upon those with imagination and Arthur Murdoch was one of those people. His infamous autobiographical account `Sheer Grit’ details his time at Port Stephens digging and transporting shell grit for chicken farmers to survive.
The RAAF Catalina base at Rathmines south of Newcastle was the main flying boat base during World War II and the early 1950s. Port Stephens served as frequent training location for these versatile anti-submarine, air-sea rescue, patrol and minelaying/bombing planes.
During WW2, Port Stephens played host to over 20,000 US and 2,000 Australian troops at HMAS Assault. The base, located on Fly Point Nelson Bay was chosen by Gen Douglas MacArthur as a training location for amphibious landings in the Pacific war against Japan.
Port Stephens was seen as a strategically important defence location against invasion by Japanese Imperial Forces during World War 2. Tomaree Mountain at the southern entrance of Port Stephens became an important part of that defence.