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Port Stephens

Port Stephens, an open youthful tide-dominated drowned-valley estuary, is a large natural harbour of approximately 134 square kilometres (52 sq mi) located in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, Australia.

Details

  • Area:4.04 km2
  • Elevation:2 m
  • Population:N/A
  • Local Government Area:Port Stephens Council

Description

Port Stephens, an open youthful tide-dominated drowned-valley estuary, is a large natural harbour of approximately 134 square kilometres (52 sq mi) located in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, Australia.Port Stephens lies within the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park and is situated about 160 kilometres (99 mi) north-east of Sydney. The harbour lies wholly within the local government area of Port Stephens; although its northern shoreline forms the boundary between the Port Stephens and Mid-Coast local government areas.According to the 2006 Census, more than 26,000 people lived within 3 km (1.9 mi) of its 113 km (70 mi) long shoreline and more than 32,000 lived within 10 km (6 mi). # History The Worimi are the traditional owners for the area which is now called Port Stephens and the wider region is home to numerous sites of deep cultural significance to the Worimi.The port was named by Captain Cook when he passed by on 11 May 1770, honouring Sir Philip Stephens, who was Secretary to the Admiralty. Stephens was a personal friend of Cook and had recommended him for command of the voyage. It seems Cook's initial choice had actually been Point Keppel and Keppel Bay, but instead he used Keppel Bay later.The first ship to enter the port was the Salamander, a ship of the Third Fleet that later gave the suburb of Salamander Bay its name, in 1791. In that same year escaped convicts, then known as 'bolters', discovered coal in the area. In 1795 the crew of HMS Providence discovered a group of escaped convicts living with the Worimi people. Port Stephens became a popular haven for escaped convicts and so in 1820 a garrison of soldiers was established at what is now known as Soldiers Point.The 63-tonne (62-long-ton) cutter Lambton, commanded by Captain James Corlette, began shipping timber and wool out of the port in 1816. The suburb of Corlette was named after the captain.Port Stephens has rather poor soil for the most part, and has limited agricultural potential. For this reason, no large towns developed there historically and it was never developed as a significant port. The major city and port of Newcastle developed at the mouth of the Hunter River, about 45 km (28 mi) south-west of Port Stephens. Despite this, in 1920 there was a push for Port Stephens to be the capital city of a new state in a proposal originating from the country newspaper The Daily Observer. The proposal was the Observer's editor Victor Charles Thompson's idea in response to continuing rural Australian antipathy at the Sydney-centralised funding and governance that many rural newspapers claimed had neglected to aid rural Australian towns.During World War II, the remoteness and lack of any significant civilian population led to the Royal Australian Navy establishing HMAS Assault, an amphibious landing training establishment, at Nelson Bay. The sick bay from HMAS Assault still stands and is used by the Port Stephens Community Arts Centre.A number of small towns developed around the port as fishing, holiday and retirement communities. Since the 1970s, with improved road access from Sydney, and the increasing popularity of coastal retirement lifestyles, there has been major expansion of these towns. ## Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park On 1 December 2005 the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park was established pursuant to the Marine Parks Act, 1997 (NSW). The park comprises approximately 97,200 hectares (240,000 acres) and includes all of Port Stephens, the Karuah and Myall rivers and all their creeks and tributaries under tidal influence. The park was established to protect the wide variety of sea life that inhabit the port and nearby coastal areas of the Tasman Sea from just south of Forster to the northern end of Stockton Beach. # Weather # Things to do

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