Suburb Profiles

Hunter Valley Wine Country

Cessnock Local Government Area (Cessnock City) covers approximately 1,950 square kilometres within the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, approximately 120 kilometres north of Sydney and 40 kilometres west of Newcastle.

Whilst mining was the principal industrial base and source of employment in the Cessnock area for the first half of this century, changes to the mining industry, including automation and the introduction of sophisticated computerised equipment, led to the closure of the vast majority of mines in the area.

The decline of mining has been paralleled by growth in the wine industry. The Hunter Valley wine-growing area in the Cessnock LGA is Australia’s oldest wine region and one of the most famous, with around 4,500 acres under vine. The vineyards of Pokolbin, Mount View and Allandale, with their rich volcanic soils tended by entrepreneurial vignerons, are also the focus of a thriving tourism industry.

As well as vineyards and wineries there are fine restaurants, motels, cabins, guest houses and galleries. Wine-related tourism has also created opportunities for other attractions, such as the historic Marthaville Arts and Crafts Centre, Wollombi Village, the Richmond Main Mining Museum and the Richmond Vale Railway. Other primary industries in Cessnock City include beef and poultry.

Light and secondary industry have also been a feature of the City’s recent economic development, with the production of aluminium, the processing of explosive equipment and mining support services now a significant source of employment in the area.
Support infrastructure across the City now includes two hospitals, two TAFE campuses, community health services, a range of childcare options, and aged care as well as numerous other community support services. Each of the City’s towns and villages (which are linked by large expanses of natural vegetation) provide high quality sporting facilities and parks.

Whilst it is the Hunter Valley as a whole that is recognised and remembered as a world-class wine region and tourism destination, the region is made up of a number of small communities, townships and localities. Each of them has their own secrets to reveal and can be discovered on their own or as part of a Hunter Valley trail.

Aberdare/Kearsley

Aberdare – Kearsley is a residential area, with some rural land use in the eastern section. Aberdare – Kearsley is bounded by Melbourne Street, Duffie Drive and the locality of Neath in the north, Neath Road, Swamp Creek and the locality of Elrington in the east, the locality of Abernethy, Kearsley Road and the locality of Kitchener in the south and the locality of Cessnock, Government Circuit, Cessnock Street and Quorrobolong Street in the west.

Settlement of the area dates from the late 1800s, although significant development did not occur until 1905 when a coal mine was established in Aberdare. Most growth occurred in the first half of the 1900s. The population was relatively stable during the 1990s, and then declined slightly between 2001 and 2006, a result of some new dwellings being added to the area, but a decline in the average number of persons living in each dwelling.

Major features of the area include Turner Park and a number of schools.

Abermain/Neath/Sawyers Gully

Abermain – Neath – Sawyers Gully is a residential and rural area, with residential land use located around Cessnock Road. Abermain – Neath – Sawyers Gully is bounded by Majors Lane, James Lane and the locality of Bishops Bridge in the north, Maitland City, Swamp Creek, the locality of Loxford, Bishops Bridge Road, Gingers Lane, Church Street, Cessnock Road, the locality of Cessnock and a line running continuous of Hospital Road in the east, the Werakata National Park, Neath Road, Northumberland Street and the locality of Kearsley in the south and the localities of Cessnock, Lovedale and Keinbah in the west.

Settlement of the area dates from the late 1800s when coal was discovered. In 1903 the town of Abermain sprung up at a pithead, based around the Abermain colliery. A small township was also established at Neath. Most growth occurred in the first half of the 1900s. The population declined slightly during the 1990s, and then was relatively stable between 2001 and 2006, a result of some new dwellings being added to the area, but a decline in the average number of persons living in each dwelling.

Major features of the area include the Werakata National Park and one school.

Bellbird/Bellbird Heights

Bellbird – Bellbird Heights is a residential and rural area, with residential land use located around Wollombi Road. Bellbird – Bellbird Heights is bounded by the locality of Mount View in the north and west, the locality of Cessnock in the east and the Aberdare State Forest, the locality of Pelton and Bimbadeen Road in the south.

Settlement of the area dates from the late 1800s, although significant development did not occur until the early 1900s when two collieries were established. Most growth occurred in the first half of the 1900s. The population has increased slightly since the early 1990s, a result of new dwellings being added to the area.

Major features of the area include Carmichael Park and one school.

Branxton/Elderslie/Dalwood

Located off the New England Highway you will find these small village centres displaying historic architecture, arts & crafts stores and friendly locals. Dalwood is also the site of the Hunter Valley’s first grapevines and you will find links to the area’s history at Wyndham Estate.

Broke Fordwich

Via the picturesque Putty Road from the Blue Mountains & Western Sydney or a quick 15 minute drive via Broke Road from Pokolbin, you will find Broke Fordwich, nestled at the foothills of the Brokenback Range in the shadow of the majestic Yellow Rock. Known as ‘the tranquil side of the Hunter Valley’, Broke Fordwich is home to boutique wineries and quality country accommodation with splendid vistas. Exceptional wines, fine restaurants and a gourmet selection of local produce make a visit to this area a must. www.brokefordwich.com.au

Cessnock East

Cessnock East is a mainly residential area. Cessnock East is bounded by the locality of Nulkaba, Black Creek, Old Maitland Road and the locality of Sawyers Gully in the north, the localities of Abermain, Neath and Aberdare, Duffie Drive, Melbourne Street, Quorrobolong Street, Cessnock Street and the locality of Kearsley in the east, the Werakata National Park and the locality of Kitchener in the south and Quorrobolong Road, Vincent Street and Allandale Road in the west.

Settlement of the area dates from 1850 when the township developed as a service centre to the surrounding area which was used mainly for farming, dairying, grazing, timber-getting, saw-milling and coal mining. Growth was slow until the 1890s, following the discovery of coal. Significant development occurred in the first half of the 1900s. The population declined slightly from the early 1990s, a result of little change in dwelling stock and a decline in the average number of persons living in each dwelling.

Major features of the area include Council Offices, Cessnock State Forest, Baddeley Park, Bridges Hill Park and two schools.

Cessnock West

Cessnock West is a mainly residential area. Cessnock West is bounded by the locality of Nulkaba and Kerlew Street in the north, Allandale Road, Vincent Street and Quorrobolong Road in the east, the Aberdare State Forest in the south and the locality of Bellbird, Mount View Road and Oakey Creek Road in the west.

Settlement of the area dates from 1850 when the township developed as a service centre to the surrounding area which was used mainly for farming, dairying, grazing, timber-getting, saw-milling and coal mining. Growth was slow until the 1890s, following the discovery of coal. Significant development occurred in the first half of the 1900s. The population has been relatively stable since the early 1990s, a result of some new dwellings being added to the area, but a decline in the average number of persons living in each dwelling.

Major features of the area include TAFE NSW Hunter Institute (Cessnock Campus), Cessnock Correctional Centre, Cessnock Baths, Cessnock District Hospital, Cessnock Showground, The Oaks Golf & Country Club, Cessnock City Centre, Cessnock Racecourse, Mount View Park and a number of schools.

Ellalong/Paxton/Millfield/Rural West

Ellalong – Paxton – Millfield – Rural West is a mainly rural area which has experienced recent residential growth in the townships of Ellalong, Millfield and Paxton. Ellalong – Paxton – Millfield – Rural West is bounded by the localities of Cedar Creek and Mount View in the north, the locality of Pelton, the Aberdare State Forest, the localities of Quorrobolong and Brunkerville and the City of Lake Macquarie in the east, Wyong Shire and the Gosford and Hawkesbury Cities in the south and the Macdonald River and the Singleton Council area in the west. Ellalong – Paxton – Millfield – Rural West includes the localities of Big Yengo, Bucketty, Congewai, Corrabare, Greta Main, Laguna, Moruben, Olney, Paynes Crossing, Sweetmans Creek and Wollombi.

Settlement of the area dates from the 1820s when the first land grants were made. People began to settle on the brook at Wollombi between 1827 and 1831, spurred by the building of the Great North Road. After the completion of the Great North Road, Wollombi became established as the commercial and administrative centre of the district, retaining this status until the late 1800s. The village of Millfield grew in the 1830s, serving farmers and travellers. Some flour mills operated in the area in the 1840s. The village of Paxton became established after the discovery of coal and opening of collieries in the early 1900s. The population increased during the 1990s, a result of new dwellings being added to the area, particularly in Ellalong, Laguna and Millfield. The population and dwelling stock were relatively stable between 2001 and 2006. Most of the rural land in the area is used for farming, market gardening, cattle grazing and timber-getting with some wine growing around Paxton.

Major features of the area include Watagan National Park, Yengo National Park, Koolang Astronomical Observatory, various state forests and a number of schools.

Greta/Branxton/East Branxton

Greta – Branxton – East Branxton is a rural and residential area, with residential land use in the townships based along the New England Highway. Greta – Branxton – East Branxton is bounded by the Singleton Council area in the north and west, Maitland City in the east and the localities of Allandale and North Rothbury in the south. Greta is thought to be named after a river in Cumberland, England. Branxton is named after a town in Northumberland, England.
Settlement of the area dates from the 1830s as the Hunter Valley was opened up beyond Maitland. Greta started as a small community around Anvil Creek. The township of Branxton was established from 1848 when land was subdivided and sold, attracting people due to its accessibility to water, rich agricultural land and location as a road junction. Growth was slow until the Anvil Creek Coal Mine was established in 1874. In 1939, construction began on the Greta Army Camp, which became one of the largest migrant camps in Australia, with an estimated 100,000 people spending some time at the centre before it was closed in 1960. The population has increased since the early 1990s, a result of new dwellings being added to the area.

Major features of the area include Branxton Golf Club, Branxton Baths and a number of schools.

Kurri Kurri East

Kurri Kurri East is a mainly rural area, with industrial land use in the south-western section, and some residential land use in the townships. Kurri Kurri East is bounded by the locality of Sawyers Gully and Maitland City in the north, the City of Newcastle in the east and south-east, the locality of Mulbring in the south and the localities of Elrington, Abermain and Kurri Kurri and Bishops Bridge Road in the west. Kurri Kurri East includes the localities of Black Hill, Buchanan, Buttai, Cliftleigh, Four Mile Creek, Heddon Greta, Loxford, Pelaw Main, Richmond Vale, Stanford Merthyr and Stockrington.

Settlement of the area dates from the late 1800s following the discovery of coal and the establishment of several collieries. Small settlements were established at Heddon Greta, Pelaw Main and Stanford Merthyr with some growth in these towns from 1903 to 1923. During the mid 1920s the coal trade reached its peak, and had ceased operation by the mid 1960s. The population declined from the 1930s. A large aluminium smelter was completed in 1972 and remains a major source of local employment. The population has increased since the early 1990s, a result of new dwellings being added to the area. Most of the rural land in the area is used for farming, dairying and orcharding.

Major features of the area include Kurri Kurri Golf Club, Buchanan Gallery, Richmond Vale Railway Museum, Richmond Main Heritage Park, Buttai Barn, Sir Edgeworth David Memorial Museum, Kurri Kurri Park and two schools.

Lovedale/North Rothbury

East of Pokolbin you will discover Lovedale. Known for its community of boutique wineries, cellar doors, quality accommodation, restaurants and unique galleries, Lovedale is also were the now famous Lovedale Long Lunch takes place every year in May. www.lovedalehuntervalley.com.au

Mount View

With award-winning boutique cellar doors, wineries and unique accommodation this is one of the most idyllic and scenic parts of the Hunter Valley. Enjoy Mount View Road, from the south-eastern end of Pokolbin south to Millfield Village. The road winds its way around the breathtakingly beautiful Brokenback Range and reveals vistas you’ll just have to capture. www.mountview.biz

Pokolbin/Rothbury

Pokolbin/Rothbury forms the epicentre of Wine Country. It is where most of the Hunter Valley’s first vineyards were planted and were you will find the largest collection of wineries, accommodation houses, restaurants and activities. And, of course, you will also find many of the original families here.

Rural East

Rural East is the rural balance of Cessnock City in the eastern section, south of the main townships. Rural East includes the localities of Abernethy, Brunkerville, Elrington, Kitchener, Mount Vincent, Mulbring, Pelton and Quorrobolong.
Settlement of the area dates from the early 1900s when small townships were established at Abernethy and Kitchener, based around coal mines. The population has increased since the early 1990s, a result of new dwellings being added to the area, particularly in Quorrobolong. Much of the rural area is used for grazing and farming.

Major features of the area include Werakata National Park, various state forests and a number of schools.

Rural North

Rural North is the rural balance of Cessnock City in the northern section, which contains some growing residential areas. Rural North includes the localities of Allandale, Bishops Bridge, Cedar Creek, Keinbah, Lochinvar, Lovedale, Mount View, North Rothbury, Nulkaba, Pokolbin and Rothbury.

Settlement of the area dates from the 1830s when settlers harvested cedar and rosewood forests at Cedar Creek. There was some growth in the 1850s and 1860s, with land used mainly for wheat, tobacco and grape growing. A village was laid out at Nulkaba in 1884. From the 1960s the wine industry began to boom, with vineyards at Allandale, Mount View, Pokolbin and Rothbury and small cottages and farms used mainly as weekend retreats. These are now the focus of a thriving and growing tourism industry. Rapid growth took place during the early 1990s, with the population nearly doubling between 1991 and 1996, particularly in North Rothbury and Pokolbin. Growth continued between 1996 and 2006, although at a slower rate, a result of new dwellings being added to the area.

Major features of the area include Werakata National Park, Pokolbin State Forest, Rusa Park Zoo, Cessnock Airport, Cypress Lakes Golf and Country Club, Hunter Valley Golf Club, The Vintage Golf & Country Club, many wineries and vineyards and one school.

Singleton/Upper Hunter

Accessed via the New England Highway, the Golden Hwy, Putty Road or Hermitage Road, this sub-region offers boutique wineries, rolling pasture, horse studs and natural wonders – including Lake St Clair – and an intriguing mix of heritage, country charm and modern sophistication. www.singletontourism.com.au

Wollombi Valley

The picturesque Wollombi Valley and its historic village are home to many old convict structures and ancient Aboriginal sites. Wollombi Village is famed for its heritage colonial architecture and is the gateway to the convict trail, National Parks, boutique wineries and museums. www.wollombivalley.com

Weston

Weston is a mainly residential area, with some rural land use in the outer areas. Weston is bounded by Gingers Lane in the north, Sawyers Gully Road, Mitchell Avenue and the locality of Kurri Kurri in the east, Lang Street and the locality of Abermain in the south and Church Street in the west.

Settlement of the area dates primarily from 1903 following the opening of a colliery. Most development occurred in the first half of the 1900s. The population declined slightly during the 1990s, and then increased marginally between 2001 and 2006, a result of new dwellings being added to the area.

Major features of the area include Hebburn Reservoir, Peace Park and one school.