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State Library of NSW
In 1797 Lieutenant John Shortland explored the Newcastle region, north of Sydney, while searching for escaped convicts. He described the Hunter as ‘ a very fine river ’. However, for many years the harbour was considered difficult with a number of navigational hazards created by shallow sandbanks and the treacherous nature of the channel between Nobbys Head and the mainland. In the early years of settlement attempts were made to create a breakwater across this channel. It wasn’t until the 1830s that serious plans were made to create a permanent barrier. In 1849 the Colonial Engineer, George Barney, prepared a report on the Harbour. This Rough sketch of Newcastle Harbour shewing the Breakwater was prepared to accompany the report. This is a unique manuscript sketch of Newcastle harbour from the collection.