Site and surroundings

"Mayfield is an inner city, industrial suburb of Newcastle. Newcastle is about 160kms from Sydney, Australia. The major industry is steel manufacturing. Before closing down operations here, BHP employed many of the local residents. Other major companies are Tubemakers, Australian Wire and Rope, Commonwealth Steel and Rylands Australia.

Mayfield's history can be described as one of profound transformation. It formed part of the hunting grounds of the Aboriginal people, who lived here. In the era of white colonisation, it transformed from an agricultural abode of the rich people of Newcastle to an industrial landscape that welcomed people from all over the world to work in the industries and factories of the post war period. It was the birthplace of the Hunter Region's wine industry, as well as the birth place for the prosperity of many individuals who had their beginnings in this little place.

The Aboriginal name for the land area of Newcastle was Mulubinba. The official 1833 Returns for Newcastle and Lake Macquarie mention four tribes that once lived here; The Awabakal (Lake Macquarie Tribe) whose chief was M'Gill (Biraban) ; The Pambalong (Swamps District and Near Newcastle) whose chiefs were Gorman and Coleman; The Ash Island Tribe whose chief was Wallungull and finally the Kurungbong (Cooranbong) Tribe under Ben. In 1836 the Rev. L.E. Threlkeld, a missionary stationed at Lake Macquarie, mentions the Cobbera's Tribe or Sugarloaf Tribe (who frequented Sugarloaf Mountain, Lake Macquarie, the Swamps and the surrounding neighbourhood) who may have been the Pambalong mentioned above and a clan of the Awabakal.

Prior to white settlement, the supreme being of this region was Kon (pronouced 'cone'). He was an invisible being who was held in both reverence and dread, and who is said to have made everything including the first man. Kon's role was to announce the arrival of natives from distant parts where they assembled for the mysteries such as the knocking out of a tooth in the mystic ring or the performance of some ritual dance. He usually appears painted with pipe clay and carries a fire stick in his hands.

The land that Mayfield now rests upon formed part of a land grant of 2000 acres made to John Laurio Platt, who was one of the first free settlers to the region. He built his homestead on Ironbark Hill, which is now the Steel River site, formerly the location of the Murray-Dwyer Orphanage. He arrived aboard the ship The Providence in January 7th 1822. By 1823 Platt was occupying his land and had chosen Ironbark Hill for his home. In December 1831, tragedy struck when two of his young boys, while chasing bandicoots in the forest, were consumed by a bush fire and perished. They were found by Constable Hewson and brought back to the homestead on Ironbark Hill. They were later buried at Christ Church Cathedral Cemetery. The family were devastated and by 1836 Platt and his wife were dead. The remaining seven children were adopted by E.C.Close, a friend of Platt's, and went to live in Morpeth. The eldest son remained on Ironbark Hill until the land was sold to the Australian Agricultural Company in 1839.

The suburb of Mayfield was born from the township of Waratah, when John Scholey decided to sell a portion of his land under the name of his daughter May in 1881. According to T.A.Braye's "History of Waratah, N.S.W" the subdivision originally was bounded on the west by Kerr Street, on the north by Crebert Street, on the east by a line about five chains from Church Street southerly to the Maitland Road and along Maitland Road back to Kerr Street. This land grant was originally made on the Ist February 1854 to James Price of Buttai. From him it passed through two owners until being conveyed to John Scholey on 2nd April, 1881. John Scholey was a butcher who had rented the land as a slaughterhouse paddock, with a slaughterhouse and residence for slaughtermen. The paddock was heavily timbered with thick ti-tree bush growing along the Maitland Road. He had the land cleared, stumped and subdivided and called it Mayfield. You can read more about the history of our suburb by visiting the Mayfield Website."

St. Columban's Primary School. <> (21/5/07).