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History of Maitland

History of Maitland

A deep history

Maitland and its surroundings have a profound Indigenous history, spanning thousands of years. The Wonnarua people, as traditional owners and custodians, have maintained their connection with this land and its waterways. It is said through dreamtime story, that the great spirit Baiame opened his eyes that were steeped in chasms of eternity and created the hills, valleys, forests and living things in and around Maitland, including the Hunter, Williams and Paterson Rivers.

European Colonisation

In 1810, a base camp was established by convicts from Newcastle to log timber. In 1818 Governor Macquarie named the area Wallis Plains after Major James Wallis and ordered the establishment of a farming community. In 1820, free European colonists were permitted by the Governor to establish a colony, which then became Maitland.

Uncover Maitland’s story

Delve deeper into Maitland's history and the influential figures and events that have shaped our region. 

Collections Maitland: A digital treasure trove

Step into a world of digitised cultural collections from across Maitland through Collections Maitland. This online platform provides access to digitised objects from various cultural institutions, including Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Maitland Libraries, Maitland Gaol, Morpeth Museum and the Old Maitland Hospital. Thanks to the extensive digitisation project supported by the NSW Government Regional Cultural Fund, these collections are now searchable online. 

Local history collection

Maitland Libraries proudly houses a comprehensive local studies collection, located at Maitland City Library. 

This collection comprises:

  • Microfilm copies of the Maitland Mercury from 1847 to June 2019. 
  • Published family histories and books on local places, people and events. 
  • Rates indexes for Maitland from 1870-1899. 
  • The Andrew Burg, Harry Boyle and Cynthia Hunter Collections. 

Make an in-person visit today and ask our friendly team to direct you to these important resources.

Join the Maitland Libraries community today