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Cessnock, New South Wales facts for kids

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New South Wales
Vincent Street in Cessnock (6).jpg
Vincent Street, the main street of Cessnock
Cessnock is located in New South Wales
Location in New South Wales
Population 21,725 (2016 census)
Postcode(s) 2325
Elevation 80 m (262 ft)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10)
 • Summer (DST) AEDT (UTC+11)
LGA(s) City of Cessnock
Region Hunter
County Northumberland
Parish Cessnock
State electorate(s)
  • Cessnock
  • Upper Hunter
Federal Division(s) Hunter
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
24.6 °C
76 °F
11.1 °C
52 °F
747.5 mm
29.4 in

Cessnock is a city in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, Australia, about 52 km (32 mi) by road west of Newcastle. It is the administrative centre of the City of Cessnock LGA and was named after an 1826 grant of land called Cessnock Estate, which was owned by John Campbell. The local area was once known as "The Coalfields", and it is the gateway city to the vineyards of the Hunter Valley, which includes Pokolbin, Mount View, Lovedale, Broke, Rothbury, and Branxton.


The transition to wine service centre from a once prosperous mining town has been a long and at times difficult process.

Cessnock lies between Australia’s earliest European settlements – Sydney, the Hawkesbury River and Newcastle. Lying on the land route between these important settlements it provided early European contact with indigenous people who have inhabited the Cessnock area for more than 3,000 years. The Wonnarua people were the major inhabitants at the time of European contact, which subsequently proved to be disastrous for the Wonnarua tribe. Many were killed or died as a result of European diseases. Others were forced onto neighbouring tribal territory and killed. The city of Cessnock abounds in indigenous place names and names with indigenous association which is indicative of this settlement and include Congewai, Kurri Kurri, Laguna, Nulkaba and Wollombi.

Pastoralists commenced settling the land in the 1820s. Cessnock was named by Scottish settler John Campbell, after his grandfather's baronial Cessnock Castle in Galston, East Ayrshire, to reflect the aristocratic heritage and ambitions for this estate. The township of Cessnock developed from 1850, as a service centre at the junction of the Great North Road from Sydney to the Hunter Valley, with branches to Maitland and Singleton.

The establishment of the South Maitland coalfields generated extensive land settlement between 1903 and 1923. The current pattern of urban development, transport routes and industrial landscape was laid at this time. The surveying of the Greta coal seam by Professor Edgeworth David around 1888 became the impetus for considerable social and economic change in the area with the development of the coal mining industry.


The town is located in the rich alluvial and volcanic soils of the Hunter Valley. Rich coal seams underlie much of the area. to the north. Cessnock lies within the Hunter Valley Important Bird Area.


Climate data for Cessnock Airport
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 45.0
Average high °C (°F) 30.0
Average low °C (°F) 16.7
Record low °C (°F) 6.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 72.5
Average precipitation days 10.3 11.0 9.8 9.7 9.7 9.6 8.5 8.1 7.8 9.8 10.4 10.6 115.3


For a century Cessnock was served by the South Maitland Railway network, originally constructed for the coal industry, but which, at one time, had considerable passenger services, including a direct train to Sydney known as the Cessnock Flyer.

The Sydney-Newcastle Freeway's Cessnock exit at Freemans Waterhole provides one of the main road connections from Sydney to Cessnock via "The Gap", a pass through the Watagan Mountains range just north of Mount Heaton.

Until the Hunter Expressway opened in 2014, linking the New England Highway at Branxton and the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway at West Wallsend, through traffic passed through Cessnock.

The local airport is placed just to the north of the city, at the entrance to the Vineyard District. It has a small public passenger terminal and also serves as the base for aviation training organisations such as Avondale College's school of Aviation and Hunter Valley Aviation. The airport is not served by RPT flights. Access by air to the region is by Newcastle Airport at Williamtown, 53 km (33 mi) away.

The local bus service is run by Rover Coaches which provide services to Maitland, Newcastle and Morisset and school bus services.

National Estate

Cessnock Court House, Maitland Road (designed by George McRae, Government Architect)

Greater Cessnock contains a number of buildings and sites that are on the Register of the National Estate.

  • Court House, Branxton
  • Police Station and Residence, Branxton
  • Former Court House, Greta
  • Kurri Kurri Hotel, Lang and Hampden Streets, Kurri Kurri
  • Richmond Main Colliery, Mulbring Rd, Pelaw Main
  • Laguna House, Laguna
  • Post Office, Wollombi
  • Endeavour Museum (former Court House), Wollombi
  • Public School, Wollombi
  • St Michael's Catholic Church, Wollombi
  • St John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Wollombi
  • Stanford Main No.2 Colliery Pit Head Building, Brick Cottages
  • Aboriginal Rock Carvings Site, popularly known as Baiame Cave, Milbrodale Area


Royal Oak Hotel in Cessnock (1)
The Royal Oak Hotel

The decline of mining on the South Maitland Coalfields has been paralleled by growth in the wine industry and better access to other employment centres.

The Hunter Valley wine-growing area near Cessnock is Australia's oldest wine region and one of the most famous, with around 1,800 hectares (4,448 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 and growing tourism industry. The extension and eventual completion of the F3 Freeway, created a property and tourism boom during the 1990s.

Cessnock has begun to develop other tourist ventures beyond the wine industry such as championship golf courses, hot air ballooning, sky-diving, and guest house accommodation.

The city council has actively pursued a policy of urban renewal in the city centre since 2001. The local council was one of the first to introduce a recycling program for waste disposal in the state.

Most employment comes from the local port city of Newcastle, the nearby major centres of Maitland and Singleton and in service industries in the local council area, which comprises many small towns, such as Kurri Kurri, Weston, Neath, Abernethy, Kearsley and Pokolbin.


Cessnock rodeo
Rodeo at Cessnock showground

The city has many sporting facilities. The city competes in several regional sporting competitions, particularly the Cessnock Goannas competing in Newcastle-based rugby league competition. Some very successful sporting players can trace their roots to the local district, including Australian Rugby League representative players and brothers Andrew and Matthew Johns. World-renowned golfer and TV commentator Jack Newton is also from Cessnock. His annual Sub-Juniors Golf Tournament has unearthed some talented young golfers and is held on the local championship courses of Pokolbin. Cessnock was the base camp for the Japanese national football team during the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.


Notable people

  • Douglas N. Daft, businessman; CEO of Coca-Cola (2000–04), and Corporate Director of Wal-Mart
  • Joel Edwards, rugby league player
  • Andrew Johns, rugby league player
  • Matthew Johns, rugby league player
  • Gavin King, journalist; newspaper columnist
  • Bruce Litchfield, architect
  • Kenneth Neate, opera singer
  • Jack Newton, professional golfer
  • Bill Peden, rugby league player
  • Frank Rickwood, President of BP Alaska, Chairman of Oil Search
  • Don Schofield, Rugby League Player
  • Simon Whitlock, Professional Darts Player
  • Wendy McCormack, journalist, Editor in-chief Murdoch suburban Newspapers, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne. Central Coast Woman of the year 1989
  • Rod McCormack, multi times National Guitar and Banjo Champion, Australian Musician of the year,

multi Golden guitar winner, award winning record producer.

  • Jeff McCormack, Multi Golden Guitar winner, Australian musician of the year, award winning

record producer.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Cessnock (Nueva Gales del Sur) para niños

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