The Hunter River rises in the Mount Royal Range and winds through rolling hilly country in a southwesterly direction as far as Denman, where it is joined by the Goulburn River. Thence it proceeds eastward through an ever-widening valley, mainly in great S-curves, and is joined by several other tributaries, notably Wollombi Brook and the Paterson and Williams Rivers. The Hunter estuary, a complex system of swamp and mangrove, extends from about Raymond Terrace and reaches the ocean in an area of rocky bluffs and sand-dunes at Newcastle...


The lower Hunter was discovered by Lieutenant J. Shortland in 1797 and was examined by Lt-Colonel William Paterson in 1801, as a result of which a settlement was founded at Newcastle to mine coal and burn shells for lime. Subsequently cedar-cutters gradually penetrated the estuary and lower tributaries as far as where Maitland now stands. The middle and upper Hunter were not settled until after 1819, when an overland route was discovered from Windsor to Singleton by John Howe. The occupation of the Hunter Valley followed rapidly after Benjamin Singleton took up land near the Hunter-Wollombi Brook junction in 1821 and John Howe at Patrick's Plains in 1823...

Previous Research

Although from the very early days settlers have been finding edge-ground axe-heads (called locally "mogos" from a Wonarua term) when ploughing in the Hunter Valley, little interest was taken either in the culture of the surviving Aborigines of the region or in prehistoric remains there. There are, however, a great many relics in the area and no doubt a number have disappeared or been destroyed since settlement. Along the floor of the valley itself the severe flooding, already mentioned, has obliterated practically all traces of prehistoric and post-settlement Aboriginal occupation, but along the scarps and side valleys many interesting relics still survive. These include painted caves, rock engravings, axe-grinding grooves, workshops, and camp sites...

The Australian Museum Survey, 1965–1967

When the writer commenced work at the Australian Museum in 1965 most of eastern New South Wales was already being covered by other resident archaeologists Miss (now Dr) Isabel McBryde, of the University of New England, was in the middle of a careful and detailed survey of the Aboriginal relics and occupation deposits of New England and the North Coast, R. V. S. Wright, of the University of Sydney, was doing periodic excavations in the Hawkesbury-Broken Bay areas, while J. V. S. Megaw, also of the University of Sydney, was concentrating on the Botany Bay-Royal National Park region. The coast and ranges south of Wollongong were being systematically surveyed and excavated by members of the Australian National University in Canberra, under the direction of J. Golson...

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Bibliographic Data

Short Form
Moore, 1970, Rec. Aust. Mus. 28(2): 25–64
David R. Moore
Results of an archaeological survey of the Hunter River Valley, New South Wales, Australia. Part I. The Bondaian Industry of the Upper Hunter and Goulburn River Valleys
Serial Title
Records of the Australian Museum
Start Page
End Page
plates 4–14
Date Published
27 August 1970
Cover Date
27 August 1970
ISSN (print)
The Australian Museum
Place Published
Sydney, Australia
02 February 2009
Available Online
03 March 2009
Reference Number
Title Page
File size: 65kB
Complete Work
File size: 9061kB