Port Stephens

Infobox Ocean
Ocean_name = Port Stephens
image_Ocean = portstephens entrance.jpg
caption_Ocean = Yacaba, the northern headland at the entrance of Port Stephens
image_bathymetry =
caption_bathymetry =
location = New South Wales
coords = coord|32|41|57|S|152|7|26|E|region:AU_type:waterbody|display=inline,title
inflow = Karuah River, Myall River, Tilligerry Creek
outflow = Tasman Sea
catchment =
basin_countries = Australia
length = Convert|24|km|mi|0|abbr=on
width = Convert|6.5|km|mi|1|abbr=on
area = convert|118.9|km2|sqmi|1|abbr=on
depth =
max-depth =
volume =
residence_time =
shore = Convert|113|km|mi|1|abbr=on
elevation = Convert|0|m|ft|0|abbr=on
cities = Anna Bay, Bobs Farm Bundabah, Carrington Corlette, Hawks Nest Karuah, Lemon Tree Passage Mallabula, Nelson Bay North Arm Cove, Oyster Cove Pindimar, Salamander Bay Soldiers Point, Shoal Bay Swan Bay, Tahlee Tanilba Bay, Taylors Beach Tea Gardens
frozen = never

Port Stephens is a large natural harbour located about Convert|160|km|mi|0 north-east of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia.DoL suburb image|name=Port Stephens|codename=Port%20Stephens|accessdate=2008-07-08] It lies wholly within the Port Stephens Local Government Area (LGA) although its northern shoreline forms the boundary between the Port Stephens and Great Lakes LGAs.cite web|url=http://www.gnb.nsw.gov.au/name_search/extract?id=ujjtvqUluj|title=Geographical Names Register Extract: Port Stephens|work=Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW|publisher=Geographical Names Board of New South Wales|accessdate=2008-07-08] More than 26,000 people live within Convert|3|km|mi|abbr=on of its Convert|113|km|mi|abbr=on long shoreline and more than 32,000 live within Convert|10|km|mi|0|abbr=on.Based on population figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006 Census]


Port Stephens has a narrow entrance between two striking hills of volcanic origin. The southern headland, "Tomaree" or "South" Head, rises to Convert|120|m|ft above mean sea level (AMSL) while "Yacaba", the northern headland, is Convert|210|m|ft|abbr=on AMSL. The harbour is mostly shallow and sandy but contains sufficient deep water to accommodate large vessels; the "RMS Queen Mary" moored there during World War II. After its recovery from the wreck site in 1974 the bow of the "MV Sygna", a 53,000 tonne Norwegian bulk carrier that was shipwrecked on Stockton Beach earlier that year, was moored in Port Stephens, at Salamander Bay, for almost two years. [cite web|url=http://www.amsa.gov.au/Marine_Environment_Protection/Major_Oil_Spills_in_Australia/Sygna/index.asp |title=Major Oil Spills in Australia, Sygna, Newcastle, 26 May 1974|publisher=Australian Marine Safety Authority|accessdate=2008-07-08]

With an area of approximately convert|119|km2|sqmi|1 Port Stephens is larger than Sydney Harbour. It extends approximately Convert|24|km|mi|abbr=on inland from the "Tasman Sea" and at its widest point, between Tanilba Bay and Tahlee, it is Convert|6.5|km|mi|0|abbr=on across. The narrowest pont is between Soldiers Point and Pindimar where the distance is only Convert|1.1|km|mi|1|abbr=on. Between Nelson Bay and Tea Gardens, in the most well known section of the port, it is Convert|3.8|km|mi|1|abbr=on wide.

The Karuah River drains into Port Stephens at its north-western corner. The Myall River (through the Myall Lakes) drains into the port on its northern shore, about Convert|5.7|km|mi|1|abbr=on from the mouth of the port. Twelve Mile Creek drains into the port's south-western corner.The southern shore of the port is divided into two distinct areas known as the Tomaree and Tilligerry peninsulas. These are separated by Tilligerry Creek, a body of water covering approximately Convert|7.7|km2|sqmi|1|abbr=on, which drains the land in the low-lying areas of Salt Ash, Bobs Farm, Tanilba Bay and Mallabula. [DoL suburb image|name=Tilligerry Creek|codename=Tilligerry%20Creek|accessdate=2008-07-08] While it is geographically closer to major centres such as Sydney and Newcastle the Tilligerry peninsula lacks the urban development that has occurred on the much larger (Convert|25|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on vs Convert|115|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on respectively) Tomaree peninsula. Although Lemon Tree Passage, on the Tilligerry Peninsula, and Soldiers Point, on the Tomaree Peninsula, are only Convert|2.9|km|mi|1|abbr=on from each other, physical separation of the suburbs by Port Stephens and Tilligerry Creek results in them being almost Convert|40|km|mi|0|abbr=on from each other by road.

Karuah township, located at the north-eastern corner of the port on the mouth of the Karuah River, experiences similar geographical separation from the Tilligerry Peninsula. Despite being only Convert|7.7|km|mi|1|abbr=on from Tanilba Bay, the road distance between the two suburbs is Convert|40|km|mi|0|abbr=on.

The western shore and the western part of the northern shore of the port are largely undeveloped with the flora ranging from scrubland in the west to the large tracts of bushland which are present along most of the northern shore. Closer to the mouth of the port, at and near Winda Woppa, sandy beaches are prevalent. These extend from Jimmys Beach, near the mouth of the port, to the mouth of the Myall River, a distance of approximately Convert|5.2|km|mi|1|abbr=on.Measurements from 1:100000 maps 9232 NEWCASTLE and 9332 PORT STEPHENS]


The port was named by Captain Cook when he passed on 11 May 1770, honouring Sir Philip Stephens who was Secretary of the Admiralty. Stephens was a personal friend of Cook and had recommended him for command of the voyage. [cite web|url=http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/14423 |title="A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels", Vol. 12|author=Robert Kerr|publisher=Project Gutenberg|date=2004-12-22|accessdate=2008-07-08] It seems Cook's initial choice had actually been Point Keppel and Keppel Bay, but instead he used Kepple Bay later (see Keppel Bay). [Ray Parkin, "H. M. Bark Endeavour", Miegunyah Press, 2nd edition 2003, ISBN 0-522-85093-6, page 213.]

The first ship to enter the port was the "Salamander", a ship of the Third Fleet that later gave the suburb of Salamander Bay its name, in 1791.Cite web|url=http://www.portstephens-australia.com/history.php|title=History of Port Stephens|accessdate=2008-07-09 (see "Early development of Port Stephens" section)] In that same year escaped convicts, then known as 'bolters', discovered coal in the area.

In 1795 the crew of the "HMS Providence" discovered a group of escaped convicts, living with the Worimi people. Port Stephens became a popular haven for escaped convicts and so in 1820 a garrison of soldiers was established at what is now known as Soldiers Point.

The Convert|63|t|LT|0|lk=on cutter "Lambton", commanded by Captain James Corlette, began shipping timber and wool out of the port in 1816. The suburb of Corlette was named after the captain. [cite web|url=http://www.gnb.nsw.gov.au/name_search/extract?id=JPckwpsyan|title=Geographical Names Register Extract: Corlette|work=Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW|publisher=Geographical Names Board of New South Wales|accessdate=2008-07-10]

Port Stephens has rather poor soil for the most part, and has limited agricultural potential. For this reason, no large towns developed there historically and it was never developed as a significant port. The major city and port of Newcastle developed at the mouth of the Hunter River, about Convert|45|km|mi|0|abbr=on south-west of Port Stephens.Despite this, in 1920 there was a push for Port Stephens to be the capital city of a new state in a proposal originating from the country newspaper "The Daily Observer". The proposal was the "Observer"'s editor Victor Charles Thompson's idea in response to continuing rural Australian antipathy at the Sydney-centralised funding and governance that many rural newspapers claimed had neglected to aid rural Australian towns. [cite web |url=http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/eserv/UQ:11235/kir02.pdf|title=How newspaper editors helped the country become politically articulate|format=PDF|author=Rod Kirkpatrick|publisher=Australian Journalism Review|date=August 2000|accessdate=2008-07-08]

During World War II, the remoteness and lack of any significant civilian population lead to the Royal Australian Navy establishing HMAS Assault, an amphibious landing training establishmen, at Nelson Bay. The Sick Bay from HMAS Assault still stands and is used by the Port Stephens Community Arts Centre. [Cite web|url=http://www.ozatwar.com/ran/hmasassault.htm|title=HMAS Assault, Port Stephens, New South Wales during WW2|publisher=Peter Dunn|date=2008-01-05|accessdate=2008-07-08] [Cite web|url=http://www.artscentre.nelsonbay.com/index.htm|title=Home Page|publisher=Port Stephens Community Arts Centre|accessdate=2008-07-08]

A number of small towns developed around the port as fishing, holiday and retirement communities. Since the 1970s, with improved road access from Sydney, and the increasing popularity of coastal retirement lifestyles, there has been major expansion of these towns.

Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park

On 1 December 2005 the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park was established. [Cite web|url=http://www.amcs.org.au/default2.asp?active_page_id=270|title=Port Stephens Marine Park|publisher=Australian Marine Conservation Society|accessdate=2008-07-08] The park includes all of Port Stephens, the Karuah and Myall rivers and all their creeks and tributaries under tidal influence. [Cite web|url=http://www.mpa.nsw.gov.au/psglmp.html|title=Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park|publisher=Marine Parks Authority NSW|accessdate=2008-07-08] The park was established to protect the wide variety of sea life that inhabit the port and nearby coastal areas of the Tasman Sea from just south of Forster to the northern end of Stockton Beach.

Examples of some of the sea life that inhabits Port Stephens


According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, at the time of the 2006 Census, more than 85% of the population around Port Stephens resided in towns and suburbs that have developed on or near the southern shores of the port. More than 22,188 people live within Convert|3|km|mi|abbr=on of the port in the suburbs of Corlette, Lemon Tree Passage, Mallabula, Nelson Bay, Oyster Cove, Salamander Bay, Shoal Bay, Soldiers Point, Tanilba Bay and Taylors Beach. Another 5,343 people live in other suburbs on the Tomaree peninsula that are within Convert|10|km|mi|0|abbr=on of Port Stephens. These suburbs include Anna Bay,ref|AnnaBay|Note1 Boat Harbour, Bobs Farm, Fingal Bay, Fishermans Bay and One Mile.

Most urban development to the south of Port Stephens has occurred on the Tomaree peninsula in the suburbs of Corlette, Nelson Bay, Salamander Bay, Shoal Bay and Soldiers Point.

On the western shore is the suburb of Swan Bay, a small community of around 100 persons. The main industry in the area is oyster farming, however a small tourist resort is located near the mouth of Twelve Mile Creek. Karuah township, which has a population of 857, is at the north-western corner of the port, at the mouth of the Karuah River.

East of the Karuah River, in the Great Lakes Council LGA there are 3,584 people living in Bundabah, Carrington, Hawks Nest, North Arm Cove, Pindimar, Tahlee and Tea Gardens.

Tourism and recreation

Port Stephens is a popular tourism destination with a strong focus on aquatic activities such as whale and dophin watching, fishing and recreational boating. [Cite web|url=http://www.portstephens.org.au/visitstephens.asp|title=Port Stephens Visitor Centre, Port Stephens Accommodation, Port Stephens Tours|publisher=Port Stephens Council|accessdate=2008-07-08] [Cite web|url=http://www.imaginecruises.com.au/tourism/index.html|title=Tourist Information - Nelson Bay & Port Stephens|publisher=Imagine Cruises Nelson Bay|accessdate=2008-07-08] [Cite web|url=http://www.portstephens-australia.com/tourism_overview.php|title=Tourism at Port Stephens - Port Stephens Australia|accessdate=2008-07-08] [Cite web|url=http://www.australianexplorer.com/port_stephens.htm|title=Port Stephens|publisher=Australian Explorer|accessdate=2008-07-08]


# Although Convert|900|m|ft|0 of Anna Bay's shoreline actually touches Port Stephens near Taylor's Beach, none of its residents live in this area. The vast majority of Anna Bay residents live close to the Tasman Sea shoreline, well away from Port Stephens, although there is a small community living near the border between Anna Bay and Taylor's Beach.


External links


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