The area around the Hastings River have been home to the Birpai Aboriginal peoples for tens of thousands of years.
Traditional Birpai life was changed forever with the mapping and naming of this area by Surveyor-General John Oxley in 1818. In 1821 Port Macquarie was established as a place of secondary punishment under the Governorship of Lachlan Macquarie. In 1830 Port Macquarie was proclaimed open to free settlement.
The Timber industry has driven the area's development from the convict timber cutter's to the cedar cutter's of the Comboyne plateau in the 1870's through to the supply of hardwood for use as railway sleepers and electricity poles. The North Coast Railway reached Wauchope in 1915.
The extensive local river systems provided highways for commerce. In the early part of the 1900's log dumps dotted the banks of the Hastings, Maria, Wilson and Camden Haven Rivers to be rendered obsolete when road transportation began in earnest following World War II.
The area's heritage collections and historic sites are managed by the community under the guidance of Council. An interactive map is available below detailing key historic sites across the region.
Aboriginal heritage and Birpai nation
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council acknowledges the Birpai people as the traditional custodians of the lands within its local government boundaries and is aware that local government boundaries do not attempt to define traditional boundaries.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council area has four Aboriginal representative bodies under the Land Rights Act 1983, the Birpai Local Aboriginal Land Council, Bunyah Local Aboriginal Land Council, Kempsey Local Aboriginal Land Council and Taree-Purfleet Local Aboriginal Land Council.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s Aboriginal Awareness and Understanding Strategy 2013 - 2017 strategy goal is to: Share Our Place, Connect Our Stories and Walk Together As One.
Increase understanding of the Aboriginal community, culture and a shared history through developing goals in the three distinct areas of:
- Our Shared Place
- Our Connected Stories
- Together as One
Connecting you to local stories:
Go to the Legendary Pacific Coast Website and to find out more of our stories from the Port Macquarie-Hastings region
Indigenous Australians Using Trees and Timber
Find out more about the stories and uses of local trees and plants by the Biripi people
For more information on the Biripi people see Mid North Coast Library and Port Macquarie Historical Society
This page was last updated on: 28 May 2020