Philip Gidley King, the Governor of New South Wales from 1800, decided on a more positive approach to exploit the now obvious natural resources of the Hunter Valley.In 1801, a convict camp called King's Town (named after Governor King) was established to mine coal and cut timber.
After removal of the last convicts in 1823, the town was freed from the infamous influence of the penal law.
It began to acquire the aspect of a typical Australian pioneer settlement, and a steady flow of free settlers poured into the hinterland.
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It is the hub of the Greater Newcastle area which includes most parts of the local government areas of City of Newcastle, City of Lake Macquarie, City of Cessnock, City of Maitland and Port Stephens Council.
Located 162 kilometres (101 mi) north-northeast of Sydney, at the mouth of the Hunter River, it is the predominant city within the Hunter Region.
In the same year, the first shipment of coal was dispatched to Sydney. A settlement was again attempted in 1804, as a place of secondary punishment for unruly convicts.
The settlement was named Coal River, also Kingstown and then renamed Newcastle, after England's famous coal port.
During World War II, Newcastle was an important industrial centre for the Australian war effort.
In the early hours of 8 June 1942, the Japanese submarine I-21 briefly shelled Newcastle.
The link with Newcastle upon Tyne, England its namesake and also whence many of the 19th century coal miners came, is still obvious in some of the place-names – such as Jesmond, Hexham, Wickham, Wallsend and Gateshead.