Morpeth – A walk amongst history
There’s no better way to get to know a destination than by taking to the streets and going for a wander.
But with the newly revitalised Morpeth Heritage Walk, you’ll encounter more than just the popular riverside village’s cafes, boutiques and art galleries, with the self-guided tour allowing you to truly immerse yourself in the ‘living museum’ of its beautifully preserved buildings, the cobblestone pathways and sandstone kerbsides.
Originally known by the Aboriginal name ‘Illalaung’, which means green hills, Morpeth is nestled on the banks of the Hunter River. The town’s role as one of the most important river ports in New South Wales began in the 1820s, before it became a major industrial and agricultural hub following the development of Queens Wharf in 1833.
The Morpeth Heritage Walk explores 25 of the village’s significant historic sites, beginning at Illalaung Park, a picture perfect spot on Swan Street
next to the town’s heritage-listed Allan truss bridge.
The walk then moves across the road to the Commercial Hotel, which along with the Victorian-style River Royal Hotel further down the road, were among the 11 hotels operating in the flourishing port village in the mid-1800s.
Other key sites include Taylors Bond Store, which was later taken over by Caleb Soul, founder of nationwide pharmaceutical brand, Soul Pattinson & Co, and the iconic Arnott Bakehouse, once operated by David Arnott and his brother William, who went on to establish one of the largest and well-known biscuit companies in the world, Arnott’s.
Stunning early Colonial architecture is also a feature of the walk, from the 1881-built Morpeth Post Office and Telegraph to the Morpeth School of Arts and St James Anglican Church.
A new set of site markers have been installed as part of the heritage walk, while a new brochure and free self-guided audio tour detail the history of buildings and people at each stop.
You can listen to the audio tour by downloading the Maitland Walks app from the Apple or Google Play stores, while the printed brochure and map can be collected from the Maitland Visitor Information Centre and select Morpeth businesses.
The digital edition is available for download at https://www.mymaitland.com.au/