Some Significant events in Gosford History
Before 1788 - What later became known as Brisbane Water was the home of the coastal Guringai (Ku-ring-gai) people. The Guringai occupied an area which extended from the northern side of Sydney Harbour, then along the coast to the lower reaches of Lake Macquarie. The Darkingung people occupied a huge area, reaching west of Mangrove Creek to Rylstone, north to Cessnock and the Wollombi areas. Mt. Yengo, in the Darkingung country, remains a highly significant cultural and religious site to local tribes.
March 1788 - Governor Arthur Phillip and a small group of officers and marines made a brief exploration of Broken Bay and a tributary called the "north-east arm". Phillip made a further exploration in 1789. In time this tributary came to be called "Brisbane Water".
October 1823 - James Webb, a former soldier who arrived in NSW in 1790, received permission to temporarily occupy 300 acres in Brisbane Water for a cattle run. He later received a land grant of 100 acres on the western side of The Rip, in the vicinity of Orange Grove/Blackwall. James is known today as the first white settler of Brisbane Water, and its first shipbuilder.
1826 Work commences on the Great North Road, linking Sydney with Newcastle and the newly settled agricultural lands of the Hunter Valley. At that time, the road represented the greatest public works project undertaken in the colony. Engineering practice, using mainly the labour of convict iron gangs, was equal to the best in England. Simple hand tools were used by convicts working in the most primitive of conditions. This masterpiece of colonial engineering, with massive buttressed stone walls and elaborate drainage systems, was 240km long. The road, finished in 1836, was little used by early travellers, and some sections remain little altered from their original appearance.
1827 -The original Gosford watch-house was built in Donnison Street, near the Workcover building site. It was a three-roomed shingle-roofed slab timber structure that quickly became inadequate for its purpose. Around 1833 the first Gosford courthouse was added. The first Police Magistrate, Willoughby Bean was appointed in 1826.
1828 - Brisbane Water population 100 persons. Aboriginal population believed to have numbered several hundred.
July 1835 - First post office established at Brisbane Water in the charge of Jonathan Warner.
1839 - Governor Gipps names the town of Gosford. Gosford is believed to have been named after Archibald Acheson. He was the 2nd Earl of Gosford (1776-1849), and N.S.W. Governor Gipps served with him in Canada. William Davis brought his family to live at Brisbane Water. This event led in time to the establishment of the Davis shipbuilding dynasty. The Davis's were responsible for an overwhelming majority of the 500 vessels constructed in the district between 1829 and 1953.
1841 - District Population 1,090 persons
1843 - Local Government commences with the constitution of The District Council of Brisbane Water. This Council had limited funds, resources and powers, and dissolved in 1859.
1858 - Church of England erected at East Gosford. In 1906 Christ Church was moved stone-by-stone to Mann Street south, Gosford, where it stands today as St. Mary's.
February 1865 - Gosford Public School was first established in a building used for church purposes. In 1877 a purpose-built sandstone school opened on a site at the top of Georgiana Terrace, overlooking the town.
1882 - First purpose-built Gosford Post and Telegraph Office opened in Mann Street South.
1885 - Gosford became a "town". Gosford's own newspaper, the Gosford Times was published for the first time.
1887 - John Bennett Whiteway was elected the first Mayor of the Gosford Borough Council. Gosford Railway station opened, issuing in an era of prosperity for the district.
May 1889 - the original Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge was opened with much acclaim. This bridge was heralded as the last link in uniting the eastern states by rail, and became a rallying point for Federation.
1891 - District population 5,154 persons
May, 1898 - The paddle steamer Maitland was wrecked at Cape Three Points, near Killcare. On her way from Sydney to Newcastle, in what was reported as the worst gale experienced to that date, the Maitland lost power and was caught in the Bombora off Cape Three Points. The Maitland was thrown onto a rock shelf. 26 lives were lost.
1902 - A system of street lighting comes to Gosford for the first time, when seven kerosene lamps are commissioned.
1905 - The Pioneer Ferry Service, operated by the Sisters of Saint Joseph, commenced operations for Kincumber Orphanage patrons and visitors. This was the beginning of regular ferry services on Brisbane Water. Motor cars first appeared in the District around the same time.
October 1906 - George Margin, manufacturer of cordials "and all kinds of summer drinks" commences business on the site of today's Mitre 10 hardware store in Mann Street, Gosford. "Make mine Margins" became a catchcry of generations of local children. Later Margin's moved to new premises in William Street, where the company was based until moving to Erina in 1969.
January 1907 - Erina Shire Council formed. The Shire covered all areas outside of the Municipality of Gosford (which was absorbed into Erina Shire in 1908) The Erina Shire covered a huge area, from the Hawkesbury River to Catherine Hill Bay, and from the coast to the Great North Road. Erina Shire's Council Chambers opened in Mann Street in 1912. In 1947 Erina Shire ceased to exist, when Gosford and Wyong Shire Councils were created.
November 1913 - First race meeting held at Gosford Racecourse.
November 1923 - Streetlights were switched on in Gosford for the first time. The first electricity installation in the district was located on the corner of Erina and Watt Streets, Gosford, and operated from 6pm to midnight.
January 1929 - Gosford High School, the first High School in the district was opened.
1930 - Construction work on the Pacific Highway was completed to Gosford. Prior to the new road's completion, travellers endured a long journey via Wiseman's Ferry and Mangrove Mountain over rough and winding roads.
September 1937 - The Regal Cinema opens on the corner of Mann and Donnison Streets. This was the most luxurious and stylish cinema built in the district. This Art Deco/Moderne style masterpiece was sadly demolished in 1978.
March 1938 - Town water comes to Gosford, when the Mayor turns on the new water supply direct from Mooney Dam. Town water was a luxury in the district until quite recently.
1939 - Fire Station completed on the corner of Gertrude Street (Henry Parry Drive) and William Street. Mayor accepts people's decision to allow Sunday sport at Grahame Park.
1942 - Brisbane Water County Council came into existence, to coordinate the three separate electricity undertakings conducted by the Municipality of Gosford, the Shire of Woy Woy, and Erina Shire. The BWCC was amalgamated with Sydney Electricity in 1980.
1945 - Gosford District Hospital was opened by the NSW Minister for Health, the Honourable C.A. Kelly. At the celebrations, speakers immediately pressed the Minister for urgent extensions to a hospital many already regarded as too small. The Pacific Highway road bridge was opened over the Hawkesbury River at Mooney Mooney, replacing car ferries and opening a new era in Central Coast growth.
January 1st, 1947- The Shires of Gosford and Wyong are constituted. The new Shires came into being after the Woy Woy Shire, Erina Shire and Gosford Municipality were dissolved on the same day. The District population stood at 18,700 persons.
August 1948 - Gosford Shire Library Service commences operation, with branches at Woy Woy (opened 13th August) and Gosford (opened 16th August).
December 1955 - Gosford Olympic Pool was officially opened on the waterfront, opposite the York Street and Mason's Parade junction.
1958 - The Australian Reptile Park was first established by Eric Worrell. The Park produced snake-venoms for the Commonwealth Serum laboratories in Melbourne, and ushered in a new era for the local tourism industry on the Central Coast.
January 1960 - Railway electrification from Sydney to Gosford completed. Steam locomotives were used north of Gosford until the early 1970s. District population in 1960 was 31,000 persons.
June 1963 - Alfred Ingram Chapman, Gosford businessman, dies. He became the town's largest benefactor when he left over £ 200,000 (approx. $400,000) to ten district charities. These charities are guaranteed an income in perpetuity from his Estate. His wife Ella, who predeceased Alfred in 1955, also left her estate to charity.
December 1965 - The Hawkesbury-Calga section of the Sydney-Newcastle Expressway was completed. This was the declared the first motorway in the State, and was the precursor of many highway improvements between 1966 and the present. Long, painfully slow journeys on the narrow Pacific Highway (opened 1930) were largely a thing of the past.
1968 - The Sydney Region outline Plan was published, which identified the Gosford-Wyong Region as a possible growth centre for up to half a million people. Detailed studies were prepared in the early 1970s, providing structure plans for urban and rural development.
November 19th, 1971 - Radio station 2GO first goes to air, becoming the first radio station on the Central Coast. District population in 1971 was 56,190 persons.
May 1974 - Huge storms hit the Central Coast, causing the deaths of several people and millions of dollars of damage to homes and property. Flooding was widespread, and communications and power supplies were thrown into disarray. Huge boulders were washed ashore at Terrigal and yachts were beached on Grahame Park at Gosford.
June 1974 - The Rip Bridge is opened by the Acting Premier of NSW, Sir Charles Cutler, in a ceremony attended by 800 people. The $2.6 million Rip Bridge made travel around Brisbane Water convenient and quicker for locals and tourists alike.
January 1975 - Old Sydney Town was officially opened by the Hon. E.G. Whitlam on Australia Day. This multi-million dollar reconstruction of Sydney in 1810 had a chequered life, culminating in closure in 2003.
1976 - District population 73,410 persons
January 1, 1980 - The City of Gosford was proclaimed. The first Mayor of the City of Gosford was Don Leggett. A.M. In 1981, the year after its proclamation as a city, Gosford LGA had a population of 94,369.
December 1986 - A 15 km section of the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway was opened between Calga and Somersby. This featured the spectacular twin bridges over Mooney Mooney Creek.
August 1987 - Central Coast Fair, the largest single level shopping centre in the Southern hemisphere, opens at Erina. The name of the complex was later officially changed to Erina Fair.
1988 - Gosford's major Bicentennial project, the Laycock Street Theatre opens in September. The theatre was a joint Gosford City Council, State Government and Gosford Musical Society project. Gosford City signs formal Sister City agreements with Edogawa City in Japan and Nitra in Czechoslovakia.
1994 - Severe bushfires ring the Central Coast. The F3 freeway was blocked by smoke, and many locals take shelter in the Central Coast Leagues Club. Interstate and Sydney fire brigades work with locals to bring the emergency under control. Gosford City Arts Centre and Gosford/Edogawa Commemorative Garden open at East Gosford.
December 1995 - The Brian McGowan Bridge was opened by the Hon. Michael Knight, NSW Minister for Roads, on behalf of the NSW Government. The bridge was built at a cost of $20 million. The Public Works Department of NSW used 6,200 cubic metres of concrete and 700 tonnes of reinforcing steel were used to provide the bridge with its great strength.
1996 - District population 144,840 persons
April 1999 - Poultry farms in the Mangrove Mountain district were quarantined after the discovery of Newcastle Disease. Many thousands of chickens were destroyed to control the spread of the virus, which was to have ongoing economic and social effect on the Somersby Plateau.
April 2000 - Gosford Regional Art Gallery opens at Caroline Bay, East Gosford. Persons
August 28, 2000 - Gosford City hosts a huge community celebration marking the arrival of the Olympic Torch Relay. The event, held at the new Grahame Park Stadium, involved hundreds of local schoolchildren, massed bands and choirs, and a capacity crowd of onlookers. During the last few weeks of August, huge numbers of Central Coast residents followed the progress of the Olympic flame.
2001 - District population reaches 154,654 persons