On the Hunter River, 13km north-west of Newcastle’s CBD, Hexham holds a unique place in Australian railway history.
In 1853 the Hunter River Railway Company was formed to build a rail link between Newcastle, Maitland and beyond. The first stage was to be a single line between Newcastle and Hexham, but the company got into financial strife before the job was finished and the government had to take over its assets in 1855. The job was finally completed in 1857.
Hexham is a tiny place with, we’re reliably informed, one of the best pie shops in Australia. These days Hexham is eminently recognisable as a name on the freeway signs on the northern approaches to Newcastle.
Its nexus with Newcastle and the Hunter River mirrors the link between the northern England industrial city of Newcastle-on-Tyne and its historic neighbour, Hexham.
The NSW Hexham is on the Hunter River south bank and is only a short drive from The Wetlands Centre, a sanctuary for more than 200 species of birds and animals in the neighbouring Newcastle suburb of Shortland.