Maitland is a heritage gem, preserving not only a legacy of one of the earliest records of white settlement outside Sydney, but a wealth of material gathered by the Mindaribba Land Council Museum supports the belief that the regional Aboriginal culture dates back more than 15,000 years.
A ticket of leave convict, Molly Morgan, pioneered colonial settlement in the early 1820s and within a few years loggers moved into the area, lured by ‘red gold’ - the prolific stands of red cedar flanking the Hunter River. The fledgling settlement prospered and Maitland became the unrivalled capital of the Hunter Valley, until the port development round Newcastle snowballed late in the 19th century.
Modern Maitland supports a population of 46,000 and retains close links with Newcastle, 28km to the east. It is a city proud of its heritage etched in a peerless lode of colonial architecture and a parade of famous sporting sons and daughters led by legendary boxer Les Darcy who was denied a world crown only by his death in the USA at 22 from blood poisoning.