Aboriginal occupation of the Hunter Valley began at least 20,000 years ago.
Further to my previous post on the coal mining threat to Camberwell, the archaeological evidence is that Aboriginal occupation around Camberwell is one of the longest in the Hunter Valley.
An Aboriginal hearth on Glennies Creek has been dated to >20,200 years BP and the Wonnarua have a 10,000 year history of continuous occupation near Camberwell.
The 2011 Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management Plan for the Ravensworth Mine Complex, just north of Camberwell, reported that, since the 1970s, over 500 archeaological sites have been found in the project area. Excluding those heritage sites previously destroyed by coal mining and other development activities, there are 404 extant sites known within the operation area.
This information is sourced from a recent major report published in April 2013 by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Hunter Estates: A Comparative Heritage Study of pre 1850s Homestead Complexes in the Hunter Region, which was prepared by Clive Lucas, Stapleton and Partners Pty Ltd for the Heritage Council of NSW. More on this report in future…
In addition, please note on this National Parks map, the Mission of St Clair which features in the Aboriginal history of the Hunter Valley.