While the Save Our Stockton campaign continues to gain momentum, a little over a hundred years ago plans were afoot to transform the town into a coal and cargo loading port.
Details plans from the 1911 Royal Commission on Railway Decentralisation show 13 wharves along the waterfront between the breakwall and north Stockton.
The commission was setup to investigate where railway lines should be built to service new infrastructure across the state.
In addition to Stockton, Salamander Bay was also identified as a potential port location.
That proposal involved building a 49 kilometre spur line from Thornton across to the bay.
The Royal Commission also considered Coffs Harbour and Byron Bay as locations for new ports.
The 700 metre loading wharves identified on the map appear to be similar in design to the original timber jetty used by coal ships at Catherine Hill Bay in the early part of last century.
Newcastle Herald history columnist Mike Scanlon said the government was actively investigating new infrastructure proposals at the time.
"Most of the them were just pie in the sky," he said.
"In addition to being expensive, the Stockton proposal would have been terribly exposed and an easy target for an enemy. From that point of view Salamander Bay would have been a better option."
University of Newcastle Hunter Living Histories chairman Gionni DiGravio said the maps were a useful tool for understanding how priorities changed over time.
"They represent alternate visions and what our priorities were then," he said.
"Sometimes I think coal jetties would have been a horror, but in the case of Catherine Hill Bay, they've become an icon of the landscape.
"In any case Stockton is a natural wonder of the world, and I'm personally glad the 1911 vision never came to be."
While the vision of Stockton as a coal loading harbour didn't come to pass, the state government continued to investigate options for alternatives to Newcastle harbour.
NSW Public Works investigated the feasibility of creating a new deep water at
Williamtown in the 1970s before concluding it was easier to deepen the entrance to Newcastle harbour.
More detailed maps from 1911 royal commission can be found on the University of Newcastle's Hunter Living Histories project.
The project is funded by the Vera Deacon Regional History Fund.