Mount Hutton's John Ure was perusing the Today in History section in Topics recently when he read that in 1927 the last sitting of federal parliament was held in Melbourne, prior to its move to Canberra.
"Did you know that North Arm Cove, on the western shore of Port Stephens and just off the Pacific Highway near Karuah, was one of the sites considered for the new capital of Australia?" John said.
John said there was some fascinating information on the North Arm Cove Community website about the matter.
An 1899 NSW royal commission included North Arm Cove as the 16th of 40 potential sites for the nation's capital.
This included plans to develop Port Stephens as a deep-water international port.
"In 1911 another royal commission looking at 'decentralisation' recommended that Port Stephens be opened up. During World War I, the federal government acquired 1250 hectares for a naval base at Salamander Bay," John said.
"But it gets even more interesting. In 1918, the American architect Walter Burley Griffin - well known for designing the city of Canberra - had a plan for Port Stephens City approved by Stroud Shire Council."
This plan was based in the spot where North Arm Cove village is now located, just north of Karuah.
It included parks, jetties and wharves, and civic, administration and service buildings, along with two railway stations linked to the main northern line.
"After a few false starts, including Walter Burley Griffin's company going into liquidation, many lots in North Arm Cove sold quickly, particularly those along the foreshore," John said.
Ownership of the subdivision went to Griffin's mate Henry F Halloran, who is listed on the sideways image accompanying this story.
Pindimar City was also planned nearby. It was apparently to be a major seaport - the "New York of Australia".
In the end, none of the plans eventuated. The naval base planned for Salamander Bay was built in Singapore. And a parliamentary committee backed Newcastle Harbour as the site for further port development.
Soon after, the Great Depression hit.
As for John, he has a nostalgic interest in the area.
"In the 1970s, I frequently took my boys and my father to stay in a lovely old waterfront cottage at Pindimar [near North Arm Cove]."
The cottage was owned by Albert Johnson, "an old friend and well-known Karuah identity".
"We would catch fish and crabs from our tinny and feast on oysters from Albert's oyster racks."
Meanwhile, John Ure told Topics he had recently watched a show on SBS called Secrets of Britain.
"They mentioned that the British Library in London has so many books that if you read five books a day it would take 80,000 years to read their entire collection," he said.
John could probably give that a crack. He is an avid reader.
You know it is going to be a bad day when the letters in your alphabet soup spell D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R.
Did you hear about the semi-colon that broke the law? It was given two consecutive sentences.
I own the world's worst thesaurus. Not only is it awful, it's awful.
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