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Take a Trip Down Memory Lane During Morpeth's Bicentenary Weekend this November


Photo credit - VisitNSW.com

Historic Hunter Valley township Morpeth is set to commemorate its bicentenary later this month, during a weekend of activities on 19 and 20 November, including a Morpeth Bridge open day where pedestrians can get a rare vantage point of the township from the deck of the 1898 timber crossing.

 

First settled by Europeans in 1821, the popular tourist town is famous for its storied streets and historical houses.


Maitland Mayor Philip Penfold says ‘Morpeth is such a popular spot with Maitland locals and visitors to the Hunter.’


‘This event has been a long time in the making, and what better way to pay tribute to this special part of the world than by dedicating a whole weekend to its history and its heritage.’

In addition to serving as the backdrop for a spectacular fireworks display on the Saturday evening, Morpeth’s iconic 1898 timber truss bridge will be closed to traffic on the Sunday, for a free all ages open day.


The bridge will be decked out in picnic tables, astroturf and planter boxes, so that the public can enjoy a unique vantage point of the river and the town. Pack your own picnic or pick up lunch from one of Morpeth’s popular eateries, who will be selling grazing platters, slider boxes, and sandwich boxes.


Avid amateur historians can peek inside some of Morpeth’s most storied sites during the weekend. Closebourne House, the heritage listed residence of Edward Charles Close, will welcome patrons to the property on both days, and Morpeth Museum will run heritage walking tours along Swan Street.


If navigating the history of transport is more your speed, Maitland Classic Motor Association, The Veteran Car Club of Australia and the 48 to 78 Holden Car Club Hunter Valley will showcase a fleet of vintage vehicles dating back as far as the early 1900s.


There will also be the opportunity to take a horse and carriage ride, watch some penny farthing demonstrations along Swan Street or participate in dragon boat races starting from Queens Wharf.


Vintage games, antique valuations, face painting, craft activities, historic sketching, drawing classes, and of course live music from talented musicians, City of Maitland Pipes and Drums, Maitland City Brass Band and local school choirs round out a packed program of activities for the weekend.


The weekend will also see a firehouse open day, produce markets, blind Arnott’s biscuits tasting, high tea, folk dancing and more.


‘Council has been working very closely with a range of community groups to make the weekend a collaborative celebration,’ Mayor Penfold says.


An official ceremony commemorating the town’s milestone will kick things off at Illalaung Park from 10.00am on Saturday morning.


For more information on the full program, visit www.morpeth200.com.au


FACT FILE

• Morpeth was originally known as Illalaung, meaning ‘green hills’, to the indigenous Wonnarua people.

• Morpeth was instrumental in the European settlement of the Hunter Valley during the 19th Century.

• Morpeth shares its name with a town north of Newcastle Upon Tyne in Northumberland, England.

• Morpeth was established in 1821. This month’s event was postponed from its original slot of November 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

• To further acknowledge the milestone, Maitland City Council has delivered a suite of infrastructure projects. Architectural lighting was installed to Morpeth Bridge in 2021, and work is now underway on a riverside shared path, starting at Robert Street.

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