The Establishment of East Maitland
In the early 1820s the New South Wales government sought to make Morpeth its official town; however its founder Lieutenant Close was not willing to relinquish his grant as it was obvious that the port of Morpeth was to become a hive of activity, providing the surrounding areas with transport to the markets of Sydney and beyond.
By 1823 a series of land grants had been made in the vicinity of Wallis Plains and the development of a town begun there. However, due to periodic flooding, it was realised that the location was unsuitable for a major town. The limits of the government town were therefore specified on the rise above Wallis Plains, overlooking the valley and some miles inland from Morpeth.
Generous provision was made for public buildings, churches, schools and public reserves; many of which remain today. These include the Maitland Gaol, Court House, St Peter’s Church, Lands Office, a number of inns and several significant sites. The township was officially proclaimed in 1833 and is now known as East Maitland.