Address: Cnr. Main Street & Vincent Street, Cessnock NSW
Cessnock is a city in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, Australia. It is situated about 52 km by road west of Newcastle and was named after an 1826 grant of land called Cessnock Estate, which was owned by John Campbell. The Cessnock area was once known as The Coalfields and today it is the gateway to 1800 hectares of vineyards in the Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest wine region. The rich volcanic soils of areas such as Pokolbin, Mount View, Lovedale, Broke, Rothbury and Branxton produce some of the finest wines in the country. The transition to wine service centre from a once prosperous mining town has been a long and at times difficult process, however from this transition, a thriving and growing tourism industry has emerged. The growth in the wine industry has provided considerable employment in the area, which has helped overcome the advent of a declining mining industry.
Cessnock is situated between Australia’s earliest European settlements - Sydney, the Hawkesbury River and Newcastle. When the early European settlers arrived in the Cessnock area it was inhabited by indigenous people who had lived in the region for more than 3000 years. The Darkinjung people were the main inhabitants at the time of settlement and many of them either died from European diseases or were killed by the early settlers. A large number of neighbouring places in the Cessnock area have adopted Aboriginal names. These places include Congewai, Kurri Kurri, Laguna, Nulkaba and Wollombi.
Pastoralists commenced settling the land in the 1820s and the township of Cessnock developed from 1850. During the 1860s, land settlement was extensive in the area with wheat, tobacco and grapes being the principal crops. In 1861, settlement began in the area north of Cessnock and it was here that the Wilkinson family in 1866, using cuttings from the Dalwood Vineyard which was established by Sir John Wyndham in 1828, began growing vineyards. The surveying of the Greta coal seam by Professor Edgeworth David around 1888 also became the impetus for considerable social and economic change in the area with the development of the coal mining industry.
The estimated resident population of Cessnock is 54,979 (as at 30 June 2014).