Gladstone
Kempsey Shire heritage

Gladstone and Smithtown are twin towns separated by the Macleay River. Gladstone township is one largely intact river town with close links to the development of the Macleay River.

The land where Gladstone is situated was marked for a village reserve in 1859. The first lots in Gladstone (formerly Darkwater) were sold in 1860, however, it was not until 1864 that the village was surveyed by Surveyor Ernst Herborn.

In 1870 the township of Darkwater became known as Gladstone and Darkwater Creek became known as Belmore River. The name changes commemorated the visit to the Macleay of the Earl of Belmore, Governor of New South Wales. Gladstone was the maiden name of the Governor’s wife.

Gladstone was a commercial centre. From its wharves, that once existed, passengers and freight destined for Austral Eden, the Belmore River, Kinchela, Kinchela Creek and other lower river areas were landed or despatched.

Gladstone Hotel - late 1800s
Gladstone Hotel - late 1800s

Source and photos: Courtesy of the Macleay River Historical Society

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