NEWCASTLE, a city and port of New South Wales, Aus tralia, situated on the southern shore of the estuary of the Hunter River (q.v.), about 22 miles from its outlet, and miles, by rail, from Sydney. It is built at the foot of, and up, a steeply-rising hill which backs the harbour (Av. ann. temps.: 72°-55° F ; ay. ann. rainfall: 42 in.). With a large and fertile hinterland (Hunter Valley, Northern Tablelands and Liverpool Plains) and abundant coal resources at its doors (reserves within area 15 miles W. and 7 miles S. amount to about 270,000,000 tons; reserves of total area: c. 9,000,000,00o tons), Newcastle was early a notable centre for the export of coal and primary pro duce. By 1922 it had exported some 186,000,000 tons (c. ini, 000,000), but since about 190o its mines have been steadily super seded by those of the Maitland field (q.v.) and, at the present time, owing mainly to social and economic causes, the coal indus try is severely depressed. The possession of fuel, water, food supply, and a good commercial position, and access to raw mate rials have, however, steadily attracted manufacturing industries and Newcastle is now one of the leading industrial areas in the southern hemisphere. The Broken Hill Proprietary Co. (see BROKEN HILL; AUSTRALIA: Metallurgical Industries) established in 1915 at Port Waratah large-scale steel-works and these have brought in their train numerous associated industries. Newcastle's industries may be roughly classified as metallurgical and metal working ; constructional engineering and ship-building; coke and chemical industries ; the making of fertilisers, cement, fire-bricks, pottery; wood-working; flour-milling and food-making; besides numerous miscellaneous types. These are conducted in New
castle itself or in one or other of the numerous centres (e.g., Port Waratah, Walsh Island, Cockle Creek, Merewether, etc.) within easy reach of the port. The harbour (comprising North Harbour, the Basin and Port Waratah) has ample accommoda tion, is well sheltered and has modern installation for handling cargo and especially for loading coal. The entrance is by a channel (width 500-450 yd.; ay. depth 231 ft.) between breakwaters, within which a fairway (width Soo ft., depth 32 ft.) is being cut. The port, which for hinterland trade (e.g., wool) tends to be over shadowed by Sydney, has lost much owing to the shallowness of its entrance and suffers from the necessity of continuous dredg ing both at the entrance and alongside the wharves. In respect of trade Newcastle is the third port of Australia and the second of New South Wales. Its normal trade is of the order of L3,500,000 per ann. Exports (coal, coke, tar, etc. ; frozen meat ; butter, Pecs! timber. nie iron_ steel rails and nlates • fertilisers) the port annually, of which about 2,000,000 tons are "overseas" vessels (i.e., other than interstate or coastwise). Newcastle has excellent railway connections, along the coastal lowlands, with Sydney and also northwards (Grafton, Lismore, q.v.). A series of (privately owned) lines serves the coal-fields and an important line taps the Hunter valley and may possibly be linked with the western system (e.g., Merriwa-Tallawang). Pop. 1931: 104,491.