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Local Studies and Family History

The Library is the perfect place to begin your family history journey. We offer many online and print resources for experienced family historians and those just starting out, including free access to subscription databases, CDROMs, newspapers, books, journals and unique family histories.

Need help with your family History?

  • Research help: volunteers from the Port Macquarie & Districts Family History Society are available to assist you with your family history research on Tuesdays & Wednesdays between 10:00 and 3:00 at Port Macquarie Library. 
  • Coffee & Chat Port Macquarie: come along on the first Wednesday of the month to the Port Macquarie Library Meeting Room – from 10:00 till 12:00 noon – for an informal chat about things family history. All welcome. 
  • Coffee & Chat Laurieton: on the last Monday of the month at Laurieton United Services Club from 10:00 to 12:00 noon. All welcome to join in the discussions. 
  • Newsletter: Would you like to subscribe to our monthly Local Studies & Family History Newsletter? Back issues are available to download.

Join the local studies and family history e-newsletter

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Port Macquarie’s short history as a penal settlement lasted from 1821 to 1832. Surveyor-General John Oxley’s expedition of 1818 to find an inland sea eventually led him to a river he named the Hastings River. His subsequent report to Governor Lachlan Macquarie recommended the district as being suitable for a penal settlement.

In the year 2021 Port Macquarie marked 200 years of European settlement. Here you will find information about the military, the convicts and the civilian personnel who founded the penal settlement that grew into the town of Port Macquarie.

OUR PLACE: MY STORY was a schools storytelling project run by Council during  Port Macquarie’s Bicentenary year , 2021, inviting our children and youth to capture the essence of our region by sharing their stories of connection to place.

The military connections of the Hastings region go back to the soldiers and marines who accompanied the first settlers to our area in 1821. Since then men and women from the Hastings region have served in numerous conflicts from the Boer War through World War One to World War Two and beyond.

Built heritage is one of our most important cultural assets. It represents the historical layers of our built environment in places made of brick, plaster, wood, metal and stone. View documents and resources related to our historical buildings and precincts.

Timelines offer a way to present a chronological understanding of the history of a region. The advent of digital technologies has opened up new possibilities to illustrate the timelines of history with newspapers, books, maps, photographs, and other important cultural documents. View timelines of events and population changes in the Hastings.

Local volunteer researchers have compiled these records of local families from the early days of settlement in the Hastings district. Consisting mainly of family group charts and related newspaper articles, these files are intended to assist family historians in researching local connections. They are not definitive and may contain errors so please use them as a guide rather than an authoritative source. Search our catalogue for Family Files

Archibald Clunes Innes (1800-1857) was a Scottish born soldier and pastoralist who became one of the wealthiest and most prominent men in the new settlement of Port Macquarie. He is remembered for building the grand mansion known as Lake Innes Estate which was one of the finest properties north of Sydney. The ruins can be seen today. His niece, Annabella Boswell, who kept a detailed diary of the events of the time, joined him there. The library holds much information on the Lake Innes Estate as well as the Innes family which can be searched via our catalogue.

The Hastings region has many cemeteries. Some are Heritage listed and others are quite remote. A number of printed guides have been produced as well as a comprehensive cemetery listing on CD-ROM. The CD can be searched at the library 

Port Macquarie-Hastings Library holds a growing collection of images that relate to the Hastings district. They illustrate the early days of our townships, localities and people as well as contemporary scenes. 

                                                         Search photos

Discover the origins and meaning of place names  in the Hastings, including streets, towns, and geographical features. 

Discover the history of local government in the Port Macquarie-Hastings area from its beginnings through to amalgamation in 1980. Biographical information is presented on the Mayors and Presidents of the respective local government areas of Port Macquarie and the Hastings Shire.

Also includes a history of the development of local government in the two council areas, as well as the history of the changing names of Council in the years after amalgamation.

The Hastings has a rich heritage of newspapers with the oldest dating from 1882. The library has local newspapers in hardcopy, microfilm and digital formats.

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