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1300 136 559


View from the hill above Aberdeen

Aberdeen (and Lake Glenbawn)
Small rural service town beside the Hunter River
Situated in the midst of pastoral and agricultural countryside, Aberdeen is a small township located on the side of a hill beside the Hunter River between Muswellbrook and Scone. It is 273 km north of Sydney and 186 m above sea-level with a population of around 1 750.

The district about Aberdeen was once occupied by the Wanaruah people. Because few written records of Aboriginal Australia were kept it is difficult to make firm assertions about their lifestyle in pre-colonial Australia. However, it is known that the Wanaruah had trade and ceremonial links with the Kamilaroi people who may also have occupied the area.

The Wanaruah favoured goannas as a food source, covering larger animals in hot ashes and stuffing them with grass. They also adopted burning off practices as the new shoots which emerged after fire attracted kangaroos which they surrounded and killed with clubs and spears (du-rane) barbed with sharp stones. They also used stone axes (mogo) made of hard volcanic rock bound to a wooden handle. Another food source was lerp, a sweet, edible waxy secretion found on eucalyptus leaves and produced by the young of the psyllid (an insect) for protection. Lacerations were covered with wet clay or chewed eucalyptus leaves. As ironbark is slow to burn it was used as a transportable fire-stick while stringybark was used to make a twine employed in fishing and basket-making.

Government surveyor Henry Dangar, a central figure in the European investigation of the upper Hunter, camped here, by the river, in August 1824 during his first exploration of the district. He crossed the river, discovering Dart Brook and Kingdon Ponds (two tributaries) just to the north-west of the present townsite.

Later that year he returned and pursued Dart Brook to its source in the Liverpool Range but was attacked by the Geaweagal clan of the Wanaruah people west of present-day Murrurundi and returned to Sydney. After submitting a favourable report on the 'rich alluvial land' adjacent the two creeks he was back in a week with prospective settlers in tow.

In 1823, British MP, Thomas MacQueen, read a favourable report on the colony's rural prospects. An advocate of transporting both capital and skilled workmen to the colony he invested in his own principles in 1825, sending to Australia stock, machinery, supplies, artisans, their families and overseer Peter McIntyre who chose the land around Aberdeen, naming MacQueen's estate Segenhoe after MacQueen's birthplace (Segenhoe Manor in Bedfordshire) and his own property Blairmore. However his claims conflicted with those of Dangar, whom McIntyre accused of improper and corrupt practices, thereby securing his suspension.

Segenhoe was a large property employing about 100 convicts. Being, at the time, near the northern edge of European settlement, it was used, in the 1820s, as a base for explorers such as Thomas Mitchell, Edmund Kennedy and Allan Cunningham. The latter followed Dangar's route north from Dart Brook in 1827 and went on to 'discover' the Darling Downs and the overland route to the penal colony at Moreton Bay (the future site of Brisbane).

When MacQueens' financial situation in England declined he moved to Australia, living at Segenhoe from 1834 to 1838. The value of his property was inflated when he persuaded the government to lay out the township of Aberdeen in 1838 by the river crossing. The town was named after MacQueen's friend George Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen. The name also reflects the preponderance of Scottish landowners who took up the early grants.

By 1840 an inn and a mill existed beside the river (both still exist). Residents from Murrurundi transported their grain to this site in the early days. There were 27 recorded residents in 1851 and by 1866 there were two churches, a post office, a lock-up, a school, three inns, some shops and a steam-driven mill. The railway arrived from Muswellbrook in 1870. In 1881 the population was recorded as being 36.

Meat processing became the staple of the town when the Australian Meat Cutting and Freezing Company set up shop in 1892. The exportation of frozen mutton commenced that year via the port of Newcastle. By 1894, 200 men were employed by the works.

Meat processing is still the basis of the local economy with an abattoir, chilling and freezing works and tannery still in operation. Dairying, wheat, lucerne, horse studs, cattle and sheep also contribute to the local economy. There are coal reserves in the district but they are not currently being exploited.

Things to see:   [Top of page]


Segenhoe Inn

Historic Buildings
Aberdeen has a few historic buildings. There is an attractive old sandstone house of an unknown but antiquated vintage called The Grange opposite the Aberdeen Motel at the southern end of town. However, most are clustered around the intersection of the highway and Rouchel Rd (McAdam St). On the southern side is an old and somewhat dilapidated shop, formerly M. Campbell and Co (which is still emblazoned on the awning). On the northern side is a large, two-storey sandstone building known as the Segenhoe Inn, now a boutique hotel and bed and breakfast destination. It was built in 1837.

A short distance along Rouchel Rd (pronounced 'roo-cawl'), just over the railway line, to the left, are the ruins of the old mill, built c.1840. It is believed to be the oldest mill of its kind still standing in Australia. 700 m further along the road, also to the left, are the even more dilapidated remnants of an old butter factory.

Opposite Rouchel Rd is a rest area with a few willow trees. Beyond that is the steel truss bridge over the Hunter, built in 1891 to replace a ferry service. There is a superior rest area here called The Riverside Picnic Area.


Scenic Drive - East
If you follow the aforesaid Rouchel Rd eastwards it leads out through some fine mountain scenery past Rouchel, Back and Davis Creeks. It is 34 km to the end of the road. The last 10 km are gravel.


Anglican Church, Aberdeen


Segenhoe and Lake Glenbawn Recreation Area
Two kilometres north of Aberdeen Segenhoe Rd heads off to the right. Drive eastwards with Mt Aberdeen on your left. 5 km along there is a fork. Both roads lead to Lake Glenbawn named after the property submerged under the dam waters. It is a popular spot for waterskiing, swimming, sailing, canoeing and sailboarding. Anglers will find catfish, bass and golden perch. The foreshores consist of open woodland with an abundance of birdlife (galahs, eastern rosellas, pelicans, king parrots etc) and both kangaroos and wallaroos to be seen in the early morning and at dusk.

If you take the right branch it immediately crosses the Pages River on Allan Bridge (suspension type) and passes Kia Ora stud founded in 1912 and the birthplace of seven Melbourne Cup winners.

The left fork passes Segenhoe estate (6.8 km from the highway) which is inseparably tied to the establishment of Aberdeen. Situated to the right, on the west bank of the Pages River, it is now a horse stud. Inspections are possible but only for groups and only by appointment, tel: (02) 6543 7029.

The single-storey stone Georgian homestead (1830s) is a little difficult to see from the roadside as it is set back from the road. It has a hipped roof and bull-nosed verandah. Surveyor-General Thomas Mitchell, explorers Allan Cunningham and Edmund Kennedy, and Governor Bourke all used the house as a base for their investigations of the land to the north. The old homestead of the stud's manager (built in 1894) is available as a bed-and-breakfast, tel: (02) 6543 7230.

2.6 km beyond Segenhoe Stud take the signposted right to Lake Glenbawn. 5.3 km along this road is a turnoff to the left which will take you up to Brushy Hill where there are two separate lookouts with quite spectacular views across the beautiful lake to the far side where mountains loom overhead in close proximity. To the east are Mt Woolooma, the Mount Royal Ranges and Barrington Tops. To the north is the Liverpool Range and to the south and west the valleys of the Upper Hunter.

Return to the main road and another 1.2 km brings you to another turnoff on the left to what is known as the Central Area, below the wall of Glenbawn Dam which was built between 1954 and 1957 to regulate the flow of the Hunter River in order to meet stock, domestic and irrigation requirements. It covers 2614 hectares, draws on a catchment area of 1295 square km, has a storage capacity of 750 000 megalitres and a maximum depth of 85 m. The main wall is 100 m high and the length of the crest is 1125 m.

Major extensions in the 1980s facilitated the development of the recreation area. Here there is a caravan park with camping sites, a kiosk (closed Mondays, except on public and school holidays), tennis courts, a recreation hall, a cricket oval and three-hole golf course, as well as appropriate facilities. There are fees for camping and day use.

The Hunter Valley Museum of Rural Life is located near the picnic area. It is only open by prior arrangement and preferably for groups rather than individuals. It contains a display relating to the early colonial days of Australia, including cheese presses from the Dalswinton estate (see entry on Denman) and a marble bath from Segenhoe.

Also near the kiosk another road heads off around to the eastern shore area where there is a boat ramp, two amenities blocks, picnic and barbecue facilities, playgrounds and self-contained cabins. Direct all enquiries to the following phone number: (02) 6543 7193.


Scenic Drive - North-West
Just north of Aberdeen along the highway two roads head off to the left. The first, Blairmore Lane, veers south-west past McIntyre's old Blairmore estate, with a homestead dating back to 1836, Negoa, granted to William Cox who built the first road over the Blue Mountains, and Kayuga, granted to Peter McIntyre's brother Donald. A nearby cemetery is the oldest on the upper Hunter, being established in 1828.

The second road (signposted for Dartbrook) heads west for 3.2 km through farming land to a T- intersection. It is here that the Dartbrook estate was established, granted to George Smith Hall who, like many early settlers, used the property as a base while sending his progeny north to work large cattle runs. His son Thomas essentially created the Australian cattle dog when, in pursuit of good working dogs, he crossed the blue merle Scotch collie with the native dingo. The result became known as a 'blue heeler' for the colour of its coat combined with its tendency to nip at the heels of cattle, thus moving them forward in a controlled manner.

Turn right at the intersection for a pleasant alternate route to Scone along Back Muswellbrook Rd. This was the first road north from Aberdeen. A village named Redbank was surveyed along this route (about 10 km north) and a few houses built but it declined when The Great North Road, which traversed the Murrurundi Gap, was established to the east forming the basis of the present New England Highway and fostering the development of Scone.

There are several horse studs along this route (Yarraman and Wakefield). 11 km brings you to a T-intersection. Turn right into Moobi Rd which leads into Scone.


Broadwalk Business Brokers

Broadwalk Business Brokers specialise in General Businesses for Sale, Caravan Parks for Sale, Motels for Sale, Management Rights & Resorts for Sale, Farms for Sale, Hotels for sale, Commercial & Industrial Properties for Sale.


Phone: 1300 136 559

Email: enquiries@broadwalkbusinessbrokers.com














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