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Morpeth

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Morpeth is a suburb of the city of Maitland in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, Australia. It is on the southern banks of the Hunter River at the border between the City of Maitland and Port Stephens Council LGAs. The major population centre, where almost all residents of the suburb reside, is the historical town of Morpeth which takes its name from Morpeth, Northumberland, near Newcastle upon Tyne, in England.HistoryThe town of Morpeth was initially created through the private actions of Lieutenant E.C.Close, who selected a property of 1,000 hectares and developed it as a river port from 1831-1841. The lieutenant built his house, known as Closebourne, on the property. A two-storey Georgian home made of sandstone, the house became an episcopal residence from 1848-1912, which eventually became the nucleus of St John's Theological College on Morpeth Road.The river port grew steadily throughout the 1830s; St James's Church, Tank Street, was built from 1837 to 1840. It was partly designed by John Horbury Hunt and now has a Local Government Heritage listing. A major merchant at this time was James Taylor, who built a bond store circa 1850, located near the bridge and now heritage-listed. The town continued to expand. Morpeth Court House was built circa 1861 in a Greek Revival style; the police station followed in 1879. The construction of the Great Northern Railway in 1857, bypassing Morpeth, meant that Newcastle developed as the regional port. Morpeth became less significant commercially, but still survived as a township with its own history and heritage.
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