Newcastle is a city in the Australian state of New South Wales. It is the hub of the Greater Newcastle area, which includes parts of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Cessnock, Maitland, and Port Stephens Council. Located at the mouth of the Hunter River, Newcastle has an estimated 2014 population of 315,000, while the more commonly referred to Greater Newcastle area has a population of 560,000.
Newcastle is often called the 7th largest city in Australia, but this is misleading because the area extends beyond the City of Newcastle and the metropolitan area. The area is officially called the Newcastle Statistical District, or Greater Newcastle, with a population estimated at 560,000.
City Size and Population Density
The city of Newcastle covers a total surface area of 261.8 kilometers squared (101.1 square miles). This brings the population density to a total of approximately 593.6 residents living per square kilometer in the city.
Newcastle's most recent census statistics from 2016 give us insight into the population demographics. The average age for a Novacastrian resident is 37 years of age. Family-wise, the number of families living in this city averages to about 40,000. Most families have 1-2 children here. Within each household, there are an average of 2.4 people – and approximately 68,733 private residences were occupied in 2011. Average monthly mortgage payments were estimated to be around $1,742 per household. For renters, the weekly rent rounded to about $270.
In 2011, the most common ancestry groups were:
- Australian: 30.4%
- English: 29.2%
- Irish: 8.9%
- Scottish: 8.0%
- German: 2.9%
While searching for criminals in 1797, Lt. John Shortland – a European explorer and Naval officer – stumbled upon the site of Newcastle. His discovery of this land led to miners being sent to the area for its abundance of coal. He came back to his original town with the news, which sparked the quest to extract coal from this abundant location. The work of digging for coal created an unpleasant environment – with only criminals being sent to work there as punishment for their crimes. Since dangerous convicts were sent to work at these mines, Newcastle earned the description of “hellhole” by the common people.
Another settlement occurred in 1804, which also involved shipping criminals to the area. Initially, Newcastle was named Coal River. This city was also known as Kingstown before it was renamed to Newcastle. The last name was inspired by a well-known coal port in English at the time.
Coal, being an abundant resource within this city, was a staple that inspired the existence of the Newcastle and Hunter River Steamship Company – a steamship organization which sent steamships to and fro from various cities connected to Newcastle. Exporting coal goods has been a recurring theme within Newcastle’s long history.
This city has also seen its share of war efforts, as it played many important roles during World War II. It served as an industrial center and was once attacked by a Japanese submarine in 1942. Fortunately, no one was killed or injured during that incident.
Newcastle Population Growth
Recent estimates reveal that the growth forecast for this city is a positive one, as the population will continue to swell due to the vast amount of opportunity Newcastle provides. Experts predict the populace will grow by approximately 20,000 new citizens every 30 years, according to recent trends. By 2036, the population is expected to increase by 14.97 percent.
By population, Newcastle is the 7th largest city in Australia, coming in with a population larger than Canberra, but smaller than the Gold Coast by at least 50,000 people. Overall, the growth rates are strong for this bustling city. This strong growth may become a problem if housing opportunities do not expand at the same rate as the population growth expectancy. Some forecasters are worried this will be the case, and have warned that the city needs to take these predictions into account when considering new urban development plans.