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  • OUR COAL HERITAGE    
    Thursday, May 10 2012 @ 12:01 AM
    Contributed by: bobcook

    GeneralNOVOCASTRIAN - COAL HERITAGE Roman latin Novum Castellem – new castle. It all started over 2000 years ago with the Roman invasion of Britannia.

    In 122AD the Romans were the first formal inhabitants of the area in England now known as Newcastle, on the river Tyne. The roman emperor Hadrian demanded that a wall (120Km long) be constructed east to west across England to separate the barbarian tribes of the north. The eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall was called Walls End. Near here a fort was built on the wall. The roman fort and settlement was called Pons Aelius, and served to protect a bridge across the river Tyne. In 410AD the Romans rushed back to Italy to defend their homeland. After the Romans left, the fort and settlement became part of the Anglo Saxon kingdom of Northumbria and was known as Monkchester. Following conflict with the Danes, Monkchester was almost completely destroyed. Because of its strategic position, Robert Curthose, Son of William I (William the Conqueror) built a new wooden castle on the site in 1080. The town came to be known by the Latin words for New Castle, Novum Castellum. The town was the official fortress of the whole of northern England during the Middle Ages, and a 25-foot high wall was built around it as protection against Scottish invaders. By a decree in 1530, all shipment by water of English coal was centralised to Newcastle; the phrase 'taking coals to Newcastle' was first recorded in 1538. In the 19th century shipbuilding and heavy engineering led to great prosperity and by the 1800’s the city became a powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution. Robert Stephenson was born in Newcastle and the world’s first steam locomotives were built there. As well as Stephenson's Rocket, the development of mining safety lamps, Lord Armstrong's artillery, Joseph Swan's electric light bulbs and Charles Parson's steam turbine were all developed in Newcastle. In 1804 NSW Governor King decided to form a remote penal settlement for secondary offending Irish convicts, to work on mining the first coal in the new settlement. He named it Newcastle after Newcastle-on-Tyne due to our shared heritage as the ‘coal river’.

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