A date for the 2023 Step Back into King Street Heritage Festival has been set.
The festival celebrating the history and heritage of Raymond Terrace and King Street will return on March 18, 2023.
Organisers said that going forward, the festival would now be held on the third Saturday in March. Previously, it was held in May.
The festival was moved indoors, to Terrace Central, on May 21, 2022 due to wet weather.
King Street is still a living piece of Port Stephens history.
For about 110 years from when Raymond Terrace was gazetted in 1837 King Street was the thriving business centre of the town, important mainly because it ran parallel with the Hunter River.
Food, produce and other materials could be loaded and off-loaded from the rear of the businesses in King Street. The Hunter River was the major transport means before decent roads linked the town with Newcastle.
Raymond Terrace became an important shipping centre in the 1840s for wool carted by road from New England. Shipping continued into the 1920s but the town had long been in decline by then as traffic was diverted to New England when the Hunter River began silting up.
But it was the big floods of 1955 which sounded the death knell for King Street as a viable commercial centre and businesses gradually moved away from the flood-prone street.
Today most of the buildings in King Street still date from the 1890s and the street was named in honour of James King, from Irrawang.
The historic marriage trees that still stand in King Street were used to wed people in the absence of churches prior to 1840.
In 1831, when the Australian Agricultural Company began to have a profound impact on Newcastle, a shipyard was established at Clarence Town where the original William the Fourth was constructed to operate between Sydney and Morpeth.
The replica William the Fourth that will be operating during the festival was a Port Stephens Bicentenary Project, built in Raymond Terrace, at a cost of $1.5 million. It was launched in Raymond Terrace in 1987.
The replica operated commercial cruises on the Newcastle Harbour and Hunter River until a boiler leak put it out of service in 2001. The vessel was fully restored in 2008 and now operates charters out of Newcastle.
The replica will be cruising along the Hunter and Williams rivers on Saturday, and docking at the Raymond Terrace wharf. Charters on the William The Fourth during the festival have reached capacity.
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