Newcastle is a coastal city in the Australian State of New South Wales.  First established in 1801 as a convict camp where the most dangerous criminals were sent to mine coal and cut timber, it remained penal colony until 1823 when the convicts were removed and military rule in Newcastle ended.  These days Newcastle remains the economic and trade centre for the Hunter Valley and much of the North and North West New South Wales, to this day it is the world’s largest coal export port.



Canberra is Australia’s capital.  Situated inland it is nicknamed “the bush capital” due to the fact it is surrounded by forest, farmland and nature reserves.  First selected as the capital in in 1911, it had previously been the site of a large sheep property of about 2000ha the middle of which is now the city centre.  Originally this had been the land of the indigenous Ngunnawal people prior to European settlement in 1824.


Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, was first established as a convict penal colony in 1824 but then opened up to free settlement in 1838 due to its suitability for fishing, farming and timbering. Built largely on the Brisbane River, it is known for its beautiful parklands and botanical gardens as well as its museums and theatres.