In 1770, Captain James Cook christened Nobbys Headland on his journey north along the Australian coast. European settlement of Newcastle, however, began 17 years later when Lt. John Shortland sailed up a fine broad river while searching for escaped convicts. Shortland named the stream the Hunter River after Australia's then Governor-General. During that short voyage the lieutenant also discovered vast deposits of coal. In 1804 the burgeoning mining settlement and lumber port was christened Newcastle after the famed English coal city. Newcastle, Australia, also served as a gateway to the rich lands of the Hunter Valley - a region producing internationally acclaimed wines by the mid-19th century.
Christ Church Cathedral is the symbol of Newcastle. The restored church has survived both devastating earthquake and Japanese attack. In 1942, the Japanese submarine I-21 surfaced to shell the city and its dockyards.