He also noted smoke from Aboriginal campfires, presumably belonging to the Worimi tribe who occupied the land from Port Stephens north to Wallis Lake and inland to the Maitland area.
Lobsters were successfully trapped from the second half of the 19th century by Greek and then Italian settlers.
The first survey at Nelson Bay was carried out in 1874 and a post office was opened in 1883.
The harbour was entered by the convict ship the Salamander in 1791 and charted by deputy surveyor-general Charles Grimes in 1795 who described it as low and sandy.
He noted that the Aborigines were taller and more solid of build than those in the Sydney area, that their languages were entirely different and that their canoes and huts were larger.