Today, Pindimar is a sleepy hamlet of around 200 homes, but more than 100 years ago the area was under consideration for major development that would have, had it proceeded, drastically changed its modern footprint.
A NSW Royal Commission, established in 1899, considered the area between Balberook Cove and North Arm Cove as the sixteenth of forty potential sites for the Nation’s capital with plans to develop Port Stephens as a deep water international port suitable for overseas shipping.
On 6th May 1918, the American architect Walter Burley Griffin (best known for his role in designing Canberra) had a plan for Port Stephens City Site approved by Stroud Shire Council. This plan centred on the region occupied by present day North Arm Cove village. It included wide green spaces along most of the shoreline. There was provision for jetties and wharves, civil, administration and service buildings and two railway stations linked to the main northern line. Advertisements soon began appearing in the Sydney Morning Herald foreshadowing an auction of land at Port Stephens City towards the end of that year. This auction did not eventuate but similar advertisements appeared again in early 1919. Around this time Walter Burley Griffin's company went into liquidation and ownership of the subdivision passed to his friend Henry Halloran.
Halloran had trained as a surveyor but, by 1900, had already become an innovative and entrepreneurial land developer. The Halloran plan for Port Stephens City had some significant changes from the approved May 1918 concept plan. These changes included removing the green fringe by adding Cove Boulevard (with new blocks of land on both sides of that road) and by adding further lots to the east of Eastslope Way, the west of Promontory Way and the south of The Esplanade. This increased the number of lots to some 2000.
Walter Burley Griffin's Plan for Port Stephens City
At the same time, there were proposals approved to develop Pindimar City - the site was surveyed in 1918 followed by preliminary urban plans designed by architect W. Scott Griffiths covering an area of 7000 acres. Plans for this development included farming lots for returned soldiers, a railway link, industrial and educational zones, a cathedral, golf links and cemeteries. In 1919, it was also the suggested site of a naval base for the Pacific Fleet by Admiral of the Fleet, Viscount Jellicoe. However, the proposals were later rejected and the city never eventuated.
None of these plans came to fruition. The planned naval base was built in Singapore. A Parliamentary Standing committee backed the port of Newcastle as the site for further development and Government funds ran low during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Advert to invest in Pindimar City
W. Scott Griffiths' Plan for Pindimar City
In 1963, the Great Lakes Council closed most of the roads planned in the subdivision, setting aside a small area for residential expansion, and zoning the rest non-urban. The layout and signposts of some of the closed roads can still be seen in some of the undeveloped areas of the area.
In 1976/77 the waterfront land shown on the Halloran plan adjacent to Cove Gate Way began to move out of public hands. It was subdivided in 1989/90.