The Australian Numismatic Society


The Morpeth Bridge Centenary Medal  by  Tom H.

West of Newcastle and a few kilometers from Maitland lies the historic village
of Morpeth.  Cuddling the Hunter River it's quiet atmosphere belies it's earlier days in
the early part of the nineteenth century.  It was the largest inland port in Australia
where produce was brought into the town to be shipped down south to Sydney and

Lieutenant Close was granted the land, and in 1826 he built for himself a grand
house which he called Closebourne House.  Edward Charles Close entered the Army
in 1808 and became a Lieutenant and served in the Peninsular War.  He came to NSW
in 1817 with the 48th Regiment, married and resigned from the Army and settled on
his land which comprised 5000 acres, making him one of the largest land holders in
the district.  In 1834 Close subdivided part of his estate and Morpeth came into
existence.  He died in 1866 leaving three sons and one daughter.  His wife had died
some ten years earlier.

Token collectors know Morpeth very well as one of the scarcer of Australian tokens
come from this town.  James Campbell issued a penny token, two varieties A59 &
A60, and also a halfpenny, A61.  These are reasonably common but the silver
threepence he also issued is a very scarce item.  In the Dixon collection now housed in
the Sate Library of NSW are 102 Hogarth Erickson threepence (the aboriginal types
A692 & A693 are not in evidence), James Thornthwaite is represented by fifteen
specimens, the MacIntosh & Degraves shilling by seven specimens but the James
Campbell threepence is represented with only three.  A couple of years ago the present
owners of Campbells issued a facsimile token.  It can be easily identified because it
has a smaller diameter and carries the initials of the issuer, TR, under the figure of

   The Morpeth Bridge Centenary Medal.

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Last Modified 8th October 1999