When historian Cynthia Hunter started delving into the Lower Hunter’s past in the 1970s, she never imagined she would be made an Member of the Order of Australia.
Her lifelong passion has seen her transform into an author who has written more than 20 books and publications and now she has been included in this year’s Queens Birthday honours list.
“It is nice to be recognised for what I’ve been doing in the field of history,” Mrs Hunter said.
“My research work has provided a platform for others to benefit from, especially if they are doing research themselves.
“I was fortunate enough to do some quite in-depth studies on areas within the Hunter but also further afield too.
“It’s been a lifelong interest and it’s really been nice that the work has been enjoyed by the people who are interested in history.”
The Hinton woman has spent more than 40 years bringing the past to life to ensure it will never be forgotten and future generations can easily access material about the area.
She has researched history in Maitland, Morpeth, Hinton, Paterson, Stroud, Tocal and Newcastle as well as the Upper Hunter and other parts of the Lower Hunter.
She has written books about a range of topics including Maitland’s convict settlers, Maitland Park, the Newcastle Earthquake, and the businesses that operated in the first decade of Morpeth Borough Council in the late 1800s.
When she retired two years ago she gave her collection to Maitland library.
The collection, which was named after her, includes maps, photographs, original documents, books and reports from the research she performed between 1975 and 2014.
Mrs Hunter spent countless hours pouring through archives and old documents to uncover the past in detail.
“I went to many libraries and archival places where anyone can go and research anything,” she said.
“I’ve enjoyed looking into the history of our environment and how it looks, and the people who thought about change and growth.
“Now we have a better understanding of all of that.”