In 1818, 12 free people and convicts were allowed to settle at Wallis Plains.
That area would later become our beloved city.
But it wasn’t all harmonious, and brutal conflict broke out between the European settlers and Aboriginal people.
This year might mark the old girl’s birthday, but Maitland 200 committee member Janece McDonald said the commemorations also acknowledged the history prior to European settlement.
“We wanted to commemorate 200 years of Maitland,” Dr McDonald said.
The message is that Maitland is a really great place to live. It is a diverse community but we all live here and call it homeJanece McDonald
“But not only from the white perspective but also the indigenous people who were already here. We believe it’s really important to acknowledge what happened to them and how dreadful it was.
“We just want to acknowledge it. We want to tell our story and let Aboriginal people share their story, and all move on together.
“It’s about walking together forward.”
On Sunday, the community came together in recognition of the area’s rich history for a day out at Maitland Park.
There were stalls, historical displays, antique machinery and entertainment for the day’s festivities including a performance from the Maitland City Choir and Frank's Fantastic Fairy Tale Theatre.
“The stalls are mainly historical based because we wanted to tell the story of Maitland’s history,” Dr McDonald said.
“There’s been lots of positive comments … We weren’t sure how many people would turn up but there’s been a lot of people coming and going all day. The message is that Maitland is a really great place to live. It is a diverse community but we all live here and call it home.”
Between the months of April and September, the committee have hosted a range of events in acknowledgement of the milestone.
Dr MacDonald added the day was the culmination of two years of hard work.
“I would like to acknowledge the Maitland 200 committee. We worked together, we argued and we had robust conversations but the outcome is what we all hoped for and are really proud of.”