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Hunter River (New South Wales)

The Hunter River is a major river in New South Wales, Australia. The Hunter River rises in the Liverpool Range and flows south and east, reaching the Tasman Sea at Newcastle, the second largest city in New South Wales and a major harbour port, its lower reaches form an trained mature wave dominated barrier estuary. The Hunter River rises on the western slopes of Mount Royal Range, part of the Liverpool Range, within Barrington Tops National Park, east of Murrurundi, flows northwest and southwest before being impounded by Lake Glenbawn; the river is joined by ten tributaries upstream of Lake Glenbawn. The main tributaries are the Pages, Goulburn and the Paterson rivers and the Moonan and Wollombi brooks. East of Hexham, the river splits into two main channels, separated by the Ramsar-protected Kooragang Wetlands that feeds Milham Ponds, Wader Pond, Swan Pond and a series of smaller wetland pondages; the southern arm of the river creates Hexham Island, while the northern creaters Smiths Island and flows in Fullerton Cove.

The two channels converge at Walsh Point, reaching confluence with Throsby Creek adjacent to the Newcastle central business district, before reaching the river mouth. The Hunter River descends 1,397 m over its 468 km course from the high upper reaches, through the Hunter Valley, out to sea; the Hunter River is subject to substantial flooding, which Glenbawn Dam, near Scone, was constructed to ameliorate. Major floods have occurred on the Hunter including the flood of 1955 that caused devastation to townships along the river Maitland. Severe flooding again occurred in June 2007 and again in 2015. Towns along the Hunter River, from upstream to downstream, include Aberdeen, Denman, Jerrys Plains, Maitland and Raymond Terrace. At Hexham, the river is transversed by the Pacific Highway; the Hunter Valley is one of the best routes to the interior of the state with access unimpeded by mountains and other obstacles. It is the largest area of low-lying land near the coast of New South Wales, owing to the shielding by rugged ranges to its north, is much drier than any other coastal region of the state.

Annual rainfall ranges from 1,100 mm at Newcastle to only 640 mm at Merriwa and Scone in the upper reaches. In the driest years rainfall can be as low as 600 mm at 375 mm in the upper valley. Around the Barrington Tops on the northern side of the valley, annual precipitation can be as high as 2,000 mm, not all of which falls as rain since July temperatures are below 0 °C. In the lower areas, summer maxima are around 27 °C and winter maxima around 16 °C. Except for the driest parts of Tasmania and a small area of the Monaro between Cooma and Nimmitabel, the Hunter Valley is the southern limit of rich "black earths"; these are the only soils in all of Australia with reasonable levels of soluble phosphorus, with the result that upstream from Singleton rich pasture land with many thoroughbred horse studs occurs. Around Merriwa and south of Singleton, the soils are infertile sands more typical of Australia as a whole, the dominant land use is extensive grazing. Parts of the Hunter Valley are important for wine producing.

The Hunter Valley is one of Australia's most important coal mining areas. The Hunter River is threatened by drought, climate change and proposed loss of water due to coal mining; the region is favoured by thoroughbred horse breeders and stud farms. The Hunter River has been inhabited for thousands of years by the Wonnarua Aboriginal people, who called it the Coquun, meaning "fresh water"; the Lower Hunter River nearer to the coast is the traditional country of the Awabakal people. Both groups spoke a similar language; the river was first settled by European explorers in the 1790s. In June 1796 fishermen sheltering from bad weather discovered coal there, the river was called Coal River. In 1797 it was formally named the Hunter, after Captain John Hunter, Governor of the British colony in New South Wales at that time. Between 1826 and 1836 convicts built the 264 km long Great North Road that links Sydney to the Hunter Region. Dundee, a shipwreck off the mouth of the Hunter River, 1808 Environment of Australia Floods in Australia Hunter Valley cannabis infestation List of rivers in New South Wales List of rivers of Australia Newcastle Port Corporation Rivers of New South Wales "Hunter River catchment".

Office of Environment and Heritage. Government of New South Wales. "Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment". Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority. Government of New South Wales. 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2013. "Hunter River Explorer". Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013

Thomas (Burton novel)

Thomas is a 1969 novel by Hester Burton, published in the US as Beyond the Weir Bridge. The story follows three friends as they grow up in the political and religious turmoil following the end of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms in 1651, including the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, the 1665 Plague and the 1666 Fire of London. In common with other novels by Hester Burton, it is a well-written and accurate viewpoint of this period. In the UK, the novel was published as Thomas in 1969 by the Oxford University Press and in 1970 in the US by Crowell & Co. where the title was changed to Beyond the Weir Bridge. At the same time, Burton published Through the Fire which explores many of the same themes but for a younger audience; the three main characters are Richard and Thomas, who gives his name to the book's UK title. We first encounter them at the age of 7, at the end of the wars modern historians customarily refer to as the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. Richard's father was killed fighting for Parliament during the First English Civil War in 1644.

Richenda is the daughter of her close friend who looks after the two grow up together. His father is a Royalist who owns the local estate where Richenda's family lives but has been ruined by the war. Richard and Richenda befriend Thomas, quiet and studious but shows he is a person of integrity and courage, he demonstrates this early in the book by crossing a narrow bridge or plank laid across a local weir, hence the title used in the US of Beyond the Weir Bridge. The novel follows the three through the turbulent period that followed the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, ending with the Great Fire of 1666. Richard is expelled from Cambridge and disowned by his parents but becomes an assistant to a London doctor. Richenda and Thomas join the Quakers, which causes a breach between Thomas and his father, as well as the three friends; this was historically accurate, since there were a number of attempted revolts by Puritan radicals, including that led by Thomas Venner in January 1661. Thomas and Richenda fall in love and have a child together, with Thomas inheriting his father's lands, although they are persecuted for being Quakers.

When the Plague breaks out in 1665, Richard and his master are among the few doctors to remain, an accurate fact. Thomas feels called to go to London and help Richard tend the sick but dies of the plague himself. Thomas's sacrifice and his own experience changes Richard's views and he becomes far more tolerant. Richenda returns home to take over the estate, while Richard visits and it is only when the Great Fire destroys much of London in 1666 that she realises she loves him; the story ends with Richard rescuing Thomas's son. The novel shows different responses to loss. Like her other books,'Beyond the Weir Bridge' reflects the impact of inequalities in society on her protagonists, their willingness to challenge these and the importance of education in that process; the Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature summarises Burton's novels as "featuring heroines with strong opinions... class tensions and social justice are recurring themes.... Accounts of ordinary young people affected by national events."

Despite being titled Thomas in the UK, Richenda is the emotional heart of the story and the novel exemplifies these characteristics. In her obituary, the Daily Telegraph described Thomas as "...perhaps her most sensitive novel." It was nominated for the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award in 1971, the winner that year being Eleanor Cameron's A Room Made of Windows

Michael Schabas

Michael Schabas is a UK-based railway consultant, involved in launching several new railway projects and businesses. With a background in urban rail projects in the Canada and the United States, he came to London in 1988 as Vice President for Transport for Olympia & York, who were developing the Canary Wharf project in London Docklands, he led O&Y's involvement in planning and promotion of the Jubilee Line Extension, instigated the re-signalling and re-engineering of the Docklands Light Railway. In 1995, Schabas founded GB Railways, which went on to win the Anglia Railways franchise, to launch GB Railfreight and Hull Trains. In 2003, GBR was acquired by FirstGroup. In 2010, Schabas co-founded Hamburg-Köln-Express, which operates intercity passenger trains in Germany. In December 2018, Metrolinx, a public transit agency of the Government of Ontario, hired Schabas to lead a team to create a plan for the Ontario Line, a light metro proposed for the City of Toronto. Official website