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Hidden Hamilton

Uncovering the stories of Hamilton, NSW

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Hidden Hamilton captures the highlights of Ruth Cotton’s popular blog about the stories, history and people of Hamilton, New South Wales.

Richly illustrated with historical and contemporary photos, the stories tell of the vision and determination of the people that transformed Hamilton from a dusty coal mining village into the vibrant multicultural Newcastle suburb of today.

‘I wish that every suburban village and town in the Newcastle and greater Hunter region could one day be blessed with enthusiastic delvers, such as Ruth Cotton, who reveal the hidden stories of the people, places and personal experiences that make up our collective story. This book will become Hamilton’s not-so-hidden
treasure and will inspire for generations to come.’


‘Ruth Cotton has captured the essence of Hamilton’s development through the stories of people who made it happen. Anyone who reads this book will be able to view the Hamilton streetscape through new eyes. A unique ‘must read’ for all who love local history.’


‘It is through Ruth’s work that we are able to wander Hamilton today and hear the whispers of our families, our ancestors, our first Australians. It’s all still there, even if you can’t see it. All you have to do is listen’.


Hidden Hamilton was published by Hunter Press in 2014 and is available at MacLeans Booksellers, Hamilton or to order here.

More Hidden Hamilton

Further Stories of People, Place and Community

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More Hidden Hamilton continues Ruth Cotton’s discoveries about her suburb, drawing on her popular blog about the stories, history and people of Hamilton, New South Wales.

These new stories invite us to reflect on how individuals remake their lives, often under harsh circumstances; the many ways in which community can be created; how a sense of home and belonging can be achieved in what may seem the most ordinary of settings. The people and places in this new collection are captured in contemporary and historical photographs, every page a reminder of our ever-changing society.

A companion volume to the bestselling Hidden Hamilton: Uncovering stories of Hamilton, NSW.

‘This wonderful book is a must for anyone interested in one of Newcastle’s most cosmopolitan and quirky suburbs. Ruth Cotton and her contributors bring us a fascinating kaleidoscope of Hamilton and its characters across the years, a gem of social history in words and evocative photographs.’


‘A revealing snapshot into a vibrant community, Ruth Cotton shows us the enduring connections we have with people and places of the past.’


More Hidden Hamilton was published by Hunter Press in 2016 and is available at MacLeans Booksellers, Hamilton or to order here.

On Wahroonga

An Early Settler Family at Rocky Creek, NSW

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When James Tufrey realised that he had won 2600 acres of land in a government ballot, the news threw him into a turmoil of indecision. It would mean starting a pastoral enterprise from scratch at Rocky Creek, an isolated valley in the north west of New South Wales. Would he dare to lead his young family into such a risky future?

James Tufrey did accept the challenge and in 1907, with wife Annie by his side, he established Wahroonga.

Author Ruth Cotton, who had a special bond with her pioneer grandfather, gives voice to stories of the three generations who have lived on the property. Following James and Annie, her parents Charlie and Thelma Tufrey consolidated the property, working out their own ways of coping with the risks and demands of rural life. And then the steady anchoring of John and Lori Tufrey has meant that Wahroonga continues to hold a special place in the lives of Ruth, her sisters and other family members.

This is the story of a place and how it came to be, and of the people who formed an enduring association with their valley home.

On Wahroonga was published by Ruth Cotton in 2017. For inquiries about purchase, please use the Contact form on this website.

Reinventing Success

Find Happiness, Satisfaction and Balance by Managing Change in your life

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Creating new definitions of success is a journey towards knowing the self, and living in a way that is truthful to the self. The road is not easily travelled. It is a hero’s journey.

Most of us dream of changing our lives at one time or another. And some of us are forced into change unexpectedly, perhaps through work, or relationships, or health. Paradoxically, change has become the one constant we can rely on.

Being able to work with change is essential to our growth as whole human beings.

Reinventing Success explores the stories of eleven Australians who underwent profound change in their lives when they recognized the traditional definitions of success such as money, power, possessions, career advancement or marriage no longer gave them the meaning or satisfaction they desired. Each sought new and personal definitions of success that would accommodate their individual goals and values which ranged from honesty in relationships, balance and freedom to creativity, self-realisation and spirituality.

These inspirational lives provide us with rich and diverse models of success and each story illustrates that only through change can we journey towards self-discovery.

Reinventing Success was published by Random House in 1996. It is now out of print.