From the Maitland Mercury report:
West Maitland was lush, heavily wooded, virgin ground in 1818 but by 1820 the area was at the centre of a Royal Commission into the brutal treatment of convicts.
The lash reigned supreme and crime was rampant at Wallis Plains.
Convict gangs were brought from Newcastle to clear the densely wooded brush and the stories of the brutal treatment meted out to those unfortunate wretches at the hands of their taskmasters are a reflection upon humanity.
Full article available at Maitland Mercury, Aug. 17, 2013.