Maitland is a city in the Lower Hunter Valley of New South Wales, Australia and the seat of Maitland City Council, situated on the Hunter River approximately by road north of Sydney and north-west of Newcastle. It is on the New England Highway about from its start at Hexham.At the 2011 census it had approximately 67,478 inhabitants, spread over an area of, with most of the population located in a strip along the New England Highway between the suburbs of Rutherford and Metford respectively. The city centre is located on the right bank of the Hunter River, protected from potential flooding by a levee.Surrounding areas include the cities of Cessnock and Singleton local government areas.HistoryOriginally Maitland consisted of three separate towns which arose roughly all around the same time. West Maitland, now just Maitland, was a privately founded town which grew because of its proximity to the river and which today is the commercial centre of the city. The other areas were East Maitland, which was established by the colonial New South Wales government, and Morpeth, another private town founded by Lieutenant Close, a Peninsular War veteran. Each town functioned as if they were separate municipalities.