Our Town 2008

I do rather miss the old Newcastle.

The 'renovated' old Newcastle from early this century, that is. The one that revitalised The Mall yet again: "Once more with feeling." That gave the foreshore what we thought its final makeover. A city whose CBD seemed (at last!) as good as it gets.

It felt like a real metropolis back then. Especially with those trains. Their noisy ugliness was equally a feature and a bug. But history told them it was time to go. The three precinct plan was brewing, triggered by GPT's intrusion, and Hunter Street was soon to be torn apart along its length.

Which makes the images below a record of some significance despite how recent they are, still a clear memory for most of us.

The day began early morning at Queens Wharf in beautiful weather, as a Sydney Seaplanes flight arrives on the harbour. Early: 8:15 a.m. Tuesday, 16 December, 2008 to be precise!

While the Newcastle to Stockton passenger ferry delivers commuters and takes on more, the dredge David Allan chugs out to sea with another load of silt.

Then in comes Panamax freighter, New Joy, for a load of black (solid) gold.

With harbour activity over, we turn to the city

And a fabulous little city it is.

Up onto the overhead walkway from Queens Wharf to Market Square.

Pause to look around and snapshot early morning commuter trains arriving at Newcastle Station.

East into the sun. An amazing tangle of cables and steel tracks presents transport engineering as industrial art installation.

Above: All platforms occupied. This is a working station for a working city.

At Market Square a brief look around with sounds of The Mall opening for business...

Finally, that incredible ironwork. It gave so many iconic images of a town on its way to a post-industrial future. When these photographs were taken it seemed inconceivable that demolition was to come.

We might miss the steel bridge and the fabulous "penis" tower (I do!). But they were sacrificed for a vision: to reconnect the city with Cathedral Hill. Removal of the rail line made them superfluous and overbearing structures.

For a similar gallery of change, visit our article on the small streets surrounding Market Square.

Post a Comment

Additional information, anecdotes, etc., or corrections are welcome.

Previous Post Next Post