Society Holds Out for Waterside Museum

A ‘rebirthed’ Newcastle Maritime Museum Society (NMMS) wants council to broaden its scope from a “small display in [the city’s] general museum.”

Society members, at a meeting on Monday (26 August 2019), chose to continue negotiations and explore all options for the 7500-piece collection.

President Bob Cook said Newcastle is arguably the most significant maritime heritage city in Australia but has no waterside maritime museum.

Every other port city does.

We are asking Council to apply its role of ‘working with the community it serves’ to help us find a way to achieve something more valuable from our rich maritime heritage,” said Mr. Cook.

We ask for Council’s help to respect and promote the efforts of hundreds of citizens over the last 47 years in forming this collection and using the entire collection to make this part of our history relevant to future generations.”

Australia’s largest maritime history deserves Australia’s best maritime interpretation.”

This city can do better than a small display in our general museum.”

Mr. Cook said members were not impressed by the “fabricated pressure” applied by City of Newcastle giving NMMS an ultimatum of seven days to hand over the collection.

The society is committed to working with council and still seek its co-operation to find a better solution during the remaining 13 months of the storage facility at Carrington.”

A special general meeting of members will be held within six months to report on progress.

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The Newcastle Maritime Museum Society was formed in 1976 at Lambton Mechanics Institute.

It moved to Fort Scratchley and then in 2008 to the A Shed at Honeysuckle in 2008 – its location on the foreshore at Honeysuckle for a decade until NMMS voted to wind-up operations on 21 May 2018, due to the mounting cost of running the museum and a lack of volunteers.

Newcastle City Council helped store the collection since the museum’s closure, but wishes to incorporate it into the Newcastle Regional Museum’s collection.

The NMMS opposes this and continues to pursue a stand-alone museum on Newcastle Harbour.

The museum’s former location at Honeysuckle was the heritage-listed building “A Shed” owned by the Hunter Development Corporation.

HDC-owned heritage "A Shed" at Honeysuckle, former site of Newcastle Maritime Museum