Memories

Singleton’s Big Party ~ Howe’s That!

As mining cancerously erodes St. Patrick Plains’ alluvial bounty – “the finest sheep country he (John Howe) had seen since leaving England” – it is grim irony indeed that global conglomerates dispossess by legislative violence the Valley community’s rural inheritance, just as their ancestral land grantees in turn stole, with

Read more...

To a Higher Court

Newcastle courthouse now stands as one of the most notable buildings in Newcastle, an iconic and welcoming facility that meets the client brief of connection with the community.” ~ TTW structural engineers. Welcoming… in a jaggedly immense sort of way. Our new Civic courthouse is an impressive structure adding class

Read more...

Autumn Gown

May in Newcastle – calm mild days, cool nights. A stretch of tranquil weather let fallen leaves carpet footpaths at Islington. The accumulation is fortuitous in streets regularly swept by heavy traffic, pedestrians, wind gusts or stormy change – and, yes, street sweepers – all intent on scattering this transitory

Read more...

Muloobinba Leaves Newcastle

Bound for South Africa, Newcastle’s floating dock Muloobinba ends 34 years service Muloobinba was launched in Japan 4 November 1977 and towed by the tug East Sea, arriving 4 January 1978, and entered port on the 7th. It replaced the NSW State Dockyard floating dock that operated since 1942. Muloobinba

Read more...

Lake auger mine augurs ill

Lake Macquarie, one of Australia’s east coast watery treasures, has lived with coal mining and assorted industries for 200 years. It endured toxic emissions from the “sulphide Works” for most of last century, the small mining community of Boolaroo absorbing most of its hazardous surplus that either seeped into Cockle

Read more...

GPT’s Newcastle ~ A Citizen Objects

When a City is Perfect Editor’s note:  This essay, written in 2008, reflected apprehension at a plan by The GPT Group to carve out the northern side of The Hill in front of Christ Church Cathedral and construct a shopping mall of impressive scale in the heart of an ailing

Read more...

19 Goes for a Spin

Early morning on Kooragang Island, Tuesday, 12 May 2009. Sound asleep among the trees, South Maitland Railways (SMR) No. 19 steam locomotive stirred, oblivious to a human inspecting her under-workings. It was that recurring nightmare: eternity since the last coal delivery; a world powered by green energy – whatever that

Read more...

A Potted History

Newcastle City, on the Hunter River, is Australia’s sixth largest and second oldest city on the Pacific coast, 100 miles north of Sydney. Former steel city and export hub to the agricultural and timber wealth of the Hunter Valley, Newcastle now claims the world’s highest coal export, shipping eighty million

Read more...

Light Rail on Heavy Tracks

We each imagine how this town might be, but lack knowledge, experience, and expertise to think it through to detailed, workable, even exciting plans. A hybrid light-heavy rail plan is presented in full, below. It seeks a best outcome for the city. It is a business-oriented plan to benefit not

Read more...

A Day on the Harbour (or two)

Nothing is more impressive than a cruise ship up close Newcastle’s harbour is compact and very accessible, which makes ship watching a passive interest for all who enjoy the foreshore. Celebrity Millennium is one of the larger vessels to visit Newcastle, and Channel Berth at Carrington was chosen for these

Read more...

Farewells to a Grand Old Dame

In late 2006 Newcastle’s most famous building, the Palais Royale, was partially demolished. A year later its street front was sadly and brutally flattened. Palais Royale April 2007 in Hunter Street locale. West (left) to East. Click to view album. Heritage listing, colonial ties, and archaeological significance, were perfunctorily dismissed

Read more...

The Illustrated Town

First, some protocol. Locals can say “Kurri” but you and I are advised to say “Kurri Kurri.” Artist Chris Fussell supplied the obligatory large animal sculpture at town’s entrance. Photo by Chris. One warm May in 2008, two impatient passengers homewards from Hunter Valley Gardens were seconded in a photographer’s

Read more...

Passion Over Pasha Bulker

MV Pasha Bulker leaves Newcastle Harbour 26 July 2007 for repairs in Japan Eleven o’clock departure time was an hour ago, yet Newcastle Harbour lay wide, flat, blue… and empty. There was no sign that an injured Panamax freighter was about to leave the people of this busy little sea

Read more...

Shipwreck

The excitement of shipwreck is a universal emotion. With no lives lost, a sea wreck at close range is an imposing, awe-inspiring, and exciting experience. Spectators, however, are rarely callous. Image right: Pasha Bulker is fully two football fields long, dwarfing Nobbys Beach Pavilion. We, curiously staring at some stricken

Read more...

Gully Line ~ The Drain

Gully Line under Lambton Road looking north-east, flowing to Throsby Creek Remnants of the actual “Gully Line” coal rail track

Read more...

Gracelands Reminisce

Remember Gracelands on Violet Town Road, Belmont North? One of our region’s outstanding Christmas displays. Here’s a few memories for you. Maybe you were there that night in December 2004. Gracelands was a magic place. Children lucky enough to see it will carry those memories forever. Below, yes, that’s a

Read more...

Coal Ships Coal…

Natural wealth Newcastle and the Hunter Valley are a region of vast natural wealth. Coal caught the eye of early English explorers, plucked easily from seams on the tiny island guarding the port’s entrance. Timber, once readily gathered from the very harbour shores, is now felled on the valley’s mountainous

Read more...

The Fleeting Glory of KA-11

Newcastle loves boats. The harbour, foreshores, breakwaters, and beaches make boat-watching an easy and inviting pleasure. When a special maritime visitor draws crowds of Novocastrians from their daily rounds, well, the occasions are quite spectacular. Kookaburra 1 (KA-11) arrives off Newcastle midday Saturday, 29 June 1985 Mid-winter Hunter days are

Read more...

Stockton ~ The Disappearing

Crowds and a procession of cars inspect the aftermath of a winter storm in 1948 Late in the afternoon of Sunday, 20th June 1948, Henry Skilton joined the swarm of Stockton sightseers inspecting the damage wrought by the previous week’s heavy seas that, by some estimates, had removed 30 metres

Read more...

Three Sinkings and Two Beachings

Illalong at final resting place 5 klm south of Redhead ~ from the H.G.Skilton Collection. The Little Coastal Steamer that Never Gave Up In March 1908, shipping news reported that Messrs. E. D. Pike and Company had a vessel named the Raleigh under construction at their Bellinger River shipyard near

Read more...

The First Century

Defining Newcastle A place of punishment – and a scramble for coal In a spirit of friendly rivalry a Sydneyite might suggest little has changed in two centuries, that Newcastle is still a coal city and a place of punishment. In retort, a Novocastrian would remark that criminals from Sydney

Read more...