Welcome to Newcastle’s former aerosol art paradise.

Newcastle City is separated from the Pacific Ocean by a sandy strip called Newcastle Beach, shown below. Rocks divide the beach into “Newcastle Beach” and “South Newcastle Beach” – not to be confused with “South Newcastle” – a precinct that does not exist. But if it did, residents would rename it “The Hill.”

Newcastle Beach and – on the further side of the rocks, Newcastle South Beach – in 2004. It was deserted because, perhaps, Desperate Housewives was on TV. Or, speaking of desperate, the Knights were trying yet again to regain the glory days of yore.

A seaside graffiti venue briefly existed at the south end, near the now-demolished Royal Newcastle Hospital, center of picture. A panorama below shows it’s extent, stretching along the beach wall of Shortland Esplanade and including the amenities buildings.

This was Newcastle’s own “5 Pointz” – and like that famous New York sister zone, it’s gone. The city had another ‘5 Pointz’ venue, the Palais Royal, a dance hall from last century. Conforming to Newcastle tourism sensitivites, it too is gone.

The wall and change rooms in October 2004. Click the photo to open an interactive panorama. Click, drag, or gesture to navigate the enlarged image.

Legalised in 2005, when council rejected a zero-tolerance approach to graffiti, the “aerosol art agreement” used a register of artist to work in three areas: free-form, senior artists, and murals.

In April 2010 Newcastle City Council – a formerly street-art-tolerant council – both shut down the registered writers’ venue and banned legal aerosol art walls anywhere in the local government area.

Some consider wall art “a blight on our city” while others believe graffiti is minimised by allowing legal spaces for artists.

Since the closure, murals and street art in Newcastle have flourished, due to both commissioned professional works and initiatives like the Public Art Program, Pride of Place, and Revitalise Newcastle.

The Walls and the Tunnel in 2004

Two walls feature below. One is the wall at the skate park beside Shortland Esplanade’s eastern end.

The other is a short wall beside Church Street where it meets Shortland Esplanade.

Finally we have a look at the tunnel. Were it anything but a tunnel, it was collapse from the weight of paint.

“South Newcastle” Beach

Change rooms

Skate park looking south

Shortland Esplanade wall
South tunnel emerges onto the beach at left

Wall – some details

Church Street Wall

South Tunnel
Former Royal Newcastle Hospital in background

West side of the tunnel, accessed via steps from the street.

Tunnel interior, south wall (below)

Tunnel interior, north wall (below)

More to come…. note to self (Throsby):

PROMENADE, SOUTH TUNNEL, AND SOUTH WALL IN 2005

PROMENADE, SOUTH TUNNEL, AND SOUTH WALL IN 2007

PROMENADE, SOUTH TUNNEL, AND SOUTH WALL IN 2008