08 May 2014

A walk around Newcastle

The Lock-Up Cultural Centre (that's my studio window top-right)

Newcastle Beach

They have seabaths! This place must be incredible in the warmer months. The beaches are pretty much perfect. I saw people surfing. The water is apparently warm.

Hunter River, looking back towards the sea. Found by the English colonial folk when looking for some escaped convicts. The convicts had nabbed a boat and headed north (I remember reading that some escaping convicts were looking for China, bless them). Lieutenant Shortland must have lost his mind when he discovered this incredibly beautiful, naturally deep harbour (not to mention the coal). No mention on Wiki of him discovering the whereabouts of the convicts.

The Council offices, referred to locally as 'the Round House'. Reminds me of the Beehive in Wellington NZ by Sir Basil Spence. This isn't one of his but there is some brutalist architecture in Newcastle. Brutal indeed. But is it practical? How do you fit desks and whatnot in this thing?

Some impressive street art.

Art deco arcade. I love all the 'a's. 

The actual arcade shops were mostly empty.  Newcastle is in the throes of a push to renew the old Hunter Street Mall area and surrounds, as part of a larger renewal project called 'Renew Newcastle'.  There's an empty department store which now houses artists and designers and is called Emporium.  Even though results are mixed and clearly Newcastle is still finding its post-industrial feet, you can see that there is a great buzz of creativity and lots of energy and positivity. There's lots of good cafes, hipsters, crafty shops and bars, as well as absolutely enormous coal ships and industrial infrastructure.  

One great initiative I stumbled across this morning when wanting to purchase a needle to darn a hole in my only cardigan (I'd packed light) was a craft shop called Hand to Hand Craft.  It's run to provide training and employment to people with disabilities. Volunteers Carmel and Katrina provide managerial support and it was such a welcoming, beautiful place. Excitingly, they have an artistically inclined staff member Mitchell who hand-decorates all the shopping bags and I was lucky enough to score this beautiful sheep!

Another observation: EVERYTHING HERE IS NAMED HUNTER. The river was named after the then-governor of NSW and it is like Novocastrians just want everything to be called Hunter. Quite entertaining as my husband's name is Hunter. I think we should move up here, he can start a psych practice and just call it Dr Hunter.

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