Home' Hunter Its People : Hunter Our Backyard June 2011 Contents 10
Q: What do you think is special
A: ''It's not as crowded as
Sydney, the traffic is not as
busy as Sydney, Newcastle is so
near the beaches we get all the
breezes, and there are quite a lot
of parks to relax in.''
-- Alice Barrie, who was born
in Wickham and has lived in
Newcastle all her 106 years.
Now living at the Anglican Care
Greenmount Gardens Hostel,
she attributes her longevity to
two sherries daily and a hot and
cold shower each morning.
THE LAST WORD ...
1On estimated 2009 populations Newcastle
(as a statistical division) is the seventh-
largest city in Australia with 540,796 people.
2Newcastle's median individual income is
$409, compared to $461 for NSW and $466
3Newcastle's worst maritime disaster was the
loss of SS Cawarra on July 12, 1866, where
60 people drowned after the ship was smashed
on the oyster bank at the harbour entrance.
4The influence of the University of Newcastle
can be seen in the fact that Newcastle has a
higher proportion of young adults in the 20 to
24 age group (8.8 per cent) compared to both the
state (6.6 per cent) and Australia (6.8 per cent).
5Hunter New England Health, with its head
office in Newcastle, provides care for 840,000
people, covers an area of more than 130,000 sq
km -- the size of England -- has about 15,500
staff and spends $1.3 billion a year.
6The film Newcastle, released in May, 2009, by
the start of this year had grossed $213,563 in
Australia, not quite up with the nation's record
holder, Crocodile Dundee, with $47,707,045.
7The median age of a person in Newcastle is
37, the same as NSW and Australia.
8The most populous suburbs in Newcastle are
Wallsend (11,799), Merewether (10,368), New
Lambton (9236) and Mayfield (9007).
9Ben Lexcen, the Australian yachtsman and
marine architect famous for the winged keel
on Australia II which, in 1983, became the first
non-American yacht to win the America's Cup in
132 years, grew up as Robert Miller in Newcastle.
10The Port of Newcastle moves more than
103 million tonnes of imports and exports
valued at $13.05 billion a year, with the range of
products continuing to expand. The 15.2-metre
deep port sees 3700 ship movements each year
involving 40 different commodities.
11 Newcastle has the highest number of
artists per capita in the nation.
12 Newcastle's median weekly household
income is $885 compared to $1036 for
NSW and $1027 for Australia.
13 In Ralph magazine in 2005, Newcastle's
Fanny's nightclub was voted The Easiest
Place To Pick Up in Australia.
14Newcastle once had the largest tram
transport network in Australia.
15 The Newcastle earthquake, at 10.27
am on Thursday, December 28, 1989,
registered 5.6 on the Richter Scale and killed 13
people, the first tremor in Australia known to
claim human lives.
16 With more than 5000 art works valued
at $70 million, the Newcastle Region Art
Gallery collection is the council and city's single
most valuable asset. And 90 per cent of the
collection is donated.
17 Fort Scratchley was built between 1881
and 1886 when there were fears of a
Russian invasion. The famous firing of the fort's
guns against a Japanese submarine was in
18The main occupations in Newcastle are
professionals (24.1 per cent), clerical and
administration (14.5 per cent) and technicians
and trade workers (14.4 per cent).
19 Newcastle has produced more ballerinas
for the Australian Ballet Company than
any other city.
20 The Obelisk, on The Hill, marks the site
of the city's first windmill in 1819, which
was also a guiding mark for ships, so when
the windmill was demolished the Obelisk was
erected in 1850 as a navigation aid.
You can take two hours to walk Newcastle's Bathers Way . . . or you
can take two months. The five kilometre coastal walk has interpretive
signs, paths, seats, shade, places to eat and public art and gives a
peak at Newcastle's heritage, culture, geology and recreation.
From the iconic lighthouse on Nobbys Headland, overlooking
Newcastle's active, humming harbour and foreshore park, to the
wilderness of Glenrock reserve, the walk takes you from Nobbys
breakwall, built by convict gangs from 1818, past Fort Scratchley,
the only fort in Australia to engage the enemy in a maritime attack,
alongside rock pools and occasionally dolphins and whales, through
the art deco Newcastle Ocean Baths built in 1911 and past sandy
beaches and the Bogey Hole, hewn from rock in 1819 as a swimming
hole for the town commandant. The walk passes through King
Edward Park to Strzelecki Lookout and Bar Beach, Dixon Park and
Merewether Beach, where four-time world surfing champion Mark
Richards learnt his trade as a five-year-old. South of Merewether
Beach is an ocean baths, then Glenrock State Recreation Area with
its native plants and animals and indigenous history, including the
remains of an Aboriginal tool-making site and camp.
Newcastle's greatest natural wonders can be summed up in
seven words: Stockton, Nobbys, Newcastle, Bar, Dixon Park,
Merewether, all wonderful beaches on a coastline that provides
some of the city's greatest assets.
To widen the field Blackbutt Reserve, an old mine site just
six kilometres from the CBD, the Hunter River estuary, one
of the largest in NSW, Glenrock State Conservation Area and
Blue Gum Hills Regional Park can be added, but it is the
beaches, which draw two million visitors a year, that provide
The city is one of the best surfing locations in Australia, and
once the iconic Newcastle and Merewether baths are added to
the list, plus rock platforms, nearby King Edward Park with
its 100-year-old Norfolk Island pines, and the Bathers Way, a
five-kilometre coastal walk, Newcastle is truly a surf and sand
Glenrock conserves more than 500 hectares of coastal land
with striking headlands and beaches and important plant
communities including littoral rainforest, open coast forest and
heathlands. Creeks flow over rocky waterfalls into rock pools
and finally Glenrock Lagoon. More than 140 species of birds
have been recorded in the area.
Away from the beach Blackbutt Reserve is more than
182 hectares of nature trails, wildlife exhibits, children's
playgrounds, recreational facilities and five main picnic areas.
The 130-hectare Blue Gum Hills Regional Park, at Minmi,
was gazetted in 2007, one of the first regional parks outside
Sydney, designed to protect urban bush and provide quality
space for public recreation.
The Hunter River estuary is critical to the survival of many
birds, providing a magnet for migratory shorebirds from the
northern hemisphere, plus animals, fish and other wildlife, and
the Hunter Estuary National Park, the largest single-estuary
wetland reserve in NSW, covers more than 4000 hectares
with part of it listed as a RAMSAR site, which means it is of
Obelisk: On The Hill,
the Obelisk is a guide
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DESIGNED FOR LIFE
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