Book 'Maitland Architecture Hearths and Homes' 19 Decades of Residential Design by Cynthia Hunter was launched at Grossmann House on 18 June 2008. There was a great turn out at the house and congratulations to Cynthia on a comprehensive work on the various styles of architectual design and the history behind many of these individual dwellings. This book was a project of the Maitland City Heritage Group.
Congratulations to Minister Garrett on his courageous decision to reject the Nobbys Lighthouse development at Newcastle, NSW. This is a positive decision and as federal Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts it is encouraging that he has given due consideration to the Heritage impact statement (HIS) by independent internationally recognised heritage architects Clive Lucas and Stapleton. The committee supports appropriate adaptive reuse of the site that safeguards the integrity and iconic nature of the historic lighthouse and Macquarie Pier . It is important that Newcastle applies environmental leadership and sustainable decision making to its limited number of heritage sites. This will create immense social value to unique assets such as Nobbys Lighthouse. The Hunter Regional Committee of the National Trust is grateful to the Minister for his support of Nobbys 'Whybaygamba', a special place to Indigenous people, Novocastrians and the nation.
The Hunter Regional Committee of the National Trust supports the Ministers intention to refuse the application to redevelop the Nobbys Headland for commercial purposes in EPBC 2006/3179. The expert report commissioned by Clive Lucas Stapleton 2007 recommends against approval, even with conditions. The heritage impact on the oldest functioning lighthouse in Australia will be permanent. Clive Lucas confirms the Lighthouse is intact and free standing. “Nobby’s Lighthouse is the lighthouse built on Nobby’s Headland in 1857... It remains highly intact and operative to this date." The proposal will distort the way the lighthouse has always been seen and depicted, and will distort the image of the lighthouse by building up around it. The Trust urges the refusal of this development because it will destroy our commonwealth heritage icon. There is an opportunity to preserve the iconic Nobbys headland from adverse development for the enjoyment of future generations of Australians, if this development is rejected.
(artwork by Pat Davidson) Friday 4 – 20 April Coal River : Art Exhibition Local artists were invited to interpret the Coal River Precinct: from Nobbys to the Convict Stockade. Exhibition opening and launch of the Coal River Precinct Walk brochure Saturday 5 April 9.30 – 4pm Family History Open Day Newcastle Family History Society Mechanics Institute, 68 Elder St, Lambton Saturday 5 April 11am – 12 The Hunter Street Mall: Heritage and Development: How can they co-exist? Join with the Hunter Regional Committee of the National Trust to examine the impact of proposed Changes in the Mall. Sunday 6 April 2 – 4 pm Coal River Precinct Walk Experience living history with Newcastle University Coal River Working Party members, who developed the concept of the Coal River Heritage Park, recently nominated for National Heritage listing: includes heritage icons Nobbys and Fort Scratchley Wednesday 9 – Saturday 17 May Mon- Fri 9 30- 8 pm Sat 9 30- 2pm Schools Exhibition ‘Our Place’: Schools in the Wallsend area will display the rich heritage of Wallsend in an exhibition at Wallsend District Library. Thursday 10 – 13 April Heritage Hunter Expo 2008 at the Newcastle Show Community history and heritage groups showcase the Hunter’s rich heritage. Entertainment Centre, Newcastle Showground Saturday 12 April 2pm Heritage Foreshore Walk Newcastle and Hunter District Historical SocietySunday 13 April 10am University of Newcastle: Future Heritage Buildings The Australian Architectural Society will conduct a tour of the campus of the University, rich in outstanding modern buildings including three Sulman award winners. Monday 14 April 10 am - 12 Pubs & Publicans Walk Newcastle Historical Society Sunday 20 April 2pm From the Hill to the Harbour: Places & People: a Heritage Walk Well- known historian Rosemary Melville, will take you around the high side of the city to view historic homes and buildings. 19 – 20 April 10am – 4pm Tomago House:’ Lights & time and our place’ Friends of Tomago House & Port Stephens Historical Society Featuring a display of historic clocks and lights from the 1870s to 1930s. 19 – 20 April 11am – 4pm Friends of Miss Porter’s House Our Place: “We never threw anything out” Step back in time: everything from teapots to televisions, to outdoor dunny to indoor flush toilet, reflecting ninety years of occupancy. 6 April 2pm Grossmann House Our Place: Maitland on Hunter Riverbank Walk Join Maitland heritage tour leader Wayne Campbell along the heritage walkway. Forum- Thursday 17 April 7- 9 pm Newcastle City Hall, Hunter Room Forum: Newcastle: Our Place, Past Present and Future “Celebrate Newcastle as a Port City or become another Darling Harbor?” Noted urban historian ,Professor Peter Spearritt, Centre for Applied History and Heritage, University of Queensland “Globalisation and Heritage ” Internationally recognised architect Professor Steffen Lehmann, School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Newcastle. “Creating a Novocastrian Renaissance” Gionni di Gravio , visionary and archivist , University of Newcastle, Chair of the University‘s Coal River Working Party
STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE Nobbys Lighthouse is a unique Commonwealth Heritage Place and listed on the Commonwealth Heritage Register. The erection of Nobbys lighthouse represents a significant advance in the navigational aids provided at the entrance to the Port of Newcastle. Nobbys Lighthouse was built to replace the coal –fired beacon located on the Signal Hill that had operated since the earliest times in the convict settlement. The Headland was formerly an Island called Whybaygamba by the aboriginal people and named Coal Island on the Barrallier Chart the first survey of the river and the abortive 1801 settlement and coal mines at Colliers Point. Nobbys light became operational 1857- 58 and the coal fired beacon was extinguished The Nobby headland was reduced in height from 62 metres to 28 metres to form a base for the Light and built dwellings for Signalman. The lighthouse site is associated with the Penal settlement of Newcastle (1801 & 1804), convict settlement and industry (coal mining) The place illustrates its association with Australian Navigational and defence history, and also has a high degree of significance in regard to convict labour that took place on the site and association with other convict built sites in the precinct (Breakwater). The lighthouse is associated with the changes of the headland. HISTORIC VALUE Aboriginal people used this site Whybaygamba (Nobbys) for fishing and hunting and have special spiritual significance. It is also the location of the dreamtime story of the immensely large kangaroo that occasionally shakes himself causing the island to tremble and large pieces to fall. The place is significant in the history of Australia because of its convict, military, navigational and early European associations. Illustrates the settlements industrial past as an early site of coal mining and is closely associated with Australia’s navigation and coal industry for 150 years. AESTHETIC VALUE Nobbys lighthouse has a particular aesthetic character valued by the community. Historical visual sources show the lighthouse in its early days. Frank Hurley and others have produced artworks that depict Nobbys lighthouse. Aesthetically Nobbys lighthouse is a rare example of colonial architecture (purpose built for the headland). The precinct is an outstanding landmark and continues to be an ‘icon’. (The site is significant in demonstrating the aesthetic value of the lighthouse and its surrounds, including views to and from the headland). The lighthouse site has significant heritage value, because the structure has remained intact with minimal changes to its fabric. The nearby Coal River Heritage Precinct adds to the prominence of the lighthouse and contributes to its quality and aesthetics. SCIENTIFIC VALUE The erection of Nobbys lighthouse represents a significant advance in the navigational aids provided at the entrance to the Port of Newcastle. It has a high degree of scientific value in that the site provides archaeological, engineering and navigational history and future research into all of these areas can provide new knowledge about the site. There is further potential for archaeological research in regard to the sites unseen features such as the ‘chambers for blowing up Nobbys’ (Keene, W. survey) as well as Aboriginal and other early European archaeological evidence. SOCIAL VALUE The lighthouse already contributes greatly to the community, providing a special ambience. The lighthouse has significant social value and is well known by ship’s masters and mariners throughout the world. The community has a strong association with Nobbys lighthouse and the cultural heritage of the site, it is significant to locals who understand its continuous history and use. The community use of the site has been restricted but only completely denied in the year 2000. It is a well known place and should be reopened to the general public so that more people can experience the lighthouse and its surroundings. Nobbys is set in a recreational and social place where large numbers of people go to gather and promenade and have strong social and cultural ties to the place. It would be wrong to close off the lighthouse surrounds of this significant Heritage Place and impair its heritage significance predominantly for private patrons who would also not be able to have the benefit of the heritage experience. DEGREE OF SIGNIFICANCE RARITY The Nobbys lighthouse is rare in that it represents the first navigational light on the east coast of Australia, replacing the earlier coal fired beacon that existed on Signal Hill (Fort Scratchley) in 1804. The existing lighthouse is one of the oldest operational lighthouse on the east coast. The Nobbys headland was reduced in height from 62 metres to 28 metres to form a base for the Light and build accommodation for staff. The place is a reminder of the use of the site (convict, industry, military, navigational) and demonstrate the transition of the area and development of Navigational and changing use of this site. Nobbys Lighthouse is a unique Commonwealth Heritage Place REPRESENTIVENESS The place is representative of the specific use and long history of the site ‘lighthouse’ and of the people associated with navigation in Australia, such as lighthouse keepers. It is a symbol and representative of the transformation of the landscape (beacon to lighthouse) shaped by convict labour and early European occupation. INTEGRITY The place continues to be used as a ‘lighthouse’. The surrounding landscape has remained relatively unchanged adding to the sites integrity. It is only this year that the headland as it is seen from the city has been altered by a scar for earthworks for a widened roadway and erosion control. The integrity of the lighthouse and its surroundings is essential. AUTHENTICITY The site has a high degree of authenticity because of its original use as a lighthouse since 1857. The history of the place is authentic as documented in sketches and written literature about the use of the place.
The Hunter Regional Committee of the National Trust support the Coal River Precinct Conservation and Cultural Tourism Management Plan (draft 2008). The plan sets out many relevant strategies and recommendations in regard to conservation and management issues of the Coal River precinct that contains significant historic sites. The Coal River precinct is an important national historic site and this plan will help to ensure that the city’s historic sites are considered in future conservation planning and tourism management. Further the plan will enrich the city’s cultural heritage and potentially attract a tourism market that seeks out historic destinations, and experiences. This aspect of tourism is an untapped market, and this plan, and interpretative strategies offer this exciting opportunity, and promotes heritage. Support of the following:- *key interpretative concepts such as the Newcastle sky canons and interpreting the birthplace site and Shortland’s camp. *Interpretation of key positions of Fort Scratchley, Nobbys and Pilot Station. *Audio interpretative devices an effective way in telling stories. *Supports the plans of an Interpretative Centre, preferable in area of TS Tobruk. *Need for expert and professional heritage advice to guide and implement Conservation Management Plan related to the precinct. *7.6.1 Of plan, “Statutory –Commonwealth, included on the Register of the National Estate are TS Tobruk and Fort Scratchley” (currently Commonwealth owned). This section should also include Nobbys headland and lighthouse that are on the Commonwealth heritage list and the Register of the National Estate. *Part 8.4 of plan should be reviewed in light of recent research “Where Did Ensign Barrallier Camp in 1801”, by Professor John Fryer of the University of Newcastle’s Coal River Working Party. This report suggests the likely Newcastle birth place position to be at the base of Fort Scratchley, an area which has the potential for interesting and creative interpretive displays. This plan is necessary in order for appropriate outcomes to be gained for the Coal River Heritage Precinct that balances heritage conservation and future tourism.
The Hunter Regional Committee of the National Trust supports the nomination of the Coal River Heritage Park to be selected for National Heritage listing. This precinct is a unique national heritage site which has a rich early European and convict history and shows the transition from penal settlement to civil society. The proposed Coal River Heritage Park marks a series of important transitions in Australia’s journey to nationhood; from government industry to private enterprise, from convict to free labour, from punishment to profit, from a natural to a human-fashioned landscape. The Coal River Heritage Park tells these stories in a dramatic fashion; through its changing landforms shaped by the demands of industry, through its archaeological remains in tact and in situ, and through the continued and inescapable presence of a bustling working harbour. The area retains significant natural and cultural landmarks including Nobbys Head, Flagstaff Hill, Newcastle Harbour and the Hunter River. These landmarks are of outstanding heritage significance for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. At the heart of Newcastle city, the Park is filled with people daily, and represents a remarkable fusion of heritage and the everyday. Such a highly accessible and culturally-valued landscape allows for a creative engagement with its Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heritage. The National Trust has a long history in supporting conservation of this area.
Newcastle and the Hunter is a significant area of NSW and the second oldest city in Australia. Our cultural heritage is increasingly under threat and unfortunately the Hunter does not always gain the support needed to protect heritage places. For this reason this blogspot has been established not only to raise community awareness of heritage conservation issues, but to also publicise and promote events organised by local National Trust members and the three historic homes managed by the Trust. These are:- Tomago House, Grosmann House & Miss Porters House Join the National Trust of Australia (NSW) online at www.nsw.nationaltrust.org.au
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the National Trust Australia (NSW)