Monday, November 8, 2010

"Carols and Christmas Cheer"

Featuring the Australian Celtic Singers and Harpist Graham Aubrey

Sunday 28th November 2011. At 4pm at historic Tomago House

421 Tomago Road Tomago

Sparkling wine on arrival

A light repast of Christmas delicacies

Tickets $25 Bookings essential

Phone 49 30 1471 or 49 57 4509

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Commemoration of the Laying of a Foundation Stone naming Macquarie Pier

On Wednesday 4 August, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO Governor of New South Wales attended a commemoration of the laying of a foundation stone naming Macquarie Pier by Lachlan Macquarie Governor of the Colony of New South Wales on 5 August 1818. The Pier is part of the Coal River Precinct and an outstanding convict heritage site having the potential for World Heritage Listing if the right processes are put in place. However, to meet this, the area needs to be firstly recognised on the National Heritage List.

What makes Whibaygamba Nobbys, Tahlbihn Macquarie Pier or even the original convict coal mine workings beneath Fort Scratchley outstanding is that they provide both tangible and intangible cultural context of Newcastle's unique Awabakal and European Heritage. This combination of Indigenous and immigrant settlements reflects the interaction between people, the diverse culture, beliefs and customs that came together to tell a special story that is reflected in the landscape. The foundations of Macquarie Pier have formed the popular surfing beach at Whibaygamba Nobbys, this is ‘living history’; we are witnesses to the everyday use of the convict Breakwater. Though the change to this landscape has been significantly altered it is just as relevant today as it was in the nineteenth century, providing a safe harbour entrance.

This week UNESCO announced 11 Australian convict sites to the World Heritage List including the Great North Road in NSW, Fremantle Prison in Western Australia and the Coal Mines Historic Site in Tasmania. The University Of Newcastle’s Coal River Working Party (CRWP) welcomes these listings but is conscious that Newcastle also has cultural heritage values that relate to Convictism in Australia. The CRWP submitted in 2009 the ‘Coal River (Mulubinba) Cultural Landscape’ National nomination to the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and Arts to have Coal River (currently on the State Heritage Register) considered for the elite National Heritage List. This is still under consideration. Newcastle has not been recognised as a convict place having National heritage values; in fact it has been overlooked for some time. In 1995 the Federal Government commissioned a “Study of World Heritage Values Convict Places”; Newcastle was not thoroughly investigated in this process, it was stated that “No other substantial remains of the convict period are known to survive.” Since this report there has been extensive research of the Coal River Precinct revealing convict coal mines under Fort Scratchley, believed to be the first working coal mines in the southern hemisphere. If these were acknowledged at a National level and with proper conservation strategies in place these mines could possibly be re-opened and interpreted, also offering valuable contribution to cultural tourism and education. Similarly, Macquarie Pier has been overlooked as a convict site; it is highly significant because it was built during the second wave of the penal settlement in Newcastle. Both of these convict works supported the early Colony of New South Wales, particularly the coal mines that provided the state with considerable returns. Newcastle has been the powerhouse of the economy and its cultural achievements should be recognised.

The Coal Mines Historic Site in Tasmania (recently placed on World Heritage List of convict sites) operated from 1833, however the convict coal mines in Newcastle were excavated as early as 1801 and mined extensively during the first decades of the 1800s. There is now an urgent need to review heritage values related to Australian convict sites so that places like the Coal River Precinct in Newcastle can be re-assessed alongside the mounting new evidence and research conducted since 1995. Newcastle’s cultural heritage is distinctly different to other convict sites in Australia, we need to embrace this and bring to life Governor Macquarie’s vision by celebrating all that is contributory to the cultural landscape of Newcastle’s Coal River. Early Colonial artworks are also part of the rich material culture that relates to Newcastle and the Macquarie period; these have been brought to life in an Exhibition Quest for Macquarie Pier examining historic surveyor plans, maps and artworks, on display from tomorrow until Sunday in the Barracks Rooms, Fort Scratchley.

Ann Hardy
Member University of Newcastle’s Coal River Working Party
Cultural Heritage Researcher

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Friday 30 July 6.30 TAPAS BANQUET
Longworth House built in 1892, was designed by eminent colonial architect, Frederick Menkens, who settled in Newcastle in 1882. He designed many of the city’s landmark historic buildings, such as St Andrews Presbyterian Church and the Baptist Tabernacle. Its restored and largely intact interior is as spectacular as its baroque Scott St facade. It was constructed for beer baron Joseph Wood as an auction house and offices. In 1947 it was donated to the Australasian Society of Patriots and for decades it was leased to the Air Force Club. After years of neglect it underwent a major renovation and restoration in 2000. It was reopened to the public in 2009 as a stylish tapas and wine bar and reception centre.
Architect and Menkens expert Brian Suters and Professor Ken Dutton will speak about the fascinating life and work of Frederick Menkens. Longworth House, 129 Scott Street Newcastle Cost $65 ($60 for NT members) Please book by 23 July with Pat Turnbull 49 275135 or

Sunday 22 August at 2pm, Walking Tour of Newcastle’s Historic Legal Precinct.
Meet at the Lock Up, next to former Post Office in Hunter Street. Cost $10.
The legal precinct has existed in its present location, within the historic eastern CBD”old town” since the beginnings of free settlement.” The present Court House, flanked by 1950s and 70 additions, is one of Newcastle’s great historic city landmarks. It has crowned Bolton Street, one of Newcastle’s most historic thoroughfares, since its opening in 1892. It was designed by Walter Liberty Vernon, who also designed the Post Office. James Barnet, who also designed Newcastle Customs House, may also have been involved in its design. The legal precinct includes the existing courts; the Community Justice Centre, Buchanan’s Terraces and nearby heritage buildings. All this is about to change with the announcement in May of the creation of a new $94 M “justice precinct” on Council land at Civic. This will be another economic body blow for the eastern end of the CBD still suffering from the effects of the removal of the Royal Newcastle Hospital.No bookings required.

Sunday 8 August at 2pm, Heritage Walk, Sempill Street, Maitland,
Join Wayne Campbell for a heritage walk around Maitland’s western central precinct. Meet in the Maitland Courthouse carpark and explore the immediate riverbank next to Sempill Street, the ex Falls Hotel, and Veterans Flat including Mt Pleasant Street and Hannon Street. See the heritage and hear the history followed by the famous afternoon tea back at Brough House. Cost $15 National Trust members, others $20. Includes afternoon tea. Bookings/enquiries phone 493364 or 49344314.

Sunday 29 August at 10.30am, Brick Makers & Cedar Cutters Exhibition and Talks,
Gather in Brough House for a day of bricks and cedar. See the old bricks and listen to the recollections of the Maitland brick makers, Turton and Baker. There will be talks from members of the brickmaking families and also Ron Ringer who has written his book entitled “Bricks”. Cost $12 National Trust members, others $15. Refreshments available. Bookings/enquirIes phone 49336452 or 49301311

Sunday 19 September 2.30pm, Together for High Tea: St John’s Anglican Church Newcastle and Miss Porter’s House
The Porter family were parishioners of St John’s Anglican Church, Newcastle, dating from at least the time James’s involvement as a member of St John’s Parochial Council before his death in 1912. Happily, James’s son Herbert and his bride Florence’s wedding centenary, and the sesquicentenary of St John’s both occur in 2010. The congregation at St John’s and Miss Porter’s House Management Committee invite you to celebrate the lives of the Porter family, and St John’s sesquicentenary, at a High TEA, in St John’s Parish Hall. The Reverend Stewart Perry and the Church Wardens extend an invitation to view the church between 2.00pm and 2.30pm.
Starting at 2.30pm at Parish Hall, corner Parry & Dawson Streets, Cooks Hill. Bookings please send cheque to: Secretary, Miss Porter’s House Management Committee, Geoff Farris, PO BOX 2358, Dangar NSW, 2309. Donation $25. Further information contact Kathryn Pitkin 49676688

Saturday 24 & Sunday 25 July from 10am to 4pm each day, Camellia Show
“Camellias and Creative Arts”.
Along with the usual beautiful specimen camellia blooms there will be floral decorations by local Garden Clubs, a display of Women’s Vintage Arts, a Collectibles Stall, a Craft Stall, and Refreshments etc. Saturday around midday there will be ‘Bell ringers’ and Sunday midday an Irish Harpist will be performing. Entry $6 and $5 concession. Enquiries Claire 042 9468975 or Fay 49648123

Saturday 14 August at 12.30, A Casual Lunch with a Writer “Satire, Soup and a Slice of Sponge”
Followed by Jonathon by Jonathan Biggins “The Perils of Political Satire. Cost $25. Bookings essential. Numbers strictly limited. Phone Margaret 49 632029 or Marjorie 49 292117

Saturday 4 September at 1.30pm, Vintage Fashion Parade
a Vintage Fashion Parade at Tomago House presented by Wendy Austin and Aileen White plus a sumptuous Afternoon Tea Entry $20. Bookings essential. Enquires Fay 49 648123

Friday 24 September, Harry Boyle Memorial Lecture

MEDIA RELEASE National Trust Welcomes James Fletcher Hospital Announcement- 28 June, 2010

The National Trust is delighted that the NSW government has today announced they are moving towards listing James Fletcher Hospital in Newcastle on the State Heritage Register.

National Trust Advocacy Manager, Graham Quint, said the move is an important one that sends a clear message about saving historical heritage sites for the benefit of future generations.

“The Fletcher Hospital site was put on the Australia’s Heritage at Risk list in 2008 by the National Trust in an attempt to help save the historical site for the future,” Mr Quint said.

“At the time, development in the Newcastle CBD significantly threatened heritage of the region. For example, Kirkwood House was demolished without warning. This was despite heritage listings which proved to not adequately protect the site. This was despite the rich convict and coal mining history of the site.

“Today’s announcement reinforces the message that these historical sites are important to the community and should be protected.”

The James Fletcher Hospital has been used to provide mental health services to the region for almost 140 years. The site will continue to be used for the delivery of health services, while recognising the historical significance of the site.
The Trust congratulates Jodi McKay, state Member for Newcastle, for her pivotal role in working with the Hunter New England Area Health Service and the local community to achieve this balance while securing the sites nomination for state heritage listing.
The Trust also congratulates the University of Newcastle’s Coal River Working Group and its own National Trust Hunter Regional Committee for the years of work and research into the Fletcher Hospital precinct.

Media Contact Anastasia Stomo 9258 0131

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hunter National Trust FORUM

Congratulations to our three wonderful speakers who gave fascinating insights into the Macquarie era and stories of those associated with the Colony and Governor Macquarie. The bicentenary of Governor Macquarie is being celebrated this year and this event was an official Macquarie 2010 Commemorative event. Dr Grace Karskens from the University of New South Wales spoke about the influence of Macquarie's wife, Elizabeth, on his famous building program and vision for the colony generally; Mr. Robin Walsh, librarian/curator for The Lachlan Macquarie Room, Macquarie University Library, explored Macquarie’s character through the eyes of his Indian manservant 'George' whom until now has not been fully researched, and Lisa Slade, Curatorial Consultant at the Newcastle Regional Art Gallery was dynamic in her talk about the wonderful Macquarie Chest , a “collector’s chest”, regarded as the holy grail of Australiana that was almost certainly made in Newcastle in 1818 with painted views of the area. Thank you also to Dr Josephine May (Senior Lecturer Faculty of Education and Arts at The University of Newcastle) who did a great job at chairing the evening and to Prof Maynard(Head of School of The Wollotuka Institute The University of Newcastle, Australia) for conducting welcome to country.

We hope that the wider Hunter community enjoyed the evening and the Hunter Regional Committee of the National Trust would like to thank those who attended for their great support and look forward to organising future forums.

Monday, April 19, 2010

High Tea with Mrs Macquarie at Monets’, in the grounds of the James Fletcher Hospital.

Those who attended High Tea last Saturday afternoon would agree that it was a beautiful afternoon. It was a pleasure to have the company of Lady Macquarie and she was generous enough to present the Inaugural Australian Bonafide History Awards to the many winners. The event took place at Monet’s (former Military Hospital, built in 1842) in the grounds of historic James Fletcher Hospital. Governor Macquarie and his wife Elizabeth stayed nearby at the Government House in 1818 on their visits to Newcastle.

Many thanks also to Mr John Carr (Heritage architect) who provided an enlightening overview of the sites history and the significant heritage buildings there. It is truely an extraordinary site, rich in convict and mental health history. Congratulations to all of the winners of the various categories of the Inaugural Australian Bonafide History Awards, the awards were sponsored by the Hunter Heritage Network. There were two joint winners of the Perpetual Bonafide Award recognising the excellence in the writing of, promotion, or documenting of local and regional history. These went to Mr Ed Tonks and Ms Margret and Mr Carl Doring.

In the Footsteps of Macquarie Walk

Members of the National Trust & Newcastle University’s Coal River Working Party took a group for a new informative walk from Macquarie Pier to Christ Church, tracing Macquarie’s ambitious building program that helped to transform Newcastle from a convict camp to a township. Our new portable PA system made a tremendous difference. Thanks also to Suzanne Martin for providing her knowledge and stories of the Newcastle Hospital, and to Dr Brian Walsh for his input regarding convict history of the area. Some of the participants picniced with Lady Macquarie after the walk.

The Making of Our Nation: Art Exhibition

Congratulations to all of the artists who were invited to interpret ‘The Making of Our Nation', this years National Trust festival theme. This is the third Hunter National Trust art exhibition and we would like to thank those who contributed the event, as well as Mr Ron Ramsey, Director of the Newcastle Region Art Gallery who opened the exhibition on Friday 9 April.
Also Lady Elizabeth Macquarie made an appearence.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

NOBBYS DEVELOPMENT- no new development on historic headland

DA 05/0468 for Nobbys Development
Development Application currently on Public Exhibition until 8 April - Comments can be sent to General Manager Ms Lindy Hyam at Newcastle City Council
City Administration Centre
282 King Street
Newcastle NSW 2300
PO Box 489
Newcastle 2300

Or email comments to

The National Trust of New South Wales has been advocating for the conservation of this area since 1969 when we proposed the statutory recognition of Nobbys, the convict breakwater and mines, Fort Scratchley and Shortland’s camp location as a historic site. The area is now known as the Coal River Precinct and registered on the State Heritage Register (SHR 1674).
Although the Nobbys development proposal is significantly different and much improved to the previous one, with less direct impact to the historic lighthouse, there remain concerns regarding the safeguarding of the natural and cultural heritage of the area. The current proposal plans for a 46 seat restaurant, 7 luxury units, manager’s residence in signal station and take-away outlet. The public area of this site will be enclosed with a 1.8 metre high glass fence inside the existing perimeter wall of the headland, possibly obstructing views and compromising the character of the headland.
Furthermore, this proposal will add a level of luxury to the site that has never existed, and will diminish the remote character of Nobby’s and its iconic status.
The following are some of the Trusts concerns:
• The proposal does not comply with the Newcastle Port Corporations Expressions of Interest document- adaptive reuse. One of the objectives of the Port Corporations EOI stated: - To protect and enhance the site’s historic, aesthetic and social fabric for the future benefit of the Newcastle community; the proposal does not outline how this will be achieved. Any use for the site should contain a strong historic and archaeological interpretation strategy including Aboriginal, military, maritime and social themes.
• The Corporation’s objectives could be met without changing the existing footprint of the buildings. No new development should occur on this historic headland particularly if it obstructs the views from the courtyard and lighthouse access. The proposed new residential units would diminish the character of the site and will have a permanent and irreversible impact on the heritage values of Nobbys. This proposal is not adaptive reuse as stated in EOI objectives.
• This proposed development would dominate Nobbys for private benefit with limited access by the public. We also believe that public access to Nobbys (as potentially an important National heritage site) will be severely impeded by vehicle movements along the breakwater, which will discourage pedestrians (visitors to the site). Public access to the site could be achieved without the development occurring at all.

1. In regard to the proposed DA the Trust recommends: - That no new residential development occur and that there is no new residential unit attached to the proposed restaurant, that this would obstruct the views from the courtyard and lighthouse access. This new work is not planned to be reversible. The new residential units would further alienate the site and prevent access and views to the south. We approve of the demolition of the 2 garages. The public area of this site will be enclosed with a 1.8 metre high glass fence inside the existing perimeter wall of the headland, this will possible obstruct views and compromise the character of the lighthouse and headland. Furthermore, an interpretation strategy should be prepared.
2. Nobbys headland to be transferred to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to be managed under the National Parks Act as an historic site. Many lighthouses in NSW are managed by the (NPWS) and this provides a heritage conservation regime that has a statuary requirement for permanent heritage conservation management.
3. National Heritage management principles are necessary to adequately manage this historic site. Nobbys Lighthouse is a Commonwealth Heritage place and the Coal River (Mulubinba) Cultural Landscape National Heritage Nomination was submitted in February 2009 (currently with the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts for consideration). The Trust urges Minister Peter Garrett to select nomination for the 2010-11 workplan- and for it to be considered for National Heritage Listing.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

EVENTS-National Trust Heritage Festival 2010

Friday 26-28 March 10am-6pm.
Heritage Hunter. Newcastle Show Heritage Exhibition.
This year the exhibition will feature “The work of Governor Macquarie from 1810 in Newcastle- The Making of a Nation”. The exhibition will also serve to promote the many events that will follow later as part of the “Macquarie 2010” celebrations.
Price of ticket entry to Newcastle Show. Contact 0419241731

Saturday 3 – 18 April
The Making of Our Nation: Art Exhibition
Local artists were invited to interpret ‘The Making of Our Nation’. Exhibition will be opened by Mr Ron Ramsay Director of Newcastle Region Art Gallery on Friday 9 April at 6.30pm.
John Paynter Gallery, The Lockup, 90 Hunter Street Newcastle

Friday 9- 24 April
Defending a Nation-Exhibition, Fort Scratchley Historical Society Inc. Take a journey through photographic displays and memorabilia depicting the role Fort Scratchley has played in the defence of our nation; and the commodities such as coal and steel, crucial in Newcastle’s role of making a nation.
Barracks Room, Fort Scratchley. Open daily 1pm-4pm closed Tuesdays.
Free entry to exhibition. Further details 49293066.

Saturday 10 April 3.30pm
Governor Macquarie Talk
The Maritime Centre
Enjoy a talk about Macquarie’s second visit to Newcastle, followed by a walk up the harbour, finished with a free brew shared with the Governor.
$10 includes fee into the Maritime Centre. Enquiries 4929 2588

Saturday 10 & Sun 11 April 10 am - 4pm.
Friends of Tomago House Exhibition, Links to the Past.
Exhibition of Miniature House Interiors reflecting the growing affluence of the nation since settlement. Guest speakers, craft stall, refreshments and other attractions.
21 Tomago Rd, Tomago $6/$5 concession. Bookings 49301471

Saturday 10 April - 10am.
Wallsend Heritage Group Inc.
A Walking Tour of Wallsend.
Meet at the Rotunda (Cnr Tyrrell & Harris Sts) for a walk (about 2 hrs) to explore Wallsend’s heritage.
Free. Bookings 49559013.

Sunday 11 April 10am – 12pm
In the Footsteps of Macquarie Walk
Join members of the National Trust & Newcastle University’s Coal River Working Party in a new informative walk from Macquarie Pier to Christ Church, tracing Macquarie’s ambitious building program. Walk will finish with a bring- your-own picnic in Cathedral Park.
Meet at Nobbys Surf Club, Nobbys Beach.
Cost $10. Bookings 0438509139

Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 April 10am – 4pm.
Miss Porter’s House: The Making of a Home.
Visit the house museum which reflects the changing lives of the two generations of the Porter family. $7Adults/$5Conc/Free for NT members. 434 King St Newcastle West. Enquiries 49270202

Saturday 17 April 2-5pm
High Tea with Mrs Macquarie at Monets’, in the grounds of the James Fletcher Hospital.
Heritage Architect, John Carr will talk about the early architectural history of the colonial buildings of this is an extraordinary site, rich in convict and mental health history over the past 200 years. As well, the inaugural Australian Bonafide History Awards will be presented that recognise the excellence in the writing of, promotion, or documenting of local and regional history or some other related heritage based projects that use heritage as the catalyst for interpretation and design. $30(NT members) $35(non-members) Bookings on 49275135

Saturday 17 April 7pm
Friends of the Regal- The Making of Our Communities-The Role of Local Cinema
Speaker is Frank Embleton, former operator of the Wallsend Empire Cinema, and Gionni di Gravio Newcastle University archivist. Refreshments will be followed by a short 1950s film.
Donation. Jesmond Neighbourhood Centre, 44 Mordue Pde. Bookings 49511611

Saturday 17 April 9am-4pm
Newcastle Family History Society Open Day.
Come and view the wide range of resources available at the institute.
Mechanics’ Institute, 68 Elder St,
Lambton. Free. Enquiries 49573276

Saturday 24 April 10.30-11.30am
Newcastle Family History Society
Back to Basics: Introductory talk on
beginning family history. Mechanics Institute,
68 Elder St, Lambton. Free.
Enquiries: 49578296

Wednesday 21 April 7- 9 pm

‘The Making of Our Nation’: Governor Macquarie and Newcastle.
Newcastle City Hall, Hunter Room
Speakers: Three distinguished historians will throw new light on Governor Macquarie, whose bicentenary is being celebrated this year, and who made three visits to Coal River (Newcastle). Dr Grace Karskens, University of New South Wales, will examine the influence of Macquarie’s wife, Elizabeth, on his building program and his vision for the colony. Mr. Robin Walsh, Macquarie University Library, will reveal Macquarie’s character through the eyes of his Indian manservant, George. Lisa Slade, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, will discuss the Macquarie Chest, a collector’s chest, almost certainly made in Newcastle in 1818, with painted views of the area and a precious record of the flora and fauna of Coal River in Macquarie's time.
$20 / $15 Conc & NT members. Bookings 49275135. Refreshments included.

Sunday 2 May 2pm
Friends of Grossmann House
Heritage Walk - East Maitland- Southern Precinct Visit the site of the original Administration Cottage Governor Macquarie stayed in 1818 and 1821. Meet at carpark at Stockade Hill, East Maitland. Refreshments afterwards at Brough House.
$15 NT members $20 non-members
Bookings 4933 6452 or 49332253

Monday, January 11, 2010

St Clement's Anglican Church at Camberwell

PARISHIONERS lobbying to save the historic St Clement's Anglican Church at Camberwell from the wrecking ball have urged people to show their support at a public meeting.
Where:Singleton Bowling Club at 10am.
When: Saturday January 16.

Members have been circulating petitions and want as many people as possible to show up ahead of the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle property approvals board meeting on February 3.
The Anglican Diocese of Newcastle Property Approvals Board has rejected plans to restore the heritage-listed St Clement's Anglican Church following a 2008 arson attack and instead, recommended demolition because of rising damp.
The Georgian-style church dates to 1841 and is one of the oldest churches in Australia.

Anyone who cannot attend is urged to write letters, sign a petition or leave a message at