Thursday, April 25, 2013

Launch of Fundraising for 'Lost Newcastle' App

Inner City Winemakers and National Trust of Australia (NSW)

Invites you to

Art, Food & Wine evening to launch fundraising for
‘Lost Newcastle’ App
Saturday 11th MAY 7pm

Carol Duncan from 1233ABC radio will be MC

Talks by local identities about their personal observation of a milestone in their profession or interest
Dr Denny Gordon- Milestones in Medicine
Gael Davies- Arts in Newcastle
Glenn Hardy- Marketing & Events Milestones
Gionni di Gravio- Archives, Access & Technology

There will also be an Art Exhibition
Fine wines, finger food
Cost $40 per head
28 Church Street, Wickham
RSVP or 0438522734

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Heritage Festival 'Community Milestones' 2013

Newcastle Family History Society
Back to Basics Course
WHEN Saturday 27 April
TIME 2pm-4pm
COST Free Event
CONTACT Bookings Essential 4957 8296
Lambton Mechanics Institute, 68 Elder Street,Lambton
How to begin family history research; resources available locally and elsewhere; breaking down brick walls; organising your material. All library resources are available; printed publications, microfilm indexes, CD collection, extensive card indexes, internet access, members on duty to help with enquiries.
Open Day. WHEN Saturday 4 May
TIME 9am-3:30pm
COST Free Event
CONTACT 4957 8296
Lambton Mechanics Institute, 68 Elder Street Lambton

Sunday 28 April 2 pm Lost Newcastle : guided walk around some of Newcastle's lost milestones. Meet at former Palais site (KFC) Cost $10 enquiries : 49 61 1063 or 044 761 1066

Sunday 5 May 2 pm King Edward Park : Heritage Park, a Community Milestone. Meet at former Bowling Club site. Cost $10 enquiries : 49 61 1063 or 044 761 1066

Saturday 11 May 7 pm : Wine, Art and Community Milestones. Inner City Winemakers, 28 Church Street , Wickham . Cost $40. Numbers limited . Booking essential. Phone 0438522734

Friday 17 May James Fletcher site: Millstone or Milestone? Tour site followed by lunch at Monets 11am $35 Enquiries: or 0438509139

From Lemon Tree Passage School to a Community Centre
WHEN Saturday 18 May
TIME 10am-12noon
COST Free Event
Old School Centre, Kenneth Parade, Lemon Tree Passage
The Lemon Tree Passage Old School Centre was originally the Lemon Tree Passage School
established in 1954, it was the first provisional school for Tanilba Bay, Mallabula and Lemon
Tree Passage on the Tilligerry Peninsula, Port Stephens. Take a look at the early photographs
on display and listen to a talk about the history of the school and how the community set about
to re-use the buildings as a Community Centre in 1984. Morning Tea supplied an opportunity
to meet and greet some former teachers and pupils.

Sunday 19 May 2 pm : Renewing Community Milestones . Meet at Bacchus Restaurant, 141 King Street, Newcastle Cost $10 enquiries : 49 61 1063 or 044 761 1066

Celebrating Trains and Trams in Maitland
WHEN Saturday 18 May-Sunday 19 May
TIME Sat 2-5pm, Sun 10-3pm
COST Walk $15, Display $20
NT member: Walk $10, Display $15
CONTACT 4933 6452
Amid great excitement and celebration in 1857 the great Northern Railway was extended to East
Maitland, & to West Maitland in 1858. A steam tram began operating between West Maitland
East Maitland. We celebrate these community milestones on 18 & 19 May with two events. On

Saturday 18 May a heritage walk from Maitland Railway station to Brough House commencing
at 2pm ($15/$10NT) will include afternoon tea. On Sunday 19 May (10am-3pm) rail and tram in
Maitland will be celebrated by talks, displays, fashion and visual presentations $20 (includes
a morning tea and lunch).

Remembering the State Dockyard: an Oral History
WHEN Saturday 20 & Saturday 27 April
TIME 2pm-4pm
COST Free Event
CONTACT Deb Mastello 4929 2588
The Maritime Centre Newcastle, 3 Honeysuckle Drive, Newcastle.
When the NSW State Dockyard closed in 1987, a community that worked, lived and
socialised together had to move on. We want to remember those times, those relationships and
those community events that bought everyone together. We will be conducting two afternoon
sessions with those who have memories of the State Dockyard to share and record for future
For further events see

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Local Treasures - Lt William Coke and Desmond

1233 Local Treasures-Tuesday 26 March, 2013

Presenter: Carol Duncan
Interviewee: Ann Hardy

Broadcast Notes
The second-in-charge of the colony of Newcastle in 1827 was just 22 years old. Lieutenant William Sacheverell Coke is another of those early European inhabitants who kept a record of his relationships with the local Aboriginal people, including his 'companion' - Desmond.

Recent attention on the Macquarie period and the wonderful colonial artworks in the 'Treasures of Newcastle from the Macquarie Era' at the Newcastle Art Gallery has highlighted human relations and interactions between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

The exhibition has artworks of local Aboriginal people by Richard Browne. During the 1820s partnerships with local Aboriginals and cultural past-times continued, although these have not been documented to the same extent as in the previous decade.

Accounts of Newcastle during 1827-1828 by Lieutenant William Sacheverell Coke (1805-1896) are described in his diary and historian Cynthia Hunter published "The 1827 Newcastle Notebook and Letters of Lieutenant William S Coke Hm 39th Regiment" in 1997. Her extensive research explores the cultural practices undertaken by Coke and his relationship with Aboriginal 'servant' 'companion' Desmond.

Coke was in second in charge at Newcastle in 1827. The mood of the town during this time had changed and although many of the convict workers had left the settlement 250 stayed to work in the mines and public works. Although Newcastle was no longer a penal settlement in 1823, it was not free in the sense that newcomers could easily settle there.

Despite the many difficulties in sustaining the coal mines at Newcastle, support for convict labour continued and government officials remained there. Coke was 22 years of age when appointed second in charge of the garrison at Newcastle and was in command of fifty two men at Newcastle as well as the detachment of six hundred convicts at the AA Company at Port Stephens.

Coke wrote letters to his family in Derbyshire, one saying

New Castle is a small Village situated on a peninsula, half of which is only bare land. We have no houses of two stories, but have small cottages with verandah's round them to shelter us from the sun. It is very hot here particularly as it is so exposed. We have plenty of Birds (in the forests) of beautiful plumage.

Whilst at Newcastle Coke learnt to stuff birds and draw them, thus continuing the cultural tradition of collecting and drawing as a common pastime of the earlier Commandants. He had a book with him 'Preserving Subjects of Natural History' containing instructions about how to stuff birds before sending them to his family in England. There must have been plenty of time for these past-times as the following describes:

I am endeavouring to teach myself painting, I seldom read less than four hours a day....I never touch Spirits but take perhaps five Glasses of Wine during the day, the Doctors say it is absolutely necessary.  He also describes the 'numerous grand corroborees' performed at the Government Domain (now known as the James Fletcher Hospital), an activity that had been common during the Macquarie years. It was the continuation of a cultural practice associated with both Aboriginal and European relations in the 1820s. Coke had a good relationship with Desmond and his tribe, and enjoyed many outdoor activities with Desmond. He would often give Desmond a musket and a load of power and shot and bring him home some kangaroo and wild ducks.

There are a number of the Natives always about us, they carry each a Spear and Club but have no Covering, they go out a shooting or fishing with or for us and are very honest and never steal.

Coke believed the 'Natives' were his 'best friends', and he often witnessed battles between different tribes even in the 'Village' who were expert in throwing spear as far as '200 yards'.

Battles generally took place early in the day, in a kind of natural amphitheatre, with hills at the back and the river Hunter in front.

This area described could possibly be in the location of the present day King Edward Park. At one stage Desmond is wounded in a 'Field of Battle' and took several months to recover, during this time Magill also known as Biraban regularly brought Coke 'duck, teal and widgeon to eat, and a satin bower bird to stuff". There was a genuine mutual respect between Desmond and Coke, with Coke recollecting years after leaving Newcastle that:-

when lying ill with cholera...and not expected to recover, Desmond came and bent over me and said 'Never mind, I will see that you are buried like a warrior'.Visiting government officials such as Governor Brisbane continued to be entertained in Newcastle by local Aboriginal tribes in the 1820s a tradition common during Governor Macquarie's visits to Newcastle in the 1810s. Unfortunately there are limited artworks showing these cultural practices Newcastle during this time. However there is a beautiful painting of Desmond by Augustus Earle held at the National Library of Australia. Coke's recollections are very important because he describes early relationships with Aboriginal people and cross cultural practices, something quite unique in the Australian story. Coke's accounts contribute to knowledge about early Newcastle and important when considering our national cultural heritage.

Cynthia Hunter, The 1827 Newcastle Notebook and Letters of Lieutenant William S Coke Hm 39th Regiment. Raymond Terrace NSW: Hunter House Publications, 1997.

Augustus Earle, National Library of Australia, Desmond, a N.S. Wales chief painted for a karobbery [i.e. corroboree] or native dance

Newcastle’s Wondrous Art from the Macquarie Era

Tuesday 26 Feb, 2013
Presenter: Carol Duncan
Interviewee: Ann Hardy

1233 Local Treasures- 26 Feb 2013
Broadcast Notes
I thought that it would be an opportune time to talk about colonial art of the Macquarie era in the same week the Macquarie Chest is coming home, after 195 years. The years that Macquarie was Governor of NSW produced some beautiful artworks of Newcastle, they were artwork authorised and supported by government officials, for the purpose of documenting public infrastructure and changes in the landscape. The period 1810 to 1821 produced a collection of colonial works that are acknowledged as fine art today, and no other decade during the 1800s saw such a rich collection of artworks produced to the same extent documenting the town.

The penal settlement at Newcastle had a distinct artistic culture that was different to Sydney. It was dominated by occupational artists, regardless whether they were convict, surveyor, botanist or engineer. There was plenty of work for government commissioned topographical illustrators and artists at Newcastle. Many government commissioned artworks from Newcastle have survived because they were kept by authorities as government documents. However, the work of occupational artists may be more reliable than that of others because of their training as surveyors, botanists or engineers, their job was to record the progress of the colony as part of the official record. Their works carefully record building projects and the topography; they had an eye for important details. In contrast, the picturesque or professional artists were more concerned with balance and harmony and concealed hardship in the colony.

Most of the artists in Newcastle during the Macquarie years were Government artists who produced art as part of their professions. They were employed by government authorities to carry out landscape research and mapping projects. Many of the colonial artists were associated with the military professions. What they produced as topographical illustrations have come to be viewed as fine art. Landscape research also involved botanists and botanical illustrators. Visual sources were the ‘tools of trade’ of many professions with works documenting the physicality of the place, the engineering works and public projects. People were rarely seen and instead the built environment was the focus.

Paintings and drawings by occupational artists have a high level of reliability in terms of historical interpretation. This is particularly the case for the etchings whereby both artists (drawer and etcher) were in Newcastle and knew the landscape well.

Visual sources provide an enduring record and we can thank several Commandants for supporting the production of artwork, in particular Commandants Skottowe (1811 to 1814) and Captain Wallis (1816 to 1818). Wallis and Governor Macquarie shared a common interest in art and both supported convict artists. Many convict artists had competencies in drawing for example produced art as part of their professions as forgers.

Artists collaborated with the Newcastle commandants. Such as An Historical Account of the Colony of NSW (engraving) by Commandant Wallis and convict artist Walter Preston, showing flora and fauna of NSW. Another collaborative partnership Richard Browne, a skilled convict artist and fellow convict artist Walter Preston produced the engraving Newcastle, in NSW, with a distant view of Port Stephens in 1812 (Figure 2).

Newcastle artworks of the Macquarie era convey a story of change and progress, which is valuable in terms of Australia’s colonial culture. Academic research has focused on works produced in Sydney, however there have been some wonderful exhibitions and books recognising artworks of Newcastle. These include John McPhee’s excellent work Joseph Lycett: Convict Artist and Elizabeth Ellis’ book Rare and Curious: the Secret History of Governor Macquarie's Collector's Chest.

These artworks compliment beautifully the Macquarie Chest because they were produced during a period of growth in the colony. The culture of art making was one of sharing and collaborating, and the rich culture of artworks from the Macquarie era can be accredited to government authorities who supported the practice of art.