A Saturday morning drive in Newcastle


This is the western end of Civic Park near the Vietnam Vets War Memorial.

I wonder how many of the beautiful trees up this end of the park will go if the 2005 plan is ever allowed to become reality. Apparently the advisers from the Big Smoke thought making the park more open would be a good idea so it can be used for public events/functions/etc. That probably won’t be necessary any more because now we’re cutting down 100 trees and doing up number 2 sportsground for the same reason. 

Honeysuckle is the part of Newcastle where lots of glass and plastic buildings have gone up, leaving Hunter Street emptier than ever. Hunter Street and the CBD haven’t ever really recovered from the earthquake and Honeysuckle hasn’t helped. In a brief earlier post there’s a couple of pictures comparing the way Honeysuckle was supposed to be and the way it turned out. There’s no green space in sight.

There are nice things about taking a walk along there but if you can afford to eat there very often you don’t have a family or a mortgage. The Maritime Museum is worth a look. One day the Newcastle Museum may appear there, although where you’ll park to visit it is a mystery. Where it was in Newcastle west was a great spot – and you may recall that it was one of the few museums in the country that made a profit.

Looking from Carrington across the harbour to Honeysuckle early in the morning it all looks benign enough. I read in the paper the silliness of Newcastle Uni wanting to build something at Honeysuckle. At least the Vice-Chancellor will have a water view, I suppose, so it won’t be lost on everyone. What does it matter if it does nothing to ‘revitalise’ the CBD which I believe was part of the reason for bringing some of the university into the city. And it gives new life to the Close The Rail Line people – even though students could do with a railway line to get to lectures.

I love the way They say the rail line cuts the city off from the harbour: as though anything other than yet more glass and plastic buildings is going to go where the railway is now. Greg Ray had a great piece in the Herald this morning (5 3 10) about an idea for Nelson Bay – a lovely spot on Port Stephens. Some consultant came up with an idea that the waterfront park cuts off the town from the water so shops should be built on part of the park. That would be a popular move. Not.

Found yet another fig that hasn’t fallen down – by chance, 1200 of them, as you may know from an earlier post, haven’t. This one is in a back street in Wickham. It looked great after the rain. This is obviously how they look when they’re not crowded together and stretching up to reach the light.

A friend had been told that one of the reasons the Laman Street figs were dangerous was because council didn’t prune them for years and what looked like branches were often just epicormic shoots. Yeah, right, I thought. Some arborists will say anything, it seems, to get to knock down a tree.

Grevilleas are simply stunning flowers, aren’t they? Near my work there are some Robyn Gordons and the honey eaters love them. This one (?Honey Gem)was in Wickham.

There are some fantastic native plants and flowers – which reminds me that I keep meeting people who don’t realise that Hill’s figs and all the other figs used as street and park plants in Newcastle are natives. A man I met in Laman Street when we were looking at bats and birds one night this week thought eucalypts would be preferable to the figs until we told him they’re native to NSW and Qld.

Council are suggesting a Bridal Precinct be encouraged in Hunter Street. This shopfront is in the block where I presume they propose it should be. Aren’t they lucky there are already something like 4 bridal shops within a block of each other? I hope they didn’t pay a consultant for that idea.

More figs that are still standing. And this sculpture which has been at this intersection since I was a child. If there’s a plaque telling us what it’s called or who it’s by it wasn’t obvious this morning, but I’ll have to go back and have a look.

I’m glad councils make a point of encouraging public art. Its effect is somewhat subliminal and ratepayers, including me, often complain about its cost, but we appreciate what little we have.

What a great building our former Newcastle Post Office is. There was a letter in The Herald this week about the shameful policy governments have of off-loading heritage building onto the private sector. This building has been slowly rotting away for what feels like a decade now since Australia Post sold it.

These paperbarks on a median strip in King Street, near the Workers Club that fell in the earthquake, have become more and more beautiful over the years. They’re a great food-source for birds and bats which I’m always saying – sorry – and they’re native to this area. Fantastic planning on the part of a city arborist.

More great planning by an arborist – the plane trees and Norfolk pines at the eastern end of Hunter Street are lovely. It’s a beautiful place to sit and have a coffee or go for a walk.

And of course, at the end of everything – a walk from Honeysuckle, the end of Hunter Street, the top of the hill – is the beach. Cheers.                                                Home



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