It's often said that a skyline full of fixed steel cranes is a good measure of growth for a city. Newcastle can certainly relate to that given the number that we have at the present.
Most of the building activity in Newcastle is for residential apartments. Many of the new builds are going up where older buildings once stood.
With the decentralisation of the Newcastle CBD out to the large shopping centres like Charlestown and Kotara, and the recent (in the last few years anyway!) upgrade of Hunter Street for the light rail, many stores have closed doors. As a result, buildings stand abandoned and run down. Some of these may also have been abandoned after the 1989 Earthquake, never to be repaired.
It is good to see that, although the new builds are taking over ground space from older buildings that have been demolished, the heritage facade of the older buildings is being kept to integrate into the structure of the new build.
One such area demolished and having a new building installed, is the city block bordered by Hunter, King, Thorn and Wolfe Streets.
Within this boundary are the Masonic Hall (later to become the Lyrique Theatre) which stretches from Thorn Street all the way across the block to Wolfe St, some Victorian Terraced Houses that front onto King Street, the Soul Pattinson Chemist building on Hunter St and on the corner of Hunter and Perkins St the building that from 2015 was Jojos Homewares.
The Masonic Hall was opened in 1910. Throughout its life it has seen service as a Theatre, Cinema, a Mini Golf Club, a Billiards Club and a Hostel for Servicemen. When it was built, the entrance to the hall was off Thorn St but in 1926 it underwent some major alterations. The whole theatre was reversed and a balcony added. The new entry was now off Wolfe St. It has seen name changes from Masonic Hall to Lyric Theatre to New Lyric Theatre and then to Lyrique Theatre. It had its share of changes and opening/closing/re-opening over the years. In the late 1990s, it closed down never to be used again. I believe though, that the top storey of the Thorn St end of the building was still operating as a Masonic Temple up until 2008. The demolition of the building began in March 2020 and still continues.
There is a row of Victorian Terraces along King St between Thorn and Wolfe streets that will be renovated for the project.
On the corner of Hunter and Wolfe streets, at 155-157 Hunter St, the building originally housed the Royal Exchange Hotel, built in 1878. Since then the building has been used as Pikes Boot Making Company, the Duke of Kent Hotel, the Advance Bank, the Mall Newsagency and finally, from 2015, Jojos Homewares.
Just to the east of that building is the Soul Pattinson Chemist building (complete with original Soul Pattinson signage at 153 Hunter St. That building opened in 1860 as a Chemist. It has seen such businesses as a Tobacconists, Lowes Menswear, Umbrella repairs, The Newcastle Manufacturing Fur Company, and the Sol Invictus Motorcycle Company. It has housed its share of different Chemist shops also.
I have no photos for this post of what used to be the Coles building on the corner of Hunter and Thorne; that building is completely gone!
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|This is the Masonic Hall front onto Thorn St. The original entry point until 1926 when|
the whole theatre was turned around for entry off Wolfe St.
|Steel girders hold the facade in place.|
|A sure sign indicating the original use of the building with the weathered triangle|
to the right.
|The other end of the Masonic Hall/Lyrique Theatre in Wolfe St.|
In 1926 the building was reversed and a balcony added to the original
building. I'm thinking that entry to the theatre was via this
|The Wolfe St end of the Masonic Hall/Lyrique Theatre.|
|The Wolfe Street end of the theatre.|
|106 King Street, Newcastle. I believe the Doctor is still running his|
surgery from here whilst the building work continues
on behind him.
|The row of Victorian Terrace houses that will be renovated as part of the new build for |
East End Stage 2 work.
|Through the window of 104 King St and looking across the site|
to the facade of Soul Pattinson and the old Royal Exchange Hotel.
|Through the window again. The Soul Pattinson facade being the shorter one on the |
right hand side.
|Detail from 98 King Street Terrace house.|
|Facade on the corner of Hunter and Wolfe Streets.|
|Facade of the Royal Exchange hotel and the Soul Pattinson buildings.|
|The rear of the Terraces of 98-100 King St.|
|Virtually the entire block here showing the Thorn and Wolfe St facades of|
the Masonic Hall/Lyrique Theatre. You can also see the back of the
Victorian Terrace homes that are to be renovated as part of this build.