Friday, 30 March 2012

Newcastle in Black & White

My son Lachlan has just started at Newcastle University this year.  For the next 3 years he will be studying to complete a Bachelor in Visual Communications Design.  For one of his assignments, he has had to present a number of photos.  I was pretty excited when he phoned and asked if I would like to go on a Photo Safari around Newcastle with him whilst he took photos for his assignment!  

Of course, I had to take my own camera and join in on the fun!

Now, I have only lived in Newcastle for the last 2-3 years and most of it's history I have gleaned from conversations with locals.

Newcastle is the second earliest settled city in Australia.  Famous for its coal since it's earliest settlement.  In the early 1900s, because of the large coal industry, Australian Company BHP decided to build its Steel Works at Newcastle.  It, along with the coal, became the largest employer of local people.  In 1999, because of economic downturns and instability, BHP closed its steelworks which laid off a significant number of people.  

As a result of the closure, and due to de-centralisation of the shopping and commercial centre (large shopping centres at Kotara and Charlestown), the CBD precinct of Newcastle became a virtual ghost town.  Businesses closed doors because the public simply did  not come into the CBD for their shopping anymore.  

In more recent years, with the development of the Port Hunter Foreshore and high rise units along the Hunter River on the Port, Newcastle has begun a resurgence.   The coal exports are still a major employer for Newcastle along with the associated mining industry but, there is also the Hunter Valley Wineries and some of the best beaches in Australia that are attracting international tourists to the city.   The city has turned around so much that in 2011, the Lonely Planets Best in Travel guide listed Newcastle in their top 10 cities to visit!

Newcastle is so diverse in it's subjects for an avid photographer.  From it's beautiful beaches & bustling shipping port, it also offers a wide range of architecture and each suburb is unique according to the era and purpose from which they grew.  Some of its' older buildings have been beautifully restored, whilst others are still in obvious decay.

We had a great day out and about and I look forward to our next one!

Hope you're all well.


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