Newcastle; NSW - Publican In Hot Water Over Cash Loans To Punter Patrons...

An ex licensee of West Wallsend’s Museum Hotel has been fined after admitting to giving $730 in cash advancements to patrons but has defended other claims of lending pub regulars thousands of dollars to spend on alcohol and gambling. In a written decision last month the Casino, Liquor, Gaming and Control Authority fined Peter Francis Dobb $2920, after he admitted a modest $730 in payments were unlawful cash advances. However he rejected allegations from the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing that a further $4455 of transactions were loans or repayments of loans from or to regular customers to spend on beer and "one armed bandits" and other items. The complaint to the authority was dated March 10, 2010, but grew legs from a complaint to the office back in 2007. Dobb was the licensee of the hotel from October 2006 to September 2008. For the record the current licensee was not the subject of any complaint. The office submitted that two inspectors visited the hotel to investigate in October 2007. They reported finding and seizing a number of TAB betting tickets and other pieces of paper with names or nicknames written on them and sums of money, what appeared to be records of payment and a deposit book. The names included the fair dinkim Aussie nicknames "Beryl", "Dapto", "Chief", "Supa" and "Vinnie". The inspectors advised they interviewed several parties including "Beryl" who said she regularly borrowed money before pension day to buy cigarettes and "a couple of beers". Another punter claimed he borrowed money to play the pokies because he sometimes exceeded his key card limit. Mnn, some folks said the pokies limit aka "mandatory" wouldn't work, and one may speculate if this is the first high profile case of proof. Or, is it a coincidence, and its just beers and ciggies"? Dobb said some records related to invoices the hotel had issued for items including an 18th birthday function and two beer kegs for a soccer final. Other records related to patrons’ money that was held in the hotel safe to mind. The office argued the invoices were handwritten and may have been drawn up after the event. It coughed up that a $55 record marked "roo chooks" was paid to Red Lea Chickens before a chook raffle. No, Pluka-Duke was not a witness to the events, nor were they called to court. The authority concluded it would need to hear from witnesses who lived out of the area to discover the truth of the $4400. It noted the "likely costs" of further investigations and the amount in dispute then opted to rule on the payments Dobb conceded. Dobb’s solicitor Paul Sullivan said yesterday his client now ran another country hotel and had not been the subject of any further matters. We challenge the readership to find us a better regional Aussie yarn that this one ok maties.


Newcastle is both a region of New South Wales, Australia and a region of the UK.

The Newcastle metropolitan area is the second most populated area in the state of New South Wales and includes most of the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Local Government Areas. It is the hub of the Greater Newcastle area which includes most parts of the Local Government Areas of City of Newcastle, City of Lake Macquarie, City of Cessnock, City of Maitland and Port Stephens Council.

Situated 162 kilometres (101 mi) NNE of Sydney, at the mouth of the Hunter River, it is the predominant city within the Hunter Region. Famous for its coal, Newcastle is the largest coal export harbour in the world, exporting 80.2 million tonnes of coal worth AUD $5.3 billion in 2005-2006. Beyond the city the Hunter Region boasts massive coal deposits.


Pre-European settlement

Newcastle and The Hunter Valley were traditionally occupied by the Awabakal and Worimi Aboriginal People.

Founding and settlement by Europeans

The first European to explore the area was Lt. John Shortland in September, 1797. His discovery of the area was largely accidental; Shortland had been sent in search of a number of convicts who had seized the Cumberland as she was sailing from Sydney Cove. While returning he entered what he later described as "a very fine river" which he named after New South Wales' Governor, John Hunter. Shortland also returned with reports of the deep-water port and abundant coal in the area. Over the next two years, coal mined from the area was the New South Wales colony's first export.

Newcastle was nicknamed "Hell" by the most brutal convicts as it was a place where the most dangerous convicts were sent to dig in the coal mines as harsh punishment for their crimes.

By the turn of the century the mouth of the Hunter River was being visited by diverse groups of men, including coal hewers, timber-cutters, and more escaped convicts. Philip Gidley King, Governor of New South Wales from 1800, decided on a more positive approach to exploit the now obvious natural resources of the Hunter Valley.

Besides coal, vast cedar forests covered a huge tract up the Hunter, a source of urgently needed building timber for the infant Sydney colony.

Governor King decided to establish a small post at the river mouth, however this first settlement was short lived. It was headed by one Corporal Wixtead, who was then suddenly replaced by Surgeon Martin Mason. Surgeon Mason's rule ended in a mutiny, and Governor King closed the settlement early in 1802.

A settlement was again attempted in 1804 as a place of secondary punishment for unruly convicts. The settlement was named Coal River, also Kingstown and then re-named Newcastle, after England's famous coal port. The name first appeared by the commission issued by Governor King on March 15, 1804, to Lieut. Charles Menzies of the Royal Marines, appointing him superintendent of the new settlement.

The new settlement comprising convicts and a military guard, arrived at the Hunter River on March 27, 1804, in three ships, the Lady Nelson, the Resource and the James. The convicts were rebels from the 1804 Castle Hill convict rebellion, also known as the second Battle of Vinegar Hill.

The link with Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, its namesake and also from whence many of the 19th century coal miners came, is still obvious in some of the place-names - such as Jesmond, Hexham, Wickham Wallsend and Gateshead. Morpeth, New South Wales is a similar distance north of Newcastle as Morpeth, Northumberland is north of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Newcastle remained a penal settlement for nearly 20 years. The military rule was harsh, and there was possibly no more notorious place of punishment in the whole of Australia than Limeburners' Bay, on the inner side of Stockton peninsula, where incorrigibles were sent to burn oyster shells for making lime.

Under Captain James Wallis, commandant from 1815 to 1818, the convicts' conditions improved, and a building boom began. Captain Wallis laid out the streets of the town, built the first church of the site of the present Christ Church Anglican Cathedral, erected the old gaol on the seashore, and began work on the breakwater which now joins Nobbys Head to the mainland. The quality of these first buildings was poor and only (a much reinforced) breakwater survives.

For these works, and for his humane rule in the convict colony, Captain Wallis earned the personal commendation of Governor Macquarie. In the governor's opinion the prison colony was too close to Sydney and in any case the proper exploitation of the land was not practical with prison labour. Therefore, in 1823, military rule in Newcastle ended. The number of prisoners was reduced to 100 (most of these were employed on the building of the breakwater), and the remaining 900 were sent to Port Macquarie. Between 1826 and 1836, however, the convict-built Great North Road established the overland link with Sydney.

Freed for the first time from the infamous influence of the penal law, the town began to acquire the aspect of a typical Australian pioneer settlement, and a steady flow of free settlers poured into the hinterland.

Early steamers

The formation during the nineteenth century of the Newcastle and Hunter River Steamship Company saw the establishment of regular steamship services from Morpeth and Newcastle with Sydney. The company had a fleet of freighters as well as several fast passenger vessels, including the PS Newcastle and the PS Namoi. The latter vessel's first-class cabins had the latest facilities and overnight passage to Sydney, where passengers would arrive fresh for the new day, was considered preferable to the long and arduous railway journey right into the inter-war period.

Because of the coal supply, small ships plied between Newcastle and Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide, carrying coal to gas works and bunkers for shipping, and railways. These were commonly known as "sixty-milers" based on the nautical journey between Newcastle and Sydney, and continued in service until recent times.

Coal and other industries

Coal mining began in earnest in the 1830s, with collieries working close to the city itself and others within a ten-mile radius. Most of Newcastle's principal coal mines (Stockton, Tighes Hill, Carrington, the Australian Agricultural Company, the Newcastle Coal Mining company's big collieries at Merewether (includes the Glebe), Wallsend, and the Waratah collieries), had all closed by the early 1960s, being steadily replaced over the previous four decades by the larger coal mining activities further inland at places such as Kurri Kurri and Cessnock.

On December 10, 1831 the Australian Agricultural Company officially opened Australia's first railway. On December 10, 2006 a plaque was unveiled on the southern shore of Newcastle Harbour celebrating this event.


About 1850 a major copper smelting works was established at Burwood, near Merewether (now a suburb), an engraving of which appeared in the Illustrated London News on 11 February 1854. The English and Australian Copper Company built another substantial works at Broadmeadow circa 1890, and in that decade a zinc smelter was built inland, by Cockle Creek.


What was said to be the largest factory of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere was constructed in 1885, on a 22 acre site between the suburbs of Tighes Hill and Port Waratah, by Mr Charles Upfold (1834-1919), from London, for his Sydney Soap and Candle Company, to replace a smaller factory in Wickham. Their soap products won 17 medals at International Exhibitions, and at the Sydney International Exhibition they won a bronze medal "against all-comers from every part of the world", the only first prize awarded for soap and candles. Following World War I the company was sold to Messrs Lever & Kitchen (today Lever Bros), and the factory closed in the mid-1930s.


After a major steel strike in the Sydney basin, the New South Wales State Government encouraged BHP to build a vast modern steel producing industry with much American expertise. The land put aside was prime real estate, on the southern edge of the harbour. At one stage the idea of a Botanical Garden was considered because of the waterfront location and proximity to the wealthy suburb of Mayfield. In 1915 the BHP steelworks opened, beginning a period of some 80 years dominating the steel works and heavy industry. As Mayfield and the suburbs surrounding the steelworks declined in popularity because of pollution, the steelworks thrived, becoming the region's largest employer.

In 1999, the steelworks closed. Many workers, having spent their entire working lives there saw Australia's largest industrial shutdown complete as the last blast furnace went out. As the former workforce began to deal with the economic and emotional impact, Newcastle began to experience a new image as less of an industrial, smoke stack city.

World War II

Attack on Sydney Harbour

During the Second World War, Newcastle was an important industrial centre for the Australian war effort. Consequently, it was considered to be a potential Japanese target during the Second World War. On the 31st of May, 1942 three midget submarines crept into Sydney Harbour and killed 21 sleeping sailors on an accommodation vessel at Garden Island, east of the Harbour Bridge. By this time, there was a great fear among the Australian people of a full-scale Japanese invasion and cities and towns along the eastern seaboard were forced into strict wartime regulations.

In the early hours of 8 June 1942 the Japanese submarine I-21 briefly shelled Newcastle. Newcastle was one of the most prepared cities in the country and the people of Newcastle acted with composure. Given the distance between the submarine and the browned-out city, there was little precision in the attack. Among the areas hit within the city were dockyards, the steel works, Parnell Place in the city's now affluent East End, the breakwall and Art Deco ocean baths. There were no casualties in the attack and damage was minimal.


The most tragic maritime accident of the twentieth-century in Newcastle occurred during 1934 when the Stockton-bound ferry Bluebell collided with a coastal freighter and sank in the middle of the Hunter River. The Bluebell Collision claimed three lives and caused fifteen passengers to be admitted to the Newcastle Hospital, two suffering severely from the effects of immersion. However, the tragedy was but only one chapter in Newcastle's very long history of shipwrecks including the 1974 beaching of the Sygna, the 2007 beaching of the MV Pasha Bulker and the tragic sinking of the SS Cawarra in 1866 that claimed sixty-lives.


1989 Newcastle earthquake

On December 28, 1989, Newcastle experienced an earthquake measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale which killed 13 people, injured 162 and destroyed or severely damaged a number of prominent buildings which had to be subsequently demolished. These included the large George Hotel in Scott Street (city), the Century Theatre at Broadmeadow, the Hunter Theatre (formerly 'The Star') at Merewether, and the majority of The Junction school, also at Merewether. Part of the Newcastle Workers' Club, a popular venue, was also damaged but later restored. The following economic recession of the early 1990s meant that the city took several years to recover.

2007 storms

2007 Hunter region and Central Coast storms

MV Pasha Bulker

On 8 June 2007 the Hunter and Central Coast regions were battered by fierce storms which resulted in extensive flooding throughout the areas. Nine people eventually lost their lives in what was described as being the worst series of storms to hit New South Wales in 30 years.

During the early stages of the storms the 225m long bulk carrier ship, MV Pasha Bulker, ran aground at Nobby's Beach after failing to heed warnings to move offshore.

On 9 June 2007 the Hunter and Central Coast regions were declared natural disaster areas by the state Premier Mr Morris Iemma. Although further flooding was predicted by the Bureau of Meteorology this never eventuated to the extent predicted.

On 2 July 2007 the Pasha Bulker was finally refloated on the 3rd salvage attempt despite earlier fears that the ship would break up. After initially entering the port for minor repairs it departed for major repairs in Asia under tow on 26 July 2007.


Newcastle is located on the southern bank of the Hunter River at its mouth. The northern side is dominated by sand dunes, swamps and multiple river channels. A 'green belt' protecting plant and wildlife flanks the city from the west (Watagan mountains) around to the north where it meets the coast just north of Stockton. Because of this, urban development is mainly restricted to the hilly southern bank. The small village of Stockton sits opposite central Newcastle at the river mouth and is linked by ferry. Much of the city is undercut by the coal measures of the Sydney sedimentary basin, and what were once numerous coal-mining villages located in the hills and valleys around the port have merged into a single urban area extending southwards to Lake Macquarie.


The metropolitan area of Newcastle spreads over several Local Government Areas. The estimated population of the City of Newcastle at June 2004 was 145,633 (Australian Bureau of Statistics), but its neighbour, the City of Lake Macquarie, was actually larger, with an estimated 189,196 residents as of June 2004 (ABS). The combined population of the Newcastle area at the 2001 census was 470,610. This includes Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Stephens and Cessnock local government areas.

Modern times

The Port of Newcastle remains the economic and trade centre for the resource rich Hunter Valley and for much of the north and northwest of New South Wales. Newcastle is the world's largest coal export port and Australia's oldest and second largest tonnage throughput port, with over 3,000 shipping movements handling cargo of 85.6 million tonnes per annum, of which coal exports represented 80.2 million tonnes per annum in 2005/06.[5][6][10] The volume of coal exported, and attempts to increase coal exports, are opposed by environmental groups.

Newcastle has a small ship-building industry, which has declined since the 1970s due to failure to win government contract tenders.

With the closure of the steel works in 2000 the era of extensive heavy industry has passed. Many of the remaining manufacturing industries have located themselves well away from the city itself, focusing on cheap land and access to road transport routes and lack the concentrated social impact of BHP on the city's life.

Newcastle has claim to one of the oldest theatre districts in Australia, with its still standing Victoria Theatre on Perkins Street the oldest purpose-built theatre in the country. Sadly, the theatre district that occupied the area around what is now the Hunter Street Mall vanished during the 1940s when much of Newcastle's cultural appreciation disintegrated in the very industrial-oriented city.

The city's population is growing. The old city centre has seen some new apartments and hotels built in recent years, but the rate of commercial and retail occupation remains low as alternate suburban centres have become more important. The CBD itself is shifting to the west, towards the major urban renewal area known as "Honeysuckle". This renewal, to run for another 10 years, is a major part of arresting the shift of business and residents to the suburbs.

The old central business district, located at Newcastle's eastern end, still has a considerable number of historic buildings, dominated by Christ Church Cathedral, seat of the (Anglican) Bishop of Newcastle. Other noteworthy buildings include Fort Scratchley, the Ocean Baths, the old Customs House, the 1920s City Hall, the 1890s Longworth Institute (once regarded as the finest building in the colony) and the 1930s art deco University House (formerly NESCA House, recently seen in the film Superman Returns). Residents of Newcastle refer to themselves as "Novocastrians".

Domestic architecture

A heritage area to the east of the Central Business District, centred around Christ Church Cathedral, has many fine Victorian terrace houses, embedded in architecturally "sympathetic" later housing developments.


The University of Newcastle (formerly established in 1951 as part of the University of New South Wales) obtained its autonomy in 1965 and now with a student population of just over 20,000, it offers over 150 undergraduate and graduate courses.

Together with six major city universities (Macquarie University, La Trobe University, Flinders University, Griffith University and Murdoch University) The University of Newcastle, with the identity of the only regional university, formed IRU Australia (IRUA) in 2003, one of the major university groupings in Australia. The University of Newcastle is also one of the first universities in Australia to provide Master of Business Administration courses.

The University of Newcastle was ranked 127 in the world by the UK Times in 2005.

One year after, both Melbourne institute of The University of Melbourne and the Shanghai Jiao Tong University recognised The University of Newcastle as one of the top ten universities in Australia. Within the same year, Newsweek international ranked the University of Newcastle one of the top 100 universities in the world. The University is one of the only eight, as well as the only regional Australian Universities to have achieved this status.


Newcastle holds a variety of Cultural Events and Festivals, many of which attract national and some even international attention.

This Is Not Art is a national festival of new media and arts held in Newcastle each year over the October long weekend. Since its humble beginnings in 1998, it has become one of the leading arts festivals in Australia dedicated to the work and ideas of communities not included in other major Australian arts festivals. The umbrella program includes the independent festivals Electrofringe, the National Young Writers' Festival, National Student Media Conference, Sound Summit and other projects that vary from year to year.

The Shootout Film Festival, first started in Newcastle in 1999. This is the film festival where film-makers come together in one place to make a short film in 24 hours. It is run annually in July.

Mattara, founded in 1961, is the official festival of Newcastle with a more traditional 'country fair' type program that combines a parade, rides, sporting events, band competitions and portrait and landscape painting exhibitions.

Rainbow Visions holds its annual Festival in October for the local Gay and Lesbian Community. Set over 10 days the festival ends with annual Picnic day where up to a thousand Gay and Lesbians gather together with their family and friends.

The Newcastle Jazz Festival is held across three days in August, and attracts performers and audiences from all over Australia.

The Newcastle Regional Show is held in the Newcastle Showground annually. There are a mixture of typical regional show elements such as woodchopping displays, showbags, rides and stalls and usually fireworks to compliment the events in the main arena. Arguably, the Newcastle show has experienced a period of decline ever since the turn of the century, when an industrial dispute arose between the event organisers and the showman's guild who travel the country providing services for such regional events. The separation of the two parties resulted in a sharp decline in the size and popularity of the event.

The Newcastle Entertatinment Centre, located inside the Newcastle Showground is a popular venue for regular events including wrestling, concerts and monster truck shows.


Newcastle has an active youth music culture, as well as a Conservatorium of Music which is part of the University of Newcastle. It continues to support local bands and has a large underground music scene. Silverchair, the highly successful Australian band, hail from Newcastle, as does the Australian band The Screaming Jets.[12] It has a fertile punk and hardcore scene in, and over the past 15 years has spawned many successful local acts. The pioneering hardcore techno and gabber group Nasenbluten also came from Newcastle and spawned a vibrant and influential local scene and record label Bloody Fist.

The percussionist of the Australian rock band The Screaming Jets is also teaching music industry studies at Tighes Hill TAFE[citation needed]. Several Newcastle musicians have collaborated with widely known Australian bands such as The Whitlams (Nick Cecire) and Machine Gun Fellatio (Kim Pink - Current music teacher at Hunter School of Performing Arts).

Popular music venues in Newcastle are The Queens Wharf Brewery, The Lucky Country, The Lass O'Gowrie, The Cambridge Hotel, The Bar on the Hill at the University, The Civic Theatre, The Newcastle Panthers and The Newcastle Entertainment centre.

Visual arts and galleries

Noted Australian artists John Olsen and William Dobell once lived in Newcastle and today the city Newcastle is home to a wide range of public, commercial and private galleries.[12] The Newcastle Regional Art Gallery (located in Laman Street, just off Darby Street) is home to an extensive collection of works by contemporary and historical Australian visual artists. It regularly presents local exhibitions from its collection and hosts touring Australian exhibitions. Gallery Director Nick Mitzevich is the youngest gallery director in Australia and has given the gallery a much more contemporary focus since he took over in 2002. The gallery is currently planning a major redevelopment which is the subject of an architectural design competition.


Newcastle has a variety of smaller theatres, but the main theatre in the CBD is now the Civic, at Wheeler Place, (seating capacity about 1500), one of Australia's great historic theatres built during 1929 in Art Deco style. It hosts a wide range of musicals, plays, concerts, dance and other events each year. Newcastle previously boasted several large theatres, among them the oldest purpose-built theatre in Australia, the Victoria Theatre on Perkins Street (built 1876, capacity 1750), saw touring international opera companies such as the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, and other troupes, and played host to some of the greatest stars of the age, such as Dame Nellie Melba, Gladys Moncrieff, and Richard Tauber, (it is now closed and derelict); the Century, Nineways, Broadmeadow, (built 1941, capacity 1800) although largely used as a cinema was a popular Symphony orchestra venue (demolished 1990 after being severely damaged by the 1989 earthquake); the Hunter (capacity 1000) at The Junction, had advanced modern stage facilities, but was eventually sold and demolished to make way for a motel that was destroyed by the 1989 earthquake. The decline in theatres and cinemas from the 1960s onwards was blamed on television.

Newcastle has also been home to noted Australian actors, comedians and entertainers, including Sarah Wynter, John Doyle (part of comic act Roy and HG), Susie Porter, Celia Ireland, Yahoo Serious and Jonathan Biggins. The cast of the Tap Dogs show also come from Newcastle.

Media arts

Newcastle is home to the Octapod Association, a New Media Arts collective established in 1996. Octapod is one of Australia's most innovative regional arts organisations and presents the annual This Is Not Art Festival as well as a diverse range of local festivals and projects. The arts web sites Object Not Found and Art Crimes were also produced in Newcastle.


Newcastle's sports culture is centred on the Newcastle Knights, a team that plays in Australia's premier rugby league competition, the National Rugby League. The Knights play at EnergyAustralia Stadium, situated in the suburb of New Lambton. After a recent upgrade, the stadium now has capacity for almost 27,000 spectators. The stadium is the only sports venue of its class in Northern New South Wales.

The Newcastle United Jets soccer team, which plays in Australia's highest level comp the A-League, also play at EnergyAustralia Stadium, and is starting to fast gain popularity in the town. The Newcastle United Jets are a highly regarded team throughout Australia, in its first two seasons, they have made back-to-back finals. Nick Carle, one of their most prestigous players, won the A-League player of the year in the 06-07 season. The Newcastle United Jets finished 4th in their first season, and 3rd in their second season. In the 06-07 season, they bowed out in the Prelimenary Final against Adelaide United, who eventually lost to Melbourne Victory in the Grand Final 6-0.

Other major spectator and participant sports include Netball, Basketball, soccer, Australian rules football, Rugby Union, Lawn bowls, Hockey and Surfing.

The Hunter Jaegers (Commonwealth Bank Trophy - Netball) are based at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre. Officially opened in June 1992, the Centre offers 5,000 square metres of clear span floor space and is capable of catering for capacities from 2,000 to 6,500 for entertainment style events. The Centre was built to house the now defunct Newcastle Falcons National Basketball League team and was also home to the Hunter Pirates before a lack of sponsorship forced them to relocate to Singapore after the 2005/06 season, where they were renamed the Singapore Slingers. The Slingers will play one home game at the Centre during the 2006/07 season.

In Cricket, Newcastle's No.1 Sports Ground was for many years a stopover on the tour itinerary for visiting international teams as they faced the Northern New South Wales XI. In 1981/82 the ground was allocated a Sheffield Shield match when the SCG was unavailable, and healthy crowds saw No.1 then become host to at least one first-class fixture featuring the New South Wales Blues each year. Newcastle also hosts a suburban competition of its own and has been the birthplace of many New South Wales and Australian representative cricketers.

Newcastle Jockey Club Limited races 35 times annually at Broadmeadow, a spacious 2000m turf track with a 415m home straight. Broadmeadow Racecourse is only a few minutes from the city centre, and is acknowledged as one of the finest provincial racetracks in Australia.

Newcastle has an abundance of beaches and surf breaks for which the city is internationally well known. Newcastle hosts the annual surfing contest 'Surfest' on the world professional surfing tour. Four time world champion surfer Mark Richards grew up surfing at Newcastle's Merewether Beach, and is a local icon, appearing at many local functions, and supporting local charities. Nobbys beach is a very popular kitesurfing spot, especially during the warm summer months when there are North Easterly sea breezes.

The Newcastle North Stars are Newcastle's representatives in the Australian Ice Hockey League championships. Originally based in Newcastle West in the 1970-80s, the North Stars now play out of the Hunter Ice Skating Stadium in Warners Bay. The North Stars have won national championships in 2003, 2005 and 2006 since joining the league in 2002. The North Stars have also been awarded Newcastle's Outstanding Senior Team of the Year for 2003 and 2004.Newcastle Golf Club is a championship 18-hole, par 72 golf course. It plays to 6160m, and is regarded as one of the best in Australia - consistently appearing in the top 15 best rated courses in Australia.


Newcastle is served by a daily tabloid, The Herald (formerly The Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate and then The Newcastle Herald), several weeklies including the Newcastle Star, The Post and the bi-monthly The Hunter Advocate.

The city is also served by several local radio stations, including those owned by the ABC and SBS.

* AM stations
o 2HD (commercial)1143 AM
o 1233 ABC Newcastle (ABC Local Radio)
o 2HRN (community) 1629 AM
* FM stations
o KOFM (commercial) 102.9
o NXFM (commercial) 106.9
o New FM (commercial) 105.3
o 2NUR (community) 103.7
o Rhema FM 99.7 Newcastle (Christian) 99.7
* Nationally owned services
o Australian Broadcasting Corporation
+ 1233 ABC Newcastle AM local radio 1233 AM
+ ABC Radio National 1512 AM
+ ABC News Radio 1458 AM
+ Triple J (youth station) 102.1 FM
+ ABC Classic FM (classical music) 106.1 FM
o SBS Radio (foreign language service) 1413 AM
* Other stations
o 2KY Racing Radio (as part of state-wide network) 1341 AM

Newcastle is also served by 5 television stations, three commercial and two national services, and by Foxtel pay television.
* NBN Television (Nine Network affiliate, incumbent station, established 1962)
* Southern Cross Ten (Network Ten affiliate, established as a result of aggregation on December 31, 1991)
* Prime Television (Seven Network affiliate, established as a result of aggregation on December 31, 1991)
* ABC Television (owned by the government, established in the 1960s)
* SBS Television (owned by the government, introduced in the 1980s)

Wi-Fi hotspots and hotzones

There are several free public Wi-Fi hotspots and hotzones in Newcastle allowing the public and business to access free broadband Internet using a Desktop, Laptop or Mobile Device.

Currently, there is free Wi-Fi coverage along Beaumont Street in a hotzone that stretches between Tudor Street and Maitland Road.

The NSW Government plans to provide the Sydney CBD and other major centres of NSW including Newcastle with free Wi-Fi by early 2008


The Newcastle metropolitan area has an extensive system of both road links and road based public transport services (bus, taxi etc) which cover most areas of both Newcastle and Lake Macquarie and which extend beyond the metropolitan area itself. Rail transport, however, is accessible to only a relatively small percentage of the population along the major rail transport routes and ferry services are restricted to those commuting between Newcastle and Stockton. Within the metropolitan area the car remains the dominant form of transportation. At the time of the 2001 Census, less than 4% of the population caught public transport, of which around 2.5% travelled by bus and 1% used the train or ferry to commute to work. On the other hand, over 72% of the population travelled by car to and from work.


Newcastle is connected to surrounding cities by the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway (South), New England Highway (West) and the Pacific Highway (North). Hunter Street, the main shopping street in the Newcastle CBD, is the major link to the Pacific Highway from the CBD.


Newcastle bus routes, New South Wales

Bus services within Newcastle are operated by Newcastle Buses & Ferries, a subsidiary of the State Transit Authority of New South Wales. Trips within a designated area of the Newcastle CBD on State Transit-operated bus services are fare-free under the Newcastle Alliance's Free City Buses programme.

The network radiates from a bus terminal near CityRail's Newcastle station, on the waterfront of Newcastle's CBD. Major interchanges are located at the University of Newcastle, Wallsend, Glendale, Warners Bay, Belmont, Charlestown, Westfield Kotara and Broadmeadow Station. To reduce journey times, bus-only lanes are in operation on certain major roads in Newcastle.


Newcastle and Central Coast railway line, New South Wales

Newcastle is serviced by two CityRail lines providing local and regional commuter services. The Newcastle & Central Coast Line has hourly train services to Sydney and more frequent services to the Central Coast. The Hunter Line has twice-hourly services to Maitland and less frequently to Scone and Dungog. Countrylink (an intercity/interstate rail service) operate two lines through the Newcastle area using Broadmeadow Station. These provide services to Moree, Armidale, Brisbane and Sydney.

Newcastle once had rail passenger services to Belmont and Toronto, on Lake Macquarie, Wallsend, Kurri Kurri and several towns and villages between Maitland and Cessnock, but these lines have today been closed. Since the late 1990s, there had been intense debate about the viability of the rail line into central Newcastle. The New South Wales government had planned to cut the line at Broadmeadow, ceasing rail services into the city and to sell the land where the railway ran for development. The State government has subsequently decided, since Premier Morris Iemma took power, and at least partly in response to a huge public outcry, to keep the rail service.


Newcastle Port Corporation

The Port of Newcastle is crucial to the economic life of Newcastle and the Hunter Valley region beyond. Over 70 million tonnes of coal is shipped through the facility each year - making it the largest coal exporting port in the world. The Port of Newcastle claims to be Australia's first port. Coal was first exported from the harbour in 1799, 11 years after the start of European settlement in Australia.

Newcastle Buses & Ferries operates a ferry service across the Hunter River between Newcastle's CBD and Stockton.


Newcastle Airport (Williamtown)

Newcastle Airport is located 15 kilometres (9 mi) north of the Newcastle CBD (27 kilometres (17 mi) by road). The airport, which is a joint venture between Newcastle City Council and Port Stephens Council, has experienced rapid growth since 2000 as a result of an increase in low cost airline operations. It is served by Virgin Blue, Qantas, Jetstar, Brindabella Airlines, Norfolk Air, and Tiger Airways (commencing 2008). The airport is shared with RAAF Base Williamtown, a Royal Australian Air Force base. The airport now has direct flights to Norfolk Island. Broadmeadow Helipad is also in service as it is used by the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service. Newcastle Airport has direct flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Canberra, Port Macquarie and Norfolk Island.

The closure of Belmont Airport, commonly referred to as Aeropelican, in the Lake Macquarie suburb of Marks Point has caused Williamtown to become Newcastle's only major airport and residents in the south of the Newcastle metropolitan area must commute up to 55 kilometres (34 mi) by car to reach Williamtown.

Outside of the Newcastle Metropolitan area a number of small, mostly private, airports service the Greater Newcastle region. (Credit: Wikipedia).


Media websites

Newcastle Herald

Newcastle Newspapers Online

ABC Mid North Coast NSW

NBN TV - Newscastle


Lake Macquarie City Council

Newcastle Public Library


Regional & Rural Directory

Coastal Directory

Travel and Tourism