Friday, March 26, 2010

fresh breath

I love the town I live in. I grew up here and while we had a few glorious years in Sydney in Newtown and Bronte, moving back to Newcastle made me feel at home. In the years that we were away a lot of change occurred. The BHP closed down and the revitalisation started. Firstly Darby Street became an eating strip to be proud of, then the Foreshore took off as home to some seriously stunning eateries. Then, over a year ago, one of my friends from Uni, Marcus Westbury set off the most amazing project. Renew Newcastle has seen an abundance of artisians move into vacant buildings in the previously bereft Newcastle Mall. Not only have they injected life into the area and seen boarded up or vandalised shop fronts filled with colour, vitality and talent - it's had a knock-on effect with businesses moving into the area along with the crowds.

Now a farmers market has moved into the mall and rather than it being a desolate and somewhat scary place there's a vibrancy and optimism about the place that is contagious.

So imagine my delight when I heard my old Uni haunt, the Great Northern Hotel, was being brought back to life. This landmark was badly damaged in the earthquake and despite a range of owners, nobody seemed to have the vision, expertise or funding to allow it to shine. Now, some people have moved in with vision that is almost Six-Million-Dollar-Man like {really, really freakin' good}. For a start they've initiated Manicure and Martini nights - cuteness. I'm so grabbing a few girlfriends and having a go at that!

They're also slowly restoring the place to its original grandeur - including the east room - a faded beauty that was filled with flocked wallpaper, deep velvet couches {one of them must have had my butt implant permanently ensconced...}. Upstairs will be amazing accomodation -something this town could really deal with - and a roof garden. Oh my. Cocktails on a roof garden - could it get any better?

I love it when people don't just have grand ideas - but they act. These people have acted and are slowly making the gorgeous town I live in an even better place to be and I salute their vision and daring.


  1. Awesome! I'm with you! I LOVE people who not only have great ideas, but ACT on them! I want to be that brave! So cool that they are making your town a nicer one! Yay, THEM!!

  2. Exactly - and it's funny, because the ones that always bitch and moan about how things are done always have these grand ideas about how they would have done it better... But did they? Nope, the smallest idea that's acted upon is better than the grandest plan left lie fallow.

  3. Hee hee, this has to be the pub that hubs flats opposite during the week that he tells me keeps him awake til the wee hours without it's boisterous goings on?!!!!
    Then again, I wouldn't put it past him to be the boisterous pub trolling one!!!!

  4. Ha DarNonymous - that's funny. Although I guess you can't expect a pub to be quiet and relaxing can you?

  5. Have you seen how they are starting a Bar Bazaar on the third Sunday afternoon of each month (starting this month!). They are calling for stall holders and are specifically looking for local artisans. I also think a rooftop cinema wouldn't go astray either.

  6. Thanks Siobhan, best get myself along there quick smart - I've already sent out an email invite to some friends for the martinis and manicures. Loving, loving, loving the sound of rooftop cinema.


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