Death of newborn baby – Newcastle

The body of a newborn baby was discovered at Newcastle today.

Emergency services were called to a home on Church Street in the Newcastle suburb of Stockton shortly after 7am (Tuesday 18 June 2019), after the body of a newborn baby was discovered abandoned in the backyard.

Officers from Newcastle City Police District attended, and a police operation is currently underway at the home.

A post mortem examination will be conducted in an effort to establish the age and cause of death.

This will form part of a report which will be prepared for the information of the Coroner.

Police hold grave concerns for the welfare of the mother who may need to seek urgent medical treatment and are appealing for public assistance.

Anyone with information about the unidentified baby or the mother is urged to contact Newcastle detectives or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


Key to the City for proud Novocastrian Naval Officer

HMAS Newcastle Commander Anita Sellick has been honoured with the Key to the City at a ceremony today to farewell the ship before it’s decommissioned later this month.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes presented the born-and-bred Novocastrian the ceremonial honour following HMAS Newcastle’s Freedom of Entry March, which gave the public a chance to farewell the vessel and her company for the final time.

Commander-Sellick-receiving-Key-to-the-City-inside.jpgLord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes honouring HMAS Newcastle Commander Anita Sellick with Federal Senator Arthur Sinodinis

The Lord Mayor said the gesture was a tribute to commander Sellick’s Newcastle roots and her formidable achievement, as a woman, rising through the ranks of one of Australia’s most respected, traditionally male-dominated institutions.

“It’s an honour to present the Key to the City to Commander Sellick in recognition of her services to Newcastle and the Royal Australian Navy,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Commander Sellick assumed command of HMAS Newcastle in January last year and will embark on her final voyage in control of the ship when she sails out of the heads for the final time on Tuesday.

“We’re proud of our history with the vessel and we’re even prouder that Commander Sellick is at the helm.”

Freedom-of-Entry-1-courtesy-inside.jpgCommander Sellick leading her company as they Exercised their Right of Freedom of Entry to the City.

Commander Anita Sellick joined the Royal Australian Navy in January 1994 after graduating from the Australian Defence Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science.

For meritorious service, she was awarded a Conspicuous Medal in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours; and holds a Chief of Joint Operations Group Commendation for a past command.

She also holds a Baceholor of Science (Oceanography/Computer Science) from the University of NSW and is studying her Master of Business Administration.

Since it was commissioned in 1993,  the ship has maintained close links with Newcastle through active support of her adopted charity organisation, Newcastle Senior School, formerly known as the Hunter Orthopaedic School.

Freedom-of-Entry-2-courtesy-CN-inside.jpgThe ship’s company at today’s march.

The ship’s company has raised substantial funds over the years, providing the school with a bus, undertaking working bees and joining in sporting activities.

The final fundraising campaign, ‘The Great Race’, aims to raise $20,000 and is still live at

Both Commander Sellick and the ship’s departure on Tuesday will be marked by a seven-gun salute from the historic guns at Fort Scratchley followed by return volley from the ship.

After more than 25 years of service, she will finally be decommissioned at the Garden Island Naval base in Sydney.

For more ore details, visit

Building demo makes way for West End cycling link

A long-envisioned pathway connecting King and Hunter Streets is set to be revealed when City of Newcastle demolishes two vacant buildings on Monday.

The cycling and pedestrian link requires demolition of two vacant properties at 679A and 681 Hunter Street with developers of the Verve apartments on King Street to deliver the first stage of the shared pathway along Cottage Creek, which will eventually connect The Junction to the Harbour.

Below: ​An artist’s impression of how Cottage Creek could look 
Verve.jpg“Newcastle’s West End is quickly emerging as the City’s new CBD with integrated transport, new residential development on King Street and at Honeysuckle and the upcoming relocation of government agencies to the under-construction Store redevelopment,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“These are all signs of the exciting times ahead for this part of the city and, and our plans to improve cycling and pedestrian connections are integral to helping people enjoy living, working and shopping in the West End and elsewhere across the city.

“As the Verve Residences on King Street near completion, we’re about to proceed with this vision via a planning agreement with the developer to build the first stage of the shared pathway.

“Ultimately, a corridor linking King Street and Hunter Street through to Honeysuckle and potentially through to The Junction will be of great benefit for the West End by linking key precincts and creating a vibrant public space.”

Council purchased the buildings from Hunter Water for $550,000 in 2017 as part of its strategic plans.

Approval for demolition was obtained in April 2018 following a development application process that included a heritage assessment which identified low levels of significance of the buildings, which are not listed heritage items.

Demolition is scheduled to commence on Monday 17 June 2019 and is expected to take seven weeks to complete.

City opens new grandstand at Merewether

A stunning new grandstand pavilion for Merewether sporting clubs to celebrate victories past and present has been unveiled at Mitchell Park Oval.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes was joined by representatives of Merewether Carlton Rugby Club, South Newcastle Rugby League Club and Merewether District Cricket Club to celebrate the completion of the new $2 million Clarke Grandstand ahead of its official opening tomorrow.

Clarkegrandstandinside.jpgCity staff Lynn Duffy and Tony Ayling, John Davis, Greens rugby player Eddie Clifton, Nuatali Nelmes, and Merewether
District Cricket Club reps Nick Stanebridge, Daryl Daniels and Bec Lawrence

Greenroominside1.jpgEddie Clifton and Nick Stanebridge overlooking Mitchell Park from inside the new Green Room

The impressive glass-pavilion that opens to the sea breeze sits above a new gym and refurbished change rooms in the existing Clarke Grandstand following a joint delivery project between City of Newcastle and Local sporting clubs and a community gardening project.

The Lord Mayor said the new pavilion-style structure was the result of a great partnership that hopefully will inspire other sporting clubs and community groups to follow.

“The City worked together with the Clubs to help them achieve their vision for the stand, through a combination of design, planning and approval factors that led to the speedy delivery of this wonderful community asset,” the Lord Mayor said.

“This a fantastic asset for both Souths Rugby league, Merewether Carlton, cricket and cycling groups who use Mitchell Park or Townson Oval.

“This project also provides a good example for other sporting clubs to explore similar ideas for future projects, collaborating to share both facilities that realises their vision that also meet a wider community interest.”

Greenroominside.jpgSeeing Green: Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Eddie Clifton

Greenroominside2.jpgPast and present: Eddie Clifton with John Davis 
Greenroominside4.jpgDaryl Daniels with Nick Stanebridge

Lift access is also part of the upgrade set to draw more players and spectators.

Timber, signage and other paraphernalia from the old recently demolished Green Room, on the eastern side of the ground, have been recycled and repurposed in the new spiritual home high in the Clarke Grandstand.

Timber supports, honors boards and the Merewether Municipal Pavilion sign on the front of 1927 weatherboard structure were all salvaged from the demolition and relocated to the new facility.

Merewether Carlton Rugby Club Green Room Project Manager John Davis said the new Green Room and stand will be a wonderful asset to the club and wider community.

“This project not only delivers a new home for our Club but also rejuvenates a 50-year-old Council asset to provide first rate for facilities for other users and the wider community,” Mr Davis said.

“In some respects, it is a return home for us as the Clarke Stand is named after two of the founding fathers of our Club, Ted and Roy Clarke.”

Police reappeal for information following gravestone damage – Hunter Valley

Police are reappealing for public assistance following a malicious damage incident at a Hunter Valley cemetery.

Police have been told between 7pm and 7.15pm on Friday 31 May 2019, a vehicle was seen parked in Sedgefield cemetery, near Singleton, and unknown persons have damaged a number of gravestones.

In all, 36 gravestones were damaged during the incident; having been pushed over with a number of those being smashed.

Officers attached to Hunter Valley Police District attended and established a crime scene.

Hunter Valley detectives are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Police are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident, or who may have noticed any suspicious activity in the area at the time, to contact police.

Hunter Valley Police District Commander, Superintendent Chad Gillies said he hopes people will come forward with the information police need to find those responsible.

“We want to find answers for the families affected by this. They have already experienced immeasurable grief, and this sort of incident stirs up those emotions all over again,

“Someone knows something, and we urge anyone with any information to speak up,” Superintendent Gillies said.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Singleton Police Station on 02 6578 7499 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Aggravated home invasion; occupant charged with drugs offences – Anna Bay

A man has been charged with several drug offences after his home was the target of a home invasion in Port Stephens.

About 2am yesterday (Wednesday 12 June 2019), a 23-year-old man was at a home on Ocean Avenue, Anna Bay when he was woken by five unknown males.

One of the men allegedly assaulted the 23-year-old occupant, while the others began stealing items.

Police believe that a number of items including drugs, cash and a television were stolen from the premises during the offence.

The men then fled the scene believed to be in a vehicle.

The occupant was taken to Tomaree Hospital for treatment to lacerations to his head, when police were contacted.

Officers attached to Port Stephens-Hunter Police District attended the hospital and spoke with the man.

Police then attended the home on Ocean Avenue and established a crime scene.

During a search, police allegedly located cannabis, MDMA, ketamine, amphetamine, LSD, magic mushrooms and other substances believed to be illicit drugs.

The occupant was arrested upon his release from hospital and was taken to Nelson Bay Police Station.

He was charged with possess prohibited drug (x11), supply prohibited drug (x3) and goods in custody.

He was refused bail to appear at Raymond Terrace Local Court today (Thursday 13 June 2019).

Detectives from Port Stephens-Hunter Police District are continuing to investigate the home invasion incident.

Charges laid over alleged break-ins of storage units – Whitebridge near Newcastle

A man appeared in court today after several storage units were allegedly broken into at Whitebridge near Newcastle last month.

On Thursday 23 May 2019, several storage units on Bulls Garden Road, Whitebridge, were allegedly broken into. As a result, seven vintage motorcycles were stolen.

Officers from Lake Macquarie Police District were notified and commenced investigations.

Following investigations, a 28-year-old Charlestown man was arrested and taken to Belmont Police Station today (Wednesday 12 June 2019).

He was charged with 9 offences including break and enter house etc steal value more than $60,000, break and enter dwelling house with intent to steal, drive motor vehicle during disqualification period (x2), motor bike rider not wear/secure fit approved helmet, use unregistered registrable class A motor vehicle on road, possess housebreaking implements, custody of knife in a public place, and possess prohibited drug.

The man was refused bail and appeared at Newcastle Local Court today (Wednesday 12 June 2019), he was refused bail again to reappear at Belmont Local Court on Wednesday 7 August 2019.

Free Wi-Fi now live across the City

Newcastle’s vision to be a globally connected smart city is another step closer with the launch of a free public Wi-Fi network in Newcastle’s East End.

The City Wi-Fi network is one initiative of CN’s Smart City program designed to increase connectivity and information sharing between the community, business and the digital world.


L-R: Nick Brown from Countrytell*, Brett Woods from CSA, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Rick Fancourt from Countrytell

From today, people can connect to 60 of the City’s 150 smart poles on their smart devices when they log on along Wharf Road, Watt Street and Shortland Esplanade. Plans are in the pipeline to install more poles across the City, as well as Beresfield and Wallsend, soon.

Speaking at today’s launch on Market Street Lawn, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the roll-out would extend to the new CBD in the West End and parts of Wickham.

“Whether it be for business or leisure, cities the world over are now embracing the ability to offer affordable and accessible internet to residents and visitors so that they can be connected anytime, anywhere,” the Lord Mayor said.

“This is one of the many actions contained within our Smart City Strategy that we’ve invested in, alongside energy-efficient solar projects, electric-vehicle charging stations, driverless vehicle technology and bike-sharing initiatives.

“This is the first step in our staged roll-out of free Wi-Fi, which will eventually see the whole City connected as well as Beresfield and Wallsend local centres. Today it’s Newcastle East, but we’re working hard to make sure our new CBD in the West End and areas around Wickham quickly follow. Plans are well and truly advanced for these areas and we hope to make more announcements soon.”

The free high-speed Wi-Fi will play a major role in supporting the roll-out of current and future technology, such as the City’s smartphone app EasyPark, which will soon be able to direct motorists to available car parks in the City’s CBD.

Interactive smart screens around the CBD are also planned to help visitors and residents find out about activities and events.

To log on to the free Wi-Fi network, look for ‘City of Newcastle free Wi-Fi’ in your network settings. No password is required.

Left: Smart City coordinator Nathaniel Bavinton and Nuatali Nelmes

Suspected thief leads police on pursuit…to a prison – Hunter Valley

A man, allegedly on the run from police after a crime spree in the Hunter Valley, has been arrested after trying to escape through a prison farm.

On Monday 10 June 2019, police pursued a stolen tipper truck around the Gloucester area.

Officers later discovered the vehicle, stolen from Surry Hills in Sydney, hidden on a local property.

Around 10am today (Tuesday 11 June), a grey Toyota Hilux, stolen from the area and fitted with stolen number plates, was used in a service station drive-off at Scone.

The stolen vehicle was spotted and pursued by Muswellbrook police.

The chase ended two minutes later when the alleged thief crashed the vehicle through a farm fence near Halcombe Hill.

Officers, from the Hunter Valley Police District, chased the driver on foot as he ran across an adjacent rail line into farm paddocks, the suspect unaware he had entered the grounds of St Helier’s Prison Farm.

The 46-year-old man was arrested and taken to the Muswellbrook Police Station where he was charged with 15 offences including stealing, steal motor vehicle, Police pursuit (Skye’s Law), fraud, drive manner dangerous, unlicensed driver, trespass, resist police, goods in custody and custody of knife.

He was refused bail and ordered to appear in the Muswellbrook Local Court tomorrow, Wednesday 12 June 2019.

Final Farewell to HMAS Newcastle

Novocastrians are invited to farewell HMAS Newcastle when our namesake ship makes her final homecoming next week with a local woman at the helm.

A quarter of a century after her maiden call, HMAS Newcastle will arrive next Wednesday 12 June and set sail for the very last time on Tuesday 18 June, with Newcastle born-and-raised Naval Officer Anita Sellick in command.
HMASNewcastleinside.jpgHMASNewcastleinside1.jpgHMAS Newcastle 

Commander Sellick joined the Royal Australian Navy in January 1994 after graduating from the Australian Defence Force Academy. She assumed command of HMAS Newcastle early last year, completing the INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR 2019, and will have the honour of decommissioning the ship later this month.

Both Commander Sellick and the ship’s arrival and departure will be marked by a seven-gun salute from the historic guns at Fort Scratchley followed by return volley from the ship.

To celebrate our association, the ship will exercise its Right of Freedom of Entry to the city of Newcastle at a ceremony and march through the streets on Saturday 15 June. The Right of Freedom of Entry was granted to the ship in 1995 and is the highest honour that a city can bestow on a ship or military unit.

“The association with HMAS Newcastle has been a long and significant one for our city,” Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

Below: Naval Officer Anita Sellick 
“She was officially commissioned here in 1993 and her Launching Lady was Mrs Margaret McNaughton AM, the Lady Mayoress of Newcastle and wife of then-Lord Mayor John McNaughton.

“We’re proud of our history with HMAS Newcastle and proud to host an event to give her a fitting send off.”

Everyone is invited to view the march, which will form up in Laman Street from 9.40am before heading off around Civic Park to City Hall. The Royal Australian Navy band will be attending to provide a fitting escort to the ship’s company. Newcastle was the first major Australian fleet vessel to bear the name of a non-capital city.

The ship also maintains close links with us through active support of her adopted charity organisation, Newcastle Senior School, formerly known as the Hunter Orthopaedic School.

“HMAS Newcastle and her amazing crew have worked tirelessly throughout their association to support the school community with both financial contributions and experiences,” Newcastle Senior School’s relieving Principal Deone Bennett said.

“The ship’s company have raised substantial funds, providing the school with a bus, undertaking working bees and joining in sporting activities. And for this we sincerely thank member of the ship’s company past and present.”

Their final fundraising campaign, ‘The Great Race’, aims to raise $20,000 and is still live at

HMAS Newcastle is one of four Adelaide Class Guided Missile Frigates (FFG) in service with the Royal Australian Navy. In recent years she has been deployed in support of peacekeeping operations in East Timor, the Solomon Islands and Operation CATALYST in the Persian Gulf.
After more than 25 years of service, she will finally be decommissioned at the Garden Island Naval base in Sydney.

Schedule of events

Wednesday 12 June – HMAS Newcastle arrives*

Saturday 15 June – Freedom of Entry March. All welcome.

March commences at 10am. The best vantage points to see the action will be Civic Park.

Tuesday 18 June – HMAS Newcastle departs*

*A seven-gun salute to fire from Fort Scratchley on arrival and departure.