City proud to play host to Newcastle 500 gig

The City of Newcastle has welcomed the announcement of Simple Minds as the headline act for the Newcastle 500 concert.

The Glasgow rockers responsible for hits like Don’t You (forget about me) and Alive and Kicking will be joined by Australian rock legends Birds of Tokyo at the Saturday night 24 November gig.

This year’s event will be staged at No.1 Sportsground, offering local businesses a chance to capitalise on throngs of people.

“We’re excited that this year’s Newcastle 500 concert will be held at our premiere regional-level sporting facility,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“With many concert goers making their way from the Supercars precinct to No.1, there’s a real opportunity for businesses along the route to benefit.

“Activating the city over the Newcastle 500 event weekend is a priority, and having the concert located at No.1 will promote dining and shopping in Cooks Hill and at Marketown.

“As a city with a growing reputation for hosting major events, this concert location provides us with an opportunity to showcase another beautiful part of our city to visitors and locals alike.”

The Saturday night concert is free with any same day event ticket.

Beresfield local centre reaches first milestone

A large-scale renewal project to support the Beresfield community by revitalising the local centre has reached the half-way point.

The work requires the complete reconstruction of infrastructure above and below ground, with a large component of the work on utilities beneath the surface now complete.

The Lord Mayor met with local businesses and City of Newcastle works crew to mark the milestone last week.

Bero-crew-inside.jpgThe Lord Mayor with the City of Newcastle crew delivering the Beresfield local centre project.

“The majority of businesses have been great to work with, understand the time frames required for this work and have been very supportive of the project and our work crews, who began in March and are expected to be finished in March 2019,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The project has now reached the half-way point and remains on schedule. It’s wonderful to see our suburban renewal project at Beresfield taking shape – we have had very positive feedback on the City’s works crews from the local community and businesses.

“Our construction manager and the civil construction team work tirelessly to accommodate the needs of residents and business owners and have formed great relationships with many locals who regularly stop by for an update.”

James-Henry-real-estatse-staff-and-LM-inside.jpgStaff from James Henry Real Estate with the Lord Mayor.

A project page on our website contains current information about the project and upcoming works –

The fly-through video in the above link shows the future streets of Beresfield, including smart lighting and Wi-Fi as the first of City Of Newcastle’s local centre upgrades takes shape.

Businesses and residents can take a virtual trip along the streets to see how they’ll look after completion of the $2.4million project.

The video showcases changes to Addison Street, Lawson Avenue and Beresford Avenue.

“It’s exciting to see this virtual view of how Beresfield local centre will look when this significant project is completed,” added the Lord Mayor.

“You immediately notice the smart poles, which will provide smart lighting and access to Wi-Fi, making Beresfield the first local centre in Newcastle to have smart poles installed.

“You also can clearly see the renewed road surface, wider pedestrian pathways, more public spaces in Beresford Ave, and new street trees, seating, bike racks and bins, with many of these above-ground upgrades being delivered right now.”

Befor the revitalisation project began, a public domain plan was developed involving community consultation to identify issues and possible solutions to ensure the community’s priorities were addressed.

The renewal project includes:

  • A 40km/hr zone and pedestrian friendly street design
  • Road and pedestrian lighting upgrade
  • Lighting to the railway station
  • Drainage renewal
  • Water sensitive urban design with a rain garden
  • New site appropriate street trees
  • New public space in Beresford Avenue
  • New seating, bike racks and bins
  • New kerb, gutter and footpath
  • Renewed road pavement
  • Retention of on street parking
  • Free WiFi.

City registers new record for building approvals

Another record year has been registered on Newcastle’s development front with the total value of building approvals topping $1.2 billion.

City of Newcastle (CN) approved $1.02 billion in development applications in the 12 months to July this year, with another $94.8 million in complying development certificates* issued by both CN and private certifiers.

Projects worth another $98 million, including two mixed-use Honeysuckle developments, were approved by the State Government to see the yearly total top $1.2 billion.

“The results for the 2017/18 financial year are a fantastic outcome with Newcastle continuing to attract strong development and investment activity,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“Our enduring building boom is clear to see on the CBD’s skyline as clouds gather elsewhere around the country, while other indicators and new efficiencies we’re introducing point towards a sustained period of growth.

“Following a successful trial of development applications by email, we hope to make this a permanent convenience for builders and developers in the very near future.”

Other projects in the local pipeline, such as the Store’s transformation into mixed-use towers, promise to keep the annual total buoyant despite a national downturn in the residential market.

Amid sustained strong development locally, the City continues to balance infrastructure renewal with revitalisation projects to meet the higher service expectations that accompany the growth.

The 2018/19 budget features a record $100 million civil works program focused on addressing the city’s infrastructure backlog but also supports the clear strategy to create a smart, liveable and sustainable global city.

“Our budget includes a works program for 2018/19 that strikes a balance between essential asset renewal and new and upgraded services to the community,” the Lord Mayor added.

“It includes more than $23.5 million on roads and footpaths, $13 million to renew buildings, structures and places and $8.2 million to implement our Smart City Strategy.”

* Complying development is a fast-track approval process for straightforward residential, commercial and industrial development. If the application meets specific criteria, it can be determined by a council or accredited certifier.

Representation of ‘the bridging & rebuilding of cultures’ wins Kilgour Prize People’s Choice

Artist Lori Pensini’s depiction of her cousins, Tyler and Georgia, tells a broader story of race relations in early Australia and was painted following her Western Australian family’s “recent discovery of indigenous lineage”.

The intimate and loving portrait of the girls in matching striped dresses has been voted the People’s Choice in Newcastle Art Gallery’s KILGOUR PRIZE 2018 exhibition.

Lori-Pensini-with-artwork-inside.jpgPensini with the her work Pride and Prejudice  2018 oil on canvas 101 x 121 cm, the People’s Choice in the 2018 Kilgour Prize.
The ‘social & political prejudices of the colonial era’ – acknowledges the artist’s statement – saw her ancestors conceal two sons’ marriages to local Noongar women, denying latter generations all knowledge of the unions that ultimately spawned Pensini’s contrasting subjects.

Pensini-Lori_prideandprejudice-inside.jpgLori PENSINI Pride and Prejudice  2018 oil on canvas 101 x 121 cm

Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton hailed the public’s decision, the skill Pensini employed to convey intimacy, and context and broader social narrative of the work.

“I’m not surprised that visitors have responded so favourably to this work,” Morton said.

“It becomes apparent when viewing this intimate portrait that the artist has a strong connection to the subjects, and her deft skill in rendering their striped dresses further unifies the strong bond between the cousins.”

One in 10 of voters in the People’s Choice award selected Pensini’s painting and a number of them proffered positive critiques, including:

  • ‘Conveys such an enormous history so simply in its subjects’
  • ‘I loved the women’s faces. A feeling of contentment and love between each other. Beautiful piece of art that assume two persons seem one.’
  • ‘To me this painting conveys a serenity between two people. Clearly these girls share a lot of caring, peace and understanding. Reminds me bit of aspects of the film Picnic At Hanging Rock.  Thank you.’

Pensini, 48, receives $5,000 from the bequest of local artist Jack Noel Kilgour.

The major figurative and portrait art competition he left behind for Newcastle Art Gallery in 1987 is now one of Australia’s most renowned.

The official annual prize, hosted by the Gallery, offers aspiring artists a level and lucrative playing field – as paintings are judged without attribution – before the winner is awarded $50,000.

Sydney artist Natasha Walsh’s intimate and delicate self-portrait Within the Studio (self-portrait) 2017 earned this year’s prize.

She followed up the success with the 2018 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship and 2018 Mosman Art Prize.

The KILGOUR PRIZE 2018 exhibition will remain on display at the Gallery until 21 October.

2018 FINALISTS (complete list)

Geoffrey Breen
Filippa Buttitta
Rachel Coad
James Drinkwater
Sarah Gosling
Jeannine Grey
David Griggs
Craig Handley
Jacqueline Hennessy
Cliff Hosking
Peter Lankas
Fiona Lowry
Marie Mansfield
Steve May
Fiona McMonagle
Rachel Milne
Alice Palmer
Amanda Penrose Hart
Lori Pensini
Rodney Pople
Glen Preece
Jordan Richardson
Michael Simms
Anthony Slater
Peter Smeeth
Loribelle Spirovski
Susan Sutton
Mark Tweedie
Natasha Walsh
Anthony Williams

Ton of businesses take up City’s financial help

City of Newcastle is reminding small businesses in the CBD of more than $400,000 still on offer as part of its rates relief scheme for those impacted by the light rail construction.

To date more than 102 applications have been received, with Council paying out more than $37,000 in rate relief.

To be eligible for rate relief, a CBD business needs the property owner to have paid their first quarterly rates, which were due at the end of August this year.

Rebates have been returned to 95 applicants in the first 10 weeks of the program, which is open for the duration of the 2018/19 financial year.

Eligible properties are entitled to financial assistance amounting to half the special rate historically passed onto business improvement association Newcastle Now, which in turn used the funds to promote the CBD.

“Council took this decision to provide direct rate relief to those businesses suffering from the disruption that the construction of light rail has brought about,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“We understand that for many small businesses their bottom line has been impacted, and this rate relief was a way Council could play a role in minimising the impact of light rail. Once it became clear that the State Government wasn’t going to provide rent relief, it was important that City of Newcastle looked for a way of supporting these businesses that didn’t come at the expense of our existing $100 million works program.

“There are hundreds of local small businesses that are yet to apply for rate relief. Clearly many are unaware that the funding exists or that they only need pay their first quarterly rates notice to be eligible. The process of application is straight forward, and businesses can apply at any time throughout the current financial year.”

The helping hand was extended in July following the Lord Mayor’ successful amendment to Council’s 2018-19 budget.

Financial assistance is available:

  • to the tenant(s) of the property, or


  • to the property owner – providing the property is solely owner occupied and no part is leased out

Property owners are eligible for the relief after paying their first quarterly rates instalment for 2018/19.

They should complete an application form together with details of tenants (with their signature) where applicable.

If more than one tenant occupies the property, a separate form is required for each tenant.

Council will then provide half of the amount they would have paid for the 2018/19 City Centre Special Rate in to the bank account nominated on the application form.

Both property owner and tenant(s) will be notified by email once Council makes the financial assistance payment is made.

Newcastle City Council says Re-use and recycle with GST

Novocastrians can declutter their homes and offload unwanted items by signing up for this month’s Garage Sale Trail (GST) to help promote environmental sustainability.

The free national weekend of garage sales on 20-21 October is a popular way for people to connect with neighbours, find new homes for superfluous items and hunt for second-hand treasures while helping divert waste from landfill.


Members of Upcycle Newcastle, who have registered for Garage Sale Trail (left to right) are: Samantha Wells, Cathy Stuart and Melanie McKinnon. 


Sellers can host a sale as a household, street or community group to make money individually or fundraise for a cause.

“City of Newcastle is proud to support Garage Sale Trail and the positive impacts it enables in communities right across Australia,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“It’s a simple, fun way for everyone to re-use, reduce waste and minimise their impact on the environment while also getting to know their neighbours and others in the community.

“I encourage everyone to get involved, clear out some clutter and maybe even make a few dollars in the process.”

Last year, nearly 3,000 Newcastle buyers scooped up pre-loved items from around 89 Newcastle households and groups who opened up their garages or held stalls.

More than 15,000 sales were held in neighbourhoods across the country with over 1.6 million treasures changing hands.

It’s easy to find the best treasure in our region over the GST weekend. Just search online for sales by postcode or suburb or, if you’re on the hunt for something specific, search by item or category.

Register your garage sale online or have a look at registered sales in Newcastle.

If you’re hosting a sale and plan to dispose of unsold items, pre-book a bulk waste pick-up or Summerhill Waste Management Centre voucher to minimise wait time.

To use these services, complete a waste request form on our website or phone 4974 2000 weekdays during business hours.

Escapee located – Muswellbrook

A man who escaped custody from a minimum-security correctional facility in Muswellbrook has been arrested and charged.

The 41-year-old man allegedly escaped the facility in Muswellbrook, about 6am on Wednesday 10 October 2018.

Following a wide scale search, about 7am today (Thursday 11 October 2018), police attended a carpark on Byng Street, Orange, and arrested the 41-year-old man without incident.

He was taken to Orange Police Station and charged with inmate escape/attempt to escape from lawful custody.

He was refused bail to appear at Orange Local Court today (Thursday 11 October 2018).


Police are asking for help from the community as they try to find a prisoner who has escaped from Muswellbrook’s minimum-security jail.

About 6am today officers were told Robert Grover, 41, had escaped from the correctional facility on St Heliers Road.

He’s described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 170 centimetres tall, with a medium build and brown hair.

Police believe he could be heading to Gunnedah.

Members of the public are urged not to approach Grover, but instead call 000 immediately.

Man arrested as inquiries continue into woman’s death at Bellambi

A man has been arrested as inquiries continue into the death of a woman at Bellambi last week.

About 4pm today (Monday 8 October 2018), detectives from Port Stephens-Hunter Police District arrested a 29-year-old man at Maitland.

He has been taken to Maitland Police Station where he remains in custody.

Officers from Wollongong Police District commenced an investigation, assisted by detectives from the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad, after the body of 39-year-old Kristie Powell was found at a home on Lorking Street on Friday (5 October 2018).

Kristie’s five-month-old son was found uninjured inside the home.

A man has been charged with murder over the death of a woman at Bellambi last week.

About 4pm yesterday (Monday 8 October 2018), detectives from Port Stephens-Hunter Police District arrested a 29-year-old man in a building near Maitland Railway Station.

The man was taken to Maitland Police Station where detectives from Wollongong Police District have now charged him with one count of murder.

He has been refused bail to appear in Maitland Local Court today (Tuesday 9 October 2018).

Wollongong detectives, assisted by the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad, formed Strike Force Renehan to investigate the death of 39-year-old Kristie Powell, after her body was found at her home on Lorking Street, Bellambi, last Friday (5 October 2018).

Charges laid following serious head-on crash – Myuna Bay

A man has been charged following a serious crash at Myuna Bay, in the state’s Lake Macquarie region.

About 9.30am on Sunday 29 April 2018, emergency services were called to Wangi Road after a Holden Commodore and Mitsubishi wagon collided head-on.

The driver and sole occupant of the Holden, a 46-year-old man, was taken to John Hunter Hospital with a neck injury.

The female driver of the Mitsubishi, a 43-year-old woman and her 12-year-old passenger were taken to John Hunter Hospital with hip, leg and internal injuries. Both required surgery and have since been released from hospital.

Officers from the Crash Investigation Unit, with the assistance from Lake Macquarie Police District established a crime scene and commenced investigations into the circumstances surrounding the crash.

Following inquiries, a 46-year-old Bonnells Bay man, was served with Future Court Attendance Notices for the following offences:

  • Dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm – driver under the influence (x2)
  • Dangerous driving occasion grievous bodily harm – drive manner dangerous (x2)
  • Cause bodily harm by misconduct (x2)
  • Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm
  • Negligent Driving
  • Drive with illicit drug in blood

He is due to appear at Toronto Local Court on Tuesday 11 December 2018. His driver’s licence was also suspended.