I know you’ve sensed it. The change in Newcastle. I don’t know when it started.
Was it when Lonely Planet told us Newy is actually a pretty cool place? Was it when the Baird government started tearing up the rail tracks? Was it when your cool friend from Sydney finally relented and bought a house at Valentine?
One thing is certain. It has changed and what used to be hunched Novocastrians quietly whispering our origin, we now tentatively straightened our backs and let our heritage spill out more freely. Eyes still seeking affirmation, validation. But more so expecting to find this rather than the snarl of yesteryears.
It is good to be a Novocastrian in 2017. Better than it was in 2007. Now that people around us tell us we are lucky; we believe it, we feel it. Feel that sun beam down on us while we sit on our front porch in Carrington. Tending to our garden at Speers Point. Admiring how many cars we can park in our drive way in Mayfield. And its only minutes to the beach. Minutes!
Trying to paint a picture of old Newcastle, sprawl comes to mind. Quiet streets with run down shop fronts. Bryce Gaudry as our Labor MP. Former rugby players in Board positions having lunch at the Newcastle Club. Deep fried food at our local café. Finding a person who would vouch for a stimulating career path in Newcastle was almost as challenging as uncovering green juice, kale salad or a business leader with a track record in diversity.
New Newcastle has a University campus in town. Has secured a world-class car event at the door steps of ambivalent Newcastle East residents. Has got nourish bowls, beard wearing hipster dads and is increasingly getting noticed by the Sydney media.
We didn’t get here by chance but rather by design. This is a story about revitalisation and rebranding. The old Newcastle would promise us a blue-collar job, a surf with a handful of locals, a decade in Sydney. New Newcastle provides a different set of promises. A liveable city. A dynamic population. A place with a future.
These promises paint a vision of a new Newcastle. One based on an information economy rather than a manufacturing one. A vision held by many leaders across the city, region and state. Perhaps a vision not clearly defined at first. Early adopters jumping in sensing the promises would have a profound impact. The rest of us now joining, picking up our paint brush designing a new Newcastle.
A 3-part blog series
Long & Co will be speaking to 3 community leaders about the change in Newcastle and about their role within it: Mr Hilton Grugeon, AM and prominent property developer, Mr Barney Collins, Director of EJE Architects and Ms Alissa McCulloch, part of the duo behind the new media platform HUNTERhunter. All of them have a view on the change in Newcastle, and each of them has had a remarkable impact on our city.
Friday at 5PM
Part 1 of this blog series ‘The Change in Newcastle’ coming to you via Facebook and LinkedIn this Friday at 5PM EST.
About Long & Co
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