Stories of Our Town: Architecture of Newcastle (8 Part Film Documentaries)

Newcastle Town Hall

The next of films in the Stories of Our Town Series features the Architecture of Newcastle, especially in the vicinity of Civic Park. The full set of eight (8) films are now released and available below.

The Stories of Our Town Project is a series of documentary films that tell Newcastle’s key historic stories through Novocastrian eyes and points of view. It is funded in part through the Department of Regional NSW Newcastle Port Community Contribution (NPCC) fund, and is a great partnership between the film makers, Carnivore Films, the University of Newcastle, the City of Newcastle and Newcastle’s major Cultural Institutions and community organisations.

Margel Hinder, designer and creator or Civic Park Fountain

Stories of Our Town: Architecture of Newcastle
Part 1. The Civic Park Precinct

Features the buildings that surround Civic Park, and the architectural evolution that displays how Newcastle has grown over the years, and where it is heading in the future. This film is the first part of a series of eight discussing the iconic artistic structures that surround the “Green Heart” of this constantly evolving city.

Produced by Chit Chat von Loopin Stab and Tony Whittaker

Interviewees: Matthew Bennett, Barney Collins, David Hampton, Dr Ann Hardy, Sarah Johnson, Dr Phillip Pollard, Julie Rich and Brian Suters.

 

Stories of Our Town: Architecture of Newcastle
Part 2. The Roundhouse (now the newly opened Kingsley Hotel)

Designed by Frederick Romberg in 1970, and built as Newcastle City Council Administration Offices between 1972-1977, it has been called the “ice cream cone”, “the egg cup”, some would argue if its architectural style is modernist or brutalist; but all agree it’ s unforgettable. This is the story of how a uniquely shaped council administration building was built then re-birthed as a five star hotel; perhaps a metaphor for Newcastle?

Produced by Chit Chat von Loopin Stab and Tony Whittaker

Executive Producers: Gionni Di Gravio, OAM and Dr Ann Hardy

Interviewees: Barney Collins, Dr Ann Hardy, Sarah Johnson, Dr Philip Pollard, Clifford Rip, and Brian Suters.

Special Thanks to: Brianna Elliot, Suzie Gately, Alexander Mills, Chloe O’Reilly, Sue Ryan and the team at Newcastle Libraries.

Thanks to Allan Chawner. Sound Mix by Voicegarden

Architect Brian Suters

 

Glenn Dormand (a.k.a Chit Chat von Loopin Stab) with Brian Suters (2021)

 

Stories of Our Town: Architecture of Newcastle
Part 3. The War Memorial Cultural Centre

“In Minds Ennobled Here, The Noble Dead Shall Live” – Jesse Sheridan-McLoughlin

The Newcastle War Memorial Cultural Centre has a phenomenal history; a War Memorial delayed by a war; built by the people for the people; and filled with books, art and music by a cricket crazed doctor and adorned by artwork connected to a feminist uprising. Only in Newcastle could all this make sense.

Produced by Chit Chat von Loopin Stab and Tony Whittaker

Executive Producers: Gionni Di Gravio, OAM and Dr Ann Hardy

Interviewees: Barney Collins, David Hampton, Sarah Johnson, Dr Philip Pollard, and Sue Ryan.

Special Thanks to: University of Newcastle Archives. (Special Collections, Auchmuty Library)

Special Thanks to: Brianna Elliot, Suzie Gately, Alexander Mills, Chloe O’Reilly, Sue Ryan and the team at Newcastle Libraries.

Sound Mix by Voicegarden

View of the Newcastle Baptist Tabernacle and St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church from the Newcastle Town Hall clock tower.

 

Stories of Our Town: Architecture of Newcastle
Part 4. The Churches of Menkens

The two churches that sit on the south west corner of Newcastle’s Civic Park; the Newcastle Baptist Tabernacle and St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, are both radically different in architectural style, but designed by the same architect only 6 months apart in 1889-1890. Fredrick Menkens (1850-1901), the architect responsible, was a brawler, drinker and gambler who designed over 100 buildings in the Hunter region. Explore the mind of this fascinating renegade.

Produced by Chit Chat von Loopin Stab and Tony Whittaker
Executive Producers: Gionni Di Gravio, OAM and Dr Ann Hardy

Interviewees: Chris Campbell, Barney Collins, David Hampton, Dr Ann Hardy, Dr Philip Pollard, Brian Suters, Pastor Vince Wall.

Special Thanks to: University of Newcastle Archives.
Special Thanks to: Brianna Elliot, Suzie Gately, Alexander Mills, Chloe O’Reilly, Sue Ryan and the team at Newcastle Libraries.

Sound Mix by Voicegarden

Pastor Vince Wall at the Baptist Tabernacle Church with Chit Chat Von Loopin Stab (2021)

For further information on Frederick Menkens check out Les Reedman’s landmark work, ‘Early Architects of the Hunter Region: A Hundred Years to 1940’ and his 1956 Thesis on Menkens, with bonus lecture delivered by Brian Suters and recorded at Longworth House 3 April 2013.

Stories of Our Town: Architecture of Newcastle
Part 5. Town Hall to City Hall

No building in the Civic Park complex better represents the evolution of Newcastle from provincial town to city than the Newcastle Town Hall. It was part of the achievements of Mayor Morris Light (Mayor for only one year from 1924-1925). Inspired by a visit to Durban, South Africa, that Newcastle deserved a Town Hall just as majestic as theirs, he never lived to see it completed when it opened in 1929. The time that Newcastle’s ‘Town Hall’ became ‘City Hall’ was from August 1948, as that was the date that Newcastle’s Letters Patent arrived in Sydney, soon to make its way to Newcastle. The title of Lord Mayor’ was only to be bestowed on Mayors of capital cities. Due to the population growth of the Greater Newcastle area, its outstanding position as coal port and industrial powerhouse, and status as second oldest city, the Newcastle City Council applied to have the title and in October 1947 His Majesty approved the application. The Letters Patent conferring the title of Lord Mayor was sent to Council in October 1948 and from then on the official title was ‘The Right Worshipful The Lord Mayor of Newcastle’.

Produced by Chit Chat von Loopin Stab and Tony Whittaker
Executive Producers: Gionni Di Gravio, OAM and Dr Ann Hardy

Interviewees: Matthew Bennett, Barney Collins, David Hampton, Dr Ann Hardy, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Dr Philip Pollard.

Special Thanks to: University of Newcastle Archives.
Special Thanks to: Brianna Elliot, Suzie Gately, Alexander Mills, Chloe O’Reilly, Megan Owen and the team at Newcastle Libraries.

Additional drone footage by Clifford Wakeman with thanks to the Civic Theatre.

Sound Mix by Voicegarden

 

Tony Whittaker in the Town Hall tower

Stories of Our Town: Architecture of Newcastle
Part 6. NESCA House

Nesca House is the unsung hero of the buildings that surround Civic Park. Stunning inside and out, it was built to welcome Novocastrians to the future, promoting and providing all things electric to the entire region. Now it trains the fine artists of the future, serving as a part of our prestigious University of Newcastle faculties. Enjoy the Story of Nesca House. Sing the Building Electric.

Produced by Chit Chat von Loopin Stab and Tony Whittaker
Executive Producers: Gionni Di Gravio, OAM and Dr Ann Hardy

Interviewees: Julie Baird, Barney Collins, David Hampton, Dr Philip Pollard.

Special Thanks to: University of Newcastle Archives.
Special Thanks to: Brianna Elliot, Suzie Gately, Alexander Mills, Chloe O’Reilly, Megan Owen and the team at Newcastle Libraries.

Sound Mix by Voicegarden

 

Stories of Our Town: Architecture of Newcastle
Part 7. Art Gallery

Produced by Chit Chat von Loopin Stab and Tony Whittaker
Executive Producers: Gionni Di Gravio, OAM and Dr Ann Hardy

Interviewees: Matthew Bennett, Barney Collins, Lauretta Morton, Dr Philip Pollard.

Special Thanks to: University of Newcastle Archives.
Special Thanks to: Brianna Elliot, Suzie Gately, Alexander Mills, Chloe O’Reilly, Megan Owen and the team at Newcastle Libraries.

Sara, Lauretta and the team at NAG for your amazing help.

Sound Mix by Voicegarden

 

Stories of Our Town: Architecture of Newcastle
Part 8. The Civic Fountain

If you’re looking to understand how far Newcastle has come as a city, look no further than Civic Fountain. This project had many enemies, both in power and in the community. Not only was it an abstract sculpture but was designed and built by a woman. The Mayor of the time was furious that a “House Wife” was in control of this major piece. Now it’s impossible to think of Newcastle without connecting it to the stunning work of Margel Hinder, which is surrounded by the quality work our own Brian Suters.

Produced by Chit Chat von Loopin Stab and Tony Whittaker
Executive Producers: Gionni Di Gravio, OAM and Dr Ann Hardy

Interviewees: Barney Collins, Sarah Johnson, Dr Ross Kerridge, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Dr Philip Pollard and Brian Suters.

Special Thanks to: University of Newcastle Archives.
Special Thanks to: Brianna Elliot, Suzie Gately, Alexander Mills, Chloe O’Reilly, Megan Owen and the team at Newcastle Libraries.

Sara, Lauretta and the team at NAG for your amazing help.

Sound Mix by Voicegarden

 

Stories of Our Town: Credits

 

Watch the movies here:
https://storiesofourtown.com/

or Watch the movies here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFr0o5nIRF46pnQOkLOo1mw/videos

For more information on the Stories of Our Town Project:
https://hunterlivinghistories.com/category/stories-of-our-town/


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