Nestled between the suburbs of Lambton and Jesmond New South Wales existed the camp or shanty town known as “Hollywood”.
On the 24th February 2023, historians from the University of Newcastle’s Hunter Living Histories toured the archaeological dig with senior archaeologist Tim Adams, from Unwelt Pty Ltd.
One of the participants, Lachlan Wetherall has created a site detailing his historical research into “Hollywood”, also known as “Doggyville”.
According to Tim Adams the area had been home to makeshift and improvised dwellings as early as the 1920s, reaching prominence as one of Newcastle’s Depression Camps in the the 1930s, and continuing into 1950s.
Within 24 hours of this post going online we were contacted by Mr Steven Ward, whose family lived in Hollywood and wanted to share further information about the site to clear up misconceptions and untruths concerning its history.
He administers the Hollywood (Jesmond nsw) Friends and Descendants Facebook Group, and former inhabitants, descendants, people connected to the site and interested researchers are invited to join.
He said that the Well (see photograph below):
“was dug and lined by hand by my grandfather Henry Charles Young and Albert Jarret”
“doggyville” was not a derogative name for the place, it was a term used by locals as a nickname for my grand uncle Harold ‘Doggy’ Young who owned trained and raced greyhounds and lived in ‘hollywood’ next to my grandfathers house.
The first baby was born there 1934 my mother Marjorie Adell Young and her twin sister Joan, my mother and her parents lived there until 1958.
The history of these Depression era Camps is largely shrouded in local folklore; there are oral history testimonies from those who once lived there, and some news articles have been published over the years. But this recent opportunity to conduct an archaeological investigation of one of these sites is rare. In Europe excavating such sites of human habitation usually involves ancient settlements dating back hundreds or thousands of years. For us visiting this site, as Tim noted, one has to remind themselves that it is so recent.
There is also the report outlining the history and archaeological methodology here:
NEWCASTLE INNER CITY BYPASS – ‘HOLLYWOOD’ SHANTY TOWN SITE – THE WALLSEND/PLATTSBURG TRAMWAY – HISTORICAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH DESIGN EXCAVATION METHODOLOGY. FEBRUARY 2021. FINAL REPORT Report to Kelleher Nightingale Consulting / TfNSW.
Photographs from Site Visit 24 February 2023
Here are some photographs taken during the site visit.
4 thoughts on “Hunter Living Historians Go To “Hollywood””
There was a horse racetrack nearer to the University main entrance. People came on the tram and Fred Butcher who is dead, now used to attend and told me there were stables down there as well. Platts Estate had another camp as well. In war times two up was played in this area where the college residents are situated nowadays. There is also a historic railway tunnel under the university cycleway next to the preschool. It would make a great tourist stop if it was cleared out again.
Thanks Mim! BTW We miss you looking after our bushland campus.
My dad was born in 1927 and was second eldest of 10 children. He lived at Mayfield but said one day when he was young, he was looking for blackberries on the uni site and came across illegal betting – two up.