Photo: Central Newcastle viewed from Stockton across the Hunter River.
Newcastle, New England's biggest city with a population of 289,000, lies towards the southern edge of New England, 153k (2 hours) north of Sydney, 394k (4 hours 50 minutes) south of Armidale.
Newcastle is often seen just as an industrial city - Australia's original steel city - and increasingly as simply an outer part of the ever expanding Greater Sydney metro conglomeration.
Newcastle is indeed an industrial city. This is an integral part of its culture, one that distinguishes the city from other parts of New England. But part of Sydney it is not. Newcastle always has been and remains its own very distinct entity.
It is hard for those living in Sydney to see and recognise Newcastle's distinguishing features.
Sydney and Newcastle have little in common in terms of history or culture. The Sydney media carries few Newcastle stories. Few in Sydney think of Newcastle as having a distinct cultural life of its own. Yet the city does, one arguably different from any other part of Australia.
I say this with a degree of frustration because, living in Sydney as I now do as part of the New England diaspora, I find it difficult to keep across Newcastle activities.
To fully understand a place like Newcastle you need to live there, or at least visit regularly. I do not and presently cannot. Still, accepting that I will make errors, I am establishing this page to provide an entry point for future posts about Newcastle cultural life.