Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Remembering Hunter Street

Hunter Street

This photo came from Sean.

I do remember Hunter Street, although I am far too young for this photo.

Growing up, Newcastle was the North's big city. When I first went there from Armidale, I felt that it was such a big place!

Of course in population terms Newcastle is still a big place, But is somehow seems to have shrunk, to have lost its core identity. The suburbs stretch for miles, but the city center is flat.

Of course, this has happened in other places. I was in Armidale last weekend, and Beardy Street was almost deserted, squeezed by the shopping centers on each side. But, like Armidale, Newcastle has shrunk in public consciousness. This photo reminds us of when Newcastle was actually a big place.  


Greg said...

Hi Jim. Interesting pic. I can remember growing up in the 1960's and 1970's when Newcastle was a truly busy place. Walking down Hunter Street it was a thick sea of heads rushing about their business in the city. Hunter Street today is a far cry from those days.

It is true that Newcastle seems to be shrinking. Not in size - the metropolitan area now has about 560,000 residents. But certainly in public consciousness. It has been surpassed as Australia's largest non-capital city by the Gold Coast and it has been totally outstripped by Brisbane and Perth which were cities of comparable size in the not too distant past.

Like the rest of non-metropolitan NSW Newcastle has become something of a NSW footnote. The recent ABS population predictions don't give us any hope that this trend won't continue. You can't even find projections for the north as a sub unit. There is only Sydney metro and NSW remainder. It makes for depressing reading - Sydney will continue to grow at a disproportionate rate and is heading towards being 75% of the state population by mid century.

Newcastle and the rest of Northern NSW will become decreasingly relevant on the state and national stage.

Jim Belshaw said...

Greg, I apologise for my very tardy response on this one. You are right, of course. More to follow a little later.