The 50-hectare site now supports a diverse mix of employment, residential, tourism, recreation and public domain uses for the community. It also celebrates and enhances heritage and is known as one of the most successful urban renewal programs in NSW.
Over the coming years, we will continue to deliver new public domain and infrastructure to ensure the former industrial land continues to thrive.
For most of the 20th Century, the Honeysuckle project area was dominated by railway workshops, wool stores, cargo sheds and warehouses, both active and dormant. In more recent decades the rich and important industrial heritage of the land left it contaminated, derelict and blocked off from the people of Newcastle.
By the late 1980s it was recognised that there had been a gradual but sustained period of decline in the number of people living and working in Newcastle.
We have led Honeysuckle's renewal since the early 1990s when the plan was initiated to remediate and repurpose seven precincts, spanning four kilometres of waterfront land. Formed by the State Government in 1992 and initially funded with $100 million from the Commonwealth/State Building Better Cities program, the Honeysuckle Development Corporation set about working in partnership with the local community to transform 50 hectares of surplus government land.
At the heart of one of the biggest urban renewal projects in Australia was the task of opening up Newcastle Harbour to the community.
By creating quality residential, commercial and recreational waterfront areas, the project has unlocked lifestyle, economic and environmental benefits for the city and received urban design awards and international recognition along the way.
Honeysuckle public domain
Through community consultation, some fantastic ideas for the transformation of Newcastle's iconic waterfront precinct have been identified.
Our $55 million investment into foreshore infrastructure and public domain works will see Honeysuckle thrive for future generations.
This includes seawall works, landscaping of waterfront green spaces, planting over 150 trees, and creating attractive promenades that stretch from the Wickham Marina through Honeysuckle along the foreshore connecting to Nobbys beach and Bathers Way.
The Honeysuckle Foreshore Public Domain Plan (PDF, 6.6 MB) provides a framework for the delivery of high quality public domain in Honeysuckle and supports the broader renewal of Newcastle city centre.
Foreshore transformation works
The final phase of Honeysuckle's transformation is underway.
We've constructed new sea walls, upgraded Honeysuckle Drive, naturalised the Cottage Creek waterway and reopened Honeysuckle promenade. We've also delivered a new public space and children's playground with the completion of Honeysuckle Park.
The transformation continues as we construct the next stage of Honeysuckle's public domain alongside Cottage Creek.
Honeysuckle Park's completion marked a significant milestone in the delivery of new public domain and the continued revitalisation of the Honeysuckle waterfront.
The park includes sandstone seating at the harbour's edge, shelters with picnic seating, covered barbecue facilities and a Maritime inspired play area. Native trees, including banksia, tuckeroos and pines, line new pedestrian links, making it easier to move from the waterfront to the Honeysuckle Light Rail stop.
Construction of this park is an important step in completing the public connection from Wickham Marina, through Honeysuckle along the foreshore to Bathers Way.
Honeysuckle Drive road upgrade
A wider and re-aligned road, improved merging lanes, footpaths and cycleways on both sides of Honeysuckle Drive are a few of the features of the $12-million upgrades that we have delivered, aimed at improving ease of use, accessibility, and safety.
An integral part of the Honeysuckle Drive works is the architecturally designed Cottage Creek Bridge, which replaces the old concrete structure with a new, multi-functional bridge in its place. Spanning 30 metres, the new bridge supports heavy vehicle traffic up to double semi-trailers. The upgrades have improved the flow of traffic, made safety a priority for both recreational and commuting cyclists, as well as now offering some stunning visual streetscape upgrades for commuters to enjoy.
HCCDC maintains 3 km of seawall along the Honeysuckle promenade. This part of the waterfront has a rich and colourful history, and ongoing maintenance will ensure that this space can be accessed and enjoyed by the public for years to come.
To date we have recycled 8,000 tonnes of processed concrete from the old wharves into new seawalls.
We completed rebuilding the 75-year-old harbour seawalls at Lee 5 and Throsby in 2020, in preparation for new public domain.
The Wharf restoration
Lee Wharf A, now known as The Wharf, is an iconic and much loved waterfront heritage building in the centre of Honeysuckle.
It was built in 1910 in the Federation style and was used for wool storage, as a cargo port, and place of immigration after World War 2.
We completed major restoration and structural repairs to the building in early 2020, including reinstating its harbourside deck, and completing significant stabilisation and seawall repairs. These restoration works have paved the way for an exciting new use for The Wharf, as a destination that will attract both locals and visitors to this key harbourside location.
Hope at Honeysuckle
After a competitive process, Hope Estate announced their plans for The Wharf building with 'Hope at Honeysuckle' in 2020. The new venue will bring the best of the Hunter to Newcastle by showcasing the wine, spirits and craft beer the Hope family is known for. 'Hope at Honeysuckle' will also offer wine tastings, cooking masterclasses or beer matching experiences. The initial development application (DA) to create this new venue was approved by City of Newcastle in late-2021.
Hope have since made some changes to their DA to enhance the venue and ensure they can provide the best experience possible for their patrons. The amended DA was submitted in early-2023 and Hope anticipates it will start construction works in early 2024.
We look forward to works commencing to transform the iconic Wharf building into a tourist destination, bringing the flavours of the Hunter to Honeysuckle.