The former Newcastle Railway Station is a significant component of the Revitalising Newcastle program and an important state heritage listed building located in Newcastle’s east end. The revitalised Station is now enjoyed by the community for shopping, recreation and pop-up events.
Activities at The Station are changing to manage public safety.
As COVID-19 continues to change the way we live, work and play, we will continue to evaluate what that means for people using our sites. After many months of COVID-hibernation The Station's public platform has reopened in line with NSW Government advice.
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A vibrant place for the community
Plans for new play space underway
Celebrating heritage and culture
Following extensive community consultation, heritage restoration and repair works, and significant site enhancements - 'The Station' as it is now known, is enjoying a new and exciting lease of life.
HCCDC is committed to activating The Station until it's end use is identified, and we have completed major improvements to the aite to create an accessible community precinct that everyone can enjoy.
During the sites temporary activation, the ground floor rooms, former platform, new piazza and surrounding spaces have been transformed into a place for community to gather and enjoy events as well as a variety of other activities and offerings.
HCCDC's restoration of the public areas of The Station is allowing for the temporary activation of the site.
The important works, inline with Revitalising Newcastle objectives to celebrate and enhance heritage, include:
- filling the areas between the former platforms
- creating a huge community piazza with interpretive art features
- restoration and reveal of the original verandah that had previously been closed in
- providing new access to The Station from Scott Street and Wharf Road
- providing greenspace connections with Market Street Lawn
- repairing damaged doors and windows
- restoring and painting the original metal fretwork
- opening spaces on the ground floor.
Newcastle Station is an example of Victorian Italianate architecture.
The first station was built around 1858 as a small brick building with a single platform. As Newcastle grew, the original station quickly became inadequate and a new, two-storey station was built in 1878. It included a verandah along the Scott Street frontage that was later closed in. The current awning along platform one was built around 1897 and additional buildings were established in the late 1800s. The gas retort building and associated gas tanks on the northern side of the station were constructed in 1883 to provide the station with gas.
Newcastle was the only regional station with a silver service dining room for passengers, and the spaces for the dining room and upstairs kitchen, including a dumbwaiter, are still visible.
In the 1920s the station was extended. Original plans included an L-shaped, two-storey wing along Watt and Scott Streets, with a three-storey tower on the corner where the streets meet. However with no funding to construct the proposed works, a smaller extension was constructed followed by a building on the corner of Watt and Scott Streets used for rail administration.
The building and surrounding grounds between Scott Street, Watt Street and Wharf Road make up the Newcastle Station precinct.
Comprehensive community engagement was undertaken to establish a clear understanding of how people would most like to use the station precinct and see it restored.
Through the 2016 Ideas Festival community engagement program, the community was asked for its thoughts on the future of the space. Over 1,500 comments were received, consisting of 146 unique ideas.
Through a rigorous process involving stakeholder and community groups, four ideas were most supported:
- an outdoor piazza
- an active art space
- & cinema under the stars.
In consideration with the community feedback, HCCDC performed significant platform infill and heritage restoration works at the precinct, and took the site to market for a temporary 18-month lease in late 2017 to see how The Station could be used by the community.
Following the Ideas Festival in 2016, and a competitive EOI process in 2017, Renew Newcastle was selected to run temporary activation of The Station.
HCCDC took over The Station's activation after Renew Newcastle wrapped up as an organisation in March 2019. HCCDC is managing the site and delivering community events, destinational offerings while celebrating the heritage of the site.
HCCDC has lodged a development (DA) application with City of Newcastle to bring new and fun play elements for children at The Station.
The imaginative play space will be about creating fun elements and engaging with nature – on a large and fun scale in the newly created Piazza area.
A huge snake, a green frog and a wobbly bug will be some of the features of this new space, which is designed to complement other interactive elements already on site at The Station – such as the scooter track, misting jets and The Flyer.
Subject to DA approval, we hope to install this new space by the end of the year.
HCCDC is continuing to bring activities, events and retail offerings to The Station until a future long-term use is known. The proposed play elements have been designed to be easily relocated to another HCCDC public space once temporary activation comes to an end, ensuring it provides ongoing community benefit.
Construction of the final section of landscaping between Market Street Lawn and the former Newcastle Station bus depot was completed in November 2020 delivering a new community piazza and picnic lawn.
The new space contains raised planting beds with feature trees and ground planting, bluestone and granite paving, seating, and lighting as well as interpretive art elements that pay tribute to the sites Aboriginal and European heritage.
The new-look Station is becoming a true destination for the community with a calender of pop-up events including market days, family events, live music and festivals.
Where the land meets the sea
A key feature of the new piazza is an Aboriginal interpretive artwork that also serves as a unique meeting place. We worked with the Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council to create designs that reflect Newcastle's First People and their relationship with the land and the harbour.
Seating is arranged in a boomerang configuration, while stenciled designs represent tide lines and the importance of Newcastle harbour as a food source. Fish, crustaceans and land animals are represented, and an illuminated 'fire pit' glows red after dark.
Interpretive design pays tribute to the former railway station
Purpose-built design elements in the new piazza celebrate the sites European history and honour its life as the former city railway station.
The features include a unique bandstand performance stage where the former gasholder that once powered the former station sat, and interpretive misting tracks that light up at night and provide a fun and interactive space for cooling off on hot days.
The Flyer is an interactive interpretation of the iconic Newcastle Flyer express steam train that ran between Newcastle and Sydney from 1929 until 1970.
The public art installation on the former platform is appreciated by families and rail enthusiasts alike - with lighting, interactive sounds and train-style seating as a tribute to the special service The Flyer provided for the people of the region. The artist behind the project, David Cianci, and the Artscape team scoured transport records and spoke to people familiar with the Flyer service for inspiration to draw out the essence of the mighty 38 Class locomotive.
The Station piazza and picnic lawn
Video: The Station piazza unveiled - November 2020
Video: The Station landscaping works - June 2020
Video: Creating the planter boxes at The Station
Grapes of Mirth
Comedy, Wine, Music Festival
Friday Bar Eats n Beats
Friday nights at The Station
Video: The Station - Grand Opening Event
Video: Platform infil construction timelapse
October - December 2017