The Station

The Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) 'Great Place' winner for NSW.

HCCDC's award winning transformation of the former city railway precinct has unlocked a new life for The Station as a vibrant and much loved community space for recreation, shopping and pop-up events.

The 'Great Place' winner

Named the NSW 'Great Place' by the Planning Insitute of Australia.

Superior landscaping

Open spaces connecting with the city centre and Newcastle's iconic harbour.

Heritage preservation

Enhancing historic features of the former city railway precinct.

Interpretive design

Celebrating the sites rich Aboriginal and European heritage.

Community destination

A pulsing community hub for shopping, play and pop-up events.

Fun for kids

Activities for the littlies include a kids corner, scooter track and free scavenger hunts for exploring The Station.

The former Newcastle Railway Station is a significant component of the Revitalising Newcastle program, and an important state heritage listed building in the city's east end.

Following the truncation of the former heavy rail corridor into Newcastle, and extensive community consultation, HCCDC has completed major heritage restoration works, repairs, site enhancements and landscaping to enable temporary activation of the former railway precinct while it's future use is being determined.

The revitalised Station is now enjoying a new lease of life as a thriving community hub for recreation, business, shopping, creative workshops, events and other pop-up activities.

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:

  • eateries
  • 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.

Read more about the Ideas Festival in the Outcomes Report.

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, and is continuing to manage the precinct and deliver community events and destinational offerings while celebrating the heritage of the site.

We are committed to activating The Station until an exciting long term use is determined, and are seeing it become a well-loved destination for pop-up events, shopping and play.

The Revitalising Newcastle program and The Station have been recognised with prestigious accolades including:

  • Planning Institute of Australia
    'Great Place' Winner

    NSW Awards for Planning Excellence
    The Station, 2021
     
  • NSW Premiers Award
    For 'Building a Strong Economy'

    Revitalising Newcastle Program, 2019
     
  • Australian Institute of Architects
    Newcastle 'Award for Heritage'

    The Station (EJE Architecture), 2019


Restoration works and enhancements


HCCDC's restoration of The Station's public areas celebrates and enhances heritage in line with Revitalising Newcastle objectives, and allows for the temporary activation of the site.

Completed works 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 ground floor retail, office and amenity spaces.

 

      Platform, piazza and picnic lawn

      HCCDC has completed major landscaping and construction works to create a large and accessible open-air community space that can be used for recreation and events.

      Significant works included filling in the former railway tracks between the original platforms; greenspace landscaping connecting with Market Street Lawn; and transforming the former bus depot into an impressive community piazza.

      The piazza completed in 2020, contains raised planting beds with feature trees and ground planting, bluestone and granite paving, seating, a kids corner play space, smartpoles and lighting as well as interpretive art elements that pay tribute to the sites Aboriginal and European heritage.


      Celebrating heritage through creative design

      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.

      Tributes 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' representing the retired railway line, that light up at night and provide fun and interactive misting spray for cooling off on hot days.

      Other preserved railway features include The Station bell, former train timetables and original platform seating. Learn more about the site's history on a Station Scavenger Hunt.

      All aboard The Flyer


      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.

      Image
      The Flyer - Public Art Installation


      Temporary activation

      We are committed to activating The Station precinct until its end use is identified.

      A true community destination


      The Station is becoming a favourite place for locals and out-of-towners alike with an eclectic mix of activities and retail offerings attracting people to the precinct time and time again. 

      The sites attractions include shopping, cafe offerings, gallery spaces, creative workshops, group fitness and wellbeing classes, kids play and scooting, and a mix of pop-up events including markets, family days, live music and festivals.

      See what's happening at The Station:
      Visit the destination website, and follow The Station on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

        Kids play space and scooter track

        HCCDC has created a fun play space at The Station, that's all about engaging with nature on a large and fun scale in the newly created Piazza area. 

        A huge snake and frog, sensory flowers, balancing obstacles, scooter track, hopscotch and handball courts make up this playful community space!

        The play features are designed to complement the other interactive elements already on site including the misting tracks and the 'Flyer' train; and can be easily relocated to another HCCDC public space once temporary activation of The Station comes to an end, ensuring ongoing community benefit.

        Family-friendly scavenger hunts


        Families can explore The Station and nearby Museum Park on engaging and educational scavenger hunts that reveal hidden gems within the revitalised spaces. 

        The hunts encourage exploration and play on self-guided tours, teaching participants about the unique history of the former railway station's by uncovering clues and solving mystery phrases.

        HCCDC sponsored local 'fun-finder' experts Newy with Kids to create the maps, to provide a free and accessible open-air activity that both adults and children enjoy. The Station's hunt has become a popular activity for families when visiting The Station's kids corner and shops, and can be coupled with a hunt through Museum Park, just a five-minute light rail ride away.


          Gallery

          Video: Le Dîner en Blanc at The Station

          Video: The Station piazza unveiled - November 2020

          Photos: The Station piazza and picnic lawn

          Photos: The Station Kids Corner

          Video: The Station landscaping works - June 2020

          Video: Creating the planter boxes at The Station

          Photos: Grapes of Mirth - Comedy, Wine, Music Festival

          Photos: Friday nights at The Station

          Photos: The Station's Grand Opening Party 2018

          Photos: The Station before restoration works

          Video: The Station - Grand Opening Party2018

          Video: Platform infil works timelapse Oct-Dec 2017