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.
A revitalised station
Following extensive community consultation, significant heritage restoration works, repairs, and the filling of areas between the former platforms - 'The Station' as it is now known, is seeing a new lease of life.
HCCDC hosted a spectacular launch event in September 2018 marking the commencement of Renew Newcastle's temporary activation of the site - and the multipurpose space is now home to a range of events as well as hospitality, education, retail, art and innovation platforms.
Restoration of the public areas of The Station precinct was completed by HCCDC in 2018 allowing for the temporary activation of the site.
The important works, inline with Revitalising Newcastle objectives to celebrate and enhance heritage, included:
- filling the areas between the former platforms
- restoration and reveal of the original verandah that had previously been closed in
- providing new access to The Station from Scott Street
- 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 and a competitive EOI process, Renew Newcastle has been leading the temporary activation of The Station.
Since the spectacular launch event in September 2018, the multipurpose space has been home to a range of events and activation attractions based on Renew's four key pillars:
- people’s platform
- innovation and education platform
- event platform
- & hospitality platform.
A second EOI opportunity for the long-term design and use of the precinct will soon be presented. The EOI process will identify how a restored station that incorporates ideas from the community will be delivered, providing an economically and socially sustainable attraction for the city.
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 displayed on the former Newcastle Railway Station platform can be 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 team invested over 500 hours into the Flyer’s design process, and over 1000 hours into fabrication and assembly - a project made possible thanks to Newcastle Port Community Contribution funding.
The Flyer is now on permanent display at The Station
Located on the former Platform 1
Corner of Scott & Watt Streets, Newcastle
The Station - Grand Opening Event
Platform Infil - Construction Timelapse
October - December 2017