Attractions & sites
The City of Newcastle contains a variety heritage attractions which reveal the indigenous, convict and industrial history of this exciting historic city.
AA Company House
Built by the Australian Agricultural Company in 1848, the house is one of the oldest colliery homesteads surviving in Australia. The house was purchased by Newcastle City Council in 1995, with funding assistance provided by the NSW Heritage Office (now Department of Planning - Heritage Branch).
The Bogey Hole is a popular swimming spot at the foot of Shepherds Hill, beneath King Edward Park in Newcastle. It is located beneath a pseudo headland or prominence and gets battered in heavy seas. It is only about four and a half feet deep. It was built for the personal use of the Commandant in Newcastle.
Cathedral Park is the site of Newcastle's first burial ground, having been proclaimed as a churchyard in 1817. Commandant James Wallis set aside 3 acres for burial purposes adjacent to the church. It continued to be the main place of burials until the opening of cemeteries at Cottage Creek in the 1840s and Sandgate in the 1880s.
When the Civic Theatre was proposed in 1888 there was much debate about where to put the building. In 1925 the Hunter Street/Wheeler Place location was chosen.
Opened in 1929, Newcastle City Hall is one of Newcastle’s most iconic buildings. Newcastle City Hall was originally designed to house both the Council administration and chambers.
A principal reason for the location of a penal settlement in Newcastle was due its resources of coal, timber, lime and salt. For further information on this fascinating aspect of our national history, go to the Coal River website.
The Convict Lumber Yard and Stockade is located near Newcastle Railway Station, 92 Scott Street, Newcastle. Recognised as the earliest convict industrial site in Australia, the Convict Lumber yard is a symbol of the nation's transition from a penal colony to a free society. Significantly, the Lumberyard provides evidence of how important convict labor was in the development of the colonial industrial economy.
The Newcastle War Memorial Cultural Centre was originally the home of the city’s public library, art gallery and conservatorium of music. It was opened in October 1957. The Cultural Centre was designed to be a war memorial of architectural beauty and of practical cultural use to the community.
The Centre features two statues in the foyer. They were designed by Lyndon Dadswell. Dadswell won a design competition to find a sculpture which would represent "youth emerging from the conflict of war and looking with hope and courage to the future." The 3.3 metre bronze statues are of a man and a woman with heads upturned and a broken sword at their feet. The inscription on the foyer wall was the result of yet another competition won by Jessie Sheridan-McLoughlin of Cessnock. The inscription set above the heads of the bronze figures reads:
In minds enobled here,
the noble dead shall live.
Fort Scratchley Historic Site
Fort Scratchley Historic Site is a fascinating piece of Newcastle's past, overlooking Newcastle's magnificent coastline and iconic Nobbys headland.
Lead Light Tower
On the corner of Brown and Tyrrell Sts in Newcastle is a disused navigational tower which looks like a standard battlement from a medieval castle.
After the controversial removal of a windmill, an obelisk was built on the hill in 1850. Obelisk Hill is now a popular park and lookout with expansive views over the lower Hunter plain.
New South Wales has around a hundred ocean baths and there are several in Newcastle, including the Newcastle Ocean Baths and the Merewether Baths.
Wreck of the Adolphe
The wreck of the French four-masted barque Adolphe lies off the Stockton breakwall. The account of the wreck is a story of the courageous and skilful work of the lifeboat crew who saved every life on board.