Your Newcastle, direct to your ears
Newcastle personalities share their stories and experts discuss major projects and events in a podcast dedicated exclusively to Newcastle.
Hosted by Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, the first season of Your Newcastle features Merewether top seed surfer Jackson Baker, professional skateboarder and Olympic Games hopeful Poppy Starr Olsen, MasterChef Australia contestant turned Cakeboi owner Reece Hignell, and Citizen of the Year 2021 Professor Dr Kelvin Kong.
The podcast is a way to not only entertain and inform audiences, but to broaden City of Newcastle’s reach and encourage the community to have their say on what matters to them.
We’ll have some fun along the way, with a few unexpected stories, fun facts and lots of laughs thrown in. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, you might just discover something new about Your Newcastle.
The podcast launch follows the success of the Newcastle Libraries Real podcast, which boasts subscribers in more than 25 countries. Its Newcastle’s First Storytellers series features an episode with Indigenous storyteller and member of the Stolen Generation, Dr Donna Meehan, who returns to Your Newcastle Season One, which has been downloaded almost 1,000 times and won Podcast of the Year at the Newcastle Podcast Festival Awards.
Streaming via your favourite podcast platform, Your Newcastle unpacks projects such as South Newcastle Beach Bathers Way as well as City of Newcastle strategies and plans including the Community Strategic Plan, Destination Marketing Plan and the Blackbutt Reserve Plan of Management.
How to subscribe
Your Newcastle podcast is available now.
Download and subscribe to Your Newcastle online at omny.fm/shows/your-newcastle, via Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. Episodes are 20 to 30 minutes long and released weekly.
Episode 10 - It's all happening in historic Hamilton
Shaped by a diverse, multicultural community, Hamilton is full of rich history. In recent years Beaumont Street has undergone revitalisation, with the City of Newcastle recently completing an upgrade to James Street Plaza, which included the installation of new artworks, lighting and seating to improve the local amenity. 500m away, the City is developing the Gregson Park Masterplan to guide the park’s vision and renewal over the next 10 to 15 years. Guest host Councillor Carol Duncan invites BIA Coordinator, local business owner and Community Group of the Year 2021 representative, Janice Musumeci, to explore some of the activations we might soon see in Hamilton, including markets, live music and theatre.
Episode 9 - "Give peace a chance"
Newcastle has a long and proud history of peace activism, with former Lord Mayor the late Joy Cummings AM declaring the City of Newcastle a Nuclear Free Zone on 29 June 1982. In 2021 the peace movement continues, with the City reaffirming this declaration and working with Hunter Peace Group to establish a dedicated Peace Park at Tighes Hill, symbolising that which has been fought for and must continue to be fought for. Attending her first peace march at the age of 16 in Scotland in 1958, Hunter Peace Group Secretary and former trade unionist Lynda Forbes shares her views on the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal between Australia, the UK and the US and the importance of diplomacy.
Episode 8 - Delivering targeted support through the second wave of COVID-19
When the second wave of COVID-19 and lockdowns struck, City of Newcastle acted swiftly to expand its award-winning $5.5 million Community and Economic Response Package to fill the gaps in the State and Federal Governments’ response at a grassroots level. To mobilise immediate on-ground support and help stimulate post-pandemic economic recovery, the City unlocked $1.25 million in Rapid Response Grants, Community Support and Infrastructure Grants, as well as Special Business Rate funding and an expanded capital works program to keep Novocastrians in jobs. Joining guest host Deputy Lord Mayor Cr Declan Clausen, Curious Legends Artistic Director Mitchell Reese and Erin Beard of Family Support Newcastle share how this additional funding helped their respective organisations deliver targeted support where it was most needed.
Episode 7 - On your bike - ditching the car for a cheaper and cleaner transport option
City of Newcastle is investing in improved cycleway networks to benefit residents, commuters, and visitors alike, shifting public perception by providing a genuine transport option that is a cheaper, cleaner, and healthier alternative to get from A to B. Successful delivery requires investment in safe, connected infrastructure and thoughtful planning as well as behaviour change, so how do we achieve this whilst taking the community along for the ride? Joining the discussion is City of Newcastle Councillor and Cycleways Advisory Group Chairman, John Mackenzie, and Newcastle Cycleways Movement President, Sam Reich.
Episode 6 - Against all odds: the Lauren Parker story
Born a talented able-bodied triathlete, Lauren Parker’s life was turned upside down during a horrific accident in 2017 when she was training for the Ironman event and her tyres burst, sending her careering into a guard rail at 45km/h. She was told she would never walk again. This is the gruelling and inspiring story of Lauren Parker, whose grit and determination has seen her become a silver Paralympic medallist and a three-time world champion against all odds. A proud Novocastrian, Parker shares her experiences wearing the green and gold and the daily battles we don’t see.
Episode 5 - 10 years and 104 games: Sam Poolman calls time on her professional netball career
Crowned City of Newcastle’s 2021 Young Citizen of the Year, Sam Poolman has called time on her professional netball career, ending on a high with a whirlwind season with the GIANTS that saw everything from interstate travel and lockdowns to COVID tests and quarantine. A trailblazer for women in sport, Poolman shares some of her career highlights spanning 10 years and 104 games at the elite level, including charity work with ASPIRE Netball and captaining Australia’s Fast5 Netball team in the World Series.
Episode 4 - Finding a fixed address: Newcastle's social and affordable housing crisis
Newcastle is facing a tsunami of need for social and affordable housing due to job losses, rent hikes and stagnant wage growth, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Guest host Councillor Peta Winney-Baartz joins Compass Housing’s Events and Community Relations, Michelle Faithfull, to explore the changing demographics of people experiencing homeless and what that looks like beyond visibility of those sleeping on the streets, including couch surfing and sleeping in cars. Hunter Homeless Connect takes its community services directory online, while City of Newcastle signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the NSW Government to identify opportunities for social and affordable housing development in addition to the mandating 15% of new dwellings as such under its Affordable Housing Contributions Scheme.
Episode 3 - Diversifying our port to embrace renewables
The Port of Newcastle is the third-largest in Australia and contributes $1.5 billion to the national GDP. Accounting for 4,400 ship movements per year, the port is currently only operating at 50% capacity, with plenty of scope to embrace the transition to renewable energy under an ambitious diversification plan, backed by a commitment to derive 50% of its revenue from non-coal-related exports by 2030. Leading the conversation locally around the technical realities of maintaining a highly skilled workforce to ensure economic prosperity for future generations is the Hunter Jobs Alliance. Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody and Hunter Jobs Alliance Coordinator Warrick Jordan weigh in on the discussion.
Episode 2 - On air with Tanya Wilks and Jess Farchione
Dominating a combined 99.9% share of the Newcastle radio market between their respective breakfast shows, Tanya Wilks (Triple M) and Jess Farchione (Hit 106.9) join host Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes to share how they paved career paths as prominent local women in radio and some of the highlights of the job, including charity work for Lifeline, domestic violence support services and more. Reaching listeners in their homes, cars and workplaces, we hear about Tanya and Jess’ real, unscripted moments on air and how it offers a window into their personal lives.
Episode 1 - From trainee to permanent employee: Yvonne Edwards' story
In January 2022, City of Newcastle will welcome 12 new trainees and apprentices under its dedicated Trainees and Apprentices Program. In this episode, host Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes takes five with former Trainee Arts Administrator Yvonne Edwards, who, after two years based at the Civic Theatre, secured a permanent position as Museum Administration Officer at Newcastle Museum. Yvonne shares her experiences and achievements, including the opportunity as a proud Yolngu woman to work on the City of Newcastle Reconciliation Action Plan 2021-2024.
Episode 10 - Our plan to reach Net Zero Emissions by 2040
Did you know, 60% of street lighting and counting across the City of Newcastle is LED? Or that Summerhill Waste Management Centre is home to a five-megawatt solar farm? In this episode, Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Declan Clausen returns as co-host with Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Sustainability Manager Adam Clarke to shine a light on some of City of Newcastle’s sustainability initiatives to tackle climate change, including the City’s new Climate Action Plan adopted in 2020. We explore where we’ve been, where we’re headed, and how the City aims to reach Net Zero Emissions by 2040.
Episode 9 - Back to our artistic roots with Mitch Revs
From humble origins, Novocastrian artist Mitch Revs, known for his signature colourful cartoon style murals and prints, takes us on the journey of his rise as a prominent artist. Now with a gallery and shopfront on Hunter Street and expanded product offerings including art workshops, Mitch has turned his attention to business development as one of 15 participants in City of Newcastle’s Product Development Mentoring Program. Mitch and the Lord Mayor clear up some beef about the depiction of the Lord Mayor in one of Mitch’s original artworks of Merewether Beach. Hear more from Mitch Revs on his brand-new podcast with Shaun Wood, Art Talk.
Episode 8 - Teaching young men empathy, respect and consent
Schools-based youth mentoring program Top Blokes Foundation is expanding into the City of Newcastle, educating boys and young men on respect, empathy and consent and equipping them with the skills to deal with mental health, drugs and alcohol, anger management and more. Having signed onto City of Newcastle’s COVID-19 Greater Newcastle Youth Employment Charter in 2020 and pledging to support the training and education of our young people, Top Blokes’ Head of Programs and Operations, Amy Harvison, joins Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes to unpack the importance of preventative education.
Episode 7 - A husband, four children, two dogs and loyal friends: behind Mel Histon of Got Your Back Sista
A City of Newcastle foundation charity partner since 2017, Got Your Back Sista provides practical, on-the-ground assistance to women and children escaping domestic and family violence. In April 2021, City of Newcastle pledged to continue to support Got Your Back Sista and Nova for Women and Children for a further three years, having raised more than $60,000 for the two charities. In this episode, Got Your Back Sista Founder, Director & CEO Melissa Histon shares what led her to establish the organisation and how it’s making an impact, and explores the concepts of coercive control and consent.
Episode 6 - Dive in to the Newcastle Ocean Baths upgrade
Newcastle’s Most Miserable Man, Paul Scott, weighs in on Stage 1 of the Newcastle Ocean Baths upgrade to the pools and promenade as a member of City of Newcastle’s Community Reference Group. Project Planning Coordinator Meaghan Bennett steps us through the planning, consultation and design process and the retention of the baths’ iconic features, including the bleachers and heritage façade.
Episode 5 - Newcastle Airport is ready for take-off
Newcastle Airport has faced many challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, not least of which was a 99% reduction in passengers at the height of the pandemic. In positive news, the Federal Government announced $66 million in funding to upgrade the airport runway to ‘Code E’ status to withstand international aircraft, opening up potential new destinations to Newcastle and the Hunter including New Zealand, the USA and Europe. City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath joins Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes as co-host to explore what this means for the region, and the collaborative advocacy that got the project over the line, with Newcastle Airport CEO Dr Peter Cock.
Episode 4 - Women in Leadership: Meet the Lord Mayors
Local Government is the level of government closest to the people. So, how can we be agents of change? Joining Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes remotely in this episode is fellow female Lord Mayors Sally Capp (City of Melbourne), Anna Reynolds (City of Hobart) and Sandy Verschoor (City of Adelaide). Together they share some of the wins and challenges that have shaped them into the leaders they are today and reflect on their cities’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and other major issues of the day, including climate change and diversity.
Episode 3 - Our backyard is your backyard
City of Newcastle’s parks and playgrounds are an extension of our backyards, providing safe, inclusive spaces for play. In this episode, Vicki McCarter of Friends of Stevenson Park recounts how she worked with Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes to turn the Mayfield West playground from a basic climbing frame, held together by gaffer tape, into a modern, inclusive play space through a $1.2 million upgrade. The Lord Mayor reveals her motivation for running for Council in 2008 as a young mother of three children under five, while fellow Councillor Peta Winney-Baartz and Manager Parks & Recreation Lynn Duffy touch on the City’s Playground Replacement Program and the importance of play.
Episode 2 - On life, love and manifestation: Jackie Gillies
City of Newcastle Ambassador, philanthropist, psychic medium and Real Housewives of Melbourne star Jackie Gillies opens up about her love story with husband Ben Gillies (Silverchair) and the gruelling IVF journey they recently embarked upon before becoming pregnant with twins. This inspiring chat from one female leader to another covers motherhood, living authentically and everything in between. Plus, Jackie shares her visions for Newcastle!
Episode 1 - Get ready for New Annual 2.0
Joined by co-host Councillor Carol Duncan, Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes recaps the success of City of Newcastle’s inaugural arts and cultural festival, New Annual, in February 2021 with project manager Kate Britton and Curious Legends Artistic Director, Mitchell Reese (Taylor’s Run). With strong support from the City of Newcastle for the local creative arts sector, which was decimated by COVID-19, this episode offers a sneak peek of what’s to come for the second iteration of New Annual festival in September 2021.
Episode 10 - Discover Blackbutt Reserve these Winter School Holidays
Discover Blackbutt Reserve these school holidays and immerse yourself in nature. Occupying over 182 hectares of natural bushland, packed with winding nature trails, wildlife exhibits, playgrounds and picnic areas, Blackbutt is sure to delight whether it’s your first visit or 100th. In this episode, Blackbutt Ranger Doyle Grieve and Mini Ranger Claire walk us through Blackbutt’s star attractions and wildlife exhibits, including the much-loved adventure playground, and some fun facts about emus.
Episode 9 - People of Museum Park
If you follow Newcastle Museum’s socials, you might be familiar with the People of Museum Park series, featuring the many and varied users of Museum Park, from local skateboarders to dog walkers and out-of-towners visiting Newcastle. Joining us to shine a spotlight on these everyday Novocastrian personalities, and the hip things happening at Museum Park, is Newcastle Museum Director Julie Baird and Visitor Services Officer Alexandra Morris.
Episode 8 - Newcastle Goes Crazy for Cakeboi
There’s a new bakery on the block! MasterChef Australia Season 10 and Season 12 contestant Reece Hignell is the “bakerpreneur” behind Cakeboi in Hamilton, already a firm fan favourite with locals and visitors as far flung as Sydney and Melbourne. In this episode, we take five with Reece about his inspiration for the business – his nan; the ingredients of success, and what it’s like to be part of the Hamilton business community... with a few funny stories thrown in!
Episode 7 - How COVID-19 Has Changed Travel
COVID-19 has changed the way we travel. With many of us choosing to ‘Holiday Here This Year’, tourism operators have pivoted to deal with the impacts of the pandemic and entice locals and visitors to explore their own backyards. Ben Ogden, owner of Newy Rides, and City of Newcastle’s Destination Marketing Officer, Anita Monticone, explore this changing landscape and what draws visitors back to Newcastle again and again.
Episode 6 - The Power of Country: Dr Kelvin Kong and Dr Donna Meehan
Australia’s first recognised Indigenous surgeon, Professor Kelvin Kong, was crowned City of Newcastle’s 2021 Citizen of the Year in January. Joined by local storyteller and member of the Stolen Generation, Dr Donna Meehan, we take a deep dive on the importance of giving First Nations people a voice in our community and addressing the disparity in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations. Prof Kong joins us remotely from Darwin, where he is undertaking outreach work with vulnerable communities, to talk about the powerful experience of being on Country.
Episode 5 - South Newcastle Beach, the Starr of the Show
City of Newcastle is constructing a new skatepark and bowl at South Newcastle Beach, part of the City’s multimillion-dollar improvements to Bathers Way. Professional skateboarder Poppy Starr Olsen weighs in on the project’s significance to local skaters, the design of which she helped shape through the Community Reference Group. City of Newcastle’s Coastal Revitalisation Program Manager Matt Blandford provides an update on the broader project, which commenced in August 2020 and includes the construction of the Bathers Way shared path from Shortland Esplanade to King Edward Park, improved access to South Newcastle Beach, parking, landscaping, lighting and accessibility improvements as well as new fitness equipment and a café/kiosk.
Episode 4 - Shaping Newcastle's Future
City of Newcastle’s Community Strategic Plan (CSP) is our map to a brighter future for all of us. The CSP reflects what we value and drives the delivery of projects over the next 10 years to make Newcastle a place we love to live. It supports unity and opportunities for all in creating an inclusive community. In this episode, we take five with Gamilaroi and Weilwun woman, Cherie Johnson, owner of Speaking in Colour, about what excites her about Newcastle’s future, joined by City of Newcastle’s Director Strategy & Engagement, Brett Smith.
Episode 3 - Searching for Grant Funding Just Got Easier
Grant funding is critical to the operation of many local businesses, community groups, sporting clubs and not-for-profits. But what if there was an easier way to search and apply for funding opportunities? Well, now there is. In this episode we break down Newcastle Grant Finder, an initiative brought to you by City of Newcastle's Economic Development team and powered by GrantGuru. Maryland Fletcher Football Club Vice President and chief grant applicant, Tom Marshall, offers his insights and how Newcastle Grant Finder simplifies the process.
Episode 2 - 10,000 Reasons to Move to Newcastle
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, City of Newcastle launched an economic development initiative called New Move to jump-start local economic recovery. With $10,000 relocation grants up for grabs for innovative entrepreneurs, Virtual Intern Director Tricia Martin and Yarno Managing Director Lachy Gray share their experiences and insights on starting and operating a business in Newcastle and the benefits.
Episode 1 - Riding the wave: Newcastle is an events city
The World Surf League’s Rip Curl Newcastle Cup might be over, but the City is still riding a wave of positive momentum, attracting an increasing number of major events including the City’s inaugural New Annual arts and cultural festival in February, which drew over 30,000 revellers. In this episode, we chat with Surfest organiser Warren Smith and all-star Novocastrian surfer Jackson Baker about the electric atmosphere that swept the City during the WSL.