• Claire Bradshaw

Celebrating 40 Years of Charlestown Square


From the 1st of July until the 9th of August this year, there’ll be no better place to be than Charlestown Square. We’re talking 40 days of celebrations, activations and giveaways, all to commemorate a significant milestone for the centre: its 40th birthday. And with Charlestown Square having been one of the locals since the 1970's, what better way to celebrate than ’70's style?

During the school holidays (6th–21st July), kids can take a spin around a 10 x 12-metre ’70's inspired roller-skating rink on Level 1 near Myer. On Saturday 13th July, there’ll be a disco party and a centre-wide sale day, with giveaways, activations and performances throughout the Square. Shoppers will also have access to a ‘disco room’ to snap a 70's-style shot for Instagram.

Over the 40 days, visitors can also take a trip down memory lane with a 2x2-metre photo cube celebrating Charlestown Square through the decades, including a timeline of photos. And while it may be the Square’s birthday, they’re the ones handing out the presents with over $40,000 in giveaways. There’ll be a $10,000 Helloworld holiday to a destination of choice up for grabs, as well as daily instant-win prizes such as gift cards, movie tickets and more.

Charlestown Square has come a long way since its

opening on March 27th, 1979. The first shopping centre development in the Lake Macquarie region, it was a $13 million project encompassing 60 stores, anchored by a Kmart and a Coles supermarket (then called Coles New World). Since then, the centre has undergone significant investment in extensions and modifications. Upgrades occurred in 1983, 1989 (including the addition of the region’s first Myer department store, and the inclusion of the first modern food court, called ‘Charlie’s Magic Eatery’), 1996 and 2000.

The largest of these redevelopments occurred in

2010 when Charlestown Square doubled in size to 88,000m2. Costing $470 million, this development provided 1,250 permanent or part-time retail jobs, making it a major employer in the region. A whopping 110 stores were added, bringing the total number of retail stores to 280, and parking increased by more than 1,000 new spaces to a total of 3,500. The opening of the new and improved centre attracted thousands of visitors, satisfying shopping requirements that were previously sought outside the Hunter region.

Notably, the 2010 development also included some groundbreaking energy- and water-saving features, reflecting the decision made when the centre was first built that minimal environmental impact should occur during construction. As a result of these measures, carbon emissions were reduced by 89%, from 97 gas emissions per square metre in 2005 to just 18 gas emissions per square metre in 2016.

In 2016, further exciting additions ensured Charlestown Square was still the premier shopping destination in the area. Several international ‘mini-major’ retailers were brought into the centre, including, for the first time in the Hunter, Swedish fast-fashion giant H&M, as well as national favourite Cotton On Mega. International beauty chain Sephora followed in 2017, opening its first store in the Hunter at the Square.

Today, Charlestown Square attracts some 14 million visitors a year – the most of any shopping centre in the region. So what’s next? Here’s a sneak peek…

In late 2019, the centre will launch The Corner, Newcastle’s newest dining and entertainment precinct. Revitalising the centre’s north-east corner, the $10 million development aims to showcase the best of the Hunter’s burgeoning food and café scene, supporting both popular and emerging local food heroes and introducing new food and beverage vendors to the area. The standalone precinct will also include an outdoor performance space, art installations by local artists and an allocation for a regular rotation of food trucks. Visitors can expect events and live music by local artists as well as a day-to-night dining experience.

For more details about Charlestown Square and the ‘Charlie turns 40’ birthday celebrations and giveaways, visit www.charlestownsquare.com.au

IMAGES:

1st: Charlestown Square in June, 1987, 2nd: Kmart in March, 1979, 3rd: Maskeys Meats in May, 1987, 4th: WWII Display in September, 1990

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