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Help shape how we manage Newcastle’s rich heritage

Community members are invited to have their say on how to manage the city’s heritage assets and better recognise Newcastle’s Aboriginal history.


A rich portfolio of local conservation areas and buildings are noted for their character and heritage significance in The City of Newcastle Heritage Strategy.

An updated version, which is currently on public exhibition, places greater emphasis on Newcastle’s original inhabitants in guiding management of the city’s historical treasures over the next decade.

Highlighted are the Awabakal and Worimi people’s early encounters with European settlers and subsequent history of dispossession, as well as the reconciliatory 2016 recognition by the Geographical Names Board of eight places and landmarks with dual Aboriginal names.

“We are engaging with the local community and stakeholders to communicate our commitment to the protection, support and promotion of Newcastle’s heritage,” Councillor Peta Winney-Baartz said.

“Our city has a unique mix of heritage conservation areas, archaeological sites, heritage-listed buildings and places that are recognised and protected for their character and heritage significance.

“The Awabakal and Worimi peoples, descendants of the traditional owners of the land, have ties dating back tens of thousands of years, and this updated strategy better considers their ancient and ongoing connection as well as their hardships since settlement in a fitting, unvarnished history.

“This is important because Newcastle is home to one of Australia’s largest Aboriginal populations, a diverse community drawn from many language groups which identify with, foster and protect their distinctive cultures, beliefs and languages through connection to land and each other.

“The new strategy emphasises our rich Aboriginal and European heritage and the important role the City’s public exhibitions and performances play at our museum, art gallery, libraries and theatres, all of which celebrate our cultural heritage.”

The updated heritage strategy also builds on the Newcastle 2030 Community Strategic Plan (CSP). “Through the CSP, the Newcastle community strongly expressed its wish for local heritage to be valued, enhanced and celebrated.

“This heritage strategy allows Council to articulate a framework for achieving this vision, and to meet its statutory responsibilities.”

Community input will be considered when the draft Heritage Strategy 2020-2030 is finalised by Council later this year.

Community members can review the draft strategy and have their say until Monday 13 July.

Image caption: Toby CEDAR Op Nor Beizam (Shark Mask) White 2018 bamboo cane, twine, raffia, pearl shell, acrylic paint, feather 80.0 x 56.0 x 31.0cm Les Renfrew Bequest 2019 Courtesy the artist. In 2019-2020, 20 of 37 works purchased for the Newcastle Art Gallery collection were by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists. This was one of those works.

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