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City seaport of New South Wales, Australia, at the mouth of the Hunter River 167 km north of Sydney. Founded in 1801, Newcastle owes its position and importance to the presence in the area of large coal deposits, which were discovered by Lieutenant Shortland in 1797.
The city, which is on the Tasman Sea, developed after the discovery of rich coalfields in the area. It is the Australia's chief coal-mining region. Major expansion following the construction of the steelworks in 1915. In 1999 the steelworks closed.
It has Australia's largest concentration of heavy industry, and its products include machinery, ships, metal goods, chemicals, fertilizers and textiles. Its port exports coal, iron and steel, wheat, wool and lumber, and by tonnage of cargo is one of Australia's four leading ports. And also the largest coal exporting port in the world.
In 1989 Newcastle was rocked by an earthquake, which resulted in loss of life and millions of dollars of damage. I wasn't living there then, and while Newcastle is about 2 hours north of Sydney and I was 2 hours west of Sydney, I felt the tremor. I was in a supermarket at the time and my first thought after seeing the boxes sitting on top of the aisles sway was that a car had backed into a pylon in the underground carpark underneath me.
The town is also known for it's thriving arts scene. Something which has really taken off, coincidentally, with the closure of the steelworks. While the place was trying to come to terms with the loss of thousands of jobs and even it's own identity. Notably The Shoot Out (a 24 hour filmmaking competition) started in 1999 and started to fill that void. The Shoot Out is just one of many cultural events that take place in the Hunter Region.
While I don't live there now, and I wasn't born there, I consider it my hometown. The people, the places, the personality of the region... it's like it adopted me as one of her own.
Accompanying this hub are photos taken around Newcastle and Lake Macquarie...
Newcastle Related Links
The Young People's Encyclopaedia, Volume 4, 1967, Southern Cross International
Encyclopedia of The World and its People, Volume 16, Bay Books.
Merit Students Encyclopedia, Volume x, P.F. Collier Inc, 1979.