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GALLERY: Hamilton South community on the Up&Up

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“Community Strong” – they are the words that have been used in the new murals that adorn the back of the business precinct in Hamilton South.

The five murals, on the corner of Fowler and Ogden Streets, were completed last week, thanks to a City of Newcastle Rapid Response Grant. 

Led by Newcastle’s 2022 Senior Citizen of the Year Jan Chamberlain, the street art is hoped to offer children in the suburb an opportunity to take pride in their community.

Jan heads Hamilton South Community Solutions, a dedicated group that works to improve the amenity of the area while reducing the stigma surrounding social housing whilst supporting local residents through information, activities and workshops. 

“The murals have First Nations references and positive messages about maintaining a community spirit,” Jan says.

“The kids from the area did a survey three years ago and they said they needed more colour and more flowers.

“The flowers that were included featured amongst the urban art reminding of strength in community.”

Jan says the murals are the handiwork of local children under the supervision of Newcastle-based collaborative urban art outfit Up&Up Inspirations.

“It was a large task and Up&Up went beyond the brief,” she told Newcastle Weekly.

“They were committed to community wellbeing, and they even repaired and revitalised the communal letterboxes, giving them a new life.

“I can’t thank them enough, the murals have given a new life to the area with great feedback from the community and children.” 

The design and painting of the walls took place over four weeks during the month of March.

“Jan was the backbone to the fruition of this project,” Up&Up owners Faith and Shane said.

“Not only did she write and successfully receive the City of Newcastle’s Rapid Response Grant to fund this project, but her ongoing efforts and commitment into the neighbourhood was instrumental into the success and community participation of this project.

“Over the month, we were very, very excited to have completed our mural project with the Hamilton South community and had help from Charlie, a young local with a keen eye for graffiti and street art.

“The intention of the mural was to send powerful social messages to the city about the strength and spirit of Hamilton South. 

“After weeks of engagement and design development, and with the support and elbow grease of residents, shop owners and tenants, we collaboratively co-designed a mural that both honoured the community’s history whilst simultaneously creating new shared memories and a collective identity. 

“Put simply, it came as no surprise to have agreed on the words “Community Strong” sprawled across the mural.”

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