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A year in review: February 2020


It was a busy month in February, with Newcastle Weekly covering the declaration of Stockton as a natural disaster zone, a podcast for busy women, and the annual Surfest competition. Here are a few of our top picks from the month.

State government declares Stockton a disaster zone

The severe erosion at Stockton Beach finally received some desperately-needed support in February, with the state government declaring Newcastle a natural disaster area following the extreme weather conditions throughout the month.

The news was welcomed by both the council and community, with work being undertaken to relocate cabins and close areas to the public following the declaration.

You can read the full story here.

Couples to bid for dream wedding

Newcastle-based marriage celebrants Monty King and Monty Haron auctioned off an all-inclusive wedding package, valued at more than $50,000, on Valentine’s Day – Friday 14 February – at Stanley Park, Fullerton Cove.

All proceeds from the auction were donated to the Starlight Children’s Foundation, which aims to brighten the lives of seriously ill kids by replacing pain, fear and stress with fun, joy and laughter.

Following the event, the pair also conducted a second auction in May at Adams Peak Country Estate in Broke to raise funds for Run DIPG – an organisation dedicated to improving outcomes for children diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG).

Click here for the full story.

Marriage celebrants Monty King and Monty Haron at Stanley Park, Fullerton Cove, ahead of the charity auction. Photo: Peter Stoop

Support group helps people find hope

Newcastle Weekly journalist Elizabeth Symington caught up with Julie Hamilton, the founder of Hope Floats – an organisation to bring widows together to help them move forward after their tragic loss.

Julie always knew she wanted to find a “different sort of happiness” after losing her husband, Patrick, to cancer.

She sought counselling and support but felt like there was something missing, so she created the group.

You can find the full story here.

Local legend’s Surfest test

We spoke with Ryan Callinan ahead of the Surfest Newcastle Pro in March. Callinan was the top local seed in the men’s Surfest Newcastle Pro and placed second in the final.

Callinan said he was excited to compete in his hometown.

“Just to see some of the world’s best come to Newcastle and surf waves like everyone does around here all the time is pretty cool,” he said.

Read the full story here.

Women join forces to raise funds for worthy cause

One of our covers in February featured Anne Kempton and Wilma Simmons.

Each Wednesday, a large group of women gathered at the Timeless Textiles gallery in Hunter Street, Newcastle, to create art and work for a worthy cause.

The group spent 12 months making flowers out of fibre or textiles in the lead-up to International Women’s Day on Sunday 8 March.

The Fearless Flowers project was launched in 2019 as part of a rally organised by 2019 Newcastle Citizen of the Year Jill Emberson.

For the full story, click here.

Music festival’s Newcastle pit stop

We didn’t know it at the time, but this was to be festivalgoers’ last taste of live music outdoors in Newcastle for months at The Drop Festival.

The event was held in March near Bar Beach and we caught up with The Pits, which opened the show.

The local band was excited to play alongside some of Australia’s greatest music acts, including Boy and Bear and The Presets.

Click here to read more.

The Pits’ Mathew Probert, Mitch Irwin, Boyd McCormack, Dain Watts, Josh Brown and Tristan Lacey. Photo: Phoebe Metcalfe Photography

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