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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Former Newcastle Railway Station’s new lease on life

It’s been a long time coming, and now the former Newcastle Railway Station is ready to embark on its next chapter.

The $6 million landscaping project at the site was officially unveiled as The Station Piazza today by Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes.

“It’s actually wonderful at a personal level to be here to see the change in the city,” he said.

“At the time, it was a bold decision and there was a lot of controversy about elements, it was a deeply democratic process, as it should have been, there were people with strong views on every aspect of the city’s revitalisation.”

Construction began in March, with landscaping between Market Street Lawn and the former bus depot, opening better connections between the city and the sea.

The site boasts several features that give a nod to the station’s past, including a misting feature that shoots up out of the former rail line to represent steam, and a fire pit lighting feature.

The misting feature at The Station Piazza prior to its official unveiling today. Photo: Peter Stoop

“This is guaranteed public space for the people of Newcastle in perpetuity as far as I’m concerned,” Minister Stokes said.

“That’s the point of delivering these public spaces, it was all about the vision of ensuring that the city could be united again, that there wasn’t a scar through the centre of the city that divided it from its amazing foreshore, instead it was to be an inclusive space.”

Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation Acting Chief Executive, Valentina Misevska, said it was important to recognise The Station’s history.

“We were pleased to work with the Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council and other experts on the cultural aspects of the design, and I’m so thrilled that the site has incorporated some of the area’s Aboriginal heritage,” she said.

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