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Shepherds Hill Cottage set to enjoy new lease of life

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One of the city’s most iconic structures, Shepherds Hill Cottage, could soon enjoy a new lease on life… as an eatery.

A development application (DA) is being lodged for the construction of a commercial kitchen and improved amenities at the King Edward Park site, allowing the historic building to begin its next chapter as a potential food and drink premises. 

Since the 1890s, Shepherds Hill Cottage has stood watch over Newcastle and was originally used a mess hall for colonial military officers. 

It also served as an integral command position up to the end of World War II.

The defence site simultaneously manned the Royal Australian Navy, Army and Royal Australian Air Force in the same conflict, too.

From the early 2000s, the cottage was leased to Marine Rescue NSW as one of its headquarters until it sustained severe damage in the 2015 super storm. 

Extensive repairs and restoration work were undertaken in 2021.

Now, City of Newcastle (CN), which has worked with a heritage architect to carefully restore the address, is moving ahead to finalise the renewal of Shepherds Hill Cottage. 

Council’s begun the process of re-opening the site to the public for the first time in decades, activating a long dormant space that sits at the mid-way point of the city’s Bathers Way coastal walk.

In addition, CN will seek expressions of interest from potential operators for the renewed premises later this year. 

“The Shepherds Hill locale is a focal point of our coastline, thanks to its breathtaking location at the top of King Edward Park on the Bathers Way,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“We’ve invested more than $1 million into a significant restoration, which has revitalised the Heritage-listed cottage inside and out and improved the amenity and accessibility of the site for the community. 

“We’re pleased to be moving towards the final stage of this renewal project.

“It’ll identify options for use of the site and allow the community to once again spend time enjoying this historically-significant building.

Amanda Hinds, representing the National Trust Hunter Branch, commended council on its efforts with the Shepherds Hill Cottage complex.

“The repair and restoration works carried out have brought about a quality outcome, which now has the building ready to be adaptively reused and inhabited once again,” she said.

“This is a great result for the people of Newcastle and heritage in general.”

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