Bright future ahead for Shepherds Hill Cottage

22 Mar 2024

The community will be given a chance to enjoy one of the city's best vantage points as City of Newcastle (CN) moves to finalise the renewal of Shepherds Hill Cottage. 

CN has worked with a heritage architect to carefully restore the iconic cottage, which was built atop King Edward Park in the 1890s. 

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes (centre) with City of Newcastle staff Sheridan Nickalls, Scott Moore, Nick Wells and Bronwyn Lawler outside the restored Shepherds Hill Cottage.Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes (centre) with City of Newcastle staff Sheridan Nickalls, Scott Moore, Nick Wells and Bronwyn Lawler outside the restored Shepherds Hill Cottage.

Following the meticulous specialised trade work required to complete this important restoration, CN is now in a position to begin 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 Bather's Way coastal walk. 

A development application will now be lodged shortly for the construction of a new commercial kitchen and improved amenities at the King Edward Park site, allowing the historic building to begin a new chapter as a potential food and drink premises. 

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

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes highlighted the importance of the site's heritage and the unique possibilities for a potential future operator. 

"The Shepherds Hill site is a focal point of our coastline thanks to its breathtaking location at the top of King Edward Park on the Bathers Way, offering spectacular panoramic views of the Pacific Ocea and the Newcastle coastline," Cr Nelmes said. 

"We have invested more than $1 million into a significant restoration overseen by a heritage architect, 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, which will 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, said the that the National Trust would like to commend the Council on their 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," Ms Hinds said.

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

Aerial shot of Shepherds Hill Cottage at King Edward Park.Aerial shot of the restored Shepherds Hill Cottage at King Edward Park.

Shepherds Hill Cottage has stood watch over the city from King Edward Park since the 1890s and was originally used a mess hall for colonial military officers. 

The military site served as an integral command position up to the end of World War Two and is one of the only coastal defence sites in Australia manned simultaneously during World War Two by the Royal Australian Navy, Army and Royal Australian Air Force.  

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

Extensive repairs and restoration work to the Cottage were undertaken in 2021, and engagement with Heritage NSW has informed plans for the adaptive re-use of the cottage as a potential food and drinks premises.