Jubilee Memorial returns home to Parnell Place Park

30 Jul 2018

Newcastle's newly refurbished Jubilee Memorial was reinstalled in Parnell Place Park today to mark the opening of Local Government Week.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes joined former Lord Mayors John McNaughton and John Tate to rededicate the monument, which was originally erected to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Municipality of Newcastle's incorporation in 1909 and signal the city's enduring connection to the coal industry.

The 109-year-old structure, commonly referred to as the Coal Monument, was unveiled 70m south of its previous location - still in the same park - in considerably better shape than when removed early last year.

"It's wonderful to see the monument take pride of place once again in Parnell Place Park, where it can be enjoyed by the community and visitors to our city," the Lord Mayor said.

"Stonework on this monument has been repaired and, where necessary, replaced, while its copper plaques depicting the city's mining history have also been restored.

"This week as part of Local Government Week we're paying homage to the city's working history - first with today's unveiling and another event on Sunday to mark 200 years since convicts first began building Macquarie Pier."

Widening of Nobbys Road in preparation for last year's Newcastle 500 provided a chance to assess the memorial's condition and determine a more suitable location.

Expert heritage assessment revealed extensive deterioration, vandalism and damage, and prominent local heritage architect John Carr was tapped to oversee the restoration project.

The refurbished monument has been installed along an existing pathway in the park, facing the same direction as previously.

Its stepped base remains but the large, square, pebble-crete base tacked on when the monument was moved from Pacific Park isn't part of the new installation. Instead, paths 1.5m wide have been built around the base.

"This pebble-crete base was a later addition and was not in keeping with the monument's heritage character," the Lord Mayor said.

The Jubilee Memorial marked an important milestone in the city's history - the 50th anniversary in 1909 of the incorporation of the Municipality of Newcastle.

It was originally located in Pacific Park near the Royal Newcastle Hospital but was moved to Parnell Place Park in 1923 when Newcastle's new electric tram circuit cut Pacific Park in two.

Newcastle City Council will mark the bicentenary of Macquarie Pier's foundation stone on Sunday with a small event behind Nobbys Surf Club.

Historical records indicate Governor Lachlan Macquarie laid the stone beneath Foreshore Park at 4pm on 5 August 1818, after which convict labourers were served an allowance of spirits before giving "three hearty cheers", according to the governor's log book.