Local suburban business precincts to benefit from activations and beautification

23 Aug 2022

$150,000 is being shared amongst 10 successful projects aimed at activating key suburban business precincts in Hamilton, New Lambton and Wallsend, including an innovative self-guided op shop trail, vertical “smart” gardens installed on shopfront facades, and a series of community-based art initiatives.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the Special Business Rate (SBR) program was integral in bringing people back to business precincts across the city following the impacts felt in recent years from the pandemic.

“Our latest suburban SBR round is set to see beautification in New Lambton, a fringe festival on Beaumont Street, and a fantastic initiative that supports sustainability by promoting shopping at Wallsend's eclectic op-shops among other great local projects", Cr Nelmes said.

"We'll see some exciting new activations like the Curious Legends Halloween celebration Wallsend Frights which will activate Nelson Street with live performance and interactive activities, while New Lambton Library is set to receive a stunning new mural delivered by Up & Up, drawing inspiration from the ideas of the local community".

Bianca Bartlett, co-founder of the Purple Card Project, said SBR suburban funding will help bring her Op Shop Trail concept to life by tapping into an increased interest in slow fashion and shopping sustainably.

“With SBR funding, in collaboration with the Wallsend Town Business Association, we are developing a self-guided digital trail map that shines a spotlight on Nelson Street's unique and diverse mix of op-op shops and cafes all in one convenient location,” Ms Bartlett said.

“The trail concept is designed to encourage visitors to spend time and money in the precinct on weekends, when op-shops are usually closed, starting with coffee at a local café, visiting all five op shops brimming with unique wares, and concluding with lunch."

Wallsend’s business precinct is also set to benefit this Halloween with Curious Legends awarded SBR funding to run Wallsend Frights: a two-day program of family-friendly events on Nelson Street featuring live roving performances, costume-making challenges, installations, interactive activities, and workshops.

More information about the program and funding opportunities can be found at newcastle.nsw.gov.au/special-business-rates.

Successful suburban SBR projects include:


  • Newcastle Fringe Festival, March 2023
    The project will build on the Fringe Festival's existing presence on Beaumont Street by expanding the number of shows with more family-friendly events and micro-performances in local businesses.

  • Beautiful Beaumont Doors
    Six local female artists will beautify and transform six graffitied doorways in between shops along Beaumont Street.

  • Herb Urban - Thriving Gardens
    The project involves the installation of standalone smart gardening systems, fixed to shopfront facades throughout Hamilton, connecting Newcastle with greenery throughout the suburbs and City Centre.


  • New Lambton Library Community Mural
    The community mural project will be delivered by Up & Up Inspirations design on the exterior wall of New Lambton Library. The mural design will incorporate the ideas of the people who live, work and play in New Lambton.

  • Herb Urban - Thriving Gardens
    The project involves the installation of standalone smart gardening systems, fixed to shopfront facades throughout New Lambton, connecting Newcastle with greenery throughout the suburbs and City Centre.


  • Wallsend Op Shop Trail to Revitalise Nelson Street
    In collaboration with Wallsend Town Business Association, Samaritans, and the other four Op Shops on Nelson Street, the Wallsend Op Shop Trail is designed to encourage visitors to Wallsend on weekends.

  • And Then, They Were No Longer Invisible
    This is a photo-storytelling project that shines a spotlight on seniors in our communities. The project will include community workshops, local business engagement and a community art installation in the Wallsend Business Precinct that encourages social cohesion and visitation to the area.

  • Banner Art
    This project will involve local primary schools in the painting of images on 20x20 cm boards. 240 images will be chosen to be enlarged onto 80x200 cm banners for the proposed public banner sites in Wallsend business precinct.

  • Wallsend Frights
    Curious Legends will produce two days of Halloween-themed activations such as roving performances and costume-making challenges to draw foot traffic to the Wallsend business precinct. The program will culminate with a family event with installations, performances, interactive activities and workshops with community groups and Wallsend businesses.

  • Public Mural
    Play State Studio will deliver a mural in a main street of Wallsend with three local mural artists.