Museum visitors invited to drop-in and explore Newcastle's skateboarding subculture 

11 Aug 2022

You mightn't know the meaning of Shralp before going into the Newcastle Museum exhibition, but visitors will certainly leave appreciating the tricks, terrain and talented individuals involved in Newcastle's skateboarding subculture. 

Curated by local skateboarder and academic James Turvey, and named after the act of 'shredding and ripping simultaneously while on a skateboard, surfboard, or snowboard', the aptly titled exhibition is an exploration of the Newcastle skateboarding scene from 1985 to today. 

Newcastle Councillor Carol Duncan said Shralp, which opens to the public tomorrow, is another fantastic example of Newcastle Museum interpreting and preserving our city’s fascinating history, with a display of photos, magazines and skateboard decks and ephemera from local skating identities including John Bogaerts' pro-model Bonzer board. In 1988, John became the first Novocastrian skateboarder to turn pro and have his name on a board. 

"The exhibition highlights the significant role Newcastle has played in the history of Australian skateboarding and celebrates local skaters who have gone on to national and international success including Rowan Davis and Russell Grundy," Cr Duncan said. 

"Exhibitions such as this provide a vehicle through which we can share our stories and explore our identity." 

Newcastle Museum Director Julie Baird said by collaborating with the community to tell their stories, the free exhibition offered a unique insight into this urban subculture. 

"Skateboarding culture has flourished in Newcastle for over 35 years and when Museum Park opened in 2020, skaters flocked to the space to skate and socialise," Ms Baird said. 

"Finding this inclusive subculture on our doorstep inspired Newcastle Museum to collaborate with the community to produce a new exhibition. 

"Curated by James Turvey, Shralp uses skateboarding print media as a lens to view the spots, people, and art of the Newcastle skate scene and how it has exposed Newcastle to the world. 

"It also explores the role this community plays in documenting the changing nature of Newcastle's urban environments as our city evolves over the decades." 

James Turvey said skateboarding was more than just a form of transport, it was a subculture with a rich and diverse history in Newcastle. 

"Skateboarding as a subculture has always been more than transport. It has its own world, one that seeks to find new terrain, new tricks and new talent. The average bench or steps become a landmark of who’s done what and when," James said. 

"For over thirty-five years Novocastrian skateboarders have been archiving their own history; the city’s stairs, skateparks, benches and backyards have featured in print all over the world." 

The free exhibition opens to the public on 12 August and will run through to 30 October.