James Street Plaza, Hamilton

What's new at James Street Plaza?

Work is complete on our upgrade of Hamilton's James Street Plaza as part of our effort to deliver vibrant, safe and active public spaces. Our upgrade included improvements to paving as well as new artworks, lighting, seating, planting and installation of smart poles.

The community told us they want a safer, more attractive place to visit and spend time – a place where the community can gather and activate the space with music, markets and food.

We worked with local historian Ruth Cotton, author of Hidden Hamilton, and the Newcastle Museum to develop artworks for the renewed plaza that further celebrate Hamilton's history.

We also worked with the University of Newcastle's FASTLab to develop an interactive lighting display to light up the space at night and to celebrate Hamilton's rich history and character. After we asked the community to vote on their favourite, the "Microcosmic Mosaic" concept was developed into a full-length animation which will play every evening, lighting up the plaza with colour and movement.

Project background

At Council's meeting of 27 February 2018 it was resolved to develop a James Street Plaza Masterplan in consultation with Hamilton Business Improvement Association (BIA).

The Hamilton Townscape Study dated 1991 included the original design for the Plaza which closed the James Street roadway at Beaumont Street to create a community meeting area and multi-use space.

The increasing under-utilisation of the Plaza and concerns over public safety identified the need to review the site and develop a Masterplan. The drivers included anti-social and criminal behaviour related to the Telstra phone box and public toilets and the Plaza's infrastructure which requires renewal. There is strong support from Hamilton BIA for an upgrade.

City of Newcastle has undertaken a community placemaking process including a series of engagement activities as detailed in this diagram (pdf 2.2MB). This resulted in the development of two concepts which were publicly exhibited from 26 November 2019 to 13 January 2020.

The outcome of the community engagement with the preferred option was presented to a Councillor Workshop on 11 February 2020. The decision was made to finalise the James Street Plaza Masterplan using the concept option 2 Modern Town Square Masterplan (pdf 1.56MB).

View the James Street Plaza Masterplan process flow chart and our answers to Frequently Asked Questions to find out more about the background and delivery of this project.