Exhibition relives momentous Novocastrian anniversaries of 2019

23 Jan 2020

History buffs can explore the impact of some of the most significant events in Newcastle’s past at an exhibition called Newcastle in Print at Newcastle Library curated to recognise milestone anniversaries from 2019. 

The community will be given a unique opportunity to explore how these major events were reported at the time and to reflect on their legacy at a curator’s talk hosted at City Hall on Thursday at 6pm.  

City of Newcastle acting manager of Libraries and Learning Alexander Mills said 2019 was a significant year of anniversaries that observed disasters, industrial unrest and social and cultural changes in the City. 

“The ninth year of decades throughout history have been host to numerous transformative events for our City.  

“This fascinating exhibition revisits positive moments in time like the opening of our City’s jewels, the Civic Theatre and City Hall, as well as tragic events that have tested our community and built our reputation for resilience. 

“The events are explored through newspaper reports and photographs published in our local newspapers available from the Library’s collection. 

“We remember the Hunter Valley floods and the Newcastle earthquake, the controversial coal strike of 1949 and the closure of BHP in Newcastle.  

“In 1929 a great weeklong celebration kicked off in Newcastle to mark the openings of the Civic Theatre and City Hall. As well as the two grand openings, bands played for the community in King Edward Park, other entertainment featured a soccer tournament, competitive woodchop, surf carnival and aerial pageant at District Park, while a new floating dock was launched on the harbour. 

“Twenty years later saw the Australian coal strike which was the first time that Australian military forces were used during peacetime to break a trade union strike. The strike by 23,000 coal miners lasted for seven weeks with troops being sent into the open cut coal mines by the Chifley Federal government which resulted in workers returning to work, defeated, two weeks later.” 

The Newcastle in Print exhibition will be on display in the Local History Lounge at Newcastle Library until February 22.  

A anniversary milestones from 2019:  

90 years since the opening of Civic Theatre and City Hall  

70 years since the arrival of 1,896 European immigrants on the Fairsea  

70 years since the Hunter coal strikes  

30 years since the Newcastle Earthquake  

20 years since the closure of BHP