On 27 July 2017, a Lord Mayoral Minute was presented to City of Newcastle Councillors regarding the establishment of a Newcastle Ambassador Program.
The purpose of the Ambassador Program is to highlight the efforts of Novocastrians, across all sectors, both residing in Newcastle and other parts of Australia and the world, in promoting our City, as well as to give promotion to those in our community who work without recognition or acknowledgement.
The Program sits within the office of the Chief Executive Officer and is a more informal acknowledgment of excellence.
City of Newcastle Ambassador Program Inductees
- Businesswoman, television personality, philanthropist and anti-domestic violence campaigner, Jackie Gillies. Ms Gillies was recognised for her regular promotion of Newcastle over a global television and social media audience.
- The Youth With a Mission (YWAM) medical vessel, The Ruach, whose home port is Newcastle, for their work in Papua New Guinea. The ship and her crew of medical professionals provide primary healthcare services in order to address infant mortality rates, deaths during childbirths, as well as disease control and general medical care.
- The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG. Justice Kirby was recognised due to his long-time connection and commitment to the City through the University of Newcastle and family connections.
- Newcastle Eye Hospital Foundation, for its tireless work restoring sight to disadvantaged people overseas. Established in 2013, the Foundation funds more than 2,000 operations each year in Indian communities where locals have gone blind from cataracts and can't afford the simple surgical procedure.
- Breast Cancer Trials, formerly known as the Breast Cancer Institute of Australia and the Australia and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group, which has spent the past 40 years finding new and better treatments and prevention strategies for people affected by breast cancer.
- Outgoing University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor Caroline McMillen. Ms McMillen has been instrumental in Newcastle's growing status as a smart, liveable and sustainable global city and has been a formidable ally in our quest to transform Newcastle into a magnet city.
- Naval Officer Anita Sellick, a born-and-bred Novocastrian, was presented a Key to the City as tribute to her Newcastle roots and her formidable achievement, as a woman, rising through the ranks of one of Australia's most respected, traditionally male-dominated institutions.
- Director of the National Gallery of Australia and former Newcastle Art Gallery Director, Nick Mitzevich, for his service to the arts. During his tenure at Newcastle Art Gallery, Mr Mitzevich brought community engagement, programming, marketing and collection development to the fore, and remains today a passionate advocate for the Newcastle Art Gallery redevelopment.
- Her Excellency the Hon. Patricia Forsythe AM received a Key to the City in recognition of her lifelong service to democracy, diplomacy and business. Appointed as the Australian High Commissioner to New Zealand, Cook Islands and Niue in March 2019, Mrs Forsythe began her remarkable career in public service in Newcastle as a secondary history teacher at Jesmond High School and Newcastle Grammar School before being elected to the NSW Parliament as a Member of the Legislative Council in May 1991.
- Colombo Plan Scholarship Program alumni Professor Cheong Koon Hean, Dr Khaw Boon Wan, Dr Peter Tay Buan Huat, Dr Tan Chin Nam, Mr Bill Chua, and Mr Jaspal Singh each received a Key to the City at the Australian High Commissioner's Residence in Singapore, in recognition of their individual efforts to promote Newcastle internationally. The scholars graduated from the program at The University of Newcastle in the mid-1970s and together have many decades of experience and achievements spanning the political, business, housing, development and transport sectors.
- The Newcastle Knights 2022 NRLW Team was awarded a Key to the City at a public civic reception at Newcastle City Hall in recognition of their NRLW Premiership win against the Parramatta Eels at Accor Stadium, Sydney on 2 October 2022.
- Screenwriter and humanitarian Vanessa Alexander was awarded a Key to the City at the Lord Mayor's International Women's Day Morning Tea on 8 March 2023 in recognition of her work to help more than 100 Afghan women and their families at risk of retribution from the Taliban out of Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul.
Football star Emily Van Egmond was awarded a Key to the City of Newcastle on 22 August 2023 in recognition of the Matildas' efforts during the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup and her advocacy for womens sport.