Newcastle Bounced Back

In 2007 the State Government directly controlled five bodies: Warringah Council, Liverpool City Council, Walgett Shire Council, Tweed Shire Council and Broken Hill City Council; in more recent times the biggies, Wollongong and Shellharbour cities, have been added to the black list.

But Wollongong is not the largest city to fall, in fact our second largest population centre, Newcastle, suffered the same fate over a decade ago and has since returned to democratically elected representatives and has reputedly gone ahead in leaps and bounds – although many would say they also benefited greatly from a timely earthquake which pumped hundreds of millions of new infrastructure into the area under the Better Cities program.

So what are the lesson to be learned?


Newcastle hasn't gone ahead in leaps and bounds they are broke the CBD is like a wasteland.

It has been hamstrung with infighting and personal agenda's.

Currently they are looking at cutting funding to volunteer programs and charging more fees to cover the poor business model of the council.

They claim they want to improve the cities ecotourism reputation but next breath to cut funding to international recognised Hunter Wetlands Centre Australia.

Only lesson to learn here is don't copy Newcastle

I was recently in Newcastle for a Arborist's conference and the area down from the Newcastle City Hall was awful. Every second shop was vacant, there was graffiti everywhere. The only shops not vacant were either sex shops or brothels. What a dirty, scummy area.

Now my area of expertise is trees, and they werent much better. I would have thought a large city would have a nice tree program / plan. All the trees in the city were in poor condition. Please do something about the condition of these trees. Get some people in whpo can make a difference.

You have some areas that could do wonders with the right planting and maintenance programs. It is not that hard. In my state (VIC) we have better trees / programs in small country towns than you have here.

I have to admit that I planned to use this as a trip to find new ideas to take back to my Council but I think I should send the ideas my Council has to Newcastle.

Does anyone know who the tree people are at Council who might like to use this info. Im happy to send it to them free of charge. That CBD is an embarrasment. If they dont have qualified people, then why not.

Are there other tree issues at this Council or is it just a bad area I visited.

Lots of Newcastle residnts would agree with you and would feel, like me, saddened at how disappointed you were when you came to Newie. I'm just a resident and in no position of power but I would love to hear your ideas - The chief arborist of the council is Phil Hewett. He has a few articles on and the lgtra website which come across well. I quoted this comment on my blog - if you mind, let me know. Regards.

What do you expect from a council that plants new trees (that look like gums) under electricity lines and plant nothing on the other side of the road. My neighbour and I asked Council to beautify our street (Sandgate Rd, Sandgate) with some nice trees as it was bare.
We were so impressed when they said they would after they get funding. We were then both horrified to come home one day to find that they had planted them under the electricity wires on the other side of our street. On our side, with no restrictions we got nothing. When I rang up they said "We could only plant on one side because of the powerlines:, they didnt believe me when I said they have been planted under the lines. They now claim they have no money to move them so they will have to stay.

When can we expect them to be ruined by the electricity people.

So to answer the question above, I dont think they have tree experts as they clearly have no idea what they are doing.

My neighbour and I have planted our own trees on the nature strip. Maybe we should send council the bill as they were not cheap.

These are all comments that ring true with me but make me sad for Newcastle and wish to defend it. BHP's closure was actually the first nail in the coffin. A Sydney person asked me if it hadn't been the best thing that had ever happened to Newcastle, which it perhaps was except for the minor hiccup of 50 000 jobs lost. Then the earthquake and the rush in the weeks afterward to pull down anything old (and heritage and beautiful) followed by years of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Councils encouraging three huge outlying shopping centres with free parking while in the CBD parking meters flourished.For years they focused on trying to 'revitalise' the Hunter St Mall. I don't know how much they wasted on that lost cause. The latest thing is Council trying to fell 80 year old figs in our most beautiful street allegedly because they're dangerous, and talk of closing the Bogey Hole, an almost 200-year old convict built swimming pool - but then the Bogey Hole isn't council, that's the state govt's nastiness. On the plus side Newcastle was the first city to formulate an Urban Forest policy and from above it looks very green. We do, however, seem limited in our choice of street tree - but even the website of Hunter's Hill Council (I hope I'm right here) say their main tree is the darned Brush Box.

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