Thursday, August 16, 2012


A public meeting is to be held to raise the profile of the King Edward Park and its environs, the Obelisk, Arcadia Park and the Headland Reserve.

The meeting is intended to inform the community of the vulnerability of these parks. 

Your attendance and opinions are necessary to endorse and confirm their immense public value. It is an opportunity to shape Government policy on the use of Public Reserves by letting your representatives know how you feel.

Distinguished speakers will include Architects, Richard Leplastrier and Peter Stutchbury; Archivist, Gionni di Gravio and Cultural Heritage Researcher, Ann Hardy while John Lewer from the Friends of King Edward Park Inc. will outline public action thus far. Together, they will present anoverview of our vitally important public open spaces, the heritage, history, and essential need for public participation.
An independent chairperson will conduct the meeting and open it to general discussion and questions from the floor.
It is intended that a strong public resolution will be passed to our political decision makers that will influence their attitudes to future development of these invaluable and irreplaceable public open spaces.

Date: Wednesday,  29 August 2012

Time: 6:00 - 8:00pm

Venue: Mulubinba Room, 
Level 1, Newcastle City Hall
290 King Street, 

Newcastle NSW 2300

Contact: Public officer (02) 4929 7647


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fallujah: Agent Orange all over again?

Public forum with Donna Mulhearn* on the toxic legacy of the war in Iraq

The city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad has witnessed a large increase in birth deformities, cancers and heart problems since the 2004 US attacks on the city. It's alleged that weapons used in the attacks, white phosphorous and weapons containing depleted uranium have contaminated the environment and left a toxic legacy that will affect generations to come.
Donna Mulhearn has just returned from her fourth trip to Iraq where she
spent a week at Fallujah Hospital investigating and gathering stories on this important issue, described as the new 'Agent Orange".
Thursday the 23rd of August 6.00pm
2nd Floor Newcastle Trades Hall Council
406 - 408 King St. Newcastle
Organised by Newcastle Trades Hall, Contact Gary Kennedy, Secretary 49291162
& Newcastle NoWar Collective Contact  Niko Leka, convenor 0406296141

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Save the Newcastle Herald Community Rally Video

Video of the highlights of the Save the Newcastle Herald Community Rally held in Civic Park Newcastle on the 2nd June 2012.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Herald Exports Hunter Jobs

Help join the fight to save our community newspaper.

When: This Saturday 2nd  June 2012
Where: Civic Park, Newcastle
Time: 1 PM

Hamfisted interference by distant and ill-informed corporate executives in the running of a perfectly good and very profitable business is not only unwelcome but potentially destructive to the product and brand.

The Newcastle Herald is a 150 year old institution with deep roots in this city.

If it was losing money, or in danger of losing money, then momentous changes might be justifiable.

But that's not the case here.

Fairfax is proposing to export Novocastrian jobs when there is no compelling business case to do so.

Newcastle Herald management and journalists have been working hand in glove for the past several months to develop a strategy for transition on-line. This was orderly, rational and would have maintained the integrity of the print product while growing the new on-line service.

This move by Fairfax Limited is a slap in the face to the team of people who handled the move to tabloid without a hiccup and who have always been ready to adapt to shifting goalposts in the marketplace.

Asking a group of people at a profitable and successful business to spend countless hours on a new online strategy, only to pull the rug out at the last minute and tell them their jobs are forfeit is an insult, as well as being bad and unwise management.

Moving the production of Newcastle's main source of daily news to New Zealand looks like a panic move in response to the company's depressed share price.

If so, it's a foolish knee-jerk move that will have grave repercussions for Newcastle and for what has been a marvellous business for more than 150 years.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Newcastle Herald to be outsourced to New Zealand

Over 150 years of quality journalism in Newcastle will soon come to an end under a proposal by the Newcastle Herald's parent company Fairfax Media Limited.

In a communication to all Newcastle staff this afternoon Fairfax Limited CEO Greg Hywood, and Fairfax Regional CEO Allan G Browne announced proposed changes to the editorial production of the Illawarra Mercury and Newcastle Herald and the newspapers' weekly community papers.

It is proposed that editorial production for the titles be relocated to Fairfax Editorial Services (FES) in New Zealand.

Under the proposal, a total of around 66 full-time, part-time and casual positions, would no longer be required across the affected titles, representing around 45% of its current staff.

Consultations are currently underway with affected staff, with a call for voluntary redundancies.  If sufficient numbers do not come forward then compulsory redundancies will be required.

While the CEO's believe that no reporting or photographic positions are affected by the proposal, the local community might have a different view, as losing close to half your staff will certainly have an effect on the quality of local journalism.

The Newcastle Herald is a profitable title, so it beggars belief why such changes would be necessary.

"Fairfax Media is on a journey from a predominantly print business to a predominantly digital business," Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood said.

The Newcastle Herald was formerly known as as The Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners Advocate, (which in turn was born from two early newspapers The Newcastle Chronicle and Hunter River District News (established in 1858) and The Miners Advocate and Northumberland Recorder (established in 1873).

The Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners Advocate began publication on the 3rd April 1876 under the visionary leadership of James Fletcher, who created the district's first daily newspaper. 

According to the late Dr John Turner, James Fletcher is arguably the father of the City of Newcastle who persuaded the many towns and mines, who were all competing with each other, to come together in the 1870s under an idea known as the Vend scheme, which combined the various mines and the miners, thus doubling the price of coal and wages overnight, thus creating Newcastle's most prosperous period. The instrument he used to unite the people of the various mining villages of the region was the Herald. The Herald became its united voice, and with that voice all the mining towns came to later form the Greater City of Newcastle.

The Newcastle Herald is interwoven into the history of Newcastle.

To have it out sourced to another country is unthinkable.

For more information have a look at this feature on Newcastle Journalism published back in 1966 to commemorate 108 years of journalism in Newcastle. Courtesy of the Cultural Collections of the University of Newcastle.

Read on click here:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Open Letter to Premier of New South Wales

An Open Letter from Doug Lithgow - President of the Parks and Playgrounds Movement

The Hon Barry O’Farrell MP
Premier of the State of New South Wales

Dear Mr O’Farrell

This is day 3 of the destruction of Newcastle's fine civic trees and cultural centre.

This is being done by some Councillors forming an opinion that the trees pose a hazard to traffic so as to invoke Sec 88 of the Roads Act. It is clear that this significant Landscape has never been a hazard to traffic and the trees are unnecessarily being felled.

You as the Premier of the New South Wales have brought your government into disgrace by sending a large contingent of police to stand stupidly in the rain for no reason other than to back-up bad governance in the current Council. In this way you have failed the fine city of Newcastle.

The ignorant Councillors should have been informed by your Government how to formally publicly exhibit their Civic Precinct amendments so that community could lawfully have a say in the future of their Civic Precinct.

How could you be so inept when we relied on you to bring good governance to our city?

Doug Lithgow
Freeman of the City of Newcastle
President of the Parks and Playgrounds Movement

Open Letter to Newcastle City Council

Dear Councilors of Newcastle City Council

What we have witnessed in Laman St we regard as obscene environmental vandalism and a crime against the historic beauty of Newcastle.

Recent alarming revelations from within council administration regarding Novocastrian Park and the surfacing of council documents that supposedly could not be found by council administration in its own data management system are further contributory evidence in our opinion of the apparent maladministration that led to the obscenity in Laman St.

The latter documents are certainly clear evidence in our opinion of just how  badly the council betrayed the citizens of New Lambton. Ward 3 councilors might like to visit our home to view them, but we doubt that you will.

We understand that most of you within the council do not want to know the truth of the matters of Laman St, Novocastrian Park et al.

We also recall the moment when the riot squad was deployed on leading citizens of this town by virtue of your remit as councilors and the self-proclaimed oxymoronic neutrality of the State Government.  Freeman of the City, Citizens of the Year, a doctor, grandmothers, the Lord Mayor, young people, very elderly people all on the receiving end of the riot squad when clearly there was no riot.

We personally experienced this unique moment in Novocastrian history when our elected representatives decided to use martial force to silence those who elected them. Have you read Judge Sidis' comments on her hopes for the new council yet?

The visuals from Laman St will tell the tale at the electoral booths: ranks of armed riot police, double rings of fencing, ranks of security guards all testifying to your apparent inability to govern without armed protection to exclude your own citizenry.

Look at the photos for yourselves, but the photos don't tell the full tale of the intimidation that we citizens experienced under your remit. Was this good old Newcastle or downtown Syria?

Is an armed perimeter around the civic precinct and perhaps the council chamber the new face of our local democracy?

We look forward to the forthcoming election campaign where we sincerely hope that a new council may be elected with the courage to remove the current General Manager so as to appoint a person specifically contracted to revamp the senior administrative culture of Newcastle City Council.

It is clear to us now that at least two directors need to be removed from their current positions.

What is certain is that many of you will be removed at the September election.

This seems like poetic justice to us. You removed the figs, we remove you.  You put the riot squad on to us, we put Novocastrian egalitarian history on to you.

The irony is that you as a body are now condemned by your own majority logic.  You require the political chop to ensure our sense of safety as citizens. You appear to us as a greater danger than any beautiful fig tree.

Since it is the habit of most of you not to respond to our communications, we look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail.

Paul F Walsh OAM
Susan Harvey

Enraged Ratepayers