Wallsend Heritage Walk Takes People on a Journey into Hunter’s Coal Past | Newcastle Herald

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Fancy a trip back in time to Wallsend? A new heritage walk in the suburb will take you there. Crystal Phillips of Heritage Now paints a picture of life back then. It’s 1895. After a cold drink at the Colliery Inn, the favorite watering hole for many miners, you cross the Nelson Street crossing in Wallsend Township and head towards Plattsburg Township. As you walk down the street, you hear a band playing from the rotunda. You gaze out onto the balcony of the Lemongrove Hotel as the music fades and a councilor gives a speech in front of the hundreds, if not thousands, of people who gather in the park below. The Rotonde Park was a focal point of community activity where political candidates gave speeches, played music and organized demonstrations. On the agenda were issues such as new community construction, better workers’ rights for coal miners and support for the federation of settlements. Learn about the rivalry of Wallsend and Plattsburg, the influence of Welsh coal miners during the city’s early development and culture, and how the city had too many pubs. You will also learn about important people who helped shape the city. The history of Wallsend is closely linked to the presence of coal seams. Before the city became known as Wallsend, the area was known as Nikkinba to the Awabakal people, which means place of coal. This natural resource is what attracted settlers to the area in the 19th and 20th centuries. The first supervisor of the Newcastle Wallsend Coal Company, Alexander Brown, named the town Wallsend in 1858, after his hometown at the end of Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland County, England. Shortly after the mine opened, work began on a railway line, which would join the existing line at Waratah to transport the coal to the port. This railway ran along Cowper Street and divided the area into two distinct locations. The south side became Wallsend and the north side became the town of Plattsburg. Nelson Street provided the link between the two with a level crossing. Over time, Wallsend became known as the wealthier side of town, while Plattsburg maintained its working-class roots. However, the two councils merged in 1915. The Wallsend Band Rotunda was completed in 1888. It is said to be the best rotunda in the colony. It was a focal point of entertainment, where local bands performed. It was not uncommon for people to hear orchestral instruments resounding in the street. It was also an important meeting place. A notable historic meeting took place at the Rotunda in 1895, when the mayors and miners of Wallsend and Plattsburg came together to advance the cause of the eight-hour movement, which led to the standard eight-hour workday. Tyrell Street, where the rotunda is located, is named after a renowned local musician, Dr. Edward Tyrell, who was an integral part of the founding of the Wallsend Orchestra. His compositions have been acclaimed by national and international critics. The new promenade, created by Heritage Now and funded by the City of Newcastle with commercial tariffs, stretches for 2.6 kilometers. It’s on the City of Newcastle app and at heritagenow.com.au/wallsendwalk, with leaflets available from companies along the route. An art exhibit titled “Glimpses through windows in the time of COVID 19” depicts these strange times of the pandemic. Maitland Citizen of the Year artist Helen Tolhurst created her works – made from fiber – in the weeks leading up to the second lockdown. “When the second lockdown started, they took on new meaning. To begin with, I wanted to capture the feeling of being locked in. Over time, I wanted to capture some of the intimacy of the stories of people inside. of their home, of the love, warmth and comfort of family and home, ”she said. The opening of the exhibit was initially postponed as Helen was in Sydney Hospital recovering from deep brain stimulation surgery to treat Parkinson’s disease. The money raised from sales of the exhibition will be donated to Maitland Parkinson’s Support Group. The exhibit runs through Tuesday at the Reader’s Cafe and Larder in East Maitland. IN THE NEWS: Our reporters work hard to provide local and up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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