Newcastle's Unique Urban Landscape Placed on the State Heritage Register

Published: 15 May 2021

Released by: Minister of State

The picturesque Newcastle Recreation Reserve has been listed on the State Heritage Register by the NSW government, highlighting the land’s importance in the state’s cultural history. 

With its spectacular ocean views, the reserve which consists of King Edward Park, The Obelisk and Obelisk Reserve, Arcadia Park, Shepherds Hill (previously referred to as Khanterin), The Bogey Hole and the Yi-ran-na-li cliffs. The area is a distinctive unity of Aboriginal, colonial, geological, environmental, military and recreational features.  

The Minister responsible for Heritage, Don Harwin said the listing will ensure ongoing protection of the reserve’s heritage significance. The Newcastle Recreation Reserve is an outstanding example of a culturally, historically and socially important diverse urban cultural landscape. 

“This impressive landscape holds strong importance as a gathering place for the traditional custodians, the Awabakal people, and for the history of Newcastle which has grown into NSW’s second largest city,” said Mr Harwin.

“The reserve is a rare NSW example of a comparatively undeveloped landscape encompassing both Aboriginal and European features influenced by convict labor. Colonial period artists including Joseph Lycett and Conrad Martens sketched and painted the landmarks at the time.”

The reserve, like many great inner-city parklands, has been the site of toil, conflict, reflection and celebration.

It was where convicts from the Newcastle penal settlement, built the Bogey Hole Baths and The Horseshoe Walk from 1818-1823, under the command of Captain James Thomas Morisset. It was where Awabakal leader Biraban taught Reverend Lancelot Threlkeld the local Aboriginal language and culture when the English missionary arrived in 1825. It was where WWI and WWII military installations were built to defend the city and the NSW coast. The site is also a rare example of an inner-city landscape where coastal native grasslands thrive, including the endangered ecological species of Themeda grass. 

“I am thrilled for the people of Newcastle and the Hunter region that this important landscape is gaining the recognition it deserves. The listing will ensure the reserve’s significance will be protected and celebrated for future generations,” Mr Harwin said.

“I thank the City of Newcastle for its full support for the listing and the ongoing management of the reserve.”

More information is available via Heritage NSW.

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