There seemed to be a fancy dress party going on at Rustica Restaurant, in Newcastle.

Sydney Opera House

A rare day off for me – so I took the opportunity to improve my architectural photography chops at a very popular location – Sydney Opera House. You really can’t go wrong at a place such as this – no matter how photographed it is.

It was Good Friday, so there were people everywhere…but hardly anything open.

Where people were in the picture I used a Hoya neutral density filter so as to blur the teeming crowd out somewhat…it’s a bit ironic that the relatively stationary folk are the ones who add movement and dynamism to these compositions.




Mallyveen – a Waterfront Property at Toronto

Mallyveen is a property currently for sale in Toronto. The house dates from 1904, and it’s in immaculate condition. This is one of the best properties I’ve shot this year, which is why I’m sharing it with you.

Mallyveen would have been one of the original properties when the Toronto waterfront area was first developed – the lot is enormous and is pretty much level at the western end. Most nearby properties have been subdivided.



The driveway is flanked by Agapanthus and avocado trees.



Here’s the front pathway.



Original lead-lighted front door…



The house is wrapped with verandahs, top and bottom.



The rear yard has been terraced and features a swimming pool.



The original living areas are on the upper level. Generous spaces, high ceilings, and lovely timber detailing.



Lead-lighted casement windows and French doors are typical of this era of Australian architecture.



The house has a north-easterly aspect on to Lake Macquarie.



The kitchen and family room are on the lower level and I suspect were first fitted out at a later date than the original top floor. But the whole place has been completely renovated just a few years ago.







The master bedroom opens on to the top verandah and has views over the lake.



The main bathroom is sun-drenched via a skylight…



The property comes complete with a boat shed and private jetty.


Newcastle City Administration Building

The City Administration Building was built to a design by architects Romberg and Boyd in association with local architects Wilson and Suters, who had also supervised previously the Cook Memorial Fountain in Civic Park. Work commenced in 1972 and was completed in 1977.

This building is one of those that’s grown on me. When I first came to Newcastle I thought it was a peculiar concrete toadstool. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that). Now, I quite like it as a ‘full stop’ on the strip after NESCA House and City Hall. The circular plan  lets pedestrians slip easily past from Wheeler Place, but practical office fit-out problems will remain as long as we keep using rectangular desks.


The building is a reflection of earlier concepts for a ‘pagoda-style’ structure to replace Civic Theatre. Can you imagine this?


NESCA House is located on the corner of King Street and Auckland Street, right next door to City Hall and across the road from Civic Park. It is a classic Art Deco style building designed by Emil Sodersten, and built for the Newcastle Energy Supply Council Authority (NESCA). The front portion of the building (facing King St) was finished in 1937, while a rear extension was added in the 1950’s. On the Auckland St side you can see the ‘joint’ where the stone cladding on the front portion has a radiused corner, against the flat cladding of the extension. In the photo below, you can see the slightly lighter coloured stone cladding of the 5 storey rear extension.

This is perhaps the finest Art Deco style building in Newcastle, and would have to be one of the best in Australia. If you think the front entrance looks like something out of Gotham City, you’d almost be right. The entrance was in fact used as a set in Superman Returns (2006) – as a bank.

Today NESCA House is called University House, as it is part of the University of Newcastle. I prefer NESCA House, mainly because hardly anybody knows what NESCA actually means.


Faded Glory?

This is the entrance portico of the former BHP Steelworks Administration Building. It’s rather forlorn now, sitting by itself, surrounded by acres of asphalt.


An older photo here.

Swimmin Centre

There’s something of the slightly shabby, ’50’s era motel about this image…

2 443 781 Bricks….

….a very rough, back of the envelope calculation, that is, of  the number of bricks in the Tighes Hill TAFE campus.


The original campus buildings were constructed in the 1940’s and 1950’s and seem almost to be a variety of English modernism, with Art Deco flourishes in things such as the metalwork, integrated flagpoles and clocktower.


The brickwork is laid in a variety of Flemish Bond; it’s now rare that masonry is laid in anything other than stretcher bond, which is most economical. There are many interesting little touches such as the chamfered window reveals seen here.


The trades building is rather interesting in its planning. The various trade workshops are arranged radially from a central curved administration hub. There’s a real contrast between front and back of house.


There’s a real contrast, too, between the TAFE campus and what you can see on the opposite side of Throsby Creek!

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral was finally completed in 1979, but the foundations were laid in 1884….the building replacing an earlier church that was erected 1817. I took a few shots of this building – for $3 you get a key to the tower roof. Best view in Newcastle, but I didn’t have my camera at the time…..


View of the nave. This is a ‘High Dynamic Range’ image, that simultaneously captures very bright and very dark tones, much like the human eye.


Tower and north transept.


South elevation.


North elevation.


There’s a few very sad-looking gravestones at the eastern edge of Cathedral Park.



The (New) Newcastle Museum has Finally Opened!!

Well, some 4 years after the old Newcastle Regional Museum closed, the new Newcastle Museum has finally opened at the Honeysuckle Railway Workshop site. It officially opened on Thursday. I decided to get a sneak peek before the crowds descend on the weekend.

The main entrance is marked by a giant bright-red ladle hook.


The architecture is stunning. The architects have been careful to keep the new structure distinctly separate from the heritage workshop buildings. The main intervention consists of a new entrance gallery, topped by a waveform roof. The glass & steel of the new work contrasts with the masonry of the old buildings.


On entry, the first thing you will see is the remains of a ‘fishing tree’. The tree was located at Corlette, where it was used by the Worimi Aboriginal people as a vantage point to spot schooling fish. Sadly, it was burnt down by vandals in 2001, and the remains were taken off-site for preservation.


Because it was opening day, there was a big banner taking signatures.


In the Link Gallery, you can see how the new architecture fits within, but separate to, the old structure.


Some general views of the displays.



This is a Wallsend Tram.


A mock-up of the BHP laboratory.


The ‘Supernova Display’ is targeted at children (and older people as well).


Some of the old-fashioned safety gear on display.


One of the highlights is the recreation of BHP Steelworks – pouring the molten steel.


And what better place for a cup of coffee after checking it all out?