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.


The Bogey Hole

The Bogey Hole is a popular swimming spot in Newcastle, located beneath a headland and providing a spectacular vantage point to view the ocean. It was carved out in 1819 for the personal use of Major James Morisset who was the commandant of the penal colony.

It’s a steep path down from the top of the hill.


The existing steps and handrails are a bit dilapidated, and Newcastle Council has approved a restoration programme.


It’s a great place to catch the sun in the morning.

Ballast and Steel

Some more studies at Carrington rail yards. I was lucky to get a glimpse of direct sunlight – it’s been so dull for the last week.


Storm Approaching Bar Beach

On 12th December 2011, a storm approaches Bar Beach, NSW from the south.

This video was a test of a technique and was composited from a series of still images. A neutral density filter and polarising filter were both used in order to allow 4 second exposures, hopefully capturing some lightning in the process.

This technique would work most effectively when it’s even darker, so the lens can be opened up a bit and longer exposures used.

Bleak Nobbys

I got this shot at Nobbys Beach a few weeks ago with my Samsung Galaxy phone, and I’m still quite chuffed about it. I feel it has a bit of a  ‘Mark Rothkoesque’ feel to it. The high noise of the sensor just adds to the atmosphere. Not sure if the lifesaver’s board at the right-hand side adds to, or detracts from, the shot.

Anyway this just confirms that an interesting photograph doesn’t have to be an optically good photograph. When I was a youngster in the scouts I learnt how to make a pinhole camera. Now perhaps I should start shooting Newcastle with one of those!

Night Fishing at Carrington

I went down to Carrington last night to test my new cable release and found a few people wetting a line on the beach next to the boat ramp. I think fishing upstream of Cowper St. Bridge is technically not allowed, but these people were locals and I’m guessing don’t take much notice of NSW Fisheries regulations. I think the only regular thing here is a slab of Tooheys.



Anyway, here’s a reverse angle showing the bridge.

The Footbridge

A couple of shots of the rebuilt footbridge over the New England Highway and Main Northern Line at Maitland. The original bridge collapsed after being struck by a cherry-picker carried by a semi trailer.


Dudley Beach

Just beautiful!

Lines of Coal

There’s often a stark beauty to be found in industrial scenes. Here’s two different takes on ‘lines of coal’.


Nobbys After the Storm

I must be in the mood for things maritime today. Here’s a shot of Nobbys Headland after a storm passed through. Taken 30th October. The clear light against the dark clouds was magic, and the harbour waters seemed almost unnaturally calm. Good for pelicans.


Azure, Sapphire, Turquoise, Cerulean, Ultramarine and Teal

So many shades of blue on display this morning at Newcastle Baths and the beach!


Harbour After the Storm

I was hoping to get some lightning shots today; alas the storm came through in a murky haze. At least afterwards, there was some interesting light.

Newcastle Baths Inundated

Just a shot I took earlier this month at Newcastle Baths….

Fernleigh Tunnel Photoshoot

Fernleigh Tunnel runs underneath the Pacific Highway at Adamstown Heights. It was part of the Belmont Railway Line, which ran from Adamstown to (surprise) Belmont. The railway line was closed in 1991, and in 2003 the first section containing the tunnel was re-opened as a cycleway. Today the Fernleigh Track extends all the way to Belmont.

The tunnel is a fantastic photography location, and I’ll be back soon.




The Derelict Buildings of Hunter Street

I decided to take a trip down Hunter Street and get shots of all the derelict buildings and empty sites…….I started at Hunter Street Mall and worked westward.


The remains of the Lucky Country Hotel.


The Kensington Theatre is now an on-again, off-again nighclub.


Not really sure if this building was even ever completed.  (It’s next to the burnt-out Civic Hotel). I think the bright idea was that it would have a first floor garage, and it appears there are columns for higher stories….but for the last 15 years at least it has been vacant.



The next five shots are of the remains of the plaza that used to run between Hunter St. and King St. This has been derelict for at least 5 years, and now looks like something from the zombie apocalypse.



The Hunter St. facade of the Star Hotel complex.



This is the site of the old Empire Hotel and Bank Corner Gym…now the State Government is offering expressions of interest for redevelopment.


Just an empty little shop at Bank Corner.


Years ago this place used to be a Thai restaurant.


The S & W Miller building at the Stewart Avenue lights.

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.



Karts at Mt. Sugarloaf Raceway

I used to drive past it just about every day on  my way home from work, but I never took a close look.

Mt. Sugarloaf Raceway, that is. Today I decided to have a closer look, as this weekend is the final round of the CIK Stars of Karting series (which basically is the Australian Championship), and it’s being held here.


I know next to nothing about karting. One thing I noticed is that lots of drivers were aged under 18: I wonder whether any of them are a future Mark Webber…..








Nobbys Breakwall After the Storm

With so many storms and rain this July in Newcastle, finally Sunday dawned with a hint of blue sky. I decided to take a stroll along Nobbys Breakwall to get some shots – the seas were still big, so it promised to be interesting.

Nobbys Breakwall was built in the 1850’s to improve the entrance to Newcastle Harbour and make the passage into the harbour safer for vessels. It extends for about 800 metres from the headland. The breakwall was built from rock quarried from the top of Nobbys Headland, which was named by Captain Cook as he passed by in 1770. Today, the harbour signal station and lighthouse sits atop the flattened top of the headland. At its base is a bunker constructed during WW2 as part of the defences for Newcastle Harbour.

Nobbys Signal Station


In this view you can see a bulk carrier which has just exited the harbour. It’s low in the water, being chock full of coal. (Incidentally, Newcastle coal was first discovered right under Nobbys Headland).

Ship Leaving Harbour


Every man and his dog was out to enjoy the sunshine and lack-of-rain.

Man and his Dog on Nobbys Breakwall

Jogger on Nobbys Breakwall


At the end of the breakwall, there was a small crowd watching the swell.

Watchers at the tip of Nobbys Breakwall

Breaking Wave on Rocks

Family Getting Splashed


I wasn’t the only person out to get a shot or two.

Photographer at Nobbys Breakwall


I waited 45 minutes for this sequence.


This shot was taken from the very northern end of Nobbys Beach, under the headland, where it abuts the breakwall.


Because of the recent storms, the swell outside the harbour was still pretty messy, This duo are about to give it a go.

Bodyboarders entering the water


And to finish, another puppy having some fun!

Dog at Nobbys Beach