Newcastle Station precinct

In November and December 2016 we asked you for your thoughts on the future of the Newcastle Station precinct, through the Ideas Festival community engagement program. 

The precinct is around 10,700m2 in size and surrounded by a number of key Newcastle landmarks such as Queens Wharf, Customs House and Foreshore Park.

People were asked to provide input on the future use/s of the station building, understanding its heritage and proposed future zoning as tourism; and the future use/s of the precinct.

Useful links

What we heard

The Ideas Festival showed that Novocastrians are passionate about the heritage of the former Newcastle Station, and want to see the building restored and repurposed to provide attractions and services for locals and visitors.

We received more than 1,500 comments, consisting of 146 unique ideas. Through a rigorous process involving stakeholder and community groups, four ideas were most supported - eateries, an outdoor piazza, an active art space and cinema under the stars. 

Read more about the Ideas Festival in the Outcomes Report.

What's next?

These ideas have been incorporated into an Expression of Interest (EOI) process for short-term use/s of the station for a minimum of 18 months from April 2018.

This exciting opportunity is about testing how the Newcastle community wants to use this iconic space – whether that’s for restaurants, cafes, arts space, retail or another purpose.

In the meantime, we are undertaking restoration and maintenance works at Newcastle Station to pave the way for the temporary activation of the site. The works include opening up the station to Scott Street as it was in the past, filling the areas between the platforms, repairing damaged doors and windows, and opening up spaces on the ground floor.

We will present a second EOI opportunity for the long-term design and use of the precinct. The EOI process will allow us to identify how to deliver a restored station with a use/s that incorporates the community’s ideas while providing an economically and socially sustainable attraction for the city. 

Project status

Detailed design

Development application

Project approval

Construction contract awarded

Construction underway

Temporary activation

Before and after

The history

Newcastle Station is an example of Victorian Italianate architecture. The first station was built around 1858 as a small brick building with a single platform. As Newcastle grew, the station quickly became inadequate and in 1878 a new, two-storey station was built. It included a verandah along the Scott Street frontage, which has since been closed in. The current awning along platform one was built around 1897 and additional buildings were established in the late 1800s. The gas retort building and associated gas tanks on the northern side of the station were constructed in 1883 to provide the station with gas. 

Newcastle was the only regional station with a silver service dining room for passengers and the spaces for the dining room and upstairs kitchen, including a dumb waiter, are still visible.

In the 1920s the station was extended. Original plans included an L-shaped, two-storey wing along Watt and Scott streets, with a three-storey tower on the corner where the streets meet. However with no funding to construct the proposed works, a smaller extension was constructed followed by a building on the corner of Watt and Scott streets used for rail administration.

The building and surrounding grounds between Scott Street, Watt Street and Wharf Road make up the Newcastle Station precinct. Take a look at the current floor plans for the station and click through the gallery to see its beautiful features.