If there’s one thing to be said about Newcastle, it’s that we are full of colour and not afraid to express ourselves through art. There is no shortage of art throughout our city, and most of it is proudly displayed on our city’s walls. From big open murals in town by popular artists like Matt Adnate and Trevor Dickinson to the lesser-known back alley streets, there is art everywhere.
When we moved to Newcastle three years ago, my daughter and I spent a great deal of time getting to know the city by foot or push bikes. This gave us a special view of the city, not being restricted to main streets in our car, and we would break up our trips around town into more digestible bites, by stopping in-between all the artworks. Even our language around directions changed, and we would direct people to certain areas, depending on which graffiti piece it may be near to. Feel like a street art walking tour? Here’s some to choose from.
The first mural we ever experienced served as a wonderful introduction to Newcastle. It is found in the tunnel taking you through onto Newcastle Beach. Painted by Trevor Dickinson, it gives you a good taste of the beach life, everything from painted ice cream trucks to surfboards, it truly encapsulates all the things we love about a day out at the beach most! My daughter and I love travelling through the tunnels, always finding something new in the paintings that we haven’t seen before.
Trevor’s work is well known throughout Newcastle, and more of it can be seen in Merewether, just above the baths. Known as the “Merewether Aquarium”, it boasts a fun tunnel filled with colourful sea creatures.
Newcastle East End
From Hunter Street Mall to Cooks Hill and surrounds, you’re spoilt with choice, almost every back street and corner has something wonderful painted in it.
Many a Sunday has been spent with a coffee or an ice cream, walking these streets and admiring the artwork found in them.
The area is a great talking point amongst my daughter and I, and she loves bringing our out-of-town guests around here, showing them all the colour and artwork.
It’s whimsical and fun, like a giant colouring book to explore on foot.
If you’ve taken a drive down Honeysuckle, you would know some great pieces along the way. Right in the heart of the Honeysuckle precinct, you will find what we call “the lady on the wall”. She’s an impressive piece that is also lit up at night.
Right over the road, another Trevor Dickinson painting forms part of the Newcastle Museum lot. A playful piece with the title “The Most Attractive Couple in Newcastle” painted right in the middle of it, has certainly given a few laughs every time I’ve passed by it. A photobooth of sorts, this piece begs for family photographs and the good old couple-selfie.
Not to be outdone by the “city-side”, Beaumont street and surrounds have a colourful array of artworks.
Hamilton feels like the perfect spot for this sort of artwork, it’s urban and grungy, and spotting an art-piece here has become a sort of treasure hunt for us as a family.
I’m sure there are many more pieces in Hamilton, and we just haven’t found them yet, and that’s the joy of it.
Each of our suburbs seem to have a special piece connected to it. Take Tighes Hill for example, if you’ve ventured there recently, you would have noticed the very big and very bold seascape mural on the corner of Union and Elizabeth street. With Tighes Hill Public School just meters from this artwork, it is a beloved community piece and adored daily by the school children.
More than ever before, our children are exposed to art in a more natural setting, and through these works, whether it’s on their morning walk to school, or out for a breakfast with their folks on the weekend, art is a normal part of life for our kids. It’s all around us here in Newcastle and it’s helped our city tell its story through its pictures.
The nature of street art is that it is forever changing, much like the city itself, so grab the kids and go out on a walk in the city, take a thousand selfies with the pieces and prepare to be inspired! After all, that’s the point of art, right?
To see a list of street art in Newcastle, visit the City of Newcastle Street Art Online Website. It’s an interactive online mapping tool that uses people power to pin the locations of their favourite works to a virtual map and create a conversation around it.
Jenna moved to Newcastle from South Africa 3 years ago, which has allowed her to experience the city with a fresh perspective. As mum to a wonderfully wild daughter who shares her passion for fun and adventure, they spend their time getting to know the city mostly on foot and bicycle, which affords Jenna an opportunity to bond with the city more intimately. Follow Jenna’s adventures on her Instagram account ‘Newy Kind of Life’ in which she shares her passion for Newcastle and its lifestyle through her photography and writing.