Synonymous with God’s Country, Newcastle is proudly coming out of Sydney’s shadow and cementing itself as the perfect product it always was. With stunning surf beaches, a sun-drenched subtropical climate, friendly faces, comparatively affordable housing and zero traffic—what else do you want?
While we were growing up, so was Newcastle. The great working-class city made way for professionals, creatives, and a café scene to rival some of the best. We like to think that puberty worked out for the “quaint sister-city of Sydney”, now listed as one of Lonely Planet’s Top Cities.
With maybe the nation’s best beaches and definitely the nation’s best people, Newcastle was undoubtedly an amazing place to grow up—what with it being a breeding ground for pro surfers and binge drinkers alike.
Here are some of the finest coming-of-age moments our beloved Steel City had to offer, that anyone who grew up in Newcastle will understand.
- Having a bona fide crush on Miss Kim from Romper Room and your parents still owning a dusty VHS recording of your big television debut—peeing your pants in front of Big Dog.
- Not knowing exactly who (or what) Super Hubert was, but fist pumps and high-fives all round when that crazy lanky guy was due to visit your school because it meant at least a couple hours out of class.
- Learning about drugs and alcohol from Healthy Harold and then actively repressing that information a decade later as you binge drink yourself into oblivion every weekend.
- The summer the water slide opened at Lambton Pool.
- Seeing your dad cry for maybe the first and only time ever in those final seconds of the ’97 Grand Final.
- Being genuinely cut if you got stuck with a crap coach who didn’t take you to King St Maccas after a notable win or wash out of soccer/netball/footy/whatever sport you made your parents give up their Saturday mornings for.
- Ten years later spewing at King St Maccas.
- Ten years later fighting at King St Maccas.
- Going to Great Aussie Bush Camp minimum four times in the space of two years and being lucky enough to survive the umm, “food”.
- Perfecting your side-fringe, and picking out your favourite coloured skinny jeans and slip-on Vans just to hang out and look bored at Charlestown Square Thursday Night Shopping (because you were like, so emo).
- Friday night ice-skating at Warner’s Bay where you had your first kiss.
- If you didn’t cop a first kiss at ice-skating, there was always Latin dancing” AKA drinking UDLs in Civic Park or “Lush” AKA having hook up competitions with Apple Bottom Jeans playing in the background.
- When the goddamn storm of the century beached a goddamn ship onto Nobby’s Beach, flooded the city and ruined homes/lives—.but you called Ticketek all afternoon to see if Lush was still on and probably (definitely) told your parents you hated them because they wouldn’t write off the family car driving down to City Hall to check for you.
- Your popularity was determined by how many times you had been around to Jump Rock
- “You going Empire tonight?”
- Group sleepovers AKA going to Empire.
- Friendships ending over games of bat-ball.
- Every high school party being themed “tight & bright” or “dare to be bare”.
- Using your sibling’s ID to get into Customs/CBD/Civic/Cambo but only King St or Fanny’s if you were absolutely positive it was going to work.
- Fanny’s. What else is there to say.
- Sunday meant AGS, which meant actively choosing to have your sweaty body crammed up against every single person you had ever met, just so you could shuffle back and forth from the smoker’s area in the Rock Bar while listening to Kanye or Biggie.
- Fighting to get into the free shuttle bus from The Prince to King St.
- Clocking up more hours at the Cambo on a Wednesday night than you ever did actually attending Uni.
- Late nights at The Hub AKA flirting while pretending to do an assignment.
- Knowing everything about everyone, ever, and not being able to meet anyone new. If you’re 25 and still single, you’re screwed. Time to move to Sydney.
If you make the move, here is 27 things you will learn when you move to Sydney.
Image credit: Scevdog on Flickr