secret of success,’ Danny Franco told his three sons, ‘is to always be the
A pioneer of Newcastle catering and
hospitality, restaurateur Danilo (Danny) and his wife Onorina (Nori) founded
the stylish Hamilton restaurant Danilo’s. When he was speaking of success in
business, Danny Franco knew what he was talking about.
My personal quest to understand
Hamilton began in 2013 when we moved here to live. I shared my discoveries
through my Hidden Hamilton blog and Facebook page. After the publication of my book ‘Hidden Hamilton', based on the first
year of my blog, I thought that was enough. I was wrong.
It’s time to press the ‘pause’ button for the Hidden Hamilton
In just over two and a half years, 69 stories have been written
and posted here, along with hundreds of posts on the Hidden Hamilton Facebook
page. A book, ‘Hidden Hamilton – Uncovering stories of Hamilton NSW’ (Hunter
Press, 2014) based on the first year of the blog, is now in its second
‘Why did we leave? Why wouldn’t we leave? We had lost everything.’
In the Hamilton home of Tony (Antonio) and Pina D’Accione, I am listening to Ralph (Raffaele) Della Grotta with his wife Maria tell of their experiences as a member of the Lettesi community in Newcastle. The Lettesi are part of a unique community of extended family members of some 145 households where one or both partners were born in the Abruzzo village of Lettopalena in Italy, and who settled in Newcastle between 1950 and 1956.  Two similar Lettesi communities are located in America and Argentina. 
My first impression was of some kind
of a discovery garden - but it is a public primary school. Buildings are plain
and functional and there is plenty of paving, but what catches my eye are the
creative touches everywhere. A huge funky chair balances high above the
entrance gate in Samdon Street, and colourful hand painted signposts are
immediately helpful to the visitor.
Since I first discovered the trove
of online digital images available through Newcastle’s cultural collections
I have been fascinated by the photograph of the Hamilton station master’s
house. Damaged and discoloured with age, the cottage with three people standing
in front had an other-worldly quality. I wondered where exactly it was –
perhaps it still existed – and who those individuals were.
As a gift, it wasn’t quite all it seemed. It was probably the worst piece of land in Hamilton.
That’s hard to imagine today, as we absorb the colourful expanses of spring
flowering annuals and roses, wander the meandering paths, or watch kids in a
playground protected by ancient fig trees.
When Disney’s Beauty and the Beast opened in Newcastle in 2006, three generations
of the Lind family were involved in its production. Carolyn, daughter of Betty
Lind and her late husband Frank, directed. Another daughter Kathryn played
Madame de la Grande Bouche. Three of Carolyn and Kathryn’s children played
It seems only natural that the early
Hamilton Baptist Church would conduct its Christmas Day service on a summer
evening in the much-loved Gregson Park. After all, the Church is directly
opposite, at 108 Lindsay Street, where it has been since 1929. Historical
church records refer to this as ‘our tradition.’