03 January, 2018

Signing off...

My work to bring to light the hidden history of my suburb, Hamilton, is complete.

It began on Friday, 17 May, 2013 with my first post on this blog, about the Hamilton Turkish baths. Soon, blogging was taking me on an adventure I'd never imagined.

11 November, 2016

Danilo's Restaurant and the secret of success

'The secret of success,’ Danny Franco told his three sons, ‘is to always be the first.’ 

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.

21 May, 2016

'More Hidden Hamilton - further stories of people, place and community'

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.

06 February, 2016

It's time to press 'pause'...

It’s time to press the ‘pause’ button for the Hidden Hamilton blog.

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 printing.

09 December, 2015

A community finds its place - the Lettesi story

‘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[1] 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. [2] Two similar Lettesi communities are located in America and Argentina. [3]

06 December, 2015

A discovery place - Hamilton Public School

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.

23 November, 2015

Search for the station master's house

Since I first discovered the trove of online digital images available through Newcastle’s cultural collections[1] 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.

26 October, 2015

Gregson Park

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.

22 September, 2015

Music in the genes - Betty Lind

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 ‘enchanted objects.’

04 September, 2015

Hamilton Baptist Church

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.’