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.

My book, ‘Hidden Hamilton: Uncovering stories of Hamilton, NSW’ was launched on 11 November, 2014.

Feedback, information and stories flowed in – so the blog posts continued.

A companion volume, ‘More Hidden Hamilton: Further stories of people, place and community’ was published on 28 June, 2016.

Both books drew extensively from over 70 posts on this blog.

(See the sidebar for details)

To everyone who has travelled with me on my journey to discover Hamilton, thank you. Your engagement, encouragement and contributions have made the experience a highlight of my life. Special thanks to publisher Hunter Press – Christine Bruderlin and Mark MacLean transformed my blog posts into books to treasure.

From 2016, two initiatives brought Hamilton’s history to its streets in a very tangible way. Working with the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and interested building owners, I have had 22 heritage plaques installed on buildings of historical significance. 

And a Hamilton Walking Tour brochure has been produced, capturing essential details about 22 points of interest. Print brochures are free, and a downloadable version with links through to the Hidden Hamilton blog is available from the Visit Newcastle website here.

Update: Late in 2020 the Newcastle City Council commissioned consultants to create an interactive mobile app based on this walk. It is expected to be available in 2021.

When a new publication, Hamilton Local, commenced in April 2017, publisher Mark Brooker invited me to write a monthly history article. Over the following year, I told the stories of buildings long gone, like Gow’s Drapery and Donald’s Corner, and of the great survivors, like the Masonic Hall and the Australian Agricultural Company mine manager’s house. 

The past few years have held challenges for me at a personal level, as my multiple sclerosis has worsened and affected my mobility. Still, I feel so grateful for the privilege of telling some of the stories of Hamilton and its amazing people. Its history and its stories have been brought to light, hidden no more.

For a recap of my journey, a 5-minute video ‘Beyond Hidden Hamilton’ produced in 2016  by a team of Media Studies/Communications students from the University of Newcastle can be seen at https://vimeo.com/191102480

So a big thank you all my contributors, readers, followers, supporters and encouragers. Hidden Hamilton would never have happened without you!


Unknown said...

It has been an absolute pleasure working with the inspirational Ruth Cotton to bring her research into print in two volumes which will be a continuing resource to Novocastrians. Many thanks for trusting Hunter Press to guide your hard work into print, Ruth. Hamilton and Newcastle are richer for your work. I look forward to seeing where your interests and writing will take you next.

Ruth Cotton said...

Thank you Christine. After working with you on three books (in four years!) I have learned so much. I am sure the experience must have contributed to the plasticity of my ageing brain.... in the most pleasurable way.

Unknown said...

It seems I have discovered your work as you draw it to a conclusion. Thank you Ruth for taking the time to create this terrific collection and for making Hamilton a more accessible historical destination. Often I've glanced at the buildings and a brief moment of superficial recognition that it looks old or original but rarely more. I look forward to making time to visit the locations on the walking tour and getting a better sense of the depth of time.

Ruth Cotton said...

Thank you Jeremy. Yes, the 'hidden' in my blog name turned out to be even more prescient than I thought at the time! I am glad you found it, anyway.