Article Index

The City of Newcastle acknowledges that we are on the traditional country of the Awabakal and Worimi peoples. The City recognises and respects their cultural heritage, beliefs and continuing relationship with the land and the sea, and that they are the proud survivors of more than two hundred years of dispossession. 

Newcastle is Australia’s second oldest and seventh biggest City, with a population of around 160 000. Acknowledged as one of Lonely Planet’s Top Ten Cities, located right on the coast, with ten beaches and literally a hundred different beach/rock surfable set ups within the Local Government Area (LGA) at any given time or tide, including the City’s National Surfing Reserve, Merewether. Outside of the LGA, there are hundreds of world class waves within and easy one hour’s drive North or South.

Newcastle’s surfing culture and history remains as strong as ever, and reflects the City’s down to earth approach. It would be hard to find one person in the City who does not have a link to the Ocean, either as a surfer, swimmer or avid beach goer.

This is reflected in Newcastle’s long list of well known surfers and water men and women, including four times World Champion Mark Richards, the youngest surfer to ever win a World Tour event, Nicky Wood, along with patriarchs such as Ted Harvey, Robbie Woods, Steve Butterworth, Col Smith, Bob Lynch, Peter McCabe, Warren Smith and Roger Clements. Not forgetting stylists such as Belinda Baggs, Matt Hoy, Simon Law, Marty McMillan, Jye Byrnes, Rhys Smith, and of course Newcastle’s own Ms. Universe, Jennifer Hawkins, who goes out for a paddle as well!

In1998 the significance of surfing created enough impetus to create the Hunter Surf Industry Cluster Business Incubator, which was co-ordinated by the University of Newcastle’s Business Development Centre with around 20 local surf industry representatives participating. The Cluster undertook research with the outcome being the production of the Hunter Surf Industry Feasibility Study which ascertained the local surf industry at that time was conservatively estimated at AUS $36.5 million to the regional economy.

Since this time, awareness in the importante of surfing and the surf industry has been increasing acknowledged as one of the significant economic drivers for the local economy.