I REMEMBER walking into the hall and down the aisles of Newcastle High School looking for my student number. I looked around and noticed this was the place where I sat, 11 years old, on my first day.
Six years later, it was quite poetic that I was ending my high school career in the very same room.
At both times I strongly believed that I would not make it out of that hall.
The HSC was unequivocally the most daunting challenge I have faced. Walking into the first exam I could barely breathe, I could feel my breakfast wanting to make a reappearance straight onto my exam paper and I almost considered it as a drastic escape option. But now, it is just a memory laced with images of the Weimar Republic and my dreaded essay on Indochina.
At the time, in a bid to stave off my anxious tendencies and random fits of crying, I was told by almost every adult that “the HSC isn’t that important”. Never say this to any 17-year-old, especially as they are walking into English Paper One.
The HSC is wildly important, but really in a more broad sense. Push aside your anxiety and strange state of study-depression for a moment and take the HSC for what it is, another life experience.
In retrospect, the HSC was really a test for what I could withstand as a person and now, I know that I can handle myself in the most debilitating and difficult challenges.
The advice that you need to hear isn’t that it doesn’t matter or “your ATAR doesn’t define you” because you already know that and you already have a incredible desire to obliterate any smug adult who says this to you.
What you need to hear is that it will be over so quickly and in a year’s time, when the anxiety has faded and your breakfast sits soundly in your stomach, you will be so proud of yourself that you could do it.
The most important thing I learnt was that the HSC is a defining moment of transitioning from a child to an adult and you will most definitely feel 10 years older the day you walk out of that hall after your last exam.
Sarah Dabboussy, Newcastle
Complicit in ‘nightmare’
LORD mayor Nelmes argued Newcastle council had to support the rezoning because decisions on transport lay with the state government (‘Council votes to back rezoning of corridor’, Herald, 14/10).
Why bring it to council at all? They certainly had the power to oppose it. They would then have to accept the consequences.
They could have sent supportive submissions from local, normally pro-development professional bodies, such as institutes of architects, engineers, landscape architects, traffic engineers, council's own engineers, the government's Hunter Regional Transport Plan and the leaked confidential cabinet paper that all supported putting light rail on the corridor, where it belongs.
Not possible? Think greyhounds.
This government could carry out its barbaric threat to let the corridor rot or proceed with the rezoning process regardless of council's and expert opinion views. Cr Nelmes' proposition to support the rezoning and lobby for a better deal is, I believe, naive.
And the integrated, evidence-based transport strategy? It will be fatally flawed if it can't consider the existing evidence for running the tram on the rail corridor.
Cr Clausen stressed that council might not back the rezoning in the future.
You've already done that in principle: read the Herald headline above.
There are plenty of precedents for councils statewide refusing crown development and rezoning applications. Baird ministers are treating Novocastrians as naive bumpkins.
Sadly, council will now always be regarded as complicit in what will prove to be a Hunter/Scott transport nightmare.
Keith Parsons, former Newcastle councillor
Choose the right spot
A RECENT report said Sydney was looking forward to greeting over 330 cruiseliners over the next cruising period. This is wonderful news for Sydney. Great for the economy for Sydney. Then I look at the cruise ships that may visit our fair city in the same period of time.
Would we see 30 cruiseliners? Could we receive more if we had more to offer? What can be done to increase the numbers of cruise liners to our harbour?
When many of the cruise ships that visit Sydney dock, they do so at Circular Quay. Step off the ship and there are many major attractions within a short walking distance. And all appear to be in a very presentable appearance.
The other fact is that the ships that berth at Circular Quay are within a very short and apparently safe distance from the wharf and there are not any port patrols, or fencing to stop people just walking by.
However in Newcastle, the city that is on the move and has a great future and should be building and designing for the future are hell bent on our Newcastle International Cruise Terminal being placed at Carrington – still an industrial wharf.
Build the terminal at Lee Wharf near the interchange at Wickham. Fix up the wharf and build a proper greeting place, souvenir shops, coffee shops and bars and even house Customs and other important people.
Folks, this is a chance to get something built right and in the right place.
John Freund, Adamstown Heights
Some tips, Mr Baird
TO Mike Baird. I would like to make a few suggestions regarding what you have in mind for Newcastle.
First, use the old rail corridor with double tracks from the terminus to the junction of Hunter and Scott streets.
Second, a single track from there up Scott Street to Pacific Street then down Hunter Street, through the mall, back to the double track at Scott and Hunter streets.
Third, build a five-storey car park over the rail corridor at Civic.
Fourth, use the rail corridor instead of Hunter Street and don’t use buses in Hunter Street. This would allow angle parking from National Park Street to Scott Street.
Lastly, you might think I am against public transport, not so, but the motor car is with us, and it will take a lot to change that. You might like to compare the parking at John Hunter Hospital. What will parking be at Civic precinct when fully developed?
Grahame F. Palmer, Cliftleigh
Letter of the week
The Herald pen goes to Sarah Taylor for her letter about Donald Trump.