Newcastles of the World

Familiar Town: Newcastle in Monmouth in Wales. Picture: Desmond Pugh.

Familiar Town: Newcastle in Monmouth in Wales. Picture: Desmond Pugh.

Here we were thinking we were unique. Newcastle, we mean.

But Newcastles are everywhere.

Suzanne Martin, from our Newcastle, loaned us a book on the subject.

Suzanne was given the book when living in County Durham in England.

“I was amazed at how many Newcastles there were,” she said.

Published in 2000, it’s called Newcastles of the World United.

Our discovery of the book follows our report last month of former Newcastle councillor Bob Cook attending the Newcastles of the World Conference in Newcastle, Ontario, in Canada.

Anyhow, the book documents 50 Newcastles across the English-speaking world.

It said many of the towns shared a similar mining and industrial heritage and were named by former residents of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Namesake: Newcastle on Clun in Shropshire. Picture: Jenny Lohmann.

Namesake: Newcastle on Clun in Shropshire. Picture: Jenny Lohmann.

One area that caught our attention was Newcastle on Clun. The village has a population of 275.

The area was designated as an environmentally sensitive area of “outstanding natural beauty”.

The village name comes from the Latin words Novum Castrum, which denote a Roman fort on top of a hill that dominates the area.

Wales is just to the west of the village. Through the centuries, the land has alternated between being in England and Wales, depending on who was in control at the time.

It’s a livestock-producing area at the head of the Clun Valley in the south-west corner of Shropshire (in the West Midlands).

Not far from there is another Newcastle in Monmouth in Wales. In the county of Monmouthshire.

“Newcastle probably started life as a small fortified residence,” the book said.

The area was improved in Norman times, when it was used as an outpost to Monmouth Castle. 

Aussie Newcastles

There’s three other Newcastles in Australia. It’s true. We could hardly believe it ourselves.

There’s Newcastle Range in Tropical North Queensland.

It’s known as a mining centre for gemstones and gold. 

The local watering hole is called the Goldfields Hotel.

It’s here where you’ll find the “spirit of Australia”, according to the book.

Of all the Newcastles, this place has the largest geographical area. 

It has a population of no more than a “few hundred hardy souls”, the book said.

There’s Newcastle Waters – a small settlement off the Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory. It’s virtually uninhabited.

There’s also a Newcastle County in Queensland, but we don’t know much about that place.

There’s also 26 Newcastles in the US, seven in the UK, six in Ireland, three in the West Indies, two in Canada, one in New Zealand and one in South Africa.

But just to be clear, this doesn’t mean our Newcastle – or its people— aren’t special.

Old Loo

Bob Skelton, known as “The Minmi Magster”, posted this on Facebook: “Here is the oldest dunny and oldest pony in the district at our property at Minmi”.

Historic Loo: Bandit the Pony next to a 140-year-old dunny at Minmi.

Historic Loo: Bandit the Pony next to a 140-year-old dunny at Minmi.

“Bandit turns 40 this coming Wednesday and our original dunny is 140 next year. Makes me feel young,” he wrote.

The Magster is a bush poet.

In response to his post, his poetically-named friend Banjo Ockerspeare said this about the loo: “It's probably had more deposits than Gulgong bank in the roaring days. Is there any poetry on the walls mate?”

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