Hunter Street with a (fake) light rail track

On the Road: Tram tracks on Hunter Street. Digital Mischief: Bill Behan.
On the Road: Tram tracks on Hunter Street. Digital Mischief: Bill Behan.

Here it is. Light rail in Hunter Street.

This little bit of creative wizardry was done by the Hunter’s very own resident Bill Behan. And he’s pretty chuffed with his effort. So are we.

“About seven years ago I had an opportunity to travel to Europe,” Bill told Topics.

“One of the cities we visited was Heidelberg [in Germany].”

Bill is an early riser.

“I decided to go for a walk and have a look at the neighbourhood before everyone started getting out and about,” he said.

“As I crossed this main road, I stopped and looked and saw a scene very reminiscent of Hunter Street.”

He couldn’t help but notice the “wide, open, inviting roadway disappearing into the distance, with medium height buildings on the left and a copse of trees on the right”.

It was Hunter Street in a different part of the world. What else could he do but take a picture?

“I didn’t really have any plans for the photo – it just sits on a hard drive and floats around my memory occasionally,” he said.

Then in 2016, Bill noticed there was “a lot of drama associated with the light rail in Hunter Street”.

“I decided to get out my photo of Heidelberg,” he said.

He began to plan a bit of digital mischief.

“All I needed was a photo of Hunter Street. I had to wait for weeks until the conditions were right. Not too much cloud, no rain, early morning,” he said.

He was looking for the same conditions as that day in Heidelberg.

“It just makes post-processing [the image] that much easier,” he said.

At about 5.30am one day in 2016, he stood in the centre of Hunter Street near Frontline Hobbies.

He couldn’t help but notice “a wide, open, inviting roadway disappearing into the distance, with medium height buildings on the left and a copse of trees on the right”.

“All I had to do was work out how to combine two images and selectively show the bits I needed,” he said.

Hunter Street is Cool

Bill rarely travels to Newcastle CBD.

“There’s nothing there I need,” he says.

Come on, Bill. Things have changed there. You should take a look. You should make a trip in and check out the cool cafes and restaurants. 

Bill continued: “There is very little parking and even then someone decided to tax me for visiting Newcastle by making me pay to park my car”.

That’s true. We can’t argue there. We don’t like parking fees either.

Bill continued: “I suppose if the light rail removes even more car parking spaces, there will be less cars travelling along Hunter Street. King Street will be more of a bottleneck than it is now.

“The village atmosphere existing in the Hunter mall area could well become even more isolated because no one will be able to drive or park.”

We’re not sure about that.

Time will tell.

Topics truly hopes the light rail helps transform Hunter Street into a thriving mini-metropolis.

Born to be Wild

Bill has noticed that Aussies love for motor vehicles means we aren’t overly fond of public transport. We admit, Aussies do love their automobiles. Like the song says: “Get your motor runnin', Head out on the highway, Lookin' for adventure, And whatever comes our way”.

Mind you, Bill conceded that people living in Melbourne have a tram system that’s “ingrained into the psyche”.

“A similar attitude appears to exist in Europe, where light rail in cities is part of life and people grow up utilising the public transport system,” he said.

Who knows, Bill. Maybe one day, some time in the future, Hunter residents will also have public transport as a regular part of their lives.

Choccy Milk

Millions of Americans think chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

Millions of Americans think chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

New Lambton’s Michael Jameson has been following our stories on milk.

So he sent us a Washington Post story that revealed 7 per cent of all American adults believe that chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

“If you do the math, that works out to 16.4 million misinformed, milk-drinking people,” the story said.