Letters to the editor Tuesday February 13 2018

BOLD VISION: Newcastle East's Jill Lowe says Dr Brian Suters' suggestion of an underground museum is the type of large-scale project the city needs.
BOLD VISION: Newcastle East's Jill Lowe says Dr Brian Suters' suggestion of an underground museum is the type of large-scale project the city needs.

WITH regard to Brodie Owen’s story (‘Park wonder down under’, Newcastle Herald, 10/2): “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realised. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work."

The quote comes from Daniel Hudson Burnham (1846-1912), who was an urban  planner extraordinaire. He had dealings in the development of Washington, San Francisco, Chicago and Cleveland, and he directed the building  for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.

When Newcastle’s own Brian Suters is described by Brodie Owen as a “major figure in crafting the physical look of modern Newcastle”, let us take note of his vision for the future with Daniel Burnham’s words in our ears. Suter’s notion of the development of Shepherds Hill defence group to include an underground museum to pay homage to the “park’s coal mining, military and Aboriginal history”, even including a floating glass dome above the gun pit, is far-reaching, enticing big plans.

Further, the notion of philanthropic involvement  with public-private partnerships can surely be considered. 

Without big plans for the future, we would not have the Honeysuckle development, the Bathers Way or the Memorial Walk. Let us in Newcastle make no small plans and consider this vision for the future from one of our own city fathers.

Jill Lowe, Newcastle East


ON Saturday my wife and I attended an overflowing St Augustine’s Church, Merewether to witness a very moving and inspirational service remembering the life of the late Dr. Charles Finlay-Jones.

Charles wisely carried the spirit of youth into older age, which means never losing enthusiasm. He realised that “ain’t nobody perfect”, didn’t involve himself with political correctness, did not suffer fools easily, was not pretentious and carried his own cross through adversity.

He also demonstrated many distinguishing characteristics of a very worthy man including intelligence, decency, reliability, courage, accountability, tenacity, the strictest of integrity and devotion to family, patients, community, the environment, justice and fairness for all. When reflecting that these are the leadership qualities that should be evidenced in Australia today, it is as clear as a skin cancer doctor’s burn-off on someone’s face that in far too many cases they are not. 

If you had been going over the hill with Dr. Charles Finley-Jones by your side in a military operation, you would know he had your back and would value the safety of his life more than your own. That is surely the ultimate accolade. Charles cannot be replaced. We could not help but love and respect him and always looked forward to seeing him again.

He will remain with us as an exemplary role model along with his legacy of changing so many lives.

Max Ebrill, Merewether


BACK in early January, Scott Street was barricaded off to all traffic from Watt St west to Wolfe Street. A couple of weeks later it was from Watt Street east to Pacific Street. The heavy machinery was brought in and we thought ‘great, construction of the light rail will start’. But we were wrong.

From what I have seen the only work that has been done in this section over the past five weeks is dozens of holes drilled and the bitumen layer removed.

Apart from a number of traffic controllers, who turn up each morning to guard each entrance, and a visit from the water truck twice a day to spray the ground, there has been little visible action over the past five weeks on this section of the proposed rail link. If you are a pedestrian, the difficulty in trying to walk in this area is substantial as 50 per cent of the footpath has been removed by the placing of barriers. You have to negotiate with prams, bikes and people moving in the opposite direction.

Serious sympathy and concern must go to the retailers and business trying to operate under these extreme and difficult conditions.There appears no end in sight.

Walking the length of Scott and Hunter streets, you would wonder about the planning and coordination of this project as there are so many partly and half-finished work sites. If you stop and talk to any of the construction staff, enquiring as to progress and as to when something will be finished, the stock answer is “I really don't know – but it will be great when it's all finished.” 

Here we are, just starting the sixth week since these streets have been closed, and one would have to ask: action, what action?

John Fear, Newcastle East


HOW fortunate are Novocastrians to have the highly-regarded Dr Brian Suters among us? It is truly inspirational to have wise and creative citizens like Dr Suters selflessly working on a vision for Shepherds Hill that will stand the test of time. 

Now that the council has re-invented our rail corridor, ignored the plight of affected businesses, undertaken to re-configure public space for the benefit of Supercars; uprooted Cooks Hill trees and inadequately (in my view) addressed the Stockton Beach debacle, let us hope that Dr Suter’s plan will get the attention it deserves. Our great city is deserving of such a legacy.

Maree Dixon, The Junction


WHILE I agree that there is not enough available public transport in Newcastle, please spare a thought for residents of Port Stephens who have no public transport, often have to change three or four times to get to their final destination. This becomes worse on their return journey.

The majority of these people are elderly and as an alternative have to depend on family or charitable groups for transport. When are our politicians going to represent these people?

Gerry Mohan, Shoal Bay


LAST week the courts found David Hogg guilty (“Hogg is guilty, says jury”, Herald 10/2). The conviction brings some justice, though it's been a long time coming for Hogg's victim.

As the #metoo movement has shown, there is a difference between open secret and public knowledge. Men in positions of power, whether in Hollywood or locally, must be accountable.

Liam Phelan, Mayfield East


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