See the photos as a slideshow here
See the map here
ARCHAEOLOGIST Wayne Mullen has documented 80 plaques in Newcastle CBD and counting as he attempts the first known recording of these historical treasures.
Mr Mullen has been uploading images and mapping the locations of the plaques, some dating back to the early 1800s, on flickr.com.
‘‘Newcastle is the second oldest city in Australia so it does have a depth of history,’’ Mr Mullen said.
‘‘There’s this habit of installing plaques, I haven’t quite got a handle on. The reason I started taking pictures of the plaques is because they were essentially everywhere.’’
Based at The University of Sydney in NSW, Mr Mullen began his discovery of what he describes as Newcastle’s ‘‘forgotten treasures’’ in December 2011.
He purchased a weekender property in the CBD in 2008 and was amazed to discover how many plaques he would come across during his Saturday walks.
‘‘There are these little markers of history everywhere but what I found odd was the lack of awareness that they existed,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s been generation after generation of plaques but no generalised map.’’
The plaques include the site of the 1820 convict barracks in Watt Street and a Pacific Park tribute to former matron of Newcastle Hospital Irene Hall, who served from 1915 to 1958.
The site of Newcastle’s first wharf (1804) on the foreshore near Customs House has also been documented in metal as has the commemoration of former mayor Morris Light, situated at Newcastle City Hall.
Light, an alderman from 1902 to 1929 and mayor in 1924-25, is credited with being the moving force behind creating today’s civic centre.
He died of pneumonia in July 1929, five months before the new civic buildings, which included the town hall (renamed City Hall in 1981) and the Civic Theatre, opened.
University of Newcastle archivist Gionni DiGravio said he did not know of any official documents recording the CBD plaques.
But he said many had been highlighted on heritage walks conducted by Newcastle historical groups.
‘‘We do seem to create a lot of plaques in Newcastle,’’ he said.
He said the plaques tended to commemorate one of four things – the position of ancient buildings, war memorials, important people and early settlement sites.
A Newcastle City Council spokeswoman confirmed there was no general registry of plaques but there was information on 21 commemorative plaques in and around Newcastle that related to World War II.
The World War II plaques were placed at different locations by the Newcastle Australia Remembers Committee in 1995 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.