As Topics drove into Newcastle recently, we noticed a tourist sign for FogHorn Brewhouse.
We had a little chuckle, thinking: “Only in Australia could a brewery be considered a tourist attraction”.
But then we thought a little more about it. FogHorn is a destination. Well, it’s our main destination when we head into Newcastle for beer and pizza.
And we’re pretty sure the Hunter Valley wineries have this type of tourist sign.
We asked Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp for the lowdown on the sign.
Tim noted that the FogHorn signs [there are two – one on Stewart Avenue and the other on King Street] were approved by the “Tourist Attraction Signposting Assessment Committee”.
“There’s a board or a committee for just about anything these days,” Tim said wryly, while making a comparison to the TV series Utopia.
Tim said the signs were on state roads. As such, a state entity approved them, rather than the city council.
“It is legitimate,” he said.
FogHorn Brewhouse chief brewing officer Shawn Sherlock confirmed that it was a very, very long process to get the signs approved.
Topics heard that approval required more than 150 pages of paperwork.
“The whole process took over 18 months until the signs went up. I can guarantee we’re as approved as we can possibly be,” Shawn said.
“We’ve ticked every box there is to tick.”
We told Shawn that we loved his “chief brewing officer” title. He confirmed it was intended to reflect the hilarity of modern-day job titles.
Shawn said some people were a bit confused with the brewery’s tourist signs.
“Some people aren’t necessarily used to tourism being in Newcastle CBD – they think of Port Stephens, the Hunter Valley or the beaches as tourist areas.
“But there are other things. If people come to town and go to the beach, they’re looking for something else to do – particularly if they’ve got visitors from out of town.
If someone opened a small winery in Newcastle and were doing tourism tours, they’d qualify for the sign, he said.
“We do brewery tours. If people want to learn a bit about brewing and the process, this is where they can come.
“It is a destination. We get lots of tourists through here, like backpackers and grey nomads.”
Grey nomads were big on signs, he said.
No pun intended, he said the signs were “a sign of the change happening in Newcastle”.
Hey Gladys, Let Tim go to the Match
As Topics was chatting to Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp, the conversation turned to the Socceroos do-or-die World Cup qualifier against Honduras in Sydney on Wednesday.
Tim said he might not be able to attend the match because Parliament would probably be sitting late.
Topics advised him to get a message pronto to Premier Gladys Berejiklian to ensure Parliament finishes at a decent time, so MPs can support our lads.
“I’d be very keen to get along to the match,” Tim said.
Over to you, Gladys.
UFO at Lambton
Topics wrote yesterday about Lambton’s Phil Mahoney recalling that a flying saucer landed at Lambton Park in the 1950s.
His neighbour – a bloke called George Bunn – was sitting in a men’s shed, opposite the park’s rotunda, when he saw a silver object coming through the sky and land next to the rotunda.
Phil said the UFO left a burn mark on the grass that was a “complete circle about 40 metres in diameter”.
In response to the story, reader Ken told Topics that he was about eight and living in Lambton when the incident happened.
Ken said that for years, when he thought back to that memory, he wondered whether it was a dream.
He added another memory to the incident, saying that two scorch marks in perfect circles were also made in the Lambton Bowling Club area.
He couldn’t recall whether this was at the side of the bowling club or on the green.
“I used to hang with the greenkeeper – that’s how I remember,” he said.