Our Town ~ The Book

Filed under Heritage & Historical, News ~ by Press on  29 Oct 2019

Hot chips by the beach, Romper Room on Channel 3, a job at the steelworks and live music at the Star Hotel.

A crowded Newcastle Beach, the old pavilion, and Royal Newcastle Hospital. Photograph by Ron Morrison.

That was “Our Town” as many fondly recall.

Greg and Sylvia Ray’s 11th book, Newcastle, Our Town Revisited, is a nostalgic look back at those times.

The book is a collection of colour images of Newcastle and surrounding areas, dating from the 1950s to the 1990s, with most from the 1970s.

Author Greg Ray said this book was his most personal, with many of the photos resonating strongly with his own memories.

This is Our Town, mostly as I remember it from the years I grew up here, and from the years I spent as a reporter at The Newcastle Herald,” he said.

As a third generation Novocastrian and a keen observer of the city and its surrounding regions, I understand and feet the pull of the ‘Our Town’ sentiment.

This book is a celebration of the place some of us knew and loved and lived in when we were younger.”

Many of the photos come from the archive of veteran Novocastrian photographer Ron Morrison, but a substantial sprinkling are from a handful of talented amateurs.

Scott Street, Newcastle railway station, and Customs House ~ a slice of a vibrant late-20th century city captured by photographer Ron Morrison.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Newcastle earthquake, the book contains a selection of quake-related photographs.

Pondering the conundrum of this pocket city – part big smoke (literally!) and part country town – Greg touches on a soul-searching (almost a communal angst) that occupied reflective locals in a coal and steel micropolis seeking to discard its provincial yoke.

Yes, it was raw and unsophisticated.

But it was friendlier than many other places I spent time in. It had hidden treasures that the drive-past critics would never see.

People from other places told me they thought Newcastle was insular and cliquey. Some found its sense of identity a little intimidating.

Our Town really was a place where people tended to do things for themselves.

And of courses it still is our town.”

Embodying the city’s spirit in an era when almost every conceivable product was locally made – from cotton weaving to potato crisps, light bulbs to ships – this book was written and designed by two Novocastrians using photographs taken by locals, then printed and bound in Newcastle by NCP Printing at Steel River.

Newcastle, Our Town Revisited is an A4 size book of 192 glossy pages and weights a hefty, satisfying 1Kg.

For more information contact Greg Ray on 0418 160087.

To order a book, find out more about it or others in the series, visit Greg and Sylvia’s website at www.phototimetunnel.com

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