Laing Street Newcastle

A Google search for Laing Street cites it with national prominence as a heralded destination on the National Public Toilet Map.

Laing Street is home to the Newcastle Elderly Citizens Centre, that renowned loo, the King Street Car Park, and a brick wall or two.

Pictured – Laing Street viewing west circa 2014

In 1931 Mr A.A. Gollan, former Superintendent of the State Forest Nursery, Gosford, became excited by the appearance, if not apparition, of a Candle Nut tree (Aleirites Triloba), a clean-barked tree with large heart-shaped foliage, brandishing that summer its white flowers. Hiding its glory in Laing Street, behind the Strand Theatre, this enigmatic tree aroused Mr Gollan’s professional curiosity to such degree that he appealed in the local paper for whichever itinerant bird had happened to excrete the seeds of such possibility, and begged the feathered traveller to come forward with information of what area it might happened to have fed upon such seeds.

Laing street was home to Methodist builder James Ola Christianson and his wife Mary Ann. James, at 43, enlisted as sapper in the No 4 Tunnelling Company, embarked to the Western Front in April 1916, endured the war to end all wars, and returned to his happy home three years and one month later bearing the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. James was also a trooper in NSW Citizen Bushmen who fought in the Boer War from 1899 to 1902. He died 11 August 1942 aged 79. Mary Ann joined him on 18th June, 1945, also aged 79. The deceased couple share an impressive gravesite headstone at Sandgate Cemetary.

Newcastle Elderly Citizens Centre resides beneath the parking station in Laing Street. One of Throsby’s treasured blogs, All the Streets in Newcastle, features nonagenarian Rose, whose travels around town are lovingly recorded by Tania.

Laing Street is very short. As far as its features go it is very easy to describe. On the car-park side there is little other than the Elderly Citizens’ Centre and some rest-rooms… On the shopping-centre side there is nothing but a large brick wall and a small pedestrian access tunnel to Market Square.

I have not yet described the wonderful works of art that I encountered in Laing Street. I do not know exactly how they came to be there, including whether they were legally done or otherwise, or whether they were commissioned and paid for, or if they simply burst out of someone who could not contain themselves.

Let me assure you, Rose, they more than likely simply “burst out.”

In 1929 when Ramon Pavincich that morning departed his room in Laing Street, he left a pair of trousers, a hat, and a shirt behind. Later in the day they were missing. Paying a surreptitious visit to the room during the occupant’s absence, Arthur Richard Paskings, 53, cook, told Newcastle Police Court “he took a liking to the clobber” so when he left the clothes went with him. He was fined five quid, which in  those days would have bought a shitload more “clobber” than he stole.

In 1908 a ratepayer, by letter to the Newcastle Morning Herald, reminded the city’s keepers…

Sir, At the last meeting of the Newcastle Borough Council, Alderman Moroney sald the streets would have to be attended to. The aldermen wanted to leave their mark, and they could not do better than give every attention to the streets.

This is good news. although I believe the aldermen are elected for that purpose. They may now be a ten to two chance to have the kerbing In King street, from Wolfe to Thorne streets, in Thorne-street, from King to Laing streets, and through Laing-street, at both sides of that street, to Morgan street, put to the proper alignments, as shown in the Government alignment plan whicht may be seen in the town clerk’s office.

I hope Alderman Moroney will keep the council up to the collar; but if he is the cause of £40,000 being spent on Hunter-street, with an additional £1000 per year for upkeep of that street, he will then have made his mark on rich and poor alike. It is quiet evident that if the landowner has to bear this increased taxation, the tenant will have to pay more rent.



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