Somewhere beneath the King Street carpark behind Market Square (and before it, The Strand) may be the remnants of an old cottage called NUNEHAM and a 100 year old Candle Nut Tree with an interesting provenance. Here is a photo from a Sun article, 11/1/1954. The article is reproduced below:
Candle Nut Tree More Than 100 Years Old
The origin of the rare Candle Nut tree growing in the area behind the Strand Theatre is no longer a mystery.
Following an article in ‘The Newcastle Sun’ last week, which described the origin of the tree as ‘unknown,’ but hazarded the guess that it might have been brought here by a seaman from abroad, a Newcastle woman, whose family associations with Newcastle date back more than a hundred years, has produced documentary evidence concerning the tree’s background.
The woman, who prefers to remain anonymous, says the tree was planted by her uncle, the late Alfred Richardson, in the garden of her grandfather’s home more than a century ago.
In Tree’s Youth
The picture reproduced here shows that home and the tree (marked with a cross) when it was only 7ft. high. Standing in the gateway are Mr. and Mrs. Martin Richardson (the woman’s grandparents) and her mother as a child of five.
The house, called Nuneham Cottage after her great-grandfather’s home, “Nuneham Courtney,” near Oxford in England — now a museum — faced Laing-st. and was built on one of the first areas of land reserved for residential development.
The Richardson property and two adjoining allotments were compulsorily acquired by Newcastle Council as a site for a major electricity project, but only a small part of the area was used for a substation.
From South Seas
Nuneham Cottage was pulled down, as well as the Bluebell Hotel on the ad-joining Hudson property.
The candle nut tree was brought to Newcastle from Queensland, but is believed to have come originally from one of the South Sea islands. It was known to the Richardsons as the “kui’kui tree” and was believed to be the only one of its kind in Australia.
Commenting on the suggestion that the land might be used as a site for a parking station, the woman said: “This would be a gross misuse of the area. It is an ideal location for a small city park and should be retained for that purpose.’
– Newcastle Sun. 11/1/1954
And here is a photo of a substation on the land (mentioned in the above article). NCC Photobank, no date.
Research © Matthew Ward, 2016
• • •
The Newcastle Sun, 11/3/1940, p.2 :
CRAFTSMEN ENGAGED ON BUILDING
The services of many different types of craftsmen were required to construct and fit the new flats at the corner of Watt and King Streets, and their combined efforts have produced an attractive and handsome addition to the city buildings.
The builder was W. Stronach, of Beaumont-street, Hamilton, and the structure provides another example in the city of his effective work. James Mullan Pty., Ltd. of Clyde-street, Hamilton, supplied the comprehensive amount of structural steel and steel reinforcements embodied in the building.
John C. W. Bridge and Co. (Newcastle) Pty., Ltd. of Macquarie-street, Mayfield, were responsible for the modern hot water and heating systems installed. The same firm also fitted the steel handrailing and the sanitary, plumbing and water services.
The flats are serviced throughout with the latest electric appliances and services and the electrical installation was in the hands of Uhrig and Allan, of Beaumont-street, Hamilton. The striking tallow wood flooring was supplied by Earp. Woodcock, Beveridge and Co. Pty., Ltd., of Carrington.
The large amount of lime and cement work required for the construction was handled by the Newcastle Lime and Cement Co. Pty., Ltd., of Hunter-street West. The handsome terrazzo work in the building was also the work of this company.
Rich and Co. Pty., Ltd. of Samdon-street, Hamilton, supplied the fibrous plaster ceilings and cornices with which the building is attractively equipped.
All glazing and electric light fittings, which add greatly to the appearance of the building, were supplied by James Werring and Co. Pty., Ltd. of Hunter-street, Wickham.
In a structure of this size an extensive amount of joinery work is entailed. The contract was assigned to A. L. Peterson, of Parry-street, Newcastle.
The managing and letting agents for the new flats are Creer and Berkeley, auctioneers, etc., of Wolfe-street, Newcastle.
Timbers used in the construction of Athcourt Flats were supplied by F. Viggers, of Union-street, Cook’s Hill. The firm specialises in seasoned constructional timbers.
— The Newcastle Sun, 11/3/1940, p.2
• • •
The Newcastle Sun, 11/3/1940, p.2:
NEW FLATS CHANGE CITY’S SKY-LINE
ATHCOURT FLATS NEAR COMPLETION
COMFORT IS THE KEYNOTE
Newcastle’s sky-line is changing. The erection of modern flat-buildings in the eastern part of the city has given many of the streets a modified sky-scraper look very different from the Newcastle of a few years back. A worthy addition to these buildings is Athcourt Flats, at the corner of Watt and King-streets.
THE new flats are expected to be ready by the end of the month. They have been erected for the Ath-court Proprietary Limited by Mr. W. Stronach, builder, of Hamilton, at a cost of approximately £40,000.
There are six floors, containing 20 flats — four on each of the floors above the ground floor — and four suites of offices on the ground floor. The exterior of the building, which looks imposing from the street, has been carried out in dark-faced bricks.
The spacious portico to the building is floored in terrazzo, with two plate-glass doors leading into the vestibule. Letter-boxes for tenants are located In the portico.
The vestibule itself carries over a decor note from the exterior of the building. A striking feature is a seven-foot dado of dark “header” bricks, similar to those used on the outside of the building. Directly facing the main entrance Is the automatic electric lift, which services every floor.
At one side of the lift entrance is a tobacconist’s kiosk.
Showcases and a tenant’s directory board are attached to the walls.
The offices suites are commodious and well lighted. As in all other rooms in the building, the offices have oregon fittings and flush oregon panelled doors, with walls in cream and white finishes. Two lavatory blocks are provided on the ground floor.
All stairs and landing-lobbies on the remaining floors of the building have a feature which will be welcomed by tenants. Under the floor-coverings is a layer of sponge rubber, which has the comfort of an expensive pile carpet. The stairways nave a 4ft. 6in. black dado, with white wall finish above the dado.
The Lounge Rooms
On each floor is a vestibule to which entrance is gained through double glass doors. On each side of the vestibule entrance is had to the flats through the lounge-room door.
The lounge-rooms differ slightly In each flat, but all are spacious, with modern lighting, and all have built-in sideboards. Portion of the room could be used for dining.
Power points are provided for standard lamps and heaters.
All flats have two good-sized bed-rooms, with plenty of light and ventilation. Like the other rooms of the flats, they have ceilings of sound-proof insulite. This material is carried down the walls, three feet from the celling.
In the hallways, which lead off the lounge rooms, is a telephone for each flat. These phones connect directly with the exchange and each have their own number. On the first floor, how-ever, there Is a tradesman’s switch-board. This enables tradesmen to ring to the occupant of each flat to ascertain what is required before going to the flat.
Off the hallways are built-in linen cupboards, finished in Oregon, with plenty of shelves and storage space.
Each flat has its own modem bath-room. The bath, washbasin and lavatory bowl are in cream porcelain and there Is a 4ft 6in dado of tiles. Each is provided with hot and cold water and a shower. Floors are of terrazzo.
The hot water service is also provided In the kitchens. In the basement is a steam boiler, equipped with a mechanical fuelling system known as the “iron stoker,” the first installation of its kind In Newcastle.
The kitchens have been equipped with labor-saving devices which will attract the housewife. Each has a recessed electric refrigerator, with a tradesman’s service hatch from the stairway. Portion of the kitchen may be used as a dining alcove. The cooking equipment is in a loge, separated from the other part of the kitchen by a wooden screen.
The 10 flats facing Watt-street have balconies. One of the rear flats has a balcony.
On the roof of the building is a communal laundry, which covers the en-tire floor space. The floor is covered with a waterproof material. There are four laundry blocks, each equipped with built-in tubs and an electric washing machine. A special bathroom is provided on the roof. Two balconies look out on to Watt-street and to the rear of the building. The rest of the floor space is equipped with lines for drying clothes.
The entire block has been carried out with good workmanship and with an eye to conserving labor, space and light.
The letting agents are Messrs. Creer and Berkeley, of Wolfe-street, Newcastle.
—The Newcastle Sun, 11/3/1940, p.2
Some recent interior photos (from a real estate website)
Research © Matthew Ward, 2016
The triangular block of land that stretches from Hunter (earlier, Blane Street) to Burwood Street Newcastle NSW Australia is called the “Burwood Wedge”. It has been home to at least three grand buildings. I will add photo & info as I find them.
Northumberland Permanent Building, Investment, Land and Loan Society Building
D’Argeavel and Johnston’s corner
Research © Matthew Ward, 2016