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