Newcastle Now

Our Projects

Meet the Pillar People

A lot of the work undertaken by Newcastle Now falls into the category of placemaking, that is a project that adds a little oomph, pizazz or mojo to a city space to help make it more than just a city space – it becomes a place.

One particular project that has been turning heads and delighting city folk is our growing community of ‘pillar people’ which at the time of writing, has grown into a small army of 12.

Local artist, Rebecca Murray, who runs Flying Spanners Gallery in Teralba (a little suburb on the northern shoreline of Lake Macquarie) has been commissioned to paint murals on telecommunication pillars across the Civic Precinct.

Unsightly pillars used to house telecommunication wires have been painted in costumes representing the various workers who utilise the precinct on a daily basis, including a judge outside of the Law Courts, a superhero outside of Graphic Action Comics, a bride near the strip of bridal boutiques and her groom dressed in a penguin suit further down the road near men’s formal wear.

The project is the collaborative brainchild of some clever business people in the Civic Precinct who meet once a month to collaborate on placemaking projects, as part of a business advisory group program coordinated by Newcastle Now Business Improvement Association.

Here is a list of the pillar people army as it currently stands..

  • Sonja the Skater who has reappeared years after Darks Ice Skating Rink closed
  • Clarence the Parking Officer
  • Chubbs the Bouncer, outside of popular night spot Argyle House
  • Little Jos'e, who plays groovy violin tunes outside of Hunter Valley Violins
  • Lord Mayor Joy Cumming. The first female Lord Mayor in the country and a highly respected figure of Newcastle
  • Super G outside of Graphic Action Comics
  • Pin-up Peg – a sultry waitress with her little visitor scraps
  • Chef Scotty 
  • Sean the Posty
  • Old Bailey, the Judge on a break outside of the new Law Courts
  • The Bride and her
  • Penguin Groom, Quentin         
This project has been so well received, that Precinct Advisory Groups from across the city centre are considering growing the bollard community across the West End and East End of Newcastle.

Here a few examples of delighted Facebook users who have commented on photographs of the painted pillars.

"The Telstra guys must see their work in a completely fun way when they arrive at this particular cable pillar. Great work Beck." Richard Boston

"I saw one of these outside the comic shop in Hunter Street painted as a superhero. Brilliant." Craig Smith

"This cheers me up no end while I am waiting at the Hunter St traffic lights - thank you!" Katrina Kellett

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