a Floating World
On a Floating World is a publishing and events platform focused on the coastline and waterways that surround Newcastle, stretching from Port Stephens to Lake Macquarie and wrapping around the Hunter Valley.
This site will feature oral histories, site visits, deep dives into the past, as well as stories from around the world with people that are leading the way for the future or preserving something essential from the past.
In the new year, we will produce seasonal events that include talks, walks, exhibitions, workshops, and more — featuring many of the experts and storytellers from this site, as well as the places visited.
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From the sea…
- Museum of WaterArtist Amy Sharrocks has been on a water-led journey for her whole life. From her early days as a swimmer, to tracing the lost rivers of London through, to becoming the instigator of an ever-changing project called Museum of Water. Now she is questioning her own worldview and looking to the past for a better tomorrow.
- The War in Port StephensToday, Port Stephens is an idyllic holiday spot, sought out for its natural beauty and serenity, but it was once an integral part of Australia’s war effort, providing a training ground where tanks and soldiers stormed the dunes while planes bombed the beaches.
- On Phoenix Park with John WrightUnder historic Morpeth Bridge is a farm that has been in one family for five generations. Today it belongs to 80-year-old John Wright, who has survived floods, droughts, and the death of the river that runs by his house. Despite these tragedies, he still works everyday and says he loves his rural life.
- Catherine Hill BayHidden away near the start of the Pacific Motorway is a perfectly preserved former coal-mining village by the sea. The remnants of its past can be found throughout a majestic coastline and untouched wilderness, almost like a heritage treasure hunt.
- The Lost Pool of Newcomen StreetThe unique bathing culture of Newcastle rose in the early 20th century with a range of projects built to get people into the water. One of these was a grand experiment designed to bring the ocean into the city. While short-lived, its legacy remains in the hearts and minds of locals. But has it gone forever?
- On Merewether Baths with Brydie PiafWith its ancient sandstone cliffs and pristine azure waters, the Newcastle coastline is a photographer’s dream. Brydie Piaf is not only capturing the natural beauty of this place, but the stories of the people whose lives are intimately connected to it.
- Woodcock SmokeryFrom fisherman’s wife to world-renowned artisan. Out of adversity, against all the odds, and still struggling with emerging challenges from bureaucracy to climate change, Sally Barnes has built an enduring business founded on the principles of family, wild fishing, local culture, and sustainability.
- Hunter Valley Dune Buggy ClubIt’s a movement that seems to have risen and disappeared almost as quickly as the drift sand that flows across the dunes: Newcastle’s own homemade beach buggy scene. Take a look back at our lost history of coastal custom culture.
- On Nobby’s Reef with Tom DyerComing from a family of surfers and sailors, Tom Dyer was destined to enter the ocean. The personal connection he has made through spearfishing has helped him maintain sobriety, connect with his Aboriginal heritage, and become the person he wants to be.
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