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…

  • Woodcock Smokery
    From 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 Club
    It’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 Dyer
    Coming 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.
  • Walka Water Works
    Originally built in 1887 to provide drinking water to Newcastle, Walka Water Works has a long and complex industrial history. It still stands today, a perfectly preserved site that now provides refuge for native wildlife and a picnic spot for families.
  • Tales from Wangi Power Station
    Built immediately after the Second World War, as the country’s energy needs were growing, Wangi Power Station serviced the state and local community for 30 years. It was also deeply connected to the largest coastal saltwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • On Fingal Bay with John Clarke
    John Clarke is a local legend in Port Stephens, a man who has dedicated 40 years to preserving its culture and protecting its environment for the future. Read about his journey into these waters and the many great stories he has collected along the way.
  • The Curious Tale of the Lego Lost at Sea
    In 1997, nearly five million pieces of Lego spilled into the ocean from a container ship hit by a rogue wave, washing up on the beaches of Cornwall. Tracey Williams has been collecting and writing about them ever since.
  • Max Dupain’s Slaughtered Mangroves
    In 1969, celebrated Australian photographer Max Dupain visited Newcastle’s industrial harbour for an assignment to photograph BHP Steelworks. While he was there, he was struck by the ecological devastation that had occurred on the other side of the river.
  • On Styx Creek with Mark MacLean
    Ten years ago, Mark MacLean chased his dog into the stormwater drains of Hamilton North. What he discovered there was wildlife, garbage, eccentric characters, graffiti artists, and a profound new appreciation for water.

Read All Stories


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