One of the hardier and down to earth metropolitan areas in Australia, particularly the state of New South Wales is Newcastle . It is the second most urbanized area in the state and is the location of the Lake Macquarie Local Government. It is located north by northeast of Sydney, about 162 kilometers near the mouth of the Hunter River. It is a rather cool clime, with a mean maximum temperature of 23 °C and lows of 12.4 °C.
Its prime export is coal and has become the largest coal-exporting harbor in the world. These large coal deposits are located all across the Hunter region and in 2008 the city exported nearly a 90 million tons of coal to the rest of the world. Aside from this, other mineral resources are abundant in the area together with rich forest cover for timber and other needs. The port is also deep enough to allow transatlantic vessels to berth and be laid with these rich minerals for export throughout Australia and eventually the world.
Originally, the area was inhabited by the Awabakal and Worimi Aborigines until 1797 when an expedition led by Lieutenant John Shortland came upon the area. The original orders for the expedition were to search for the convicts who had overran the HMS Cumberland in its journey from Sydney Cove. His party chanced upon what he called "a fine river", which he named Hunter River for the then incumbent New South Wales' Governor John Hunter. He also reported the location for a deep water port and the abundance of coal in the area. This started the coal industry which continues today.
The long prison history of Newcastle ended in 1823 when the area was removed from the penal institution governance. From there, many settlers started to stream into the area to develop the city and the locale into a true pioneer town. From its humble coal mining and timber cutting economy leaped forward when the first railway was opened in 1831 to provide efficient transport of the mined and cut resources to the wharf and eventually for export. The mining business expanded to include copper smelting and zinc smelting. Then there was steel at the onset of the 20th century and this was brought about by the abundance of coal.
Nowadays, the port of Newcastle remains the central economic and trade center of the Hunter Valley. Aside from its mineral smelting industry, it has also become one of the prime steel producers for the country. It also has a shipbuilding industry but has since declined. In the years before the turn of the 20th century, heavy industries in the area started to decline in viability because of the high cost of transport from the industrial areas to the ports.
Things to Do when Moving to Newcastle
Due to its prison as well as long industrial history, the city of Newcastle provides a different view of Australia compared to the capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. If you are lead to live in the city, then here are some of the matters you must be fully aware of once you start moving to Newcastle.
- Transporting your personal belongings. This may be one of the tedious tasks you need to do once you've decided on moving to Newcastle. You need to pick out which part of your old life you would bring over to your new life in Australia. Then, you need to pack them into boxes and find a reputable shipping company to assist you in your move. As for the things you chose to leave behind, you can sell them off or donate them to charity so that there would be no excess baggage with you as you move forward to Australia.
- Flight Details. Scheduling your flight and confirming your seats in it is just as important in moving to Newcastle. Since you would be bringing important documents and valuables with you, it is imperative that you find out the weight and baggage restrictions for the flight. Also, arranging land transportation for your and your family to and from the airport is also something you need to arrange to avoid hassles of your move.
- Give Notices. In moving to Newcastle, you need to do a lot of paperwork to wind up matters with your old life. This includes formally notifying your employer, your bank, your utilities and all other personages that you have interacted with during your current life. You need to tell them that you are moving to Newcastle and you need certifications and references from them as you restart your life Down Under.
- Complete Medical History. One of the facets of immigration to Australia is the inclusion of coverage for PBS and Medicare. It is required though that you provide a complete medical history from your previous medical provider as to the current conditions or medications being used by you and your family. This avoids the risk of long-term issues in misdiagnosis and contraindications to the new medicine or procedures to be prescribed in Newcastle.
- Communication Access. Since most of the work in moving to Newcastle involves coordination, you would need to be accessible 24 hours a day seven days a week for the duration of the transition. This includes being able to track transfers and make quick decisions lest you end up sending your personal belongings somewhere else. Thus the need for broadband access and mobile phones are essential once you start on your move.
- Records and Documents. As an immigrant to Australia, you need to have proper documentation at all times as you enter Newcastle or any sort of entry point in Australia. The pertinent records that are also important are your financial as well as professional documentation. These are basics when you start your life in Australia.
- Certified Copies. In order to avoid losing important documentation, you need to have multiple copies at all times, be it in your person or your luggage. When moving to Newcastle, it is imperative that you have these in multiple copies because these are important information for your new life ahead. For documents, it is best to have all the copies as certified original copies while for electronic documentation, having them stored in memory sticks and other media is important to preserve them for later use.
- Bank Account. You apply for a bank account using your credit references from your previous home. This stands as the linchpin for your financial personality in Newcastle. From here, you can seek out credit, loans and other financial instruments either for business or for your personal use.
- Establishing a Residence. In moving to Newcastle, there are many options you can choose from in the suburb or in the city itself. The first one you may live in us but a temporary setting for you and your family but this can all be adjusted once you have set yourself up financially. It is best that you engage the services of a home expert in order to sort out living arrangements for you as you move to Newcastle.
- Finding a New School. Enrolling your child is mandatory by law in Australia. In the Newcastle area, there are many options for educational institutions in both the city and the suburbs. Prime among the tertiary level educational institutions in the city is the University of Newcastle. As for primary and secondary level schools, the suburbs in and around the city provide many options for your children to enroll in and learn about their future in Australia.
- Transport and Travel. To be better equipped in your transition to your new life in Australia, it is best that you understand the public transport system in the city. Or if you are financially able, you can opt to rent a vehicle or purchase one to allow you to travel at your own pace. You just need to purchase insurance as well as update your driver's license in order to be allowed in Australia's motorways.
- Finances and Budgeting. The money in Australia is very different from your home country. You would need to understand the major changes in costs, taxes and other payables to be able to keep ahead of the bills. Also, you need to learn to budget your money as the season and other factors affect the overall spending requirements in the country, allowing for a major adjustment in both your lifestyle and spending habits.
The locals of Newcastle call themselves Novocastrians. The best areas in the city, and a must see for tourists is taking a dip in the ocean baths. There is a good place called the Grandstand on the Fort for many to sunbathe on sunny days. There are also many festivals that occur all year round that makes for many celebrations throughout the year. There is the Mattara Festival and This is not Art Festival. There is the largest surfing contest and festival called the Surfest. Another awaited celebration is the Cultural Stomp at Civic Park which celebrates the region's cultural diversity.
For shopping, there is High Tea with Mrs Woo allowing for local clothing with a hip look. Located on Darby Street, this is one of the many clothing boutiques that are good places to shop at prices at the high end. There are also many marketplaces in and around the city, famed among them are the Honeysuckle and Wickham Park Markets. These markets provide produce, art and other indigenous craft for bargain hunters and collectors alike.
For food, there are options ranging from cheap take away food to high end fine dining. For greasy spoon habitués, there is the Darby Street Take Away with some meals as low as $6.50. For a little more filling in the stomach, there is the House of Peking for Chinese food and Hunter Gourmet Pizza for Italian fare. Cafes are easy to find in Newcastle, especially along Beaumont and Darby Streets. There is Three Monkey with coffee by the bowl, Suspension and Euro Patisserie, with their multi awarded cakes and pastries. Other options include Goldbergs, Long Bench Café and Swell Café. There are also bars in and around the city such as Queen's Wharf Brewery selling its own beer and free harbor view. Another one is Silo Lounge Bar, the Northern Star Hotel and the Kent Hotel.
The biggest and most modern supermarket in the city is the Newcastle IGA located very near the city's Central Business District. Though there are many other stores dotting the city and the suburbs, this megacomplex provides all the basic necessities of a new "Novacastrian" setting up their new life in Newcastle, Australia.
New life at Newcastle
Once granted an immigrant visa to Australia, if you wish to live in one of the industrialized areas of the country, then the place to be is Newcastle. Here, the rich culture of mining and timber cutting as well as the harbor export business provides both great opportunities for employment as well as cultural opportunities. It is not as expensive as other capital cities are, with its many suburbs tucked away in natural settings in climates that are cool and comfortable. The educational system in the city is also top notch providing both technical as well as baccalaureate programs for all to engage in. The low key but vibrant social scene also offers rich opportunities for your eventual integration into the city. So long as all your documentation is in proper order and you have a skill that is of high demand, adjusting to Newcastle as your new home would be a breeze. Thus in moving to Newcastle, so long as you are adequately prepared, you can and will be able to realize your potential with the many opportunities available for you Down Under.