Ian Nesbitt spent Father’s Day upholding a family tradition by taking his granddaughters Marli, 7, and Laila, 5, up Queens Wharf Tower, just as he once did with their mum, Jodie.
“They’ve never been up before, and I wanted them to have the memory of going up a big tower,” Mr Nesbitt said.
“I don’t know if there’s many other places in Newcastle to go up this high. The kids put importance in it and were asking to come.”
The Nesbitts were among a steady stream of people who climbed the 180 steps to the top on the tower’s final weekend of being open to the public before a demolition team moves in on Monday.
Newcastle City Council voted last year to remove the 30-year-old structure, which will be dismantled over four days from September 17.
Jodie Nesbitt said her daughters had ridden their bikes regularly past the 40-metre tower and been talking about it at school, but she had always been too nervous to take them up.
“I’ve never seen it as busy as it is today,” she said. “It’s been unappreciated. I think it’s a bit sad.
“It’s an icon of Newcastle, and the thing that replaces it has to be just as cool.”
But her father disagreed.
“I commend council for building it, but it’s not an important part of Newcastle for me,” he said.
“I know there’s some stigma with the shape of it, and it’s not one of our iconic buildings.
“But we need to make sure we don’t only have bars and restaurants, but also something for kids along the foreshore, and this has been something for them to do.”
Marli said it was “fun” and scaled the stairs for a second time on her own, while Laila said she would one day tell her own children about the tower.
“It gives you a different look. I don’t want it to be pulled down,” she said.
Grant Fayle, of Belmont North, said he was feeling a “little bit nostalgic and sad” about taking his 3½-year-old son Thomas up for what would be his first – and final – visit.
“I went up there as a child, and I’d never taken Thomas up there, so this was the last chance to do it,” Mr Fayle said.
“We’d been thinking about it for the last couple of months and were coming in for Father’s Day anyway, but it was Thomas who asked today out of the blue, ‘Can we climb the tower?’”
Mr Fayle said he would not miss the structure, but he would miss the vantage point it offered.
“It’s the only thing we’ve got here that gives you that kind of view,” he said. “It would be nice to have something put in its place to give us the same view.”
Thomas said reaching the top was “exciting”.
“I saw everything. The light rail station was so tiny,” he said. “I saw Nobbys, boats, the beach, clouds, the blue sky, the sun and that church.”
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