It’s happened. Queens Wharf Tower is no more. Its crown was the first to go, and now it will inevitably fade into Novocastrian folklore.
I wrote a cautionary column about the city’s lost treasures a few weeks ago and, since then, a few people have reminded me of other faded wonders.
For old time’s sake, this week, I took a walking tour of some of these beloved sites.
Well, it wasn’t really a walk. It was more a skulk along the footpath, kicking a can.
Wandering down King Street I paused at the former site of Big Al’s sandwich joint.
Even though it did romanticise a murderous psychopath, this eatery had the best fries in the world and the shakes were the consistency of wet cement. Not unlike, I imagine, the product used to make Al’s “concrete shoes”.
Just around the corner is another site of lost wonder: the spot once occupied by the Dunny of Death. This silver contraption was an amazing, if confounding, feat of engineering. It lived defiantly at the end of the mall near where Hunter meets Perkins.
This very public loo was used only in emergencies, owing to its Ganges-style odour and the fact that the doors would open without rhyme or reason, usually when you were half-way through your business or pulling up your dacks.
But, oh how we laughed.
My feet led me to Nobbys. I stood on the beach, looking out to sea, remembering when the stunning view was blocked briefly by a hulking great ship. Indeed, some of Newcastle’s most admired landmarks were just visiting, or bogged in a shipload of sand.
For a few heady weeks, the Pasha Bulker was a bookend to Stockton’s Sygna, which has almost been claimed by the sea.
Shedding a sandy tear, and fighting off a seagull that was after the chip on my shoulder, I backtracked through the city and headed for Civic Park. Thank goodness the fountain is still there, I thought cheerily as I stepped onto Laman Street.
I was enjoying the stroll when I remembered ‘The Figs’. My feet stopped, as did my heart. Nope, I’m not going down that road again. If only there had been such a spirited fight to keep Queens Wharf Tower.
Ah well. Bye big fella, and RIP you little ripper.
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