A keen-eyed Topics spy was somewhat aghast when he spotted a strange steel frame attached to the old bank building on the corner of Hunter and Bolton streets in Newcastle.
The splendid sandstone building is opposite the old Newcastle post office and just down the road from the venerable former Newcastle Herald offices.
The Herald has now moved to Honeysuckle, where our magical views of Newcastle Harbour will soon be erased by an apartment block. Boohoo!
Anyhow, given the heritage look of the classically inspired bank building, the steel frame seemed an odd addition.
Thinking it could not possibly be what he first thought it to be - some sort of postmodern Juliette balcony of the type you see in Parisian buildings - our Topics spy noticed the grand corner entrance was open, so he wandered in.
There he found a man in what looked like a very nice bar and restaurant named Vault 73 on the ground floor.
The man didn't know too much about the steel contraption himself.
But he was happy to tell Topics there was a simple enough answer to the question.
The contraption was the outlet for a kitchen exhaust fan system. Still, not the sort of thing you expect to see hanging off the side of a historic office block.
Walking Through History
Speaking of historic things, a guided walk will be held around the village of Greta on Sunday at 2pm.
"Greta was expected to be a major town, but was overtaken by Branxton which was less enveloped by coal dust, soot and acid rain from the surrounding coal mines," Friends of Grossmann House chairperson Holly McNamee said.
"It was one of the best examples of the fluctuating fortunes of the mining industry and miners in the valley, with the population booming and busting quite regularly."
Greta was the home of Norman Brown, the miner who was shot dead by police in the Rothbury Riot of 1929.
It was also one of the "hotbeds of Primitive Methodism in NSW".
"The church later became a masonic hall. And, one of the first war cenotaphs in NSW was built in Greta in 1916," she said.
She said the Tulloch Brothers had a store in Greta in the 1890s, which is now a bakery.
The Tullochs actually took over a winery at Pokolbin in 1895 as payment for a store debt.
"Greta has some wonderful examples of late 19th and early 20th century domestic architecture, as well as a handful of public buildings such as an old bank and municipal building," she said.
"Greta's Tattersalls Hotel was one of John Champion's coalfield pubs, all built largely to the same design."
The Friends of Grossmann House walk, to be guided by Dr Michael Belcher, will be followed by afternoon tea. Bookings are essential. Phone 4933 3330.