WE have friends and family in Newcastle, and are frequent visitors to your beautiful city. One of our favourite places has always been the maritime museum, so we were very disappointed to find, on our last visit that the museum has been closed, and the building is to be used as a pub ('Hope's dream', Newcastle Herald 23/7).
As the second-oldest European settlement on the Australian mainland, Newcastle should be proud to preserve and display its long and varied history. I'm sure that in the long run, a vibrant maritime museum would be of more benefit and interest than another boring old pub.
Jennifer and Bill Dwyer, Moonee Ponds
Just cause doesn't justify protests
ALTHOUGH I am in support of equality, I believe the present demonstrations are reckless, selfish and completely unlawful. I know that our native population has, in days gone by, been badly treated. But today, we have a situation whereas these demonstrators are acting against the law, their own people's self interest, and probably putting all involved at risk.
Now is not the time to yell and scream. They do not and will not get anywhere with their action and it is about time that they realise that you catch more flies using honey than vinegar. I honestly think that these protest gatherings are illegal and should be treated as such.
Dennis Crampton, Swansea
Reservations on Darby cash splash
REGARDING the City of Newcastle's magnanimous announcement that it would open funding applications for a $1.3 million pool during coronavirus ('Council to splash $1.3 million in events funding', Newcastle Herald 24/7), the council couched this as a response to COVID-19.
Curiously, buried deep in the announcement is that these funds are raised from the special benefits levy paid by property owners on top of their rates to be spent exclusively on the precincts where the money is raised. The special business program is designed to fund projects that promote, beautify or develop Darby Street and the city centre. Is it funding from City of Newcastle, or is it an Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal sanctioned responsibility that has been in place since the early 1990s? In my opinion it is certainly more difficult to access than at any time in its history.
A recent request for repairs to the Headphones in Darby Street (a venue for local musicians to plug and play) was denied, in my understanding despite some $42,000 sitting in the reserves for this precinct. The repairs were done via a Facebook community fundraising campaign. Sometimes it's easier to ask the community than to ask the body elected to support said community. I wish you well in your applications.
Kevin Coffey, Darby Street trader
Exploration earns Cook a nod
JOHN Arnold (Letters, 28/7) claimed that Captain Cook's discovery of the east coast of Australia was merely "a white fella interpretation of history". History is determined by those who write it.
While Aboriginal Australians knew their local land well and moved around the local region, did they have any concept of the thousands of kilometres of eastern coastline, let alone map and chart it as Cook did?
It should be remembered that Cook was the first scientific explorer who brought a botanist with him to discover and record the lands they visited, unlike other sea-explorers of the time who were little more than pirates who came to plunder and conquer, returning home with gold, silver and slaves. Cook did none of that.
In my opinion we should honour Cook for the exploration he did. Australians, both indigenous and non-indigenous, can be rightfully proud of this man whose scientific explorations of the east coast of Australia enabled the inevitable European colonisation of this land.
Peter Devey, Merewether
Nuclear fans are overreacting
THE negative effects associated with climate alarmism may be fair enough, but please don't use alarmism as a convenient excuse for ignoring the science.
For example, Greg Hunt (Short Takes 23/7) seems to think that simply quoting the number of nuclear plants around the world is some sort of justification for nuclear power.
In Australia, our ageing coal plants will be replaced by renewables, not nuclear power stations or even small modular reactors (SMR).
The recent GenCost 2019-20 report by the CSIRO for the Australian Energy Market Operator shows that even as far out as 2050, the minimum cost of electricity from SMRs is predicted to be $125 per megawatt hour compared to $50 from solar plus storage. Forget the so-called nuclear alarmist stand; it is simply not cost effective in Australia.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn
Time for unorthodox interchange
WITH Australia facing massive budget deficits for the foreseeable future, any possible income from a garage sale of black coffee mugs endorsed with the logo "back in the black" is unlikely to lessen the nation's economic pain.
Australia desperately needs an economic miracle worker however, miracle workers within our political class are as rare as hen's teeth.
But is it possible our required miracle worker may be hiding in plain sight?
Might Sydney Roosters supremo Nick Politis be worth considering for such a task?
The Greek-born, self-made multi-millionaire has an amazing record of achieving miracles within the NRL.
For example, he has for decades been able to miraculously turn the Sydney Roosters' salary cap into a salary sombrero.
His most recent miracle was convincing NRL chairman Peter V'landys to bend the rules to allow Sonny Bill Williams to rejoin the club, arguing it would greatly benefit the NRL overall.
Obviously, successfully achieving miracles in the NRL does not necessarily segue easily with economics on a national scale, but Mr Politis has a much better miracle achievement record than the overpaid bureaucrats currently in treasury or their political masters.
Barry Swan, Balgownie
New degree is saturation
NEWCASTLE'S university has opened a new climate course ('Uni adapts to environment', Herald 29/7).
I can imagine the students will be all brainwashed that carbon is the most evil thing in the universe.
I believe they will come out of university after three years with a degree and no work, unless they class protesting at rallies for climate change as a job.
I am not a complete climate change denier, but I believe there are enough professors out there now preaching the gospel of climate change.
Allen Small, East Maitland
SHARE YOUR OPINION
Email email@example.com or send a text message to 0427 154 176 (include name, suburb). Letters should be fewer than 200 words and Short Takes fewer than 50 words. Correspondence may be edited and reproduced in any form.
I'M sorry, letter writers, but I must say something about Sonny Bill Williams joining up with Sydney Roosters. The 2020 season is 20 regular weekends of rugby league. I thought that all teams had to stop internal movement of players as of week 10, and that players can then only be signed for the next season and onward? I'm afraid Peter V'landys has become the all and everything of the NRL. Just have a look at South Sydney's attempts to get a rule change out of him as well.
Wal Remington, Mount Hutton
I HAVE no issue with the Civic Park plaque honouring Captain James Cook being replaced provided its replacement honours his achievements as a brilliant seaman who was the first to charter the east coast of Australia. I agree he was not the first person to discover the east coast of Australia, however in my opinion his achievements are worthy of commemoration by this city.
Brynley Hill, Black Hill
I WONDER if those who want the statues and plaques removed of Captain Cook ('Council to review plaques', Herald 30/7) and others have ever given any thought to what would have happened to Indigenous Australians if Captain Cook and other Europeans had never come here. Do they honestly think the Japanese would have got off their ships in 1942, shook hands and asked how they were?
Frank Matzanke, Mayfield
SO the Captain Cook memorial plaques will likely be removed from Civic Park ('Council to review plaques', Herald 30/7). Not looking good for Cooks Hill. Maybe we could call it Little Hill after the Big Hill so the people up there don't get too confused.
Mark Bird, Maryville
WHEN are the permanent employees, who haven't been given time off during the pandemic, going to receive just a skerrick of information regarding safe operation procedures or at least an increase in wages to be on a level playing field with casual workers?
Bryn Roberts, New Lambton
I FOR one would like my council rates used on far more productive issues than renaming the suburb around the Old Cockle Creek site ('Suburb 'dead in the water'', Newcastle Herald 29/7). Who will this benefit anyway? And why? I can't see any pros with this issue.
Graeme Bennett, Warners Bay
A DROUGHT, then raging fires followed by flooding rain, and still we love this country of ours. We certainly are a weird mob.
Robert Tacon, Adamstown Heights
SO much for history. Regarding the Civic fountain furore ('Council to review plaques', Herald 30/7), who has the authority to do this? Has the minority taken over the world? What the?
Dan McCabe, Cardiff
IMAGINE if a Royal Commission was used for good instead of whatever it is it does.