Hunter Street isn't what it used to be, but its history is alive and well online.
Hamilton East's Spero Davias has made sure of that.
His history of Hunter Street, divided into south and north sides, has been increasingly attracting interest.
"I started putting this thing together about 10 years ago and I kept adding to it," Mr Davias said.
"People go on the site every day.
"Now it's got to the stage where I'm getting many emails from people from all over the world, not just Australia."
He often hears from people who used to live in Newcastle. And people often send him emails, helping fill in the gaps of Hunter Street's long and storied history.
"I'm continually adding to the website daily," he said.
"It's become a huge project and it's growing and growing."
The website's expansion is partly due to his health condition.
"I've got my laptop in front of me all day," he said.
Mr Davias, who has been on dialysis for three years, is planning for the website's future.
"What's going to happen if something goes wrong with me?" he said.
He's hoping a library or archives collection will add his website to one of their websites.
For example, like Newcastle Library or the University of Newcastle's Cultural Collections.
Mr Davias has become an amateur archivist. He examines old Herald clips on Trove to unearth and verify information for the website.
"I see who was advertising and where the businesses on Hunter Street were."
It can be difficult, though, to pinpoint where some businesses were because street numbers changed.
"They renumbered everything a few times over the years," he said.
In any case, business advertisements often didn't include street numbers.
Their ads would say they were "near this or that pub".
Back in the 1800s, it was "all pubs".
"Every corner had four pubs," he said.
The website also features the modern history of Hunter Street, along with many photographs spanning decades and centuries.
"Hunter Street developed as the commercial and civic hub of the region," Mr Davias stated on the website.
"Along its spine were the pubs, banks, insurance houses, shops, department stores and co-operative societies that formed the civic and cultural life of Newcastle."
He added that Hunter Street comprises "a rich collection of commercial and institutional buildings, many designed by notable local architects".
"The quality and diversity of architectural styles found here are testimony to the historic importance of the main street and its ongoing place in our local identity."
Mr Davias compiled the Hunter Street history on the website, soundworld.com.au.
This is owing to the fact he owned a chain of Sound World stores in the Hunter, which closed in 2006 as sales of CDs fell and music downloads rose.
He ran Sound World for 35 years.
"They were the good old days," he said.
One Sound World store was in the Hunter Street mall, opposite the old David Jones.
"There were all these rumours of HMV taking over the place across the road - the old Coles building. That was for sale.
"So I got a few guys together and we bought the building to keep them out of there. We sold it to GPT later for a development. It's been demolished now."
His website also includes a history of old Greek cafes of Newcastle.
"There's hardly an Australian with memories of the first 60 years of the 20th century who would not also have memories of the Greek cafe, milk bar, oyster saloon or refreshment rooms," the website states.
"They were to be found in just about every block in most cities and country towns."
Rather than introducing Greek foods, cafe owners "quickly learned to prepare Australian meals".
"Early decor was often in the classic style with timber panelling, padded booths, marble-topped tables and bentwood chairs, back-bar fittings of carved timber and mirrors, gleaming soda fountains and confectionery counters.
"The dark interiors were a cool oasis in the heat of summer."
Mr Davias said people had suggested that he use the information on his website for a book, but he doesn't want to charge for it.
"This is something for the public," he said.
"Newcastle has looked after me so long. It's a gift."
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