Hamilton turns 150 on Saturday.
Nicole Naisby, of Heritage Now, spoke with Hamilton historian Ruth Cotton to mark the occasion.
Ruth moved to Hamilton in 2012. Everywhere she went there was history around every corner, with very old buildings that had either had a facelift, or were deteriorating.
"It was like the bones of history were poking through their skin," Ruth said.
Little did she know that moving into this vibrant neighbourhood would pique her curiosity so much, it set her on a four-year path of historical discovery.
She started her journey in the library, investigating mine shafts that might exist under her home, then followed her nose and started a blog. Soon after, Ruth started a Facebook page so she could share what she was learning with others.
She transformed her blogs into books and published Hidden Hamilton in 2014 and More Hidden Hamilton in 2016. She went on to create a way for others to explore Hamilton's history with her Heritage Walking Tour brochure.
She then pursued the placement of 22 heritage plaques on historical buildings in Hamilton and her heritage walk brochure became available to download from the City of Newcastle webpage.
As Topics reported last week, Heritage Now transformed this into a digital walk on the City of Newcastle app.
Hamilton has many stories to tell, dating to before WWII. Ruth's favourite story is about the Turkish baths built in the late 1800s. The baths became particularly important because Hamilton had no water, sewerage, sanitation or garbage collection at the time.
They provided shampoos, long baths and homeopathy, "focusing on the ladies and the well-to-do who wanted to keep clean and could afford it".
Ruth has shared stories of the James Street boys' cook up at the Masonic Hall that ended up setting the building alight, to the primary school children who used to go wheat-diving in the silos at the old flour mill.
Her most heartbreaking story had been the dilapidation of the Mechanics' Institute, but several years ago this heartbreak turned to happiness when the building was rescued and turned into the Atrium Apartments.
The digital heritage walk takes in Hamilton Fire Station, which has always been Ruth's favourite building. This is because it has been so beautifully restored and maintained for many years and was one of the first buildings Ruth walked past when she first moved to Hamilton.
City councillor Carol Duncan will launch the digital walk on Saturday at 11am, as part of the 150th Hamilton anniversary celebrations. It will be followed at 11.15am by a guided 20-minute tour. To join the tour, register at email@example.com.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Christmas as we know it was barely celebrated at all in Britain.
The custom of having a decorated Christmas tree indoors, often with hand-made decorations, was adopted widely in Britain after the publication in 1848 of a drawing of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their children around their tree.
Crackers filled with sweets first appeared that year, too.
Earlier in Victoria's reign, the first commercial Christmas card was produced. Priced at one shilling, they were beyond the reach of the common people and, for a time, hand-drawn cards were more common.
On Sunday, a taste of this era is on display at Grossmann House in Maitland. The National Trust property has been decorated to reflect a traditional Victorian-era Christmas.
Grossmann House will offer one-hour tours from 10.30am to 3pm, with the opportunity to take a family photograph in this unique setting. Entry price is $10 (adults), $8 (concession), with children under 5 and National Trust members free.
Bookings through Eventbrite or by phoning Holly on 4933 3330.
Additionally, other visitors can take family photographs around the tree without prior booking from 3pm to 4pm for $5.
A Christmas concert will follow at the nearby St Mary's Anglican Church at 4.15pm, featuring the Maitland City Pipes and Drums, carols and songs with the Maitland City Choir.
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