Air Waves

Newcastle Museum’s Collection Policy includes a Specific Theme titled 'Sport, Leisure and Entertainment' that states:

…The Hunter Region may be said to typify 'traditional' Australian interests covered by this theme. The immediacy of the sea has lured Novocastrians into beach and ocean sports and hobbies to a point where the community exhibits considerable skill at a variety of pursuits… The collection will be selectively focusing on the range and impact of these activities on the community over time.

'Surfing' and 'beach culture' have always played such an important part in Newcastle’s story – its people and the relationship to place. 

The stories and memories collected will be archived into the Newcastle Museum’s social history collection for future generations to listen to and learn from.

The project provides the opportunity to record memories and stories across a number of topics:

  • Relationship and importance of the sea to the local Indigenous population
  • Geographical placement and placement of recognized surf breaks - names, types of waves, banks, winds
  • Mapping to show changes in the geographical history in the history of the beaches and major historical impacts – storms, development
  • Early memories, tales and beach culture
  • Beaches and breaks
  • Newcastle on the world stage – world champions and competing
  • Competitions – Hunter Valley and Newcastle, Steel City Malibu, Mattara and Surfest: history, sponsors, organisers, judging, competitors, sponsors, VIPs
  • People – characters, events
  • Surfboard design and making – woodies, twin fins, longboards
  • Language – words, origins
  • Women – attitudes, competitions
  • Disabled surfing
  • Clubs – beaches, breaks, characters
  • Culture – Fashion, Music, Art, Movies, Images
  • Future developments, beach reserves.  

If you would like to share your story or would like more information about the project please contact Paul Nowland, Registrar, Newcastle Museum ph: 4940 8317 email: or Dianne Taylor, Volunteer, Newcastle Museum ph: 4942 6469 email:

[1] The City of Newcastle Policy Museum Collection Policy Specific Themes vii Sport, Leisure, Entertainment.