In February & March, Curious Legends and Newcastle Region Library ran the Hidden Port Competition, where stories, photos, and images were collected from all over Newcastle. This material went into our Hidden Port Performance on May 5th, 2017 – go HERE for more info! Artists from Curious Legends ran writing workshops in Tighes Hill, Mayfield East, Islington, and Carrington Public Schools. Below are the winning entries. Special thanks for Orica for making this event (and website) possible, as well as Too Cool for School, Q’s Books, and Maclean’s Books for prizes! Enjoy!


Berthing & Sailing – by Daphne Roper
As civilians in Newcastle and following the bombing of Darwin 75 years ago, the wives and children of the merchant seamen lived a life of much fear and sometimes dread. We were aware we lived in a vulnerable city with the BHP industrial complex the reason for our being. Those merchant ships leaving the port carried precious cargo on a long, slow exposed journey to southern ports. That cargo was necessary for munitions building and other manufacturing and also to keep domestic coal fires burning in cold winters. All this well known by the Japanese and easy waiting victims for silent, sleek efficient midget submarines which patrolled the Pacific and Southern oceans… (follow the story here)


Photos by Emma – from Emma Bryan


Platt’s Estate – by Ned Connor (overall winner for kids)
My great grandma, Esma Christie, is 97 years old. My great grandma is not an aboriginal person but for this competition I asked her if she knew any stories about aboriginal people in Newcastle. She told me about Platt’s Estate and the time that the Council tried to stop a lot of aboriginal people from living there. The background is the Great Depression, when many people were out of work and many were homeless. This was in the 1930s. An area that was once a rubbish dump and a marsh was opened and restored and given as a place for homeless people to live. This place was called Platt’s Estate – nowadays the University of Newcastle is there… (follow the story here)

The Ghost of Fettercairn – by Lucinda Parker
My mum is going to kill me, I told her I was going to get my stomach looked at but I was so scared I didn’t go. Now I have stomach pains on my right side. I don’t want to go to the hospital but I must, its only across the road. I walk into the hospital and collapse on the floor. The nurses rush me into a room. They put me on an anaesthetic to operate but I didn’t wake up. My heart stops beating. My mum rushes into the room, the nurse shakes her head and my mum starts to cry. I can see her crying. I see my body lying there motionless. I walk up to mum and say “it’s okay” but she can’t hear me. I just stand there watching mum as she keeps crying. I try to talk to her but she isn’t listening… (follow the story here)

Black Harris – by Eliza White
“Clarence ‘Black’ Harris, that’s what they call me.” Clarence shook hands with his newly met friends “bit of a mouthful, ay?” Clarence stood back as his friends squealed and giggled at how utterly formal he was. “Would a whiskey solve your problems Clarry?” Clarence winced “Too weak mate.” “How about a plain old beer?” His friends exaggerated their movements to keep him interested “yeah, why not, sounds great.” His old back was a real pain, and not just to him. “C’mon you slow donkey” Theodore pulled Clarence up and in a flurry of jackets they had arrived. Almost waltzing in Theodore took the first seat, then Clarence and finally Erik. Theo and Erik put their head together, they had a trick planned. (follow the story here)

Shantytown – by Bethan Forrer
Welcome to one of the many shantytowns. I guess you could say it’s a palace for the poor. That is if your definition of a palace is crumbling houses with no warmth, tin roofs that are often leaking and with no proper personal living space, it’s almost impossible to live here. But even though living here is living hell, a house is a house and most people here are grateful to  even have a home. It’s pretty drab here most of the time, however once in a blue moon, something exciting happens. The most incredible adventure anyone could dream of… (follow the story here)

Carrington School Folic – by Ellie Bragg
Neil and his friends would get dancing lessons at the School of Arts on the corner of Young Street and Victoria Street, Carrington. This building is no longer here. Neil said there were two schools in Carrington then – Carrington Public and a Catholic school. He remembers he would get milk at school which was always warm… (follow the story here)

The Best Day Ever! – by Emily Clarke
It was a holiday! Everyone had an umbrella and were dressed in long dresses and tuxedos. I had to catch a train to Newcastle and then catch a ferry to Stockton. Clickity clack. The train had started! In five minutes I was in Newcastle. Splash. The ferry had started. It was a long sickening trip. Finally, I was there. I was at Stockton. It was boring. Mum and Dad were talking to Nanna and Poppy. I had to put up with listening to them and be ladylike. I was not fun. After the talk, Mum, Dad, Nanna and Poppy and I caught a ferry back to Newcastle. We got to go to the lighthouse… (follow the story here)

from Eliza White – “Black Harris”



The Hidden Port Competition has been proudly supported by: