Nobbys headland closed

CLOSED: Nobbys headland and lighthouse will no longer be open to the public on Sundays as a result of cuts to Newcastle Now.
CLOSED: Nobbys headland and lighthouse will no longer be open to the public on Sundays as a result of cuts to Newcastle Now.

Nobbys world-famous headland will be off-limits to the community as a result of funding cuts to Newcastle Now.

Thousands of tourists and locals have enjoyed the spectacular view from the lighthouse on Sundays for the past six years.

But the supervisor position, which allowed the site to be opened to the public, is among the casualties of a row between Newcastle City Council and Newcastle Now over the group’s purpose and administrative processes.   

“It was a very popular part of our activities,” Newcastle Now chief executive Richard Christian said.

“We were looking at ways to keep it going but it is just not possible without funding.”

Nobbys headland was initially reopened to the public in 2011 and has been managed by Newcastle Now since 2013.

The association is now mostly a volunteer organisation but still has a functioning board.

Newcastle Now has leased buildings at Nobbys since 2012. It helped restore the site’s dilapidated buildings, spending $180,000 and receiving about $300,000 in in-kind contributions.

The loss of public access to Nobbys  also coincides with the demise of Newcastle Now’s vision to transform Nobbys into an “iconic tourist destination on par with Newcastle Memorial Walk and Fort Scratchley”.

The plans included  an exhibition space, outdoor exercise equipment and play area, viewing decks, a café and a restaurant with conference and catering facilities.

The organisation secured a  $500,000 grant from the Newcastle Port Community Contribution Fund for the $1.5 million project in 2017.

A spokeswoman for the Hunter-Central Coast Development Corporation said Newcastle Now’s  Community Contribution funding deed came to an end by mutual agreement in September 2018.

“The full amount was reallocated to Round 4 of the fund, which was awarded in October 2018,” the spokeswoman said.

“Newcastle Now remains eligible to apply for future Newcastle Port Community Contribution funding.”