Newcastle ‘Surf City’ sees unveiling of a commemorative plinth
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 20 July, 2015 - Merewether’s status as an iconic National Surfing Reserve (NSR) has be etched in stone with the unveiling of a commemorative plinth on the famous beachfront promenade.
The unveiling ceremony by local hero Mark Richards, Australia’s all-time favorite and greatest ever surfer along with NSR founder Brad Farmer on Sunday (19 July) caps off a spectacular multi-million dollar city wide coastal upgrade of walks and beachside beautifications.
It has been six years since the surfing locale joined a selection of Australia’s most famous breaks including Bells Beach, Angourie and Crescent Head as the seventh National Surfing Reserve.
But until now, there had been no signage marking the spot. Installation of a plinth had been delayed pending completion of work to the beachfront promenade.
The sleek, wave-inspired edifice designed by artist Chris Totterman, contains the Merewether National Surfing Reserve Memorial Plaque and is etched with an iconic image created by local artist Michael Eggleston. It was unveiled by Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, the Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp MP, Local NSR chairperson Tim Ryan, National Surfing Reserves founder and patron Brad Farmer and Merewether Surfing Reserve patron Mark Richards OAM.
A surfing reserve is a dedicated area protected for use by the general public and surfing community. Its status enshrines the site’s cultural, historical and environmental significance in Australian surf culture.
Crown Lands has legally declared sites as Crown Reserves for the public purpose of surfing recreation under the Crown Lands Act 1989.
“The NSW National Surfing Reserves legislation recognises these sites and ensures they remain protected,” Mr Farmer said. “We are also stoked to announce that the Queensland government is also currently enacting similar legislation for the Gold Coast and Noosa NSR’s.
Inaugurated in March 2009 the Merewether Reserve stretches from Dixon Park in the north to Burwood Beach in the south covering almost two kilometres of coastline including the collection of rock ledges and reefs that shape the location’s high-performance waves.
Commenting on Merewether’s inauguration, Brad Farmer said: “Merewether meets the criteria on all counts: an enormous strength of surfing heritage and culture, a unique shoreline configuration, extraordinary environmental quality, a dedicated local community, and one of the world’s favourite wave sites.”
Four-time world surfing champion Mark Richards said he was immensely proud to have his home beach included on the list of surfing reserves.
“It means the wave and the reef are protected, not just for now, but for future generations,” he said.
The installation shapes as another landmark and talking point on Newcastle’s spectacular new coastal walk.
Mr Farmer said that “Newcastle now rivaled the Gold Coast as the City with the best suite of waves anywhere in Australia.”