Memorial Walk officially open
The Newcastle Memorial Walk was officially opened this evening in time for the 100th anniversary of ANZAC commemorations on Saturday 25 April 2015.
The project, to which BHP Billiton contributed $3 million and Newcastle City Council contributed $1.5 million will stretch from Strzelecki Lookout to Bar Beach and act as a memorial to both the Gallipoli landing in 1915 and the commencement of steel making in Newcastle.
The 450-metre cliff top walk provides sweeping views of Newcastle and the Hunter Valley and will become an iconic tourist attraction for the city.
BHP Billiton’s NSW Energy Coal Acting Asset President Mark van den Heuvel said the Memorial Walk is a testament to more than 100 years of hard work by Novocastrians.
“BHP Billiton forged a century-long relationship with Newcastle and we are proud to still be part of the city’s industrial core,” Mr van den Heuvel said.
“This project recognises the past as much as it does the present, and it was an easy decision for BHP Billiton to be part of something which recognises the contribution made by so many men and women in both Newcastle and the Hunter Valley.
“It is particularly fitting that this Memorial Walk is being officially opened one hundred years to the day of first rails being produced in Newcastle by BHP Steelworks,” he said.
The success of the Memorial Walk project can be attributed to the combined efforts of the private sector, state and local governments.
Newcastle City Council General Manager Ken Gouldthorp said the Memorial Walk would integrate into Council’s Bathers Way project that will ultimately extend the entire length of the beachfront from Merewether to the Harbour.
“This monument to Newcastle’s founders is a fitting centrepiece to the Bathers Way project and Council would like to thank BHP Billiton and the Memorial Walk Trust for delivering what will become an icon for the city.
Hunter Development Corporation (HDC) General Manager Bob Hawes congratulated Waeger Constructions for delivering the project within the timeframe and on budget.
“This project will deliver many benefits to the community and the wider region – not only remembering pieces of history but also bringing tourism and recreation benefits,” Mr Hawes said.
“Our coastline and beaches are spectacular and this cliff-top walk will capitalise on this natural asset.
Newcastle businessman and project trustee Neil Slater first conceived the Memorial Walk project in 1998.
“To be able to see the project completed is very satisfying, I am delighted with the project outcome and I am sure the community will make the most of this spectacular walk,” Mr Slater said.
HDC provided Project Management services to the Memorial Walk Trust to assist with the delivery of this significant local project.
The walkway has been designed, documented and constructed for a 70 years no-maintenance life span.
Facts on Memorial Walk
• Total length of Memorial Walk is 450m and length of the bridge is 160m
• There was 64 tonnes of steel used in the bridge
• There are seven Y columns and two bridge abutments
• Total length of the handrail is 760m
• 3.4km of CFT (Composite Fibre Technology) the blue bars you can see in the structure.
• 525 individual LED lights used
• 23 interpretive signs
• The walk features 3859 family names of almost 11,000 known Hunter Valley men and women who served during the Great War of 1914 – 1918.