Big Harry's Place - A Trip to the old BHP Site

06 February 2013
Newcastle was once known as the town BHP built. At it's peak, "the big Australian"'s Newcastle steelmaking facility employed tens of thousands of Novocastrians. Everyone worked there or knew someone who did. I never knew BHP at it's peak, and when it closed in 1999, my 20 year old right-on self thought "good" - and it's true the appalling fug of pollution which had hung over the city lifted. I thought little more about it until I visited the fabulous BHP exhibition at the new Newcastle museum, and whilst looking at the displays illustrating life at Big Harry's Place, as it was colloquially known, I became nostalgic for a life I'd never known. After the plant closed, most of the buildings were torn down, but a few remain; and yesterday I decided to ride Zorah out to the site and see what remained.

Approach to the former administration building. The aura of faded grandeur is not what I was expecting.
It's hard to get across just how vast and empty the site is. Zorah sneaks into
shot like a drunk uncle at a barbecue.

I've written before about the coal trains. Here's where they end up. From the Hunter to
 poisoning Beijing - so proud!

Some of the scale of it all. I didn't know it would be so good to photograph so I only had my phone
not my half-decent camera, alas.
Waaay down the road, miles from humanity, the ships get loaded.

Zorah makes her move again.

This coal loader is the height of a four story building (that railing is waist height)

Administration entrance. Being summoned here to see the Big Boss was a terrifying experience for
many workers, I'm sure.
Definite art deco vibe going on there.

It's a pretty fascinating place and my iphone photos don't really do it justice. I'll be back one day, to imagine what it must have been like to work there, to be part of something with tens of thousands of others, unloaded off one of the now-defunct (alas, alas) Port Waratah buses, dreaming of a life I never knew and is now gone forever.


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