Media release | 1 June 2022
A former 1800’s police station turned contemporary art space on Crown land in Newcastle has been given a new lease of life with a completed upgrade to allow the historic site to power ahead as a vibrant hub for artists, performers, and audiences.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Taylor Martin unveiled renovations worth more than $256,000 to the Lock-up and two adjacent heritage buildings, which delivered new roofs and gutters, fixed cracks and painted walls inside and out to stop rising damp and mould.
The Lock-Up was built in 1861 as Newcastle Police Station and now houses a contemporary art gallery and textile gallery. It boasts one of Australia’s first padded cells which can still be viewed, while the Men’s Exercise Yard is used for book launches, performances, film nights, weddings, and events.
Today the Lock-up is a treasured part of Newcastle’s history attracting about 15,000 visitors a year.
Three historic buildings on the site were under attack from mould which could have become a health issue for tenants and threatened the future of events if left unchecked.
The repairs will allow the Lock-Up at 90 Hunter Street to continue providing fantastic spaces for its art galleries, performers, community programs and artist in residence.
A commercial tenant occupies the adjoining building at 74 Hunter Street, and the third building at 88 Hunter Street is vacant with the upgrade making it compliant for occupancy and more attractive for prospective tenants.
Minister for Land and Water Kevin Anderson said the three buildings are part of the Crown Lands estate and the renovations were funded by the NSW Government’s Crown Reserves Improvement Fund to support the Newcastle community.
“We invest in the Lock-Up and other historic buildings to keep our communities vibrant and maintain our rich heritage for generations to come,” Mr Anderson said.