On the surface it may seem like just another week – but it’s more than that.
No doubt the region’s attention will be drawn to Craig Lowndes’ (left) final race in the Newcastle 500 Supercars, and understandably so.
You can sense the excitement.
But there’s a lot happening just up the road to the north too – although, admittedly, without the same fanfare.
For starters, Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison will introduce the drought petition for discussion in State Parliament tomorrow.
This holds a special place for us at The Mercury as the petition – and the Buy A Bale campaign which has since raised more than $10 million – started in The Mercury conference room and was embraced by our sister mastheads before going statewide.
To get a petition tabled in parliament requires 10,000 signatures, and in that regard we salute Mercury journalist Belinda-Jane Davis for her untiring efforts.
On an entirely different note, we have a few other significant happenings in Maitland today.
Up at East Maitland, the new skate park will be officially opened (corner Porter Avenue and Lawes Street).
One of the interesting things about the skate park is that it will be wheelchair friendly – the first wheelchair friendly skate park in Maitland. It’s the first stage of the development, with a multi purpose sports court planned as part of the next stage of development.
For those who like things a touch more sedate, on the other side of town the new Maitland Railway Museum will be officially opened on the old South Maitland Railway site at the end of Mount Dee Road.
The railway has formed such a key part of Maitland’s history, first opening up the region and then being the main form of transport taking coal to Newcastle – a role it still plays to this day.
On any level it is hard to overstate the role rail transport has played in the lower Hunter.
And for those with a love of art, a group of Maitland artists (they call themselves Inside Out) has combined to present an exhibition called Waiting for Rain, that highlights the plight of NSW as it battles the crippling drought. It’s on at Brough House and includes various forms of artwork, from paintings to sculptures.
Yep, there’s plenty happening at Newcastle, but life’s pretty good in the not-quite-so-fast-lane too.