One Health for a Challenged World

For our May event, taking place on Wednesday May 8, we have a special treat.

Professor Peter Doherty is a leading Australian Scientist, former Australian of the Year, won the Nobel Prize for his immunology research, and has (so far) written six books explaining cutting-edge  science for the general public.  He will be visiting Newcastle to speak at a Newcastle Institute public forum on the challenges of healthcare around the globe.

Watch the Facebook stream of this very edifying and very relevant presentation only ten days out from a Federal election.

Originally from Queensland, Professor Doherty now heads up a research institute at Melbourne University.  While continuing his immunology research, he has broader concerns about healthcare and science in Australia and around the world.  This includes issues such as evidence-based reality, childhood vaccination, global hunger and anthropogenic climate change.

Professor Doherty’s visit to Newcastle comes at a time of increasing international action to improve global health – the ‘One Health World’ challenge – driven by the WHO,the Global Fund and the Gates Foundation, among others. Professor Doherty has been one of the leaders of this initiative internationally.  His perspective on this challenge, and what it means to Australia’s future, will be of interest to anyone interested in the healthcare and our future security in an increasingly interconnected world.

It is a rare privilege to hear and meet a Nobel Laureate, but especially one who has stepped onto the world stage more broadly.  The forum starts at 6pm and will be taking place at Souths Leagues Club in Llewellyn Street Merewether.

Please use the link at the right to register for this event.  Everybody is welcome and there will be time for questions and interaction.

The history, economics and politics of water

Confronting photos of thousands of dead fish in the Darling River have raised our awareness of the need for healthy rivers and a sustainable water management policy framework.

  • What is happening?
  • Why?
  • What should we be doing?

Lin Crase , Professor of Economics at the University of South Australia will speak with us about the history, economics and politics of water, especially in the Murray Darling Basin.

Lin is considered one of the world experts on water and has worked on projects in SE Asia, Japan and Europe as well as here in Australia.

Video stream from the evening’s event is below.



First event for 2019 – Learnings from the North

Last Wednesday at Souths saw a thought provoking beginning to the year’s program for the Newcastle Institute – a key message and question for all of us is to recall the power that can be garnered in positive policy making by seeking answers and opinions from questions like: “What sort of society do we want ours to be?”

It progresses from there, then, that corporations, countries, schools and industries, start ups, groups generally, can reflect on the question of: “If our *corporation* was a person, what would we want others to say about it and relate to it?”

There’s a copy of the Facebook stream of the event below.


2019 at the Newcastle Institute

Welcome to the Newcastle Institute for 2019.  It has been great to see so many of our inaugural members for 2018 renewing their memberships for 2019.  Our committee and our program convenor for 2019, Robert Logan, have been working to prepare an interesting and diverse program for this year, with our first event scheduled for Wednesday March 13 at Souths.

You can see details of our first four events by clicking the 2019 Program link in the top menu bar.

Members enjoy free entry to all events with casual attendance available by registering using the link on the right or attending on the night.  To cover our venue hire costs and other expenses for hosting presenters etc, we request a $10 donation at the door.

Everybody is welcome at our events, which generally take place on the second Wednesday of each month from March to November inclusively.

The Newcastle Institute has decided that we will not host a candidates’ forum for either the State of Federal elections coming up this year.

New members are welcome, and you can use the link at the right to access our membership management system and subscribe online.

We look forward to welcoming you to our events.

Last event for 2018 – Michael Ondaatje – Following the US situation

Come along to the last Newcastle Institute event for 2018 on Wed 7th November at 6.00pm.  Our speaker is Michael Ondaatje.

Michael Ondaatje has been a popular speaker at previous Newcastle Institute events. He is a regular commentator on US politics in the Australian and international media. Academically, he is National Head of Arts at the Australian Catholic University, a prize-winning researcher and teacher, and a recipient of the Max Crawford Medal. Recently he was selected by the United States government for an International Leadership professional exchange program.

If you’d like to see our livestream from Wednesday’s presentation please see the video below:

Michael’s presentation at the Newcastle Institute on Wednesday 7th November 2018 will coincide with the US mid-term elections.  There should be much to reflect on and consider for the future of the Trump presidency.

As always, the evening will include plenty of time for questions and discussion.

Speaking for the Region

Maximising opportunities for the Hunter through a unified voice

The September 2018 release of The Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan 2036 reminds us that communities prosper when a strategic approach to planning and a shared vision incorporates all tiers of government, business, industry and community.

Building on the experience of other cities around the world, including Bilbao, Spain, Portland, USA, Halifax, Canada and Cardiff, Wales, the plan envisions Newcastle and the Hunter as a globally significant, dynamic, entrepreneurial, desirable and national leader in the new economy.

The Committee for the Hunter was established to maximise opportunities for the Hunter through a unified voice.

Newcastle Institute will host a forum on the The Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan 2036 and the Committee for the Hunter.

Speakers include:

Richard Anicich AM– Chair of the Committee for the Hunter – ‘Challenges and Opportunities in a unified voice’

Prof Will Rifkin– Director, Hunter Research Foundation Centre, Uni of Newcastle, member of Committee for the Hunter – ‘Lessons from around the world’

Anna Chubb– Director, Strategy and Asset Management – Hunter Development Corporation – ‘2036 vision’

Brad Webb– CEO Samaritans – ‘The importance of social capital – the role of NGOs’

Questions to be submitted via Facebook and our website. There will also be an opportunity for questions from the floor.

Open to the Public – All welcome

September Event: Margaret Henry Memorial Lecture

For our September event, on 12th September, we are collaborating with the organisers of the Margaret Henry Memorial lecture to promote this event to the members of the Newcastle Institute and to our email list.

The inaugural Margaret Henry Memorial Lecture will honour the memory of the prominent Newcastle activist who served two terms as a councillor on Newcastle City Council. Renew Newcastle founder, and Patron of the Newcastle Institute, Marcus Westbury will present the lecture, Community, Democracy and Change: Reclaiming Newcastle’s Future.

Newcastle Writers Festival director Rosemarie Milsom will host the free event.

Please note that this event will be held at Newcastle City Hall

In introducing the event, the Newcastle Herald had this to say on August 21st:

“RENEW Newcastle founder Marcus Westbury will deliver the first Margaret Henry Memorial Lecture next month. 

Westbury said delivering the inaugural lecture, titled Community, Democracy and Change: Reclaiming Newcastle’s Future, was an honour. 

“She was courageous, passionate and determined,” he said.” She was not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for those without a voice.

“There is no-one I would feel prouder to honour. I’m lucky to have met her and proud to get a chance to acknowledge her.” 

The lecture was organised by loved ones and friends of Ms Henry, a former deputy mayor and community campaigner who was posthumously made a Freeman of the City in 2016. 

OBITUARY: Margaret Henry

Her daughter Catherine said the lecture would become an annual event. 

“In the lead-up to this event and generally, people say their lives have been deeply enriched by having known mum,” she sad. 

The lecture is from 6pm on September 12 at Newcastle City Hall.

Entry is free but requires registration at “

Open to the Public – All welcome

Taking control of our energy future

Scroll down to see the video stream of this event.

Securing reliable energy at affordable prices is a significant challenge for Hunter households and businesses.  The Newcastle Institute’s August Forum will present options for how we can take control of our energy usage and costs now, and position ourselves for future energy challenges.

Discussing our energy future will be two experts in energy: Dr Stephen White and Mr Gavin Gilchrist. Stephen leads CSIRO’s energy efficiency research and is a Program Leader in the Low Carbon Living CRC. He is renowned for research into air-conditioning and building thermal design, and is responsible for the NatHERS benchmark software tool, for rating residential home energy efficiency. Gavin is a sustainability consultant with 20 years’ experience in energy efficiency focusing on identifying and delivering energy efficiency and renewable projects. For 14 years Gavin was Director and founder of energy efficiency company, Big Switch Projects, which provided advice to business, governments and households on how to save energy through improved lighting, hot water systems, air conditioning and building design.

Making decisions about securing energy which is reliable, affordable and environmentally sustainable is complex for households and businesses. For many years energy policy has been confused and politicised, market and pricing mechanisms are constantly changing and lack transparency, and technology is advancing. As populations rise and extreme weather events are more frequent as the climate warms, demand for energy is increasing. In this complex environment, households and business energy bills have increased significantly, creating an unaffordable burden for many.

Despite this complexity there are steps households and businesses can take to ensure reliable and affordable energy. Our experts will discuss current policy, market and pricing mechanisms for ensuring secure, affordable and sustainable energy for households and business. They will also present options as to how households and businesses can position themselves for future energy needs.

Open to the Public – All welcome

What?   Public Forum – Taking control of our energy future

When?  6.00 – 7.30pm, Wednesday 8thAugust

Where?Souths Leagues Club, Merewether

Who?     Open to the general public. Members – entry is free; Non-members – Admission $10

Use the button at right to register

Schools of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Lessons in Education for Newcastle and the Hunter Valley

Since the turn of this century there has been lots of discussion about just how we should look at equipping children and young adults with the skills, knowledge and value framework for a rapidly changing world in which concepts like the nature of work itself and traditional pathways to careers and vocations are being short-circuited by a number of influences. Indeed, with almost twenty years of the 21st Century already gone, there is a range of opinion about why we have schools and the sorts of places they should be.

Come along to Souths on 11 July to hear from a panel of great practitioners in education as we further the discussion around schools and education.
Our panel of presenters will provide some keen insights into current educational thinking.

The panel includes:
Professor John Fischetti – Professor of Education, University of Newcastle
Tracey Breese – Principal, Kurri Kurri high School
Jo Grey – Principal, Hunter School of the Performing Arts
Paul Tracey – Former Principal, Wallsend Campus, Callaghan College

Acting as our facilitator on the night will be Education student Kiera Campbell.

Live stream of the event :-

Everybody is welcome at our events.  Please use the links at the right to register for the event or find out more about the Newcastle Institute.

There are lots of ideas following relating to this topic.  If you’d like to submit a question for the event then you can do so up until the evening before the event.  Just click the link below:

If you’d like to review some of the ideas that have been floating around since the turn of the century, you may find some of the videos below interesting.  And, to see recent thinking about education for a changing world, you may be interested in the Future Frontiers Analytical Report.

And some other thinking from 5 years ago: Designing your vision for a digital school.

Designing your vision for a digital school.

and – ‘Whaddaya talking about?


Urban Planning in Newcastle and the Lower Hunter

13 June 2018

Are we creating sustainable and resilient communities?

What are we doing right?

What are we doing wrong?

What do we need to do better?

Cathy Smith – Inaugural Turnbull Foundation Women in Built Environment Scholar(UNSW), Richard Rogers fellow Harvard University Graduate School of Design (Fall 2018)

Scott Anson – Technical Director Planning Cardno NNSW. Fellow, Registered Planner and Hunter Convenor Planning Institute of Australia

Prof Will Rifkin  DirectorHunter Research Foundation Centre, University of Newcastle

Ed Crawford – Property Sales & Marketing Consultant, former Chair, Property Council of Australia, Hunter Chapter

Some questions were sourced from the public via the link below – (now disabled)

Would you like to ask a question of our panel at this event?

Just click here or click the image at the left


See the Facebook livestream of the event embedded below.

You can also see this on our Facebook page and join in the discussion there if you like.  Or, please feel free to use the comment link at the bottom of this post. A collection of readings follows the livestream.



Urban Planning Readings

Developing Urban Design as Public Policy: Best Practice Principles for Design Review and Development Management John Punter

Steering urban growth: governance, policy and finance Lead Authors: Graham Floater and Philipp Rode Contributing Authors: Bruno Friedel, Alexis Robert

Integrating the environment in urban planning and management key principles and approaches for cities in the 21st century David Dodman, Gordon McGranahan and Barry Dalal-Clayton International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

The Three Domains of Urban Planning for Health and Well-being Jennifer L. Kent and Susan Thompson

Shaping cities for health: complexity and the planning of urban environments in the 21st centuryYvonne Rydin, Ana Bleahu, Michael Davies, Julio D Dávila

Creating Places for People – an urban design protocol for Australian cities

Evidence of the Economic and Social Advantages of Intercultural Cities Approach Meta-analytic assessment By Kseniya Khovanova-Rubicondo and Dino Pinelli

A proposed model for sustainable urban planning development for environmentally friendly communities – Ali AlQahtany , Yacine Rezgui & Haijiang Li

Overview of the Portland Plan

Neighborhood Governance in Portland Oregon: An Analysis of Public Involvement in Urban Planning Nuin-Tara Key

Thriving Cities City Profile of Portland

Science and Practice for Thriving Cities L Bettencourt