Tag Archives: Hunter Street

The Family Hotel/The Duck’s Nuts/The Silk – Newcastle, NSW

It’s 1999. Hunter Street, Newcastle. Pubs aplenty. Peter Wansey has just bought one, the Family Hotel.

 “NEWCASTLE rock stalwarts THE SLOTS have been familiar faces at the Family Hotel for the past 15 years.

While the Slots, which play the Family on Saturday, are likely to remain on the hotel’s books, a new range of bands will be introduced by the new owner.

PETER WANSEY, who recently bought the hotel from GARY WATSON, is planning to bring in a new style of music to the pub.

Currently renovating the venue, Wansey said he would be changing the hotel’s entertainment to attract the surfie/rugby union crowd.

The revamped hotel is rumoured to undergo a name change as well.

TE, Jan 27 1999

Calling your pub band The Slots is only slightly less genius than calling it The Pokies. Anyway, Wansey believed that the pub’s new name should attract a new, younger demographic, and what better way to do that than with a 1930s colloquialism.

Low and lazy - the Duck's Nuts Hotel, 2004. Image courtesy Jon G/gdaypubs.com.au.

Low and lazy – the Duck’s Nuts Hotel, 2004. Image courtesy Jon G/gdaypubs.com.au.

After 10 nutty years, the hotel’s name was changed again to the Silk Hotel. Yawn.

Nutted out. The Silk Hotel, 2013.

Nutted out. The Silk Hotel, 2013.

I’m wondering what demographic they were trying to capture with this name change, and all I can think of is haberdashers.

Like most of Hunter Street, the Silk is a pretty quiet place these days. I’d suspect most of its clientele wander in on a sense of ballsy nostalgia, or maybe because of the outrageous name still visible from certain angles outside.

For best results, be lying on your back in the gutter if you're not already.

For best results, be lying on your back in the gutter if you’re not already.

Staying in the Silk may sound like a luxuriously comfortable notion, but think again:

Courtesy tripadvisor.com.au

Courtesy tripadvisor.com.au 

Ooh, that ain’t too silky! How about a second opinion?

Courtesy tripadvisor.com.au

Courtesy tripadvisor.com.au 

Ouch, that’s a kick right in the duck’s! If this wasn’t bad enough, Newcastle police had the cojones to close the Silk for 72 hours last October after a spate of violent incidents at the pub. In the wake of such misfortune, maybe it’s time for another name change, something maybe a bit less deceptive? Might I suggest the Plastered Bastard?

Civic Court/cic cort – Newcastle, NSW


No one street encapsulates the concept of faded glory than Hunter Street, Newcastle, on the NSW Central Coast. Yes that’s right, we’re going on a road trip.

I won’t use this post to get up on my soapbox about the advanced state of rigor mortis poor Hunter Street finds itself in; there’s little to say that the street (and locals) doesn’t say itself. I also won’t go into the history of this building beyond what it tells us at the outset…and boy, doesn’t it have a lot to say.

The touch-too-dark brickwork, six digit phone numbers and lower case name date the building somewhere in the 60s-70s, and by imagining the Civic Court (or “cic cort” as it’s known these days) in that era it’s possible to see it as a place people actually visited. Laden with bags from David Jones, The Store and Winn’s, you might make a last minute stop at the Civic Court to grab some…mouthguards? Of the three shops that comprise the now-derelict Civic Court, the first is nigh incomprehensible, the last was a no-name, no-frills sandwich bar, and in the middle was Signature Mouthguards.

Think about what that means: there was a time, presumably before cluster boms had cause to be banned, when Hunter Street was so prosperous it could afford to host a mouthguard shop. Shockingly, Signature Mouthguards are still around, and still have the same logo.

Anyway, just to prove I’m not the only one who couldn’t work out what that first shop is (and oh how I tried), check out this nifty bit of artwork by Trevor Dickinson.