| New South Wales, Australia|
| University of Newcastle School of Medicine and Public Health|
Hunter Region, Fort Scratchley, Christ Church Cathedral - Newcastle, Glenrock Lagoon, Port Stephens
The Newcastle metropolitan area is the second most populated area in the Australian state of New South Wales and includes most of the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie local government areas. It is the hub of the Greater Newcastle area which includes most parts of the local government areas of City of Newcastle, City of Lake Macquarie, City of Cessnock, City of Maitland and Port Stephens Council.
162 kilometres (101 mi) NNE of Sydney, at the mouth of the Hunter River, it is the predominant city within the Hunter Region. Famous for its coal, Newcastle is the largest coal exporting harbour in the world, exporting over 97 Mt of coal in 2009–10 with plans to expand annual capacity to 180 Mt by 2013. Beyond the city, the Hunter Region possesses large coal deposits. Geologically, the area is located in the central-eastern part of the Sydney basin.
Newcastle and the lower Hunter Region were traditionally occupied by the Awabakal and Worimi Aboriginal People, who called the area Malubimba.
Newcastle is on the southern bank of the Hunter River mouth. The northern side is dominated by sand dunes, swamps and multiple river channels. A "green belt" protecting plant and wildlife flanks the city from the west (Watagan mountains) around to the north where it meets the coast just north of Stockton. Urban development is mainly restricted to the hilly southern bank. The small town of Stockton sits opposite central Newcastle at the river mouth and is linked by ferry. Road access between Stockton and central Newcastle is via the Stockton Bridge, a distance of 20 km (12 mi). Much of the city is undercut by the coal measures of the Sydney sedimentary basin, and what were once numerous coal-mining villages located in the hills and valleys around the port have merged into a single urban area extending southwards to Lake Macquarie.
Newcastle has an active youth music culture, as well as a Conservatorium of Music which is part of the University of Newcastle. It continues to support local bands and has a large underground music scene. The members of Silverchair, the highly successful Australian band, hail from Newcastle, as does the Australian band The Screaming Jets. It has a fertile punk rock and hardcore scene, which has spawned successful local acts and national acts.
Newcastle holds a variety of cultural events and festivals.
The Newcastle Regional Show is held in the Newcastle Showground annually. There are a mixture of typical regional show elements such as woodchopping displays, showbags, rides and stalls and usually fireworks to complement the events in the main arena.
The Mattara festival, founded in 1961, is the official festival of Newcastle with a more traditional country fair type program that combines a parade, rides, sporting events, band competitions and portrait and landscape painting exhibitions.
The Newcastle Jazz Festival is held across three days in August, and attracts performers and audiences from all over Australia.
The Shoot Out 24 Hour Filmmaking Festival, first started in Newcastle in 1999. This is the film festival where film-makers come together in one place to make a short film in 24 hours. It is run annually in July.
This Is Not Art is a national festival of new media and arts held in Newcastle each year over the October long weekend. Since its humble beginnings in 1998, it has become one of the leading arts festivals in Australia dedicated to the work and ideas of communities not included in other major Australian arts festivals. The umbrella program includes the independent festivals Electrofringe, the National Young Writers Festival, Critical Animals, Sound Summit, Crack Theatre Festival and other projects that vary from year to year.
The Newcastle Entertainment Centre, located inside the Newcastle Showground is a popular venue for regular events including wrestling, concerts and monster truck shows.