Following a competitive process, the Australian Government chose Ausgrid to lead the $100 million Smart Grid, Smart City initiative across five sites in Newcastle, Sydney and the Upper Hunter. The project involves creating Australia's first commercial-scale smart grid and will showcase Newcastle to the world. It aims to gather information about the benefits and costs of different smart grid technologies for households in an Australian setting.
Smart Grid, Smart City creates a testing ground for new energy supply technologies and up to 30,000 households will participate in the project. Many of the initiatives to be trialled may change the way households use, supply and pay for electricity in the future. Some cutting edge technologies will provide real time information about power use so we can control costs and see the environmental impact of our electricity use.
The Smart Grid, Smart City program has a focus in Newcastle, with additional trials in Newington, Sydney CBD, Ku-ring-gai, and Scone. Newcastle is also home to the Smart Grid, Smart City Centre. The Centre is an educational focal point of the project and provides the community with the opportunity to get familiar with the new smart meter and feedback technologies such as the home control system, and pick up helpful energy and water saving information.
Newcastle based fashion label Guanabana is designed and directed by Norwegian born Linda Bergskas. After moving to Newcastle, Bergskas set up the Guanabana headquarters on Darby Street and she has not looked back ever since. Guanabana has had much international success and the label has been taken up by over 100 stores across the USA, Japan, Norway and Indonesia, including Barney's, KITSON, United Arrows and One Love among others. Guanabana designs have been featured in popular fashion magazines such as Cleo, Vogue and Shop Til You Drop; in television fashion shows, and have been worn by a number of notable celebrities, including American tennis star Serena Williams, Novocastrian model Jennifer Hawkins, Australian singer Jessica Mauboy and Australian actress Esther Anderson.
The Guanabana aesthetic is defined by exquisite beading and embellishments, vivid use of color and graphic prints with ethnic and cultural themes inspired by Bergskas' travels throughout the world. A gifted artist and graphic designer by trade, Bergskas often uses her own paintings and artworks as inspiration for the exclusive prints she creates for each collection. In addition to clothing the Guanabana range extends to swimwear, jewellery, shoes and accessories. Despite Guanabana's international success Bergskas says she loves the laid back lifestyle in Newcastle, and it is an easy place for her to run her the label as she has a great team of staff and the Newcastle area is very supportive of local business.
Newcastle natural attraction Hunter Wetlands Centre is the first community wetlands to be awarded a listing under the Ramsar Agreement. The Ramsar agreement treaty was first signed in 1971 and the treaty provides a framework for national action and international co-operation for protect wetlands around the world. The wetlands are managed as part of an international network to protect biodiversity and demonstrate wise use of wetlands. Birds from as far away as Siberia, Alaska and Japan are part of a large number of migratory birds who visit the site annually in the summer months, including 7 species that are protected under international treaties with China and Japan. The Hunter Wetlands Centre is looked on as an example of best practice wetlands education and in 2005 won the Ramsar International Award for Education.
In 2011 Hunter Wetlands Centre opened a new $2.5 million education centre, new meeting and conference rooms, a renovated visitor information centre and reptile display, a Bush Tucker Garden, new bird hides and dipnet jetty, and launched a Corporate Training and Team Building Program.The Hunter Wetlands Centre is a community run charity and hosts a number of on and off-site events during the year including school holiday programs, regular bird watching, canoeing and segway tours, a charity golf day and many more.
Professional fire and street performer Jason Hodgson is one of Newcastle's international success stories. Better known as his alter-ego Dangerboy, Hodgson keeps busy running Newcastle based entertainment agency Phantasia as well as trotting around the world performing at events, such as the 2010 Commonwealth Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies in Dubai and the 2012 Vanitha Film Awards in Kochin, India.
In 2011 Hodgson (and his lovely assistant Ivy) graced Australian TV in popular talent show Australia's Got Talent, making it to the semi-finals and scoring a mixture of rave and shocked reviews from judges Brian McFadden, Dannii Minogue and Kyle Sandilands. Their semi-final act, a two-person oral razor blade manipulation is the only one of its kind in the world.
Despite performing gigs all over Australia and the globe, Hodgson chooses to base himself in Newcastle as it is close enough to Sydney and has access to a local airport, which makes it easy for him to get from place to place. Hodgson is currently concentrating on making Phantasia's shows bigger and better and expanding into experimental theatre with the help of his latest purchase, a giant geodesic dome bigtop. He looks forward to building on his career in Newcastle; a city he believes is on the edge of a major boom.
Renew Newcastle is, first and foremost, a Newcastle solution to a Newcastle problem. It was developed in 2008 as a response to the surplus of vacant building/ office space in the city centre and is designed to connect that space to the abundant creative talent that lives and wants to work in Newcastle. The ideas, the implementation and the projects that make up Renew Newcastle all come from people with a strong connection to Newcastle.
Renew Newcastle led directly to Lonely Planet naming Newcastle one of the top ten cities to visit in the world in 2011. In both their own publications and interviews Lonely Planet citied the "explosion of artists... photographers, fashion designers, digital artists and more as part of the inner-city regeneration scheme Renew Newcastle" as key to Newcastle's transformation "from 'steel city' to creative hub".
Renew Newcastle has been regularly approached by community leaders, artists, and organisations from around the world who are interested in emulating the "Renew" model in their own communities. As many cities around the world are similarly affected by a changing financial climate and shifts in industry, invitations to speak about the project have been requested from cities including Christchurch, New York, Toronto, Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Denver, San Francisco, London and many more. It has inspired similar initiatives in places across Australia and around the world.
Surfest Newcastle is Australia's largest professional surfing competition and is held at popular Newcastle beach Merewether annually. The event was instigated in 1985 to promote Newcastle's strong surfing culture and it is administered by proud Novocastrians. It is an important event on the international surfing calendar and consistently attracts over 400 competitors from 20 countries and thousands of spectators, both locals and visitors.
Surfest presents three Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) rated international surfing events. The 4 Star rated CHIKO Pro Junior (men's and women's), The 6 Star rated Hunter Ports Women's Classic and the 6 Star rated Burton Toyota Pro. Four time surfing world champion and Newcastle local Mark Richards is the patron of the event and each year personally invites competitors to contest the jewel in the Surfest crown, the Burton Toyota Pro. Some of the surfing greats that have graced Newcastle's beaches to contest in Surfest include Kelly Slater, Taj Burrow, Luke Egan, Mark Occhilupo, Mick Fanning, Matt Hoy, Stephanie Gilmore, Rebecca Woods, and of course Mark Richards.
Newcastle's CSIRO Energy Centre is leading the way in energy research, with the aim of achieving the objective of near zero emissions from the use of energy worldwide.
Scientists at the CSIRO Energy Centre work on truly world class projects. The site boasts two solar towers and more than 600 mirrors (heliostats) that are harnessing Australia's abundant sunshine and paving the way to make renewable energy more efficient and affordable. CSIRO Energy Centre is also home to the unique Renewable Energy Integration Facility, an amazing multi-functional laboratory that is finding solutions to modernise Australia's electricity grid.
CSIRO Energy Centre scientists are also advancing post combustion capture (PCC) technology, which can capture more than 85 per cent carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power stations. Australia's first PCC pilot plant was designed and constructed at the CSIRO Energy Centre and there are now three plants successfully operating around the country.
The Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) is at the cutting edge of health and medical research; leading to significant discoveries in the way health care is delivered around the world.
Research into the prevention and treatment of various forms of cancer has been particularly fruitful. A 10-year study into prostate cancer yielded a new treatment approach that has doubled the survival chances of men with locally advanced prostate cancer. Another discovery has lead to the use of naturally occurring viruses to treat ovarian and melanoma cancer cells. Thestudy has lead to major capital investment and is currently been tested in clinical trials.
Among the many other significant medical discoveries, world leading schizophrenia research has identified key differences in the brain structure of people with schizophrenia leading to an ongoing program to identify early diagnosis and the development of more effective interventionstrategies.
From its humble beginnings as a small business on Newcastle's Glebe Road, Ampcontrol is recognised as a leading supplier of innovative electrical and electronic solutions to power, energy and mining sectors across the world.
Among Ampcontrol's world-leading engineering achievements is the development of the IS LED Lighting System; an innovative mine lighting system which can replace fluorescent lighting in hazardous mining environments and; the award winning iMAC system which was specifically designed by Ampcontrol for long line monitoring and control in hazardous areas and is now in operation across the world.
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