Histories of surfing in Newcastle

Yesterday afternoon I was lucky enough to spend a couple of hours chatting with Dianne Taylor. Dianne is a volunteer at Newcastle Museum, who spends a lot of time talking to people and recording their stories as oral histories. She is an amazing lady, who believes that everyone has a story to tell'. By listening to these stories from so many different people in and around Newcastle, she has developed an incredible knowledge of the social and cultural history of the region. I was stoked to have met her.

Recently Dianne has been focused on collecting stories about surfing, and has been speaking with all kinds of people from Catherine Hill Bay to Foster to record their memories and knowledge about surfing in the region - breaks, people, anecdotes, events, understandings, relationships, shapers, shops, music, art and all the things that go into what it means to surf here. Like me, she is mostly interested in 'everyday' experiences and memories - things that are often dismissed as trivial or insignificant - so although she is keen to speak with Newcastle's better known surfers, she aims to include as many local surfers as possible. She has spoken to female, male, professional, recreational,  indigenous, straight, gay, disabled, young, old, long and shortboarding, gathering a range of stories from the region's surfing history and cultural life to develop an archive for the Museum.

If you would like to learn more about Dianne's oral histories, or if you would like to have your own stories recorded, drop me a line and I can put you in touch with Dianne. Dianne is creating an incredible resource and I am excited about the ways it could be used in the future, so I heartily encourage you to consider taking part by contributing your own surfing knowledge, understandings and experiences to this collection - saved for perpetuity in the Newcastle Museum. After all, as Dianne says, everyone has a story to tell.


  1. fishfan, you in particular should get in touch, as Dianne is also collecting stories about Redhead.

    Get involved!

  2. Agreed Dianne is doing a great job. I spoke to her about my love of Bar Beach and surfing the left 'out North' for the past 40 years. She sent me 2 copies of my interview for keepsake.


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