Cooks Hill NSW History and Today

Cooks Hill is an inner city suburb of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. It is typified by its tree lined streets, rows of Victorian terrace housing, turn of the century timber cottages and corner pubs.

Cooks Hill is probably most renowned for the popular 'eat street' - Darby Street. Darby Street has approximately 25 restaurants and Cafes with enjoy alfresco dining, cafes and pubs.

It is also diverse in character and is home to the city's Christ Church Cathedral as well as some well-known pubs, like The Cricketeers Arms Hotel, The Oriental Hotel, The Delaney and the Commonwealth Hotel. The suburb is also home to the Newcastle Region Art Gallery in Laman Street. The Gallery houses many works by significant artists, including works by Sidney Nolan, William Dobell, Russell Drysdale and Peter Preston it is the custodian of a substantial public art collection. It is also a number of smaller inner city art galleries, including the Von Bertouch Gallery founded by the late Anne Von Bertouch. It is believed to be the first commercial gallery outside a capital city in Australia.

Cooks Hill also hosts a visual arts scene and several artist-run projects such as the rocketart gallery.

Cooks Hill grew from coal mines in the area. Land sales developed from Brooks Street onto Darby Street to create the commercial centre there today. Darby Street was originally known as Lake Macquarie road and was one of the few public access roads through AA Company Coal Mine land.

Cooks Hill was badly damaged when at 10.27am on 28 December 1989, Newcastle experienced an earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale which killed 13 people, injured 162 and destroyed or severely damaged over 25,000 buildings, many of which had to be subsequently demolished. It was the first in Australian history known to claim human lives.