Coming out of lockdown we thought it might be nice to see some images of every day life in Nelson Bay from the Arthur Renforth Collection in the TMA’s library of images – then and now.

If these images trigger any memories with you, we hope you will share them with us in the comments below.

Here’s Magnus Street around in the mid to late 60’s looking South West on a busy Sunday…

And then again on (probably) a Monday.

And here it is today – on the Wednesday before the lifting of the 2021 Lockdown and looking forward to another busy Monday.


Before Bunnings and BBC Hardware there was…

The old Mitre 10 hardware shop across from the Post Office at the corner of Stockton Road and Magnus Street.

And as it flourishes today.


Oils ain’t oils.

Up the top of Stockton Road and at the intersection of Tomaree Street was Neville and Hope Blanch’s Caltex Service Station. Neville was one of the great and respected local characters of the Bay with a mighty baritone on call for every public occasion and wife Hope was a loving and (at times) formidable school teacher at Nelson Bay Public School.

Watch this space – No Caltex any more.


But there’s still a Shell.

Looking down Stockton Road northwards toward the Bay, past Donald Street with Louisa Courts on one corner and the old Picture theatre opposite – on the other corner was Kenny Bird’s Mobile Service Station (and NRMA). The old Shell also used to have one of the most exotic restaurants in the area within it – a Chinese Restaurant!

Nowadays you can get vaccinated, top up your car, grab a Thai curry for dinner and get your groceries, all within a few meters.


Was it always the Seabreeze?

The Bay’s only Pub has always been the Seabreeze but there was a short time in the late 60’s when it was the Sundowner Motor Hotel.

The Seabreeze is certainly more colourful than in days gone by. Back then, most of the colour was to be found on the footpath outside on a Saturday and Sunday morning.

The Yacaaba Track

Looking northwards again toward the Bay down Yacaaba Street when it was still only recently sealed – for the most part. The bushy residence to the left was the home of the Cromarty sisters, Elizabeth (Bess) Cromarty OBE and her sister Christine (Chris), descendent’s of the first colonial settlers of the area, Captain William Cromarty.

Yacaaba Street as it is today. Now one way and fully sealed road.


Remember the Milk Bar?

Next door to Col and Anne Maxwell’s Newsagents was this Milk Bar. The author has dim memories of it but mainly remembers the Bakery it later became and his introduction to the wonders of the Neenish Tart.
Can anyone remember the Milk Bar’s name?

Maxwells Newsagency’s, Magnus Street in 1971.

The newsagents made several moves over the years, to Nelson Plaza in Stockton Road and then to its current location back in Magnus Street to where the old Savemores used to be – and with the original entry ramp still in place. The opulent Nigroni’s Italian restaurant is where the Newsagents was and the Milk Bar, then Bakery is now a great Seafood Restaurant, Sandpipers. (but no Neenish tarts).