Shop local with the Visitor Information Centre
The Newcastle Visitor Information Centre (VIC) is passionate about telling local stories and stocking products made and sourced by local makers and traders.
In the coming months it will open the doors to its innovative new home at the former Civic Station. Until then you can support two of its talented local suppliers, Trevor Dickinson and Urban Hum, by shopping online.
We asked them to tell us a little bit about themselves;
Meet Trevor Dickinson
Trevor’s quirky and iconic work is found across Newcastle. He won the Golden Homey for the best range of Simpsons clothing and designed merchandise for the Rolling Stones. You can find his Insta-worthy murals near the Newcastle Visitor Information Centre, Newcastle Beach and the Merewether Baths.
What inspired you to paint local scenes?
I moved to Newcastle from London 18 years ago. After feeling homesick, I made the decision to get to know Newcastle by going out and drawing it. This became an obsession and gradually grew into a full-time job. I like the variety and contrast between the pristine beaches, urban decay and everything in-between.
When I first started to draw Newcastle I wanted to represent a city that is lived in and recognised by locals, which is why quite a few of my drawings are not the sort of subjects that are usually celebrated
What do you love about Newcastle?
It’s a very easy place to live. Getting about is quick and easy and obviously there are plenty of good restaurants, cafes and beaches. I live and work in New Lambton and can quickly stroll in the sunshine to the post office, the chemist and the butcher before heading home with a take-away coffee - all in less than an hour.
Give us some tips on Newcastle?
I prefer to get my reference pictures during the magic hour before sunset or after sunrise. I have an app that tells me where the sun is facing, and I head out to locations based on the direction of the light. Even a green bin behind a shop can look gorgeous at this time of day.
I also really like cycling along Throsby Creek.
Trevor’s clever drawings are turned into tea towels, playing cards, postcards and mugs – loved by locals and visitors alike. While the centre is closed you can purchase Trevor’s products on his website
Meet Urban Hum
Urban Hum is a small artisan beekeeping enterprise located in Newcastle developed by locals Kelly Lees and Anna Scobie. The pair are passionate beekeepers who care about their bees, their environment and their community.
With hives on rooftops and in backyards across Newcastle, each jar of honey is unique to the suburb it’s made in - meaning you can literally taste Newcastle one suburb at a time. They also produce 100 per cent sustainable, pure bees’ surf wax.
Kelly & Anna from Urban Hum
Tell us how you got started?
Our beekeeping journey began with poor pollination in our suburban backyard. Zucchini plants in our veggie garden flowered beautifully yet no zucchinis grew. We took ourselves off to a beekeeping course and got our first hive. One hive quickly led to two and, before we knew it, led to a full-blown passion with these majestic insects and finally to Urban Hum. We now have 130 hives dotted all over the city.
Honeybees are incredibly important to human health. They pollinate more than 60 per cent of the food we eat including pumpkins and blueberries and also food you may not think about like carrots and onions. Despite their importance, bees are in trouble and are facing a number of threats to their long-term survival worldwide.
Beekeeping also brings us so much joy. They are incredible to work with and it’s truly a mindful and enriching experience opening a beehive.
How does bees wax differ from other surf wax?
We both love the ocean and Kelly loves surfing. For years she used conventional wax then she started to worry about what it was made from and wondered what it was doing to her skin and the ocean. With that thought, the idea of Board Balm was born: a 100 per cent renewable, biodegradable natural surf wax.
Historically beeswax was used by surfers until the 1970s. Now petrochemicals are the basis of 95 per cent of surf wax. We have a loyal following that buys our Board Balm. They love the performance on their boards and that their choice has a positive impact on the environment. It’s also been popular with mothers of groms that want to start their kids surfing on a natural alternative.
What do you love about being a producer in Newcastle?
We love the Newcastle community of small business owners and creatives. It is such a supportive environment to make your dreams become an everyday reality. Our customers are so passionate about good food and natural products; their support and enthusiasm keeps us driven to undertake all the hard work it needs to create single-origin honey. It takes a village to bring bees into a city. We are so grateful to the community in Newcastle for embracing local urban honey production.
Where can we buy or taste your honey?
We sell our honey at local Newcastle markets and fabulous stockists including the Visitor Information Centre. We also host fun and informative beekeeping workshops and are working on an online course.
While the Visitor Information Centre is closed, head online to purchase Urban Hum’s honey and Board Balm.