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Since our foundation…




Guest Judges


Cash Granted

August Awesome Newcastle is Absolutely Admirable

August 2019 winner – Healthy Connection For All

The Criterion hosted another admirable Awesome Newcastle last night, adding a little Wednesday-evening-excitement to Carrington.

Venue: The Criterion Hotel
Guest Judges: Anne Long from Greater Bank, Brian Daly from The Proverbials, Cheralyn Coffey from The Press Bookhouse and Aleeta Cliff from Hudson Street Hum.

New and old unite at Awesome Newcastle

July 2019 winner – Between The Lines

Another month, another no-strings-attached cash giveaway! Awesome Newcastle was lit last night at the Cri… literally, and you’ll see why momentarily.

Venue: The Criterion Hotel
Guest Judges: Robert Roworth from Johnny Pictures and Tommirock, Candice Woods from the UN Association of Australia, Luke Kellett from Headjam, Anna Lundmark from Hunter Water, Kylie Frearson from Property Solutions 101, Josh Bruce from JBVFX and Ty Brennock of Monica Clare Recruitment.

June’s Awesome Newcastle is Just Right

June 2019 winner – Pound Paws

Last night we enjoyed our second Awesome Newcastle at The Criterion in Carrington.

Venue: The Criterion Hotel
Guest Judges: Emily Wilson of Rumble Social Media. Jacqui Daley of The Measured Marketer and Amber Moncrieff of Hunter Plastic Surgery.

An Innovative Awesome Newcastle at The Criterion!

May 2019 winner – Cuplet Poetry

Last night’s Awesome Newcastle was open to the public and, wow, what a great crowd!

Venue: The Criterion Hotel
Guest Judges: Becky Kiil from Newcastle Afoot, Professor Lisa Toohey from Newcastle Law School, Public Speaker and Radio Presenter, Craig Hamilton, Photographer Myf Garvin and Film Director and Editor Adam Khamis and James Barr, UX Designer at The Village of Useful.

Full House at April’s Awesome Newcastle

April 2019 winner – Care Parking Poem

Slowly and steadily Awesome Newcastle has been making its way around different dynamic venues in town.

Venue: Customs House
Guest Judges: Ty Brennock from Monica Clare Recruitment and Jessica Petersen from CWP Renewables.

Awesome March: Making Money at MoneyPenny

March 2019 Winner – Uukoo Dimentia App

It feels like we’ve barely recovered from Awesome February, but here we are charging into March!

Venue: Moneypenny
Guest Judges: Suzie Galwey from Hudson Street Hum. Grant Long from Long Legal, Amy Beckett from Newcastle Networking Group and Anne Long from Greater Bank.

All finalists at the end of the night

February 2019 Winner – Sketch Party Newcastle

Last night we had our first Awesome Newcastle of 2019! Morale was up as we gathered downstairs in the Flying Tiger‘s lively and leafy courtyard. The sun set, and we settled in for a night of learning about the brightest and best ideas of our city.

Venue: The Flying Tiger
Guest Judges: Amber Moncrieff of Hunter Plastic Surgery, Jacqui Daley of The Measured Marketer, Martin Spiers of H & M Accountants and consultant Amir Antebi.

All finalists at the end of the night

November 2018 Winner – Bearfoot Studio

We like to finish off Awesome Newcastle for the year by making it open to the public; it’s always been a really beautiful way to wrap things up before December. Last night was no exception.

Venue: The Station
Guest Judges: Consultant Don Magin, Ty Brennock from Monica Clare Recruitment, consultant Richard Tribe, Jade Pearsall of Puro People and Shivani Gupta who was a previous board member.

All finalists at the end of the night

October 2018 Winner – Youth Frontiers

Last night at the Flying Tiger, another Awesome Newcastle commenced! We were on a mission of time efficiency while still having a special evening as per usual. The drinks were served, the salty delicious chips were off the chain and everyone was looking attentive and attractive!

Venue: The Flying Tiger
Guest Judges: Amanda Kirkman of Shorthand Studio, Robyn Blackwell of Being More Human and Sheree Chambers of Brugel Creative.

All finalists at the end of the night

September 2018 Winner – Secret Book Stuff

The Flying Tiger was once again abuzz with ideas people and generous donors for our September Awesome Newcastle.

Venue: The Flying Tiger
Guest Judges: Amber Moncrieff, Sharyn Swan, Rosalind Smith, Kim Oakhill

awesome newcastle august

August 2018 Winner – Feedback Organics

Can you believe another month has passed already? Last night’s Awesome Newcastle for August was another doozy. Held again upstairs at The Flying Tiger, our board was filled with a lot of returning guests.

Venue: The Flying Tiger
Guest Judges: Jacqui Daley, Ty Brennock, Marty Spiers, Courtney Novak, James Barr, Jessica Peterson, Cody McKay and Cheryl Gledhill

Awesome Newcastle finalists and Thomas

July 2018 Winner – The Share Shop

Another Awesome Newcastle has come and gone, and we are thrilled to be introduced to some amazing community members doing important things. Last night was held at The Flying Tiger in their grand upstairs room.

Venue: The Flying Tiger
Guest Judges: Amir Antebi, Thomas Donohue, Ben Mitchell and Jordan Jensen

Cycle Safe

June 2018 Winner – CycleSafe Network

After a series of rainy days, yesterday’s warm(ish) weather couldn’t have been more welcomed. Last night we gathered at The Edwards Front Bar as we’ve done many times before and prepared ourselves for another night of learning about and celebrating the talented creative people in this region.

Venue: The Edwards Front Bar
Guest Judges: Don Magin, Bradd Morelli and Rob Buck

Awesome Finalists

May 2018 Winner – The Big Hug Box

Last night we returned to The Edwards’ front bar for a special evening of merrymaking. We were excited to learn what the next batch of innovative Novocastrians had to offer.

Venue: The Edwards Front Bar
Guest Judges: Amir Antebi, Jacqui Daley, Richard Tribe, Amy Becket, Matt Lovell and Stacy Jacobs

Anne congratulates Jo

April 2018 Winner – Unity in Diversity

Perpetually keeping things interesting, Awesome Newcastle went off last night at the Happy Wombat. A gregarious group gathered in their funky side room with the violet hues. We all enjoyed bevvies and got to know April’s Awesome crew.

Venue: The Happy Wombat
Guest Judges: Amber Moncrieff, Amir Antebi, Jessica Laing, Anne Kempton and Adam Novak

Surfing the spectrum

March 2018 Winner – Surfing the Spectrum

March’s Awesome Newcastle coincidentally fell on the first day of autumn, and what a lovely breezy afternoon it was. Before kickoff, the Awesome Newcastle crew enjoyed the weather on the deck of the front bar . It was a great evening for making new acquaintances, which worked out well because last night we had five guest board members joining us!

Venue: The Edwards Front Bar
Guest Judges: Rowan De Haas, Anna Donoghoe, Jessica Petersen, Adam Novak and Olivia Olley

Vicki, Cheryl and Gabe

February 2018 Winner – Hunter Institute of Fashion (with a twist ending!)

The first Awesome Newcastle of 2018 went off without a hitch and with three great pitches! The Edwards Front Bar again welcomed four new guest board members who munched on some legendary bar grub and listened as three locals share their ideas

Venue: The Edwards
Guest Judges: Mark Squires, Cheryl Gledhill, Cheryl Royl and Marty Spiers


November 2017 Winner – Just Like You Dolls

We shook up things for November’s Awesome Newcastle by holding it at The Village of Useful and, GASP, making it open to the public! Winners Just Like You Dolls took home the $1000 cash for the second month in a row, and the other two finalists, Banshee and Bean Cycled also received some sweet cash from the public.

Venue: The Village of Useful
Guest Judges: Rob Buck, Amir Antebi, and Grant Long

Just Like You Dolls

October 2017 Winner – Just Like You Dolls

Even a big storm with unexpected hail couldn’t keep spirits down for October’s Awesome Newcastle! The huge claps of thunder were no match to the huge claps of applause for our latest round of finalists at The Edwards front bar on Thursday night.

Venue: The Edwards
Guest Judges: Kevin Orr, Alison Hough, Amber Moncrieff, Amir Antebi, Emma Levine and Chris Johnston

David awards Vangie

September 2017 Winner – From Us to You

Between a group of ukulele players and team Awesome Newcastle, the crowd at The Edwards last night were quite the vivacious bunch. We were accommodated fantastically, as per usual.

Venue: The Edwards
Guest Judges: Clay Frost, David Sawicki, Don Magin, Alan Parry and Zach Scholtz

August 2017 Winner – Slow Food Hunter Valley

Last night the funky Barbara Brown HQ hosted us in Wickham. It was a special place and a special evening, as it is our board member Grant Thomas‘ final stint at Awesome Newcastle.

Venue: Barbara Brown
Guest Judges: Stephen Thomas, Nadine Baretto, Steve Baretto, Ryan Macpherson & Alan Parry

Anastasia is July's Awesome Newcastle winner

July 2017 Winner – More Than A Mumma

Awesomely, the accidental theme at last night’s Awesome Newcastle was family. Held in The Edwards cushy and comfortable front bar, July’s Awesome Newcastle was all about looking after yourself and your loved ones.

Venue: The Edwards
Guest Judges: Daniel Kemp, Courtney Jones and Sharon Magin

June 2017 Winner – Newcastle Afoot

June 2017 Winner – Newcastle Afoot

Well, we certainly weren’t reserved at the Reserve bar last night for June’s Awesome Newcastle. Candidates and finalists cosied up on cushions and couches and caught up on the freshest and finest ideas around town.

Venue: The Edwards
Guest Judges: Don Magin,Ty Brennock, Megan Durrant and Zac Sholtz

May 2017 Winner – The Authentic Child

May 2017 Winner – The Authentic Child

It was cold, but everyone left feeling warm and fuzzy after last night’s Awesome Newcastle. The finalists bravely stood in front of a crowd of strangers at The Edwards Beer garden and discussed challenging but important issues. We listened to ideas addressing homelessness, emotional health for children and inclusiveness in the arts.

Venue: The Edwards
Guest Judges: Jasmine Lance, James and Emma from TVoU, Gaeton Amodeo, Shaun Coutman and Grant Long

April 2017 Winner – Peach Night Spot

April 2017 Winner – Peach Night Spot

Last night’s Awesome Newcastle clearly demonstrated that the Awesome bar just gets higher and higher. Speaking of bars, the Edwards beer garden yet again served as the perfect location for us all to drink and delve into the newest Novocastrian initiatives.

Venue: The Edwards
Guest Judges: Amber Moncreiff and Natalie Egleton

March 2017 Winner – Morisset Meals on Wheels

March 2017 Winner – Morisset Meals on Wheels

Awesome Newcastle has been going strong since 2015, and during our regular board meeting this month we shook things up. Usually an intimate crowd gathers to enjoy bevvies and select the best finalist to take home a thousand bucks. This time we opened it up to to the public and allowed guests to contribute as much money as they wanted to the finalist of their choice.

Venue: The Edwards
Guest Judges: Ryan MacPherson, Mitch Evans, Steve Martin, Kelly Church

February 2017 Winner – Deeper Voice of Textiles

February 2017 Winner – Deeper Voice of Textiles

Lucky for us, The Edwards again accommodated our gregarious gang for February’s Awesome Newcastle. This month we found ourselves in their spacious and delicious beer garden out back. We’ve now also had 45 Finalists, 49 guest board members and given away $18,000!

Venue: The Edwards
Guest Judges: Don Magin, Jacqui Dailey and Stephen Thomas

January 2017 Winner – Donovan Jones – Mindfulness for Dads

January 2017 Winner – Mindfulness for Dads

The passionate people in Newcastle are not holding back bright ideas, last night’s Awesome Newcastle demonstrated. Givers and gatherers grouped together at The Edwards swanky new Front Bar, where an eclectic cluster of Novocastrians bustled and buzzed discussing innovative ways to make Newcastle better with the generous monthly grant of $1,000 cold hard cash.

Venue: The Edwards
Guest Judges: Don Magin, Fergus Black, Kelly Tagalan and Linda Thomas

October 2016 Winner – Astrid Gearin - Welcome Ride

October 2016 Winner – Welcome Ride

Last Thursday we did it again. We gathered, we ate, we drank, we deliberated and then gave away another awesome $1000 in cash.Candidates and board members met on the 6th floor of Newcastle’s NIB building. Surrounded by funky furniture, drinks, cheese and a stunning view of the harbour, a small crowd nibbled and made merry.

Venue: NIB Building
Guest Judges: Jo Bright, Courtney Novak, Rob Buck and Zach Sholtz

Awesome Newcastle One Year Anniversary

Awesome Newcastle One Year Anniversary – Giving Away $4,000!

What better way to celebrate our anniversary than giving away $4,000 to a business that will use it to make the world a better place? Last Thursday we did just this! We called on Novocastrians to join us at The Lock Up arts space to recognise awesome business initiatives and give away stacks of cash.Guests and board members wined, dined and donated. They listened to the inspiring stories of four previous Awesome Newcastle Winners, watched Steve Pasvolsky’s Awesome Newcastle Film (see below) all while The Village of Useful darlings Linda, Jorgia and Emma pranced through the crowd with Awesome Newcastle bags wide open, ripe for the cash.

Venue: The Lock Up
Guest Judges: Chris Brown

August Winners

August 2016 Winner – Frontline Yoga

It could be that we did AwesomeNTL a little differently this round, or maybe it was the awesome board members that were excited to give away $1,000, it could be the delicious salsa that was on the table, but really it was the electric and innovative finalists that took it to a whole new level.

Read about it

Venue: The Village of Useful
Guest Judges: Jesse Chan-Norris, Richard Tribe, Alison Hough, Jacqui Reed

July Winners

July 2016 Winner – Survival Candle

Our July Awesome Newcastle took place last Thursday in the alluring Reserve Wine Bar. Nestled together in a booth with wine in hand, our board members once again gathered to hand out a no-strings attached bag of cash to an awesome person.

Read about it

Venue: The Edwards
Guest Judges: Ty Brennock, Colin Law, Richie Ransom

June Winners

June 2016 Winner – Adopt a Singer

June’s Awesome Newcastle took place last Thursday behind the big blue doors at The Village of Useful. Finalists and board members gathered once again to choose the next awesome winner for the month.
Choosing finalists is getting increasingly difficult as there are so many great applications and ideas happening in the area. This month’s finalists were Nikki McFarland for Crazy Craft Group, Brett Piva from the Make it/Made it Conference, and Adam Price presenting his Adopt a Singer project.

Read about it

Venue: The Village of Useful
Guest Judges: Sarah Ladyman, Adam Novak, Cathrine Long, Michael Hogg

May Winners

May 2016 Winner – To The Edge High Performance Centre

Our May Awesome Newcastle took place last Thursday night at the heavenly Wine Selectors Headquarters in Honeysuckle. All gathered in the private tasting room with a wine in one hand, nibbles in the other and a keen interest to hear all the great things planned for Newcastle. Our awesome board member Lois Donaldson from Wine Selectors put on a beautiful spread for everyone, and was certainly the hostess with the most-est!

Read about it

Venue: Wine Selectors
Guest Judges: Anne Long, Bec Bowie, Amy Tribe, Ryan MacPherson

April Winners

April 2016 Winner – Helpful Love

Last night at The Edwards on Parry Street, the Awesome Newcastle crew gathered for the April event. For the first time ever, Awesome Newcastle had all female finalists. The girls were representing!

Read about it

Venue: The Edwards
Guest Judges: Phillip Ross, Melanie Muddle, Colin Law

March Winners

March 2016 Winner – Newcastle Art Prize

Awesome Newcastle’s March gathering was last Thursday evening at Casa de Loco, in the east end. Our regular judges, guest judges and nervous but determined finalists headed up the wooden stairs of the Mexican restaurant y tequila bar for for the night’s proceedings.

Read about it

Venue: Casa de Loco
Guest Judges: Bec Bowie, Ian Bennett, Chris Sneddon, Kris Leck

February Winners

February 2016 Winner – OneWave

Last Thursday evening, a small yet excited crowd gathered at The Edwards on Parry Street. Usual faces caught up with each other, new faces introduced themselves and somewhere in the mix, nervous finalists mingled with everyone. It was the night of Awesome Newcastle February, and after an inspirational meeting in January, everyone was ready to see what was in store for our $1,000 cash grant this month.

Read about it

Venue: The Edwards
Guest Judges: Kelsey Barrett, Shane Burrell, Peter Dodds, Chris Joannou

January Winners

January 2016 Winner – MaD Science

The first Awesome Newcastle for the new year took place last Thursday at Talulah, The Junction. Our esteemed board congregated alfresco, full of stories of holidays, gifts, food and travel.
As usual, narrowing down three finalists from the ever-growing bunch of passionate, aspirational applicants was a tricky task. Who would be invited to tell us how they would make awesome happen in Newcastle with $1,000 cash, no-strings-attached?

Read about it

Venue: Talulah
Guest Judges: SueAnne Ware, Richard Tribe, Emma Levine

January Winners

November 2015 Winner – Tantrum Theatre

It has been growing more and more difficult to narrow down a top three with an ever-growing pot of awesome applications rolling in through the months. We invited Alissa and Fiona from HUNTERhunter, James from Tantrum Theatre and Sean Bell of The Design Kids along to show us how each would make awesome happen in Newcastle with $1,000 cash, no strings attached.

Read about it

Venue: Cazador
Guest Judges: Alex O’Hara, Sam Robinson, Denis Mamo

January Winners

October 2015 Winner – Youth Street Newcastle

Kelcie Rausch volunteers for Youth Street Newcastle, and provides young people from 10 years up with a fun, safe place to hang out, make friends and have fun. Young people can head along to Youth Street on Saturday and develop their skills in skating, scooting, surfing, sports, dancing, art and performing arts. Kelcie and her fellow volunteers aim to provide a place where teens can develop their skills and build their confidence.

Read about it

Venue: Cazador
Guest Judges: Jess Shuwalow, Donna Burrell, James Dampney

January Winners

September 2015 Winner – Driving with Jack and Scott

Driving with Jack and Scott consists of two childhood mates who have been spreading the good vibes ever since, including hosting events, taking part in youth groups and coaching at a local skatepark.
Jack and Scott say they want to be about ‘thankers wanna thank’ (as opposed to ‘haters gonna hate), bringing positivity to their community and themselves.

Read about it

Venue: The Basement
Guest Judges: Emma Levine, Kris Leck