Showcasing a Regional Powerhouse: Reshaping the Hunter

Reshaping the Hunter, a new book by award-winning local author Evan McHugh, takes a sweeping view of engineering in the Newcastle region over the last 40 years.

Subtitled How Engineering Innovation Reinvented a Region the book examines engineering’s pivotal role in responding to significant economic and environmental challenges, including the Newcastle Earthquake in 1989 and closure of the BHP Steelworks in 1999. Featuring interviews with leading engineers and CEOs, what emerges is a community of professionals that is remarkably resilient, agile, and determined when it comes to solving the seemingly unsolvable.

Starting with indigenous engineering the development of the Port of Newcastle and the legacy of BHP, Reshaping the Hunter explores how extensive local engineering networks have underpinned the foundations of the region’s prosperity. This includes a look at the city’s globally competitive companies that have flourished throughout the years. Finally, the book explores future possibilities for a region with a proven record of adaptability as it faces its next great challenge: Australia’s energy transition.

“Events like the Newcastle earthquake and the embrace of economic rationalism and globalism, leading to the closure of the BHP Steelworks, shipbuilding and other industries, were disastrous for the region on one level, but transformative of engineering on another,” says Evan McHugh.

“In writing this book – it was clear to me that that a most striking aspect of this story is the way engineers have continually responded and adapted to changing circumstances with innovative solutions — those who didn’t change disappeared.”

Reshaping the Hunter is a 168-page soft cover full-colour publication, retailing for $40.00 (incl gst).

It can be purchased online here


This project is supported by the Create NSW Cultural Grants Program, a devolved funding program administered by the Royal Australian Historical Society on behalf of the NSW Government