Lake Macquarie History

Charlestown Square


Charlestown Square is located in Pearson St, Charlestown, approximately 6 kilometres south of Newcastle, adjacent to the Pacific Highway. The shopping centre can be accessed via one of its four surrounding streets.


Charlestown Square is currently owned and operated by The GPT (General Property Trust) Group. The GPT group is Australia's largest diversified listed property group. The Lend Lease Corporation formerly managed it.


photo: charlestown square site preparation c.1978

Charlestown Square first opened in 1979. It was the first shopping development in the Lake Macquarie region.Since then it has undergone extensions and modifications in 1983, 1989, 1996 and 2000. The largest of these redevelopments occurred recently in 2010.

The 2010 redevelopment effectively saw Charlestown square almost double in size to 88, 000sqm. The extensions cost a total of $470 million and provided 1250 permanent or part time jobs in the retail industry, making it a major employer in the region.

photo: charlestown square 2010 redevelopment

Included in the redevelopment are a number of key features chosen for their significance to the region. A large timber boat, along with sea animal light fittings and a water feature are in the children's section as a representation of the area's maritime history. In the extended section of the shopping centre, there is a dark stone floor to represent the Hunter regions coalmining history along with timber portals, representing the old mine shafts.

Ecological Impact

The local council, both at its original construction and at the later upgrade, looked into the ecological impact a structure like Charlestown square would have on the environment. In 1979 the council decided that minimal environmental impact should occur during the construction of Charlestown Square. They also insisted the 2 acres adjoining the lot be available to workers and shoppers as garden parks and recreational grounds.

In the most recent developments to Charlestown Square, Bovis Lend Lease Pty Ltd and The GPT Group, contracted Ecotone Ecological Consultants Pty Ltd to complete a survey into the ecological impact of the upgrades. Ecotone concluded that the proposed extensions were 'to have a minor ecological impact'. The GPT Group have also tried to lessen their ecological footprint using gas rather than electricity where possible and using rainwater where possible.


Newcastle Morning Herald 1979, Charlestown Square : a supplement to the Newcastle morning herald, Monday, March 26, 1979, Newcastle morning herald, Newcastle

Lake Macquarie (N.S.W.). Council & Freehills (Firm) 2006, Redevelopment and extension of Charlestown Square Council land and works agreement between Lake Macquarie City Council and GPT RE Limited, Freehills, Sydney, N.S.W

CROXTON, S 1999, 'Lake's 2020 vision - Lifestyle strategy takes look into the future', Newcastle Herald (Australia), 24 May, p. 1

CROXTON, S 2000, 'Charlestown Square changing its shape', Newcastle Herald (Australia), 14 Apr, p. 23.

2000, 'The history - 2000 Lake Macquarie', Newcastle Herald (Australia), 20 Jul, p. 28 - 30

Acknowledgement of Country

We remember and respect the Ancestors who cared for and nurtured this Country. It is in their footsteps that we travel these lands and waters. Lake Macquarie City Council acknowledges the Awabakal people and Elders past, present and future.

Council acknowledges traditional custodians throughout Australia. We commit to listening deeply to and collaborating with First Peoples in our work.

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