Makers x Traders

Welcome to the New Newcastle


mAKERS X TRADERS trademark

makers x traders retail map

Newcastle is a beautiful peninsula city with a rich architectural heritage flanked by an incredible coastline and beautiful beaches. This is no secret! What you may not know is that it is also home to many creative enterprises: craftspeople, designers, artists, curators, culinary magicians, providores, and sustainable warriors. Over time, these individuals have formed relationships, collaborating, supporting and encouraging one another which has culminated in a group called the Makers X Traders.


In late 2019, I was invited by the group to consult on the development of the project, to provide branding and content, and to design a city-wide map.

While the aims of the project are to provide community engagement, sustainable supply practices, and the fostering of creative communities, this collective of inner-city businesses was initially established to deal with an extended period of disruptions to the economic and cultural fabric of Newcastle. 

meet (restaurant)

Antojitos (Restaurant)

High Tea with Mrs Woo

Makers X Traders was formed by veteran city business owners including Tim McPhee (Abicus, Scout), Chris Johnston (Good Brother, Suspension), Bec Bowie (Estabar), Angela Hailey (Studio Melt), Rowena Foong (High Tea With Mrs Woo) and Bronwyn Rundle (Rundle Tailors). This self described “action group” came to life following a survey showing that trade in Darby Street alone has fallen by 30 per cent amid the light rail construction and ongoing development projects in the city. Other issues discovered included:

  • 15 businesses have closed or moved from Darby Street in the past six months
  • Foot traffic is down about 40%
  • Trade has slumped 30%
  • 65% of business owners are working more
  • 50% of business have reduced staff
  • 37% of business have reduced staff hours
  • 65% of business have reduced trading hours
  • 80% of business owners experiencing more stress and anxiety
  • Only 1 business out of 32 has been able to negotiate rent relief

The group quickly grew in size as some of the city’s best known and longest running businesses came on board to reactivate the city and stem a rash of store closures.

Momo Wholefoods



"We are city-wide, not precinct driven, we are one community of businesses seeking positive outcomes for the future of businesses in the city of Newcastle ... By pooling our energies, we seek to access funding and partnerships, and work on projects that are beyond us as individual businesses. We are proud to be part of a city we believe has an incredibly creative DNA and we’re excited to share some of these stories with the world.”

Tim McPhee of Abicus.

newcastle Treasure Map Cover (Detail)

Cover Illustration by Rosie Turner

The flagship Makers X Traders project was launched in August 2020, a city-wide retail map entitled Newcastle Treasure Map. I provided the group with creative direction, design, and helped manage this big challenging project from concept to distribution. With over 60 participants to satisfy, strict council guidelines to follow, and the advent of COVID-19 right in the thick of development, it was quite an achievement to finally get this map out on the streets!

To stand apart from previous and current Newcastle tourism maps, I suggested physically dividing the city into three distinct areas — East, Central, and West. The idea being that this would create a visual point of difference, multiple entry points for shoppers and tourists, and a new perspective for locals. While these three maps are all distinct and unique, they directly connect to each other in a continuous landscape.

Newcastle Treasure Map (Online)

newcastle Treasure Map (Social Media)

The hotspots featured on the map have been carefully curated, acting as an “insider’s guide” to the creative, independent business community and best places to visit in Newcastle. It highlights independent, homegrown drinking & dining, arts, culture, experiences and of course retail. The street maps are easy to follow and provide additional information such as toilets, parks, public transport, and major landmarks.

Illustrations by Rosie Turner

Illustrations by Rosie Turner

Illustrations by Rosie Turner

I comissioned local artist Rosie Turner to illustrate the map, in order to provide visual interest as well as a seasonal flavour, with the idea being that future iterations of the map would feature different artists. My brief to Rosie invited her to consider Newcastle as a bustling harbour city, a place of trade and cultural exchange, with a slightly mythical quality to it. She provided a range of images to use across the map, website, and social media which capture the unique, coastal feel of the city through her own personal vision.

Newcastle Treasure Map in use

Newcastle Treasure Map Layout (East/Cover)

Newcastle Treasure Map Layout (west/central)

The map itself is free and available from participating Makers X Traders businesses, from inner-city accommodations, and from the Newcastle Visitor Information Centre. Grab a copy and support these great people in the new year!

map project group ● PHOTO: Simone de Peak

More information about this project can be seen in this Newcastle Herald feature article.

Made on Awabakal & Worimi Lands