The creation of the Newstead Railway Arts Hub was the result of the work of community members and identified as a priority in the Newstead Community Plan in 2013. With funding from the VicTrack Community Vacant Use (CVU) Program the station was restored in 2015.
In restoring and reusing the station, the vision of the Newstead community – through Newstead 2021 and the Arts Hub management committee – is that the station will progressively become a creative, economic and social focal point for the community through:
- art gallery and studio/office/workshop/space (for rent and workshop use) and kitchen/cafe area in main station building, studio space (for rent and workshop use) in the goods shed
- accommodation to provide for ‘artist in residence’ programs and other (income generating) accommodation options
- performance spaces (music, theatre, film, etc.) using the station platform, buildings and surrounding landscaped parkland
- identified start/finish point for local and regional walking tracks, cycling trails (including provision of local and regional arts, business and tourism information) and a link to the east side of township via a pedestrian bridge over the Loddon River
- provision of further venue options for existing large and small scale events, such as
Newstead Live!, Words in Winter, Newstead Short Story Tattoo, Chopped Rod festival, etc.
- landscaped art/sculpture garden, incorporating local native species and sculpture for sale.
N2021 is the key community planning group in Newstead, serving as an umbrella for a range of community groups and projects, including Newstead Community Garden, Renewable Newstead, and the Arts Hub.
Friends of the Station was formed in September 2012 in response to community concerns about the condition of the railway station and surrounds. The Arts Salon was formed in February 2011 as a means for local artists to share ideas and inspiration. These groups share the vision of renewing and restoring the Newstead Station as an arts/business hub, creative gathering place for the community and means to link both sides of the township.