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The Lock-Up


Located in one of Newcastle’s most significant heritage buildings, The Lock-Up is a multidisciplinary contemporary arts space and inner city hub for creative thinking and doing.

Listed in the NSW Heritage Register, The Lock-Up was the Newcastle Police Station and lock up from 1861 until its closure in 1982.

The building includes a purpose built gallery space, rare heritage listed cells, an event and installation space in what was the former exercise yard, and an onsite apartment for multi-disciplinary residencies. Since opening as a cultural centre in 2007, The Lock-Up has welcomed over 50,000 visitors.In September 2014 The Lock-Up relaunched as a dedicated multi-disciplinary contemporary arts space and an inner city hub for creative thinking and doing.

Through curated artistic and public programming, The Lock-Up aims to stimulate and challenge audiences and to promote current, cross platform, experimental and diverse practice from local, national and international artists. The program includes contemporary art exhibitions, events, site-specific installation and performances, residencies, creative talks, workshops and a variety of activities designed to engage the arts community and the public and to encourage the sharing of ideas and creative vision.

The Lock-Up’s nationally renowned Artist in Residence (AIR) Program provides onsite accommodation, a work environment and community engagement opportunities for contemporary artists working across a broad range of disciplines.



In 2001 the Trust embarked on an ambitious program to completely renovate and refurbish the historic Newcastle Police Lock-Up.

After the police station closed in 1982, the Hunter Heritage Centre was developed to encourage the participation, appreciation of the city’s unique heritage. In 2001 the Trust embarked on an ambitious program to completely renovate and refurbish the historic Newcastle Police Lock-Up. This included the opening of a museum, artists in residence accommodation, and the opening of the John Paynter Gallery space.

In 2007, The Lock-Up was launched as a multi-arts hub in the heart of Newcastle’s heritage precinct. The John Paynter Gallery provided exhibition space for independent and emerging practitioners to hire as well as presenting work developed through the Artist in Residence program and curated exhibitions by The Lock-Up staff such as The Star in 2009 & Brought to Light: Unlocking Newcastle Newcastle’s Secrets in 2010.

In September 2014 The Lock-Up re-launched as a dedicated contemporary art space as a place for exchange, ideas, exploration, information and cultural endeavour.


2017 – Current


90 Hunter Street
Newcastle NSW 2300