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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald

Steamfest 2022 cancelled due to flooding, Maitland Council confirms

CHOO-CHOO: Maitland mayor Philip Penfold, Norm Burton OAM of Burton Automotive and Steamfest committee chairman Peter Garnham. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Burton Automotive Hunter Valley Steamfest 2022 has been cancelled due to flooding, Maitland City Council can confirm.

The ongoing flood event has resulted in damage to infrastructure across the city, including the rail network, and limited access to other key event sites, such as the Rally Ground and Maitland Park.

With recovery efforts tipped to take many months to complete, Council made the decision to cancel the event for 2022.

"Whilst the advice we have from stakeholders is that it is expected the rail line will be at least partially operational prior to Steamfest, the network will need to prioritise critical rail services to support the movement of freight," Maitland City Council Executive Manager Vibrant City Rachel MacLucas said.

"Council doesn't make this decision lightly, but given the extent of the impact of the flood, it is important that we shift our immediate focus to the repair of key infrastructure and the City's recovery.

"After two years of COVID related cancellations, as well as a postponement from our original 2022 dates due to wet weather, we're deeply disappointed that this year's Hunter Valley Steamfest won't be able to proceed as planned later this month.

"We would like to recognise and appreciate the significant work and support of our event partners and community groups who contribute so much to Hunter Valley Steamfest, and we share in their disappointment."

Parts of Maitland, such as the Belmore Bridge, received its average monthly rainfall (130 millimetres) in a single day, and more than double the monthly average over a four day span (255 millimetres).

As a result, two key sites that are integral to Steamfest - the Rally Ground, which hosts vintage machinery and steam engines, as well as Maitland Park, home to the popular Show 'n' Shine - have flooded and are expected to remain inaccessible for some time.

Hunter Valley Steamfest will return on 22 and 23 April 2023, to celebrate its belated 35th anniversary.

Ticket holders for 2022 will be contacted in the coming weeks and advised on the process to receive a refund of their tickets or to transfer their tickets to the 2023 dates.

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