Abandoned buildings spark nostalgia in photographer Nev Dennard’s ‘apocalyptic’ scenes

Nev Dennard’s photograph could be mistaken for the set of an apocalyptic zombie movie.

The urban photographer specializes in taking pictures of abandoned buildings and landmarks around New South Wales.

He’s snapped a variety of long-forgotten places around the state.

“It’s free. I can go on and explore, learn some history about the places I’m visiting. It’s exciting,” Mr Dennard said.

Graffiti on a derelict shopping mall.

Abandoned places can be a target for vandals.(Supplied: Nev Dennard)

Photos posted by Mr Dennard this week of a closed shopping arcade along the Hunter Street Mall in Newcastle has been among his most popular.

“Everybody was commenting. It evokes some kind of memory for a lot of people,” he said.

The photos featured graffiti, broken shopfront windows and rubbish stretch throughout the site.

A trashed elevator surrounded by rubbish.

Nev Dennard says he did plenty of research before heading out to an abandoned place.(Supplied: Nev Dennard)

“It almost evokes apocalyptic kinds of scenes of what it would be like if human beings didn’t walk through there for 20, 30 years,” he said.

The post has been shared more than 1,000 times and received more than 1,500 comments, most from locals reminiscing about the centre’s glory days.

A broken escalator with rubbish.

Some viewers of Nev Dennard’s photo were disappointed at the state of the Newcastle building.(Supplied: Nev Dennard)

“I get a lot of people saying that [their] childhood was spent here,” Mr Dennard said.

“So it’s great I can evoke that kind of memory with people and they get something out of it.”

The sign of a fast food shop.

A former fast food shop sign stirred up good memories.(Supplied: Nev Dennard)

The image of a battered sign from a much-loved takeaway shop struck a chord.

“What I really learned about the [centre] is they have the best roast beef and gravy rolls,” he said.

“I’m sorry I missed out on it. It sounded like it was fantastic.”

The building Mr Dennard photographed closed last year and is set to be redeveloped into a new complex with shops and luxury apartments.

A warehouse with graffiti

Abandoned buildings are often a canvas for graffiti.(Supplied: Nev Dennard)

Planning the perfect picture

Mr Dennard puts a lot of work into his hobby.

He said pinpointing these derelict and forgotten structures required preparation and planning.

“I’ll do my research and try and look for some old buildings, old farmhouses, places like that,” he said.

Nev Dennard, Goulburn

Nev Dennard travels all over NSW to take photos of old sites, including St John’s Orphanage for Boys in Goulburn.(Supplied: Nev Dennard)

Mr Dennard travels NSW visiting structures that are abandoned, vandalized and overgrown, but have found plenty of interesting sites in his own backyard in Newcastle and the Central Coast.

Graffiti inside a gloomy building

Inside the heritage-listed coal-fired power station at Wangi Wangi.(Supplied: Nev Dennard)

“There’s so many places, World War II bunkers. You’ve got Fort Wallace at Stockton Beach,” he said.

Graffiti inside a stone military facility.

WWII bunkers are some of Nev Dennard’s favorite sites to explore.(Supplied: Nev Dennard)

A favorite from further afield was a recent trip to an old aquarium at Manly.

“That was a bucket list [item] for a few years; walking through there [was] very dark, very creepy,” he said.

Graffitti windows, a murky pond.

Nev Dennard says walking through an old Manly aquarium was “creepy”.(Supplied: Nev Dennard)

He strongly advised anyone wanting to try urban exploration to play it safe, recalling a mishap at a flooded bunker in Rathmines at Lake Macquarie.

“I actually put the scuba gear on and went through, and I got stuck,” Mr Dennard said.

“I worked my way out of it, but don’t do that, you shouldn’t dive alone.”

He said he did not advocate taking risks for a photograph.

“This whole conversation comes with: Don’t do this at home,” he said.

The entrance to a world war two bunker.

Nev Dennard says old sites, like flooded WWII bunkers, can pose serious dangers.(Supplied: Nev Dennard)

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