Brilliant Ball

The Condobolin Winter BnS Ball was a great success

Dakotah Haworth, Simon Oliver and Emily Ashe at the BnS Ball. KP


Where’s Wally were the best dressed on the night. Proceeds raised on the night will benefit local charities and organisatons, the spokesperson said.

By Melissa Blewitt

The Condobolin Winter BnS Ball was a great success.

While the weather was not kind, excited ball attendees converged on Condobolin last Saturday night.

This was the first time the event was held at the Condobolin Racecourse, and organisers could not have been happier with the results.

“We were very excited by the new venue,” a Condobolin BnS Committee spokesperson said.

“We had nothing but positive comments.

“Patrons were extremely well behaved, and I commend them for their positive attitudes despite the regulations and the weather.”

Patrons travelled from Tullibigeal, Lake Cargelligo, Tullamore, Bega, Goulburn, Penrith, Bathurst and Rankin Springs for the event.

Those dressed as Where’s Wally, were the winners of a swag, camp oven and camping chair.

Condo kids shine at Flannofest 2014

Young talent had a chance to shine at Flannofest 2014, with four Condobolin High School students travelling to Sydney to perform in the project.

• Above: Condobolin High School students Joshua Clifford, Lelani Knight, Renee Nash and Emma Kennedy workshopping their performance at Flannofest. Contributed

By Lara Pearce

Young talent had a chance to shine at Flannofest 2014, with four Condobolin High School students travelling to Sydney to perform in the project.

Music and drama students from Condobolin joined with teenagers from other schools across New South Wales to perform to over 700 people at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in Penrith.

Year 11 student Joshua Clifford and Year 9 students Emma Kennedy, Renee Nash and Lelani Knight conceived and workshopped their performance, ‘Misfits’, under the guidance of music teacher Sam Azon-Jacometti, drama teacher Danielle O’Keefe and Christina Coleman.

“Performing at Flannofest is an exciting experience,” reflected Condobolin High student, Joshua Clifford. Joshua composed one of the performances which the four students presented at Flannofest.

“It lets you have the freedom to let your talent shine in front of 700 people who are strangers to you,” he said. “At the end of the day, these people will remember you for who you were on that stage.”

The students opened with Joshua’s original composition, which was followed by their dramatic piece, ‘Misfits’. They then impressed the crowd with their voices by concluding with the upbeat song, ‘Keep Your Head Up’, by Andy Grammar.

‘Misfits’ is a dramatic piece about inclusion and fitting in, which the students conceived and workshopped together.

“The students worked hard to present a ten-minute music and drama piece,” explained Mr Jacometti. “Our students had the opportunity to work with an industry professional to prepare their performance and were able to deliver it in a high quality manner.”

“The students received great applause and were constantly stoped in the hallways and corridors and appreciated for their performance.”

Students from ten different schools from across the state displayed a range of theatrical talents, from comedy to physical theatre, contemporary theatre and vocal performances.

The students were able to practice their performance onstage on Thursday 26 June and then performed to huge crowds in the Q Theatre at 12pm and 7pm the following day.

“I really enjoyed meeting students from other schools and having the opportunity to perform together with them,” Year 9 student Lelani Knight said.

Western Plains Regional Development provided the funding for the students to participate in the project.

The Maids in Condobolin

Cast and crew of The Maids mingled with the audience after the performance: Actor Kylie Coolwell, LSC Mayor Des Manwaring, Bianca Levy, Marion Packham, Liz Levy, Actor Sharni McDermott, Dave Carter, Kevin Read, Actor Elaine Crombie and Zona Wilinson. DG

By Dominic Geiger

The top floor of the Condobolin Community Centre was a hive of activity last Friday evening with eager Condobolinites filling the gallery room for the Q Theatre Company Presentation of Jean Genet’s ‘The Maids’.

Designed by the renowned artist, Brook Andrews, the set for the performance transformed the usually bare gallery room into a dark, brooding scene, perfect for the 1947 French murder classic.

The music too created an incredible ambience, and the acoustics of the room allowed the haunting sounds of accordions and violins to transport the audience to a dark place of servitude and jealousy.

Loosely based on the true story of two French maids who murdered their employer, The Maids builds incredible tension between the servants and the flamboyant ‘Madam’, culminating in an explosion of jealousy, resentment and murderous desire.

The Condobolin audience seemed to enjoy the play which, although slightly confusing at times, built an incredible tension which allowed for lightning fast power shifts between the characters throughout the performance.

The three actors, Kylie Coolwell (Solange), Sharni McDermott (Claire) and Elaine Crombie (The Madam), performed brilliantly, never once losing the audience’s captivation.

C.E.O of Penrith Performing and Visual Arts, John Kirkman, said the visit to the Lachlan Shire had allowed the Penrith based performance group to expand their knowledge of their own country, while giving back to the people who live in the Lachlan.

“This is a great partnership that exists between our two councils,” he said.

“It’s given us a great opportunity to work in our own backyard with our own people.”

Condo high students learn from drama legends

Condoboiln High School Students took part in a drama workshop run by The Maids.By Dominic Geiger

Condobolin High School students had the opportunity last Thursday to learn from the cast and coordinators of The Maids theatre presentation at a drama workshop held at the Condobolin Community Centre.

Thirty two drama students took part in the workshop while approximately 120 other students were given a tour of the building and received a sneak peak of the stage and props as they were being prepared for Friday night’s performance.

Penrith based drama teacher and stand-up comedian, Brent Thorpe, said the aim of the workshop was to encourage students to express themselves in ways they usually wouldn’t be able to while in a school environment.

“It’s about letting kids know it’s ok to express themselves and that they do have a voice and it’s ok to use it,” he said.

“We do basic skills training, drama games and we give them a taste of what it is to act.

“The students also had the chance to have a Q and A with The Maids actors and learn about how they got into [National Institute of Dramatic Art].”

Actor Elaine Crombie said the workshops were designed to help children release stress they might be experiencing at home or at school.

“The issues a lot of young kids go through day to day can create something like a tension wire for them,” she said.

“If they don’t have access to ways to express themselves that wire can snap later in life and then that becomes something the rest of the community has to deal with.

“I’m not saying this is the only way, but early intervention like this can address these sorts of issues now.”

International officials warmly welcomed to the Lachlan

L-R: Local business owner David Carter, Mr Pan, Lachlan Shire Mayor Des Manwaring and Mr Jung.  DG.By Dominic Geiger

Lachlan shire council has recently played host for two senior South Korean Government officials, Mr Pan and Mr Jung.

During the visit, the officials were given tours of the surrounding area including Lake Cargelligo and were treated to a number of celebratory dinners.

Mayor of the Lachlan Shire, Des Manwaring, said the visit to the shire came about due to the sister city relationship between Lachlan Shire and Penrith City Councils.

“The agreement with Penrith has allowed us to not only engage in local exchanges, but gives us access to international exchanges as well,” he said.

“It’s been a meet and greet visit which allows us to exchange contacts more than anything,” he said.

“Mr Pan and Mr Jung have been visiting different business people, councillors and they went to a sheep and pig farm.

“We had a bit of a drive around the lake and had a look at some of the facilities there.”

Mr Pan said he found the rural scenery of the Lachlan Shire very beautiful.

“In my country it is very densely populated and is very small,” he said.

“Condobolin and Lake Cargelligo have a very large area.

“When I came to Australia, I had two hopes; that I would see the [Penrith] Panthers play, and I would get to see gorgeous rural scenery.

“I saw the Panthers play some weeks ago and now, after having visited the Lachlan shire, I can say both of these hopes have come true.”

While in Australia, Mr Jung is researching Australian local government, its funding and devolution from the Federal government while Mr Pan is researching telecommunications policy and the National Broadband Network.

Korean Government Officials Visit the Lachlan Shire

Lachlan Shire Council will host two senior Korean Government officials from 18 – 21 July as part of an 18 – 24 month stay in Australia with Penrith City Council.

The visit to the Lachlan Shire came about due to the sister city relationships between Lachlan Shire Council and Penrith City Council.

Jill Turner [Penrith City Council Liaison Officer who looks after sister cities and international relationships] said the visit to the Lachlan Shire was an opportunity for the Korean officials to see how a rural Council functions in comparison to a Council in the city such as Penrith.

“The hosting of the Korean Officials by Penrith City Council was a result of the Council’s relationship with the Sydney office of the Local Government branch of the Korean Government.”

“It is wonderful to be able to provide the officials with such a diverse experience of how Local Government works in Australia.”

“Mr Jung arrived last July and his area of research interest is Australian Local Government, and its funding and devolution from the Federal government.  Mr Pan arrived in November and his area of research is telecommunications policy and NBN,” said Ms Turner.

The officials arrived in the Lachlan Shire on Monday night and were welcomed at a dinner with Mayor of Lachlan Shire and other local Councillors. Tuesday’s itinerary will see the officials visit Lake Cargelligo and meet with local business houses followed by a tour of the local area. On Wednesday the officials will attend the Lachlan Shire Council meeting in Condobolin followed by a tour of the local area.

The Maids tour

Sydney’s Q Theatre Company, one of Australia’s oldest theatre, companies will tour the provocative and internationally acclaimed play ‘The Maids’ to Tottenham, Condobolin and Lake Cargelligo in early August 2011.

Kicking off a three-year cultural agreement between Lachlan Shire and Penrith (in western Sydney) the tour will also feature an exhibition of work by Aboriginal artist Brook Andrew and education program for secondary schools students from the Penrith Regional Gallery.

The Maids was the first play by French literary ‘bad boy’ Jean Genet and was loosely based on the true story of two French maids, the infamous Papin sisters, Lea and Christine, who brutally murdered their boss and her daughter in Le Mans, France, in 1933.

The play was an instant international sensation, and has become legendary.

While the mistress is away, the maids will play! Domestic servants Solange and Claire are plotting to murder their mistress – Madame. Each night they play out, in increasingly macabre ways, how they might ‘do the deed’. But who dies? Is it just playacting and fantasy…… or are they indeed determined to do away with Madame? As fantasy and reality blur, the games take a deadly twist in this 1947 classic of jealousy, tension and murder.

As in all of Genet’s plays, the central theme is the struggle between authority and its victims. In The Maids this is played out as theatrical ritual, that not only reveals the maids’ hatred of the Madame’s authority, but also their self-hatred.

The Q production of this psychological, stylised and symbolic thriller will feature for the first time an all-Aboriginal cast, with Kylie Coolwell and Sharni McDermott playing Solange and Claire respectively, and Elaine Crombie as The Madame.

Renowned contemporary Aboriginal artist Brook Andrew is creating the set and costume design for The Maids. Brook is a Wiradjuri man and has exhibited to great acclaim throughout Australia and internationally. His vision for The Maids is wild.

Macabre, poetic and over the top this is most definitely not “Murder She Wrote”.

The Maids is directed by Katrina Douglas and designed by Brook Andrew, with music and soundscape by Peter Kennard, and lighting by Andrew Kinch.

Snap Shot 2011

On 23 August 2006, Penrith City Council and Lachlan Shire Council signed a Friendship Agreement between the two local government areas – one that has the capacity to generate significant ongoing benefits for both communities.

As a result of the relationship, the Penrith Performing & Visual Arts (PP&VA), Lachlan Shire Council and Penrith City Council proposes to establish a three-year cultural partnership to develop and deliver an integrated performing and visual arts cultural and education program for communities and schools in Lachlan Shire.

Under the cultural partnership, the Penrith Regional Gallery and the Lewers Bequest is holding its annual Snap Shot 2011 Teenagers Photographic Prize.

This is an annual, open photographic competition for teenagers (13yrs – 19yrs). Entry is FREE and there is prize pool of $1200 between two age brackets 13 -15 and 16 -19 years.

Digital entries will be accepted online at between 1 July – 8 August with winners announced at the opening on Saturday 17 September 5pm – 7pm.

The exhibition will  show from 10 September to 30 October.  Snap Shot commenced in 2007, and attracted 23 entrants. The exhibition has grown exponentially since inception, and in 2010 presented the work of 147 teenage photographers and exhibited 379 photographs.

Penrith partnership set to bring arts to the bush

Stepping it out... representatives from Penrith check out the Condobolin Community Centre as a possible venue for the performance of 'The Maids". Back l-r: Ros Patton (LSC Manager Economic Development) and John Kirkman;  front: Katrina Douglass, Joanne Ryan (Penrith City Council) and Zona Wilkinson. Photo by Dominic Geiger.

By Dominic Geiger

The Penrith Performing & Visual Arts group was in Condobolin on the eighth of this month promoting their upcoming tour of Lachlan Shire.
The tour, which is part of the ongoing relationship with Penrith city and Lachlan Shire, will feature an all indigenous cast performance of Jean Genet’s famous production ‘The Maids’, as well as a showcasing of the artwork of internationally renowned Australian artist Brook Andrew.
The tour, to be held in August, will also include a series of workshops at local schools which will focus on delivering drama and visual arts education to school children.
Director of the program, Katrina Douglass, said the aim of the project was to encourage kids with an interest in the arts to pursue their dreams.
“We’ve tried to bring the play into an Australian setting,” she said.
“We really hope the kids learn something in the workshops from Jean Genet’s performance and the actors as well.
“It’s a really fascinating and funny play written by a very important writer; I’m sure the audience will enjoy it.”
John Kirkman, CEO of Penrith Performing and Visual Arts LTD, said he was particularly excited to be able to work with artist Brook Andrew on this project.
“His work has been displayed in galleries all around the world,” he said.
“He loves his country, and he loves bringing his art work to kids; he’s designing the show, so hopefully the kids will be inspired by that.”
John also said the aim of the production was to show kids that art comes from all places.
“It doesn’t just come from the cities,” he said.
“We’re encouraging everyone to get along to the performances;  there’ll also be a show in Lake Cargelligo and possibly one in Tottenham.”

Lachlan Shire and Penrith City Council: a great partnership

LSC represented at Australia Day in Penrith: l-r - Alan Stoneham, General Manager of Penrith City Council, Councillor John Medcalf, Lachlan Shire Council;Councillor Kevin Crameri OAM, Mayor of Penrith City and Mario Fenech, Penrith’s Australia Day Ambassador. Contributed.The importance of the interchange between Penrith City and Lachlan Shire councils was highlighted with this year’s Australia Day celebrations as council personnel swapped locations: LS Councillor John Medcalf and his wife Jane represented LSC in Penrith while Deputy Mayor Jim Aitkin OAM, his wife Pam and daughter Elizabeth along with Glen Schuil and partner Colette Woods did the town rounds in Lachlan Shire.
The relationship between Lachlan Shire Council and Penrith City Council goes back to February 2006, when correspondence was received from Lachlan Shire Council requesting that the communities of Penrith City and Lachlan Shire consider developing a relationship that would lead to them working closely together to undertake a series of sporting, cultural and educational exchanges as well as Council to Council activities.
The historic signing of the Friendship Agreement between Penrith City and Lachlan Shire Councils occurred on Wednesday 23 August 2006, with a delegation from Penrith City, including the Mayor of the day Councillor John Thain, representatives from the both communities and the former Minister for Local Government Kerry Hickey.
Mayor Des Manwaring said of the relationship, “It is very important as it benefits both councils: we get a broader view of the massive workings of a city council which has more specialised personnel while they get to understand the importance of community. One thing they have really benefitted from is the importance of public relations – people here are not just a number as can be the case in metropolitan areas.”
The alliance has seen benefits as far as filling staff positions and gaining expert advice.
When Penrith City Council officer Glenn Schuil stepped in as Acting General Manger for 6 months during a vacancy period, the action demonstrated how ties between city and country councils can help save ratepayers’ money and meet the challenges of skills shortages and training and development.
“At Penrith we have just one grader driver. On work exchange, he came to Condo where there are 11!  The diversity and experience he had with the conditions in Lachlan Shire saw him come back as a better grader driver and with a different attitude,” said Penrith City deputy Mayor Jim Aitkin. Jim has a place in his heart for the Lachlan Shire as he grew up in Bogan Gate and Tullamore and still has family at Parkes.
Other exchanges have involved: other staff such as town planners; the third joint team in the Local Government Challenge event; the Mayors harness racing cup in Penrith; Junior Rugby League Clubs  between Condobolin and St Marys; the Lions Clubs of Condobolin and Emu Plains; the Baptist Church of Lake Cargelligo and Penrith; the Swimming Clubs of Condobolin/Lake Cargelligo and Penrith;  Rural Fire Service Cadets – Condobolin and St Pauls Grammar; Information Displays – Tourist Information Centres of both Condobolin and Penrith; and school relationships.
Currently Lachlan Shire is looking forward to an upcoming theatrical performance from a troupe from the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre based in Penrith plus several carloads of Penrith visitors for the Annual Condobolin Picnic Races.
Much harder to achieve in the city is the sense of community and friendly connection to each other that draws visitors to our region.
Jim went on to add, “Australia Day at the Penrith Lake – you are there with 30,000 of your closest friends! It is impossible to get to know them where as in Condobolin you live and work with people so you know them personally and value those relationships more. Understanding those different values is an unique experience.”
Feedback so far is that the partnership is invaluable to both councils and communities – from the work related interchange it has lead to stronger personal ties, a social and cultural mix, which can only be of benefit to our regions.
John Medcalf thoroughly enjoyed his experience on Australia day and believes the agreement is working really well: “Penrith City has a population of 180,000- they had 61 Australian citizen confirmations on Australia day and they do between 60 and 80 every month. The connection with Penrith can only help us.”
Lachlan Shire’s  General manager George Cowan said, “This partnership has great potential for further development both culturally and economically. We have a great deal to offer city folk and I encourage every group to take advantage of the opportunity.”

Country boy turns back to his roots

Former Bogan Gate and Parkes resident and now Penrith City Council Mayor Jim Aitken attends Australia Day in Lachlan Shire. K.P.Old timers around Bogan Gate and Parkes probably still remember little Jimmy Aitken.
They might have heard the whispers of his dad’s drunken rages, seen bruises on his mum. They would remember back when the old man left his young wife and three kids and how the family were finally kicked off the farm and relied on the goodwill of the townsfolk for food.
The old timers would also remember when the family up and left the area and may wonder what happened to them.
Well, Little Jimmy made good.
After moving in with his grandparents in Parkes in 1959, the family shifted to the western Sydney town of Penrith. There, Jim worked his way out of poverty, starting with a paper round at age 11.
During the years he founded many successful small businesses including a skip bin hire service and house relocating and was a butcher.
Jim is now renowned throughout the Penrith area as a real estate and businessman and for his charity work and as a long-term Penrith councillor. He has been mayor and is now deputy mayor. He is also known as a loving father and husband.
But Little Jimmy hasn’t forgotten his roots. Every now and again you’ll see him around the area with the people he says he feels most comfortable with.
Jim’s story is one of eleven included in a new book by couple Ellen and David Hill, about everyday people who have overcome adversity.
‘People Like You’ covers a range of topics, from poverty and abuse, disability and grief to anxiety and mental health, and drug abuse and learning difficulties.
However Ellen said ‘People Like You’ was not a self-help book, nor was it a book about people who had become rich, famous or powerful, although some had. “We were only interested in people who had achieved things that were realistic to average people. Fame and great fortune is unattainable to most people. The eleven people in this book themselves prove that wealth really isn’t the key to happiness and success.”
Jim Aitken said: “You see people with a bit of wealth and they measure themselves on their worth, and that’s the worst thing you can measure yourself on. Those people, when they lose it, they lose everything.”
“If I lost all my wealth I’d have lost nothing. I’ve enjoyed this sort of life, I enjoyed life when I had nothing.”
The couple hopes ‘People Like You’ will encourage readers to take a second look at others and wonder why they are the way they are, consider how their actions affect others and then try to make a difference in the world in which they live.
“We also hope they take inspiration and hope from these eleven people,’’ Ellen said. “After all, they are people you pass unnoticed in the street, your friends and neighbours, local business people. They are People Like You.”
‘People Like You’ (RRP$49.95) is available through and The Turning Page Bookshop, Springwood, 4751 5171.

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