Wiradjuri Study Centre

Garden Festival of Blooms this weekend

Leanne and John Anderson’s garden. Just a sample of the beautiful gardens on display this weekend 2nd and 3rd April at the Condobolin Garden Festival.

By Melissa Blewitt

The Condobolin Garden Festival will showcase beautiful low-rainfall gardens, community creativity and expert guest speakers.

It will be held at the Wiradjuri Study Centre (WSC) on Saturday, 2 April and Sunday 3 April, and will incorporate a garden theme photography and Scarecrow competition.

The Condobolin Garden Festival journey will begin at WSC on Saturday, 2 April with a diverse range of activities including guest speakers, stalls, arts, crafts and morning and afternoon tea.

There are six magnificent open gardens to explore in Condobolin. The WSC, Leanne and John Anderson, Di and Ian Kelk, Donna and Gary Nagle, Kaye and Paddy McCumstie and Eryn Mullins and Simon Carey will all allow you to become enraptured by their garden delights.

Guest speakers for the event include Paul Kirkpatrick (Le Potager – Edible Art), John Small (Beekeeping), Sally Bourne (Landscaping) and Vas Roberts (Narromine Iris Farm).

Keeping with tradition, Saturday night’s entertainment will be ‘Music Under the Gums’, which will see a combination of great music and fine food at Carey and Lorraine Lestrange’s garden on the Kiacatoo road. The show starts at 7pm. You will need to take a blanket or chair plus drinks and nibbles.

New additions to this year’s festival are the photography and scarecrow competitions.

Condobolin Garden Festival Chairperson Ian Menz said he encouraged the entire community to get involved in the event.

“There will be something for everyone,” he said.

“The open gardens will be spectacular and the guest speakers will provide a wealth of information. The children can participate in the photography and scarecrow competitions.

“Make sure to come up to the Wiradjuri Study Centre and have a look, or take the time to visit the beautiful open gardens

Circle of sisterhood builds community

Local and visiting Indigenous women have been cooking, creating, learning and building a greater sense of community.

• Lucy Dobbin running a nutritional eating class as a part of the Sister Circle workshops at the Wiradjuri Study Centre with (back) WCC’s Natasha Stewart and participant Bev Coe. LP

By Lara Pearce

Local and visiting Indigenous women have been cooking, creating, learning and building a greater sense of community.

The Sister Circle is a two-day program run by regional enterprise corporation, Murdi Paaki, designed to teach Aboriginal women skills and provide a culturally supportive environment. In Condobolin, the program was held on Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 April at the Wiradjuri Study Centre.

The Centre’s Tourist Information Officer, Natasha Stewart, has been helping co-ordinate the workshops. “The Sister Circle brings ladies from different communities together to learn and meet together,” she explained.

“Ladies from out of town get to stay in Condobolin and go out and meet the community – so it is not just about the workshops.”

Murdi Paaki brought several women to Condobolin to run workshops. They spoke on governance and leadership, employment, tenants’ rights and responsibilities and enterprise and development.

Several local women also led workshops. Condobolin Hospital’s Leonie Parker spoke to the gathering on women’s health, while other hospital staff, led by dietician Lucy Dobbins, ran a nutritional workshop. This saw a number of women getting hands-on in the kitchen making a range of nutritional meals for the gathering to share in.

Local Indigenous artist, Gloria Reid, also ran a workshop, where she showed the women how to make canvas artworks using bark.

Sister Circles are also being held in Dubbo, Orange, Lightning Ridge, Bourke and Broken Hill.

Ms Stewart said that it was a great opportunity for the women to talk about issues which affect their lives and learn from each other.

Local and visiting Indigenous women have been cooking, creating, learning and building a greater sense of community.

• There was a good turnout for the Murdi Paaki’s Sister Circle workshops at the Wiradjuri Study Centre recently. LP

Humphries offers guarded support for standalone councils

By Lara Pearce

The ‘Fit for the Future’ program was a hot issue at last week’s Annual Western Division Conference, igniting lively debate in the Wiradjuri Centre conference room.

The NSW Government initiative aims to make local councils more economical, proposing that some amalgamate or become a rural council – a new form of council with fewer councillors and less red tape.

Western Division councillors were keen to seek the assurance of Minister for Western NSW, Kevin Humphries, that they would not be forced into amalgamating.

While Mr Humphries said that he did not support amalgamation for councils in Western NSW, he stopped short of promising the Government’s support.

“You’re not going to get a response out of the Government until everybody has really had their say,” he said.

“In some parts of the state you will see people combining.”

“It is about giving local communities and Councils the option to participate. They want the capacity to expand and to set up infrastructure as well.”

Both Lachlan Shire Council’s Mayor, Des Manwaring, and the Acting General Manager, Alan McCormack, have previously voiced their support for remaining a standalone council in spite of the Fit for the Future panel’s recommendation to amalgamate with Parkes.

“Our position is clear,” the Mayor stated. “We want the boundaries of Lachlan Shire Council to stay as they are.”

All local councils in New South Wales will have to submit a Fit for the Future report to the NSW Government outlining their plans for long-term economic sustainability by 30 June.

Aboriginal Consultative Committee to resume

By Lara Pearce

In response to strong community support, the Lachlan Shire Council has announced that it will be re-activating the Aboriginal Consultative Committee from October this year.

The committee has not met since 19 June 2007 and Council resolved to suspend the committee that September due to low attendance at meetings.

Addressing this, General Manager of the Lachlan Shire Council, Liz Collyer, wrote in the Council’s latest business paper: “Aboriginal community representatives […] believe the previous Committee had difficulty in maintaining representatives to attend meetings as the content of the meetings had lost its purpose for community members.”

“For a re-activated Aboriginal Advisory Committee to be successful it must meet the needs of the communities it represents and Council must respect and genuinely acknowledge the feedback provided by the Committee.”

A draft framework for the committee has been developed, detailing its purpose and core values.

Two Councillors and the Council’s General Manager and Director of Community Services and Governance will be among the committee’s members, along with nine Aboriginal community representatives.

“The 2011 Census indicated that almost 17% of the total population of the Lachlan Shire identified as Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander.” Ms Collyer wrote. “Whilst Council is working in collaboration with a number of Aboriginal organisations and individuals on a range of community and business matters, Council does not currently have a formal process in place of seeking the input and advice of our Aboriginal community members.”

The proposal involves a minimum of four meetings a year to be held at the Wiradjuri Study Centre.

Community members may express interest in committee membership from Monday 4 until Friday 29 August, according to the Council’s draft timeline.

A circle of achievement

The Wiradjuri Study Centre gardens were a fitting setting for the Lachlan Shire Council's NAIDOC Week celebrations last Wednesday.

• One of the Kalary dancers, Ngarra Williams, performs for the crowd at the Lachlan Shire Council’s NAIDOC celebrations. LP

By Lara Pearce

The Wiradjuri Study Centre gardens were a fitting setting for the Lachlan Shire Council’s NAIDOC Week celebrations last Wednesday.

Councillors, community members, students, teachers, and Indigenous elders sat in the large circular space to hear General Manager of the Shire, Liz Collyer, speak, see NAIDOC awards presented, and see Wiradjuri culture on display.

In a mark of unity and communal spirit, partner council Penrith City Council joined in the NAIDOC celebrations.

Awards were presented to a number of Indigenous locals for their contributions to the community, including Aboriginal elder Lois Goolagong, Joe Flick for his work overseeing the Knockout Health Challenge, a number of Indigenous teachers across the Lachlan Shire and the Wiradjuri Study Centre for its work uniting the community.

Penrith City Council Mayor Ross Fowler and local Mayor Des Manwaring joined in presenting the award recipients with their framed certificates. Clr Manwaring also presented the Mayor of Penrith with a woven artwork by local Wiradjuri artist, Bev Coe, as a gesture of friendship between the two councils.

Local Wiradjuri man Dick Richards and his granddaughter Danielle presented the Welcome to Country to the large crowd.

NAIDOC Week is a time to celebrate Indigenous culture and achievements, and as a mark of this, both the local Dindema dancers and the well-known Kalary dancers performed contemporary and traditional Wiradjuri dances.

Kalary dancer and didgeridoo player, Lewis Coe, and dancer Roy Peterson grew up in the Condobolin area, while fellow dancer Ngarra Williams calls the higher Lachlan region of Cowra home. After performing two dances for the crowd, they got many of the primary school students present on their feet and joining in as kangaroos and emus. “It wouldn’t be NAIDOC without you young people dancing,” said Mr Coe.

Ms Collyer wished the crowd a happy NAIDOC and assured them that Wiradjuri culture would continue to be celebrated throughout the year. “There are lots of reasons for celebrating Aboriginal culture, not just NAIDOC,” she said.

© 2010 Condobolin Argus - Design by Upside Down Websites