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Archive for February, 2016

Lithgow, NSW: State’s oldest club sports newest facelift

Lithgow Workies Club general manager Geoff Wheeler

Lithgow Workies Club general manager Geoff Wheeler

By Ellen Hill for Lithgow Workies Club                    Photos: David Hill

The oldest registered club in NSW will unveil the newest facelift among its state peers when Lithgow Workmen’s Club Motel is officially opened on Saturday, March 19.

Renowned media and sporting identity Mike Whitney will be guest of honour at the event.

11Providing excellence in service, entertainment and leisure for almost 130 years, the Lithgow & District Workmen’s Club (known fondly by locals as “The Workies’’) is the oldest registered club in NSW.

Founded in 1887, the Workies has grown to more than 10,500 members with its backbone entrenched in the strong community ties of Australia’s first industrial hub – Lithgow, just west of the Blue Mountains at the gateway to the NSW Central West.

3Despite being the original stalwart of the state, the Workies boasts the newest club refurbishment in NSW.

A $6.5 million injection has resulted in major upgrades to the club including a new 36-room 4-star (self-assessed) motel with two disability access rooms, a refurbished showroom, conference centre, new restaurant, an art gallery and more.

Motel guests can access myriad first-class club facilities such as a kids’ centre, eateries and conference facilities via the Long Wall Gallery featuring local artworks just one minute from their rooms.

Club general manager Geoff Wheeler said the club’s top notch facilities catered for visitors from “across the world, across the state and across the road’’.


35Already an established leader in quality entertainment, dining, functions, weddings and conference facilities in the Lithgow region, Mr Wheeler was confident the improvements would further elevate the reputation of Lithgow Workie’s Club.

“We’re more than just a club.

“The new motel, facilities and Esk Restaurant means motel guests, conference groups from around the country can focus on business and bridal parties on the joy of their wedding while we look after everything else during their stay with us.

9“Lithgow has a rich history, is surrounded by beautiful country and has a friendly and growing community.

“The Workies is proud to have played a major part in the life of Lithgow for almost 130 years and is looking forward to being at the coalface as the area strengthens and grows as a tourist destination.’’


The motel will open for general bookings on Monday, February 29.

The official opening of the new motel and associated works will kick off with the official opening with Mike Whitney in the new showroom from 7.15pm.

The evening will be rounded off with spectacular entertainment from Australia’s “Queen of Soul’’ Lisa Hunt and her band in the revamped showroom. Tickets: $20.

Lithgow Workies Club Motel, Tank St, Lithgow, is now open for bookings. Go to www.workies.com.au or phone (02) 6350 7777 to book and for more details.

* Lithgow & District Workmen’s Club is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media and Headline Publicity15

Biggest Blue Mountains classical muso gathering comes to Hydro Majestic Hotel

TMO in the famous Cat's Alley of the Hydro Majestic Hotel

TMO in the famous Cat’s Alley of the Hydro Majestic Hotel

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group          Photos: The Metropolitan Orchestra

The largest gathering of professional classical musicians ever in the Blue Mountains will add an extra layer of sumptuousness to a world-famous icon when The Metropolitan Orchestra performs at the Hydro Majestic Hotel this year.

TMO artistic director & chief conductor Sarah-Grace Williams

TMO artistic director & chief conductor Sarah-Grace Williams

Guests can immerse themselves in the delicate strains of the 32-piece string ensemble playing Little Serenade for Strings by Rojas, String Serenade by Dvorak and Tchaikovsky’s String Serenade conducted by Sarah-Grace Williams at Cocktails & Serenades during the first of three concerts on Saturday, March 12.

The sumptuous pairing of the Dvorak and Tchaikovsky string masterpieces filled with purity, beauty and passion will lift the spirit.

Composed just five years apart and written at positive times in each of the composers’ lives, these joyful and evocative serenades will be complemented by Rojas’ fresh and vivacious work, rounding out a sublime musical evening.

The exquisite concert program will be accompanied by a lavish cocktail and dining package.

Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger said: “The Hydro Majestic is the perfect backdrop to the Majestic Concert Series, with its elegant historic venues, sweeping landscape and delicious food.

Hydro Majestic 01

The iconic Casino Dome of the Hydro Majestic Hotel. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

“As well as harking back to the Mark Foy days when everything was luxury on the largest scale, these concerts featuring musicians of the highest calibre at such a fantastic venue is reminiscent of the grand concert halls of Europe.

“We’re not just putting on a concert. We are creating an occasion.’’

The second concert, featuring more than 50 musicians like the third, will be performed at the Majestic Winter Ball, which will officially launch the Yulefest season for the Hydro Majestic Hotel on June 18.

The event will include a three-course dinner package and the music program will feature O’Boyle’s Rhapsody on a theme of Mendelssohn, Horn Concerto no 1 by Strauss, Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture and Symphony no 4 Italian by Mendelssohn.

The final concert will be Symphony Under the Stars on November 19 featuring Mendelsson’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Overture, Kats-Chernin’s Ornamental Air (for basset clarinet and orchestra) and Symphony no 7 by Beethoven. Guests will also indulge in a sultry evening of canapes and cocktails followed by a two-course dinner.

TMO in the Wintergarden Restaurant at the Hydro Majestic Hotel

TMO in the Wintergarden Restaurant at the Hydro Majestic Hotel

Under the baton of founding artistic director and chief conductor Sarah-Grace Williams, The Metropolitan Orchestra comprises Sydney’s most dynamic musicians and is recognised as one of the country’s most versatile orchestras delivering accessible, first-class and vibrant concert experiences.

The orchestra’s seven-year history features a star-studded array of highlight concert and/or album performances with the likes of Sumi Jo, David Helfgott, Marina Pior, Anthony Warlow, Elaine Paige, John Farnham with Olivia Newton-John, James Morrison, Kate Ceberano, Vocal Ensembles Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Sydney Chamber Choir, Figaro and members of Opera Australia and Children’s Entertainers Lah-Lah and Buzz.

The orchestra has been involved in special events such as BBC’s Blue Planet and Planet Earth in Concert, Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular, Opera in the Vineyards, the National Rugby League grand final; and sailing the high seas as resident orchestra aboard the Bravo! Cruise of the Performing Arts.

The Metropolitan Orchestra has commissioned, presented and recorded world premieres by several Australian composers and has workshopped new works by Paul Stanhope, Stuart Greenbaum, Matthew Hindson and James Humberstone.

Cocktails & Serenades will be held at the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Great Western Hwy, Medlow Bath, at 7pm on March 12. Cost: $145pp includes 4-hour cocktails and canapes package, $55pp show only. Bookings and details: hydromajestic.com.au for more dining, event and accommodation details and bookings.

  • Escarpment Group and the Hydro Majestic Hotel are commercial clients of Deep Hill Media

    The Metropolitan Orchestra in the famous Cat's Alley at the Hydro Majestic Hotel

    The Metropolitan Orchestra in the famous Cat’s Alley at the Hydro Majestic Hotel

Blue Mountains artist Warwick Fuller: In search of light


By Ellen Hill for Lost Bear Gallery                   Photos: David Hill

A summer breeze softly brushes against Warwick Fuller’s neck and pulls at straggly bits of hair sticking out from beneath his trademark hat.

The incessant buzz of countless cicadas pulses the air.

Warwick8His faithful red kelpie, Digger, gives him a lovesick sideward glance, whining in contentment, too lethargic to bark at the maggies squabbling in the trees.

Fuller shifts his position and the sticks crunch softly under his boots. He absent-mindedly wipes his paint-spattered fingers on his trousers, leaving multi-coloured smudges on the fabric.

His paintbrush moves frenetically across the canvass, desperately punching and prodding, sweeping and sliding the colour into shapes.

Digger sniffs the breeze and catches a waft of eucalyptus oil released into the atmosphere by the scorching sun. He heaves himself to his feet with a sigh, his snout high and picking up a hint of wattle, kangaroo dung and a neighbour’s barbecue.

What is it, Digs?’’ Fuller coos quietly.It’s just a rabbit. You’ll be right.’’

The old dog grunts suspiciously and flops back down to the ground, his weary head resting on his paws.

Fuller takes a step back.

Warwick6He absorbs the scene with all senses awake: the great boulders plonked 50 feet from his back door, the course Aussie scrub, the rickety wooden gate he knocked up years ago, the rugged crags in the distance and the clouds skating across the sky.

Encompassing it all is the light.

Fuller glances at the canvass, satisfied. He has frozen this moment in perfect detail.

When I paint I like to have all my senses activated,’’ he said.I interpret the landscape differently if there’s birds singing or aeroplanes soaring overhead. If I smell the summer grass it just puts me in a different mental state and that’s going to affect the way I paint. I stay in total concentration so I can absorb all those things while I’m painting.

Warwick5“If I can quote myself: `How can I paint a frost if I don’t have cold feet?’ ‘’

One of Australia’s most respected plein air painters and a Fellow of the Royal Arts Society, Warwick Fuller has painted the Australian landscape for more than 35 years, during which time he has built a solid reputation through more than 60 solo exhibitions and numerous awards and accolades.

After living at Emu Plains for 30 years (he remains patron of Nepean Art Society), Fuller and his late wife Wendy moved to the Kanimbla Valley near Lithgow 18 years ago, just a short distance from where his ancestors Edward and Harriet Fuller settled in 1839.

“This country has a rugged beauty and the weather is fairly volatile here, which makes for interesting landscape, being on the edge of the Dividing Range.’’

Fuller travels around the country often on painting trips and when at home is inspired by the jaw-dropping landscape. He has an easel permanently set up on the back verandah. Pick up any catalogue of any Warwick Fuller exhibition in the past 18 years and there will be that scene.

But it’s not a changing landscape he’s after.

Warwick 1“The real essence of what I’m trying to create in my paintings is trying to interpret what I see and paint my emotional responses to that. It’s more than just getting the right colours and tone. It’s the light that inspires me.’’

Used to working at a furious speed to capture a scene, Fuller was not fazed by the unrelenting pace of the Australian tour of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall in November.

Fuller was the official tour artist for the Royal couple, as he was during their 2012 tour.

A dozen works he painted during the tour will be exhibited at Lost Bear Gallery from February 1 to 15. The non-commercial exhibition will be an opportunity for art lovers to view Fuller’s paintings before they leave Australia.

Warwick11The works depict scenes captured by Fuller when the Royal couple visited Tanunda near Adelaide, the national War Memorial in Canberra for the Remembrance Day ceremony and Sydney, where Fuller painted the world-famous Sydney Harbour featuring the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House as seen from Admiralty House.

An accomplished watercolourist himself, The Prince often chooses an artist to join him on tours as a way of supporting the arts and in appreciation of the unique perspective that an artist can provide.

Fuller said he was free to paint the subjects and in the style he wanted.

“There was no expectation. His Royal Highness asked me to go on tour with him because he liked my work and knew what I painted, and that’s the last thing he asked.’’

Warwick9While he only had two opportunities to talk with the Prince, the second occasion at Admiralty House in Sydney was a lengthy 15 minutes, during which Prince Charles talked about artist Edward Seago, who he met as a child and who toured with his father the Duke of Edinburgh to Antarctica on the Britannia.

The pair were then joined by the Duchess and chatted for a further 10 minutes about Fuller’s artworks he had produced during the tour.

While the Prince will formally exercise his right to first option to the paintings, the Royal couple has already expressed interest in several.

“He was very enthusiastic about the work,’’ Fuller said.

Lost Bear Gallery director Geoff White adjusts the light on a Warwick Fuller work

Lost Bear Gallery director Geoff White adjusts the light on a Warwick Fuller work

Paintings acquired by the Prince will become part of the Royal Collection when he ascends the throne. Fuller will also gift Prince Charles a work.

Artworks produced during the Royal tour will form the special exhibition at Lost Bear Gallery, along with several larger works developed from smaller studies painted on tour.

Warwick Fuller’s Royal tour collection will be displayed at Lost Bear Gallery, 98 Lurline St, Katoomba, from 10am to 5pm daily from February 1 to 15. Details: (02) 4782 1220 or lostbeargallery.com.au.

  • Warwick Fuller and Lost Bear Gallery are commercial clients of Deep Hill Media and Headline PublicityWarwick11

Personal best for Hydro Charleston Challenge

Charlestone Challenge 02

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group          Photos: David Hill

The Hydro Charleston Challenge retro dance event in the Blue Mountains achieved a personal best record with 466 dancers clad in 1920s costumed at the Majestic Hotel on Saturday.

Participants flocked to the famous historic hotel at Medlow Bath to try to break the Guinness World Record for the largest number of costumed people to dance the Charleston but sidestepped the global record.

The Charleston Challenge in the Blue Mountains broke the official world record three years in a row but was thumped by the town of Bexhill in the UK in August with 503 people followed by the attempt with 975 dancers in London validated by Guinness in October.

Hydro Charleston Challenge co-ordinator Angela Corkeron said: “It would have been fantastic to have brought the Ashes of the retro dance world back to Australia but we smashed our personal best record of 360 last year and still achieved our primary goal, which was to have fun at an activity the whole community could join in.

“It was fabulous to see so many smiling faces despite the rain. There was a real party atmosphere.

“So congratulations to our English dance partners – we’ll be back next year.’’

The Hydro Charleston Challenge and other Roaring 20s events at the Hydro Majestic paid homage to the decade when the Blue Mountains cut loose in an endless round of hedonism and showed that Mark Foy’s “Palace in the wilderness’’ led the modern local party scene.

The 2016 Hydro Charleston Challenge was preceded by a Gangster Casino Night and followed by the Majestic Long Lunch featuring picnic hamper boxes packed with regional delicacies, and the sophisticated Shanghai Nights to herald the Chinese lunar New Year.

Go to hydromajestic.com.au for more event, accommodation and dining option information at the Hydro Majestic Hotel.

Click HERE to see some of the action from the day.

  • Escarpment Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media and Headline PublicityCharlestone Challenge 03