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Posts tagged “Hartley Historic Site

Creative fire unleashed at Talisman Gallery blacksmithing workshop

An example of what participants will make. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

By Ellen Hill for Talisman Gallery

Unleash your inner creative fire, work off some energy and learn an ancient art under guidance from an experienced artisan at Talisman Gallery this festive season.

Burgeoning metal artists will create their own piece of art in the 30-minute blacksmithing session on the anvil by beating red hot steel into the shape of a fire poker, decorative wall hook or small sculpture.

Extra decorative elements such as crystals may also be added.

Metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick at work. Photo submitted by Talisman Gallery

Talisman Gallery metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick of Blackheath said the activity would interest beginners as well as those who had previously taken the Fire Poker Challenge at the gallery, located in the historic woolshed behind Hartley Historic Site.

“Creating metal art is very satisfying. It’s quite physical and people love the fact they can make something with their own hands, which we don’t do a lot of anymore in this modern society.’’

While the location amid undulating pasturelands with the dramatic backdrop of the Blue Mountains escarpment helped, Fitzpatrick believed the attraction to lay in the metal itself representing the romantic notion of a lost era; a simpler lifestyle; clearly defined values; and endurance and quality.

“It’s an ancient material that comes straight from the earth. That you can make something so beautiful out of something with such strength fascinates me and draws me to it. I think it’s the same for a lot of other people.’’

An example of what participants will make. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Fitzpatrick’s artistic journey began in the early 1980s, creating handmade knives and Tai Chi dancing swords in a small shop in Melbourne.

Since moving to Sydney in the late 1980s, his art and business has evolved from a need to provide for his family by making his own furniture from scrap metal to trendy inner west wrought iron work to finally settling in the Blue Mountains and Hartley.

He and Lithgow-based metal artist Steve Cunningham will be on hand to guide you through the process.’’

“You remove the red hot steel from the fire, bringing it to the anvil you begin to beat the hot metal. You watch as it changes shape, yielding under the blows. Working quickly before it cools, you wrap it around a form into a spiral shape. Before you know it you have created your first piece of metal art.

“So put your phone down and come and make something!’’

A great family activity available to anyone aged 13 years and older, the Creative Fire experience will be held daily from December 27 to 30. Cost: fire poker $35, decorative wall hook $40, sculpture $65, additional elements costs vary.

A participant in action. Photo submitted by Talisman Gallery

Visitors to Talisman Gallery can browse the collection of large high-end pieces along with signature metal art mirrors, small affordable sculptures and candleholders and an extensive collection of imported jewellery and new crystal pieces.

The gallery, Hartley Historic Site, Great Western Hwy (400m before turn off to Jenolan Caves heading west) is open from 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday. Details and bookings: Ron 0407 723 722 or Facebook page Talisman Gallery Hartley/events, website: www.talismangallery.com.au.

 

 


Blue Mountains bush Christmas with altitude

By Ellen Hill            Photos: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

The chirp of cicadas competing with Christmas carols, an awe-inspiring backdrop of towering golden escarpments and dramatic valleys and a cooling breeze carrying the subtle scent of eucalyptus. Welcome to an Aussie bush Christmas and summer holiday season in the Blue Mountains.

PRE-CHRISTMAS:

Begin the Christmas countdown early with lantern-making workshops for kids aged four to 12 at Leura Garage funky eatery off the top of Leura Mall from 3pm to 5pm on November 28 and December 4 and 13 in the lead-up to Leura Village Association’s December 15 Christmas festival. Cool prizes from upmarket local shops. Cost: $10 per child (must be accompanied by an adult) includes lantern kit and drinks and nibbles. Bookings: (02) 4784 3391, info@leuragarage.com.au or leuragarage.com.au/lantern.

GIFT IDEAS:

 

Give your adult loved ones some grown-up time with a Faeriestorm Nanny Service voucher. Available in hourly blocks (minimum two hours *conditions apply), the fully qualified nannies will care for their kids while the adults enjoy some down time. Purchases: Brenda Edwards 0417 448 318 or nanny@bluemountainsnanny.com.au.

A night away with a day spa pamper package at a blissful retreat such as Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges or dinner at a swanky restaurant such as the Wintergarden Restaurant at the Hydro Majestic Hotel are always popular.

 

 

A truly unique way of sightseeing in style is with Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs from within a vintage Cadillac car. Dressed in formal attire, your local driver will collect you from and return you to any location in the Blue Mountains. Bookings: info@bluemountainslimo.com.au or Donald on 0455 352 976.

CHRISTMAS DAY:

Tuck into a sumptuous feast with all the trimmings, decorations, bon bons, beverage package and even a visit from Santa for the children at the 5-star Lilianfels Resort & Spa near Echo Point or a seven-course degustation at the multi award-winning hatted Darley’s Restaurant. Bookings: escarpmentgroup.com.au or (02) 4780 1200.

NEW YEAR’S EVE:

For an unforgettable Auld Lang Syne moment, feast in the New Year at the chic Echoes Restaurant at Katoomba or the world-famous Cat’s Alley at the Hydro Majestic Hotel after watching a sublime sunset over a blue haze-shrouded valley while sipping a cocktail and resolving to take more time out in 2018. Bookings: escarpmentgroup.com.au or (02) 4780 1200.

SCHOOL HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES:

Talisman Gallery, Hartley historic village, Great Western Hwy (400m before turn off to Jenolan Caves heading west): Try your hand at the time honoured art of blacksmithing and make your very own fire poker on the forge and anvil on January 26 and 27. Cost: $25 includes materials and tuition. Decent footwear required. Bookings essential: Ron 0407 723 722 or info@talismangallery.com.au.

 

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, 37 Everglades Ave, Leura: Kids aged three to six can learn about heritage conservation and the natural environment in one of the most enchanting historic properties in the Blue Mountains through the My Adventure at Everglades activity book ($10 and $5 per subsequent book). Entry: $13 adults, $8 concessions, $4 children, National Trust members free. Details: (02) 4784 1938 or email evergladesgarden@nationaltrust.com.au.

* All businesses mentioned are commercial clients of Deep Hill Media

 


Talisman lights historic village with colour

By Ellen Hill for Talisman Gallery

Take a pilgrimage to Talisman Gallery at Hartley historic village and discover metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick’s artistic journey from fitter and turner to zen iron master.

His latest exhibition, Colour & Light, will launch as an activity of the Back to Hartley community event this weekend and continue next weekend [November 5-6].

Visitors to the site can browse the installation of colourful glass and rusted steel sculptures placed along the path to the granite Tor behind the clutch of colonial-era sandstone buildings.

Colour & Light follows Fitzpatrick’s rusted forged steel garden art exhibition at Everglades Historic House & Gardens in the Blue Mountains recently (September 28 to October 8) and “feels like a culmination of a lot of ideas and skills picked up along my journey’’.

A fitter and turner by trade, Fitzpatrick’s artistic journey began in the early 1980s, creating handmade knives and Tai Chi dancing swords in a small shop in Melbourne.

Since moving to Sydney in the late 1980s, his art and business has evolved from a need to provide for his family by making his own furniture from scrap metal to trendy inner west wrought iron work to finally settling in the Blue Mountains and Hartley.

For the past five years since moving from a highway location, Fitzpatrick has created his art pieces at the Talisman Gallery under the watchful gaze of the huge outcrop of granite boulders.

Kew-Y-Ahn has inspired artists for more than 150 years. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

It’s such an inspiring backdrop,’’ he said.So I thought: what better place for an art installation than along the path leading up to the rocks? It’s the ultimate outdoor gallery.’’

Colour & Light is his latest collection of colourful stained glass and rusted steel garden art pieces, each one mounted on Blue Mountains sandstone.

“I really like the uplifting happy feeling you get from the sun streaming through the glass and they are a great way to add colour to your garden or outdoor spaces.’’

Referred to by one customer as the zen iron master’’, most of Fitzpatrick’s designs are inspired by his daily meditations practice, when he oftensees’’ the shapes he creates. The Colour & Light exhibition was no different.

“One morning I saw four or five designs, one after the other. Each day I would come in and make a different piece. They just fell out of me – it was like they needed to be given a life.’’

Colour & Light will be displayed at Talisman Gallery, Hartley historic village, Great Western Hwy (400m before turn off to Jenolan Caves heading west) this weekend and next from 10am to 5pm. See a catalogue of works available for sale on the Talisman Gallery – Hartley Facebook page.  Tuesday to Sunday. Details: Ron 0407 723 722, talismangallery@bigpond.com or the Facebook page Talisman Gallery -Hartley.

 

*Talisman Gallery is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media


Blue Mountains: Talisman Gallery brings contemporary edge to Everglades

Metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick of Talisman Gallery with one of his sculptures at Everglades Historic House & Gardens

By Ellen Hill for Talisman Gallery        Photos: David Hill

The avant garde curves of Everglades Historic House & Gardens will be given a contemporary edge when metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick displays his distinctive garden art at the Blue Mountains heritage property this month and next.

The selection of outdoor pieces will be exhibited in the terraced space beneath the row of cherry trees next to the main building from September 30 to October 8

Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, the graceful Moderne-style 1930s house at the Leura property is set among 5.2ha of native bush and gardens designed by Danish-born landscape gardener Paul Sorensen.

The magnificent inter-war period gardens feature formal European-style terraces and winding paths revealing the many moods of the property, from the tranquil Reflection Pool amid towering trees from all over the world to the subtle charms of the lookout and contemplative Grotto Pool. Visitors also enjoy the surprise unveiling of vistas through to Mt Solitary and the Jamison Valley.

To this setting, Fitzpatrick’s sculptures of rusted forged steel mounted on sandstone plinths textured in convict henpecked-style will introduce whimsy and colour.

“It’s a really tranquil experience to sit in the gardens with a Devonshire tea watching the light play on the flowers, the breeze moving the branches and leaves and how the artworks interact with the space,’’ he said.

“The Everglades house has lots of spectacular art deco wrought iron work so my sculpture pieces blend in too because of the materials I work with – steel and sandstone, the sandy colour of the building and its curves and patterned façade.’’

Referred to by one customer as “the zen iron master’’, Fitzpatrick creates his inspired metal art in his Talisman Gallery, an old woolshed behind the clutch of colonial-era sandstone buildings of Hartley historic village at the western foothills of the Blue Mountains.

Most of his designs are inspired by his daily meditations practice, when he often “sees’’ the shapes he creates.

A fitter and turner by trade, Fitzpatrick’s artistic journey began in the early 1980s, creating handmade knives and Tai Chi dancing swords in a small shop in Melbourne.

Since moving to Sydney in the late 1980s, his art and business has evolved from a need to provide for his family by making his own furniture from scrap metal to trendy inner west wrought iron work to finally settling in the Blue Mountains and Hartley.

Fitzpatrick’s exhibition of garden art will also coincide with the famous Leura Gardens Festival, with several pieces also to be displayed in select private gardens during the event.

Also on in the Everglades indoor art gallery, Nadege Lamy’s Dancer in the Dark exhibition will reflect on the visual and emotional of the then and now, of the ever-changing life journey of an artist through her body of work. The paintings and sculptures will shed light on the processes of art making and various subjects.

Talisman Gallery at Hartley historic village, Great Western Hwy (400m before turn off to Jenolan Caves heading west) is open from 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday. Details: Ron 0407 723 722, talismangallery@bigpond.com or the Facebook page @Talisman Gallery -Hartley.

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, 37 Everglades Ave, Leura, which is open from 10am to 5pm daily during daylight savings and from 10am to 4pm during autumn and winter. Entry: $13 adults, $8 concessions, $4 children, National Trust members free. Details: (02) 4784 1938 or email everglades@nationaltrust.com.au.


Greater Blue Mountains: Summer school holiday fun

Greater Blue Mountains – one ginormous holiday playground

By Ellen Hill for Blue Mountains Attractions Group

From furry critters and underground caves to enchanted gardens, bushwalks for small people, cool art and Aboriginal culture, the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area is one big playground.

Have a close encounter with a furry friend at Featherdale Wildlife Park

Blue Mountains Attractions Group president Louise Clifton said: “Australia’s first tourist destination has had a long time to perfect the visitor experience and the premier attractions of the Greater Blue Mountains cater for the whole family – not just adults and not just children.

“Everyone loves the adorable animals at Featherdale Wildlife Park, the exciting rides at Scenic World and the fascinating indigenous cultural experience at Waradah Aboriginal Centre is tailored to appeal to all ages, while other attractions are multi-tiered.’’

One of the world’s most spectacular cave systems, Jenolan Caves offers a range of guided tours from easy strolls through the Grand Arch to strenuous explorations of the underworld.

Meet classic storybook characters at Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum

Children will be captivated by meeting their favourite Magic Pudding characters and exploring their gardens at Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum while grown-ups sneak into the art gallery to view the famous paintings.

Everglades Historic House & Gardens and Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mt Tomah have open areas for children to let off some steam and run while adults wander the exquisite avenues. Both properties also have activity books for kids.

Like all the premier attractions in Leura and Katoomba, Blue Mountains Cultural Centre can be accessed easily via a vintage-style hop-on/hop-off Trolley Tours bus. Grown-ups will be wowed by the world-class artworks on display in Blue Mountains City Art Gallery while kids will be amazed at the interactive World Heritage Exhibition.

Stroll in the shade along the Scenic World boardwalk

No trip to the Blue Mountains is complete without a visit to Scenic World where the young and the young at heart can experience the thrill of the world’s steepest passenger railway, walk on air on the skyway and take the cable car to the valley floor to stroll through ancient rainforest.

Stay overnight at Hartley Historic Site to fully immerse yourselves in colonial Australia (the Old Trahlee property sleeps six and has a cot for babies). Tour the courthouse, admire the artwork along the sculpture walk and the Kew-Y-Ahn Art Gallery. Visit metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick at Talisman Gallery where adults can browse the art and jewellery while the kids make their very own fire poker.

Casual lunch at the Hydro Majestic Hotel’s Boiler House Cafe

Families can refuel on any budget when visiting the Greater Blue Mountains. Myriad cafes, kiosks and restaurants including those at Everglades, Hartley Historic Site, Jenolan Caves, the Boiler House Café at the Hydro Majestic Hotel and Blue Mountains Cultural Centre serve the full gamut of treats.

Alternatively, numerous picnic spots in picturesque locations such as Euroka Clearing in Blue Mountains National Park Glenbrook entrance, Jenolan Caves, Wentworth Falls Lake, Hartley Historic Site and Everglades are ideal for home-brought fare.

Explore the underground at Jenolan Caves

The Greater Blue Mountains also has a range of other accommodation options suitable for families from caravan parks and self-contained cottages to upmarket hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs including St Raphael (The Convent) at Leura, The Mountain Lodge at Jenolan Caves and The Jungle Lodge at Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mt Tomah.

Go to bluemountainsattractions.com.au for information about where to stay and what to do in the Greater Blue Mountains region or visit the Blue Mountains Attractions Group Facebook page.

  • Blue Mountains Attractions Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

    Fun and learning for all ages at Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mt Tomah


Lithgow, NSW: Massive street party brewing for Halloween

Jackson Halloween 05

By Ellen Hill for Lithgow Tourism         Photos: David Hill & Ben Pearce

Australia’s biggest community Halloween dress-up party, biggest Trick or Treat lolly grab and record-breaking dance-off is on at Lithgow this Saturday, October 29.

Lithgow Halloween 01Be wowed by non-stop entertainment on two stages, boo-tiful Vivid-style lighting displays and spooky decorations and thousands of freakily-costumed people at Lithgow Halloween `16.

Strut your hair-raising stuff in a kooky costume parade, enter a spook-tacular image in the photo contest and support Lithgow Tidy Town’s Laneways project by buying a piece of abominable art at the skulls auction in the library.

Vampires and ghouls can mingle with superheroes and loveable fairytale characters in themed pedestrian precincts such as Alice in Wonderland between Bridge and Eskbank streets, Little Shop of Horrors (Eskbank St and Sandford Ave), Ghostbusters (Cook St Plaza) and A Nightmare Before Christmas (Sandford Ave).

Lithgow Halloween 04For families there will be market stalls from 2pm, unlimited rides (wristbands $10 from Lithgow Visitor Information Centre before the day or $15 on the day) and roving performers from 3pm and Trick or Treat outside accredited shops at 5pm.

Try to survive the redback interactive live movie and grab a bite to eat at one of the many stalls, restaurants and cafes along Main St.

The Main St mayhem will culminate in a thrillingly macabre performance when the spirit of the late King of Pop takes to the main stage in the form of world-renowned Michael Jackson impersonator Jason Jackson at 7.30pm.

Ben Pearse PhotographyHe will then lead a bone-chilling national record bid for the greatest number of costumed people to dance to the song Thriller at 8.50pm. Everyone is encouraged to take part.

Lithgow Halloween `16 is organised and hosted by Lithgow City Council, with support from local business sponsors including Lithgow McDonald’s, Centennial Coal and Energy Australia.

Lithgow Mayor Stephen Lesslie said: “This event will be a wonderful opportunity for the Lithgow community to gather together and enjoy a shared experience. We also welcome visitors from around Australia and are proud to show off the many achievements and attractions of our area.

Lithgow Halloween `15

Lithgow Halloween `15

“I encourage everyone to dress up and join the party that the council has put on, together with generous support from businesses.’’

Clr Lesslie encouraged locals and visitors to fully immerse themselves in the festival spirit and dress up for the occasion as a ghoulish zombie, monster, freaky vampire, fantasy character or loveable fairytale personality, goblin or fairy.

He recommended visitors stay overnight in the area to fully explore the surprisingly diverse range of scenery, dining options and activities available in Lithgow and surrounds including the Back to Hartley event at Hartley Historic Site on the way to Sydney on Sunday, October 30.

Go to www.halloween.lithgow.com for more information and Jason Jackson’s Thriller tutorial video to practice the dance before the record-breaking event.

  • Lithgow Tourism is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media and Headline PublicityBen Pearse Photography

Lithgow Halloween ‘16 to host biggest community dress-up street party

Lithgow Halloween 01

By Ellen Hill for Lithgow Tourism           Photos: David Hill

Dreadful Draculas, grisly genies, creepy clowns and terrible trolls will mingle with loveable fairytale characters, superheroes, goblins and fairies when Lithgow hosts Australia’s largest Halloween celebration on October 29.

Lithgow Halloween 07Organised and hosted by Lithgow City Council, with support from local sponsors including Lithgow McDonald’s, Centennial Coal, Energy Australia, Village Voice and Lithgow Workies, Lithgow Halloween `16 will again feature spectacular Vivid-style lighting displays and spooky decorations.

The main shopping area will be transformed into a fun-filled pedestrian zone with themed precincts, non-stop entertainment, Australia’s biggest Trick or Treat for children and a public Thriller dance-off lead by internationally renowned Michael Jackson impersonator Jason Jackson.

Lithgow City Council Tourism Manager Kellie Barrow encouraged everyone to join the hocus pocus in costume: “Costumes don’t have to be scary and they don’t have to be expensive. In fact, one of the favourite characters with kids in the past has been a local lady who dresses as Snow White and I suspect there will be quite a few interpretations of Michael Jackson this year to go along with the Thriller theme.

“Many of our shops in the CBD are stocked with affordable costume items and shops are beginning to install their window displays so there’s plenty of inspiration in town.

Lithgow Halloween 06“Lithgow has earned itself quite a reputation for costume parties, and we don’t do anything by halves – we have whole families coming in character. Even our mayor and local MP Paul Toole have traditionally thrown themselves into the spirit of the occasion and are unrecognisable.’’

Lithgow Halloween `16 will include something for everyone, with a range of free community events in public spaces through to ticketed events at private venues.

Ms Barrow recommended visitors stay overnight in the area to fully explore the surprisingly diverse range of scenery, dining options and activities available in Lithgow and surrounds including the Back to Hartley event at Hartley Historic Site on the way to Sydney on Sunday, October 30.

Go to www.halloween.lithgow.com for more information and Jason Jackson’s Thriller tutorial video to practice the dance before the record-breaking event.

  • Lithgow Tourism is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media and Headline PublicityLithgow Halloween 05

Lithgow Halloween `16 to host biggest Trick or Treat

(l-r) Liv Evans, 6 of Portland, with Naturally by Kelley owner Kelley Crane. Photo: David Hill, Headline Publicity

(l-r) Liv Evans, 6 of Portland, with Naturally by Kelley owner Kelley Crane. Photo: David Hill, Headline Publicity

 

By Ellen Hill for Lithgow Tourism

Australia’s largest Halloween celebration will host the nation’s biggest Trick or Treat for children when Lithgow holds a hair-raising community party on October 29.

Organised and hosted by Lithgow City Council, with support from local sponsors including Lithgow McDonald’s, Centennial Coal, Energy Australia, Village Voice and Lithgow Workies, the event will again feature spectacular Vivid-style lighting displays and spooky decorations.

The main shopping area will be transformed into a fun-filled pedestrian zone with themed precincts, non-stop entertainment and a public Thriller dance-off lead by internationally renowned Michael Jackson impersonator Jason Jackson.

The Trick or Treat activity will kick off the festival at participating shops along Main St between 5pm and 6pm for children aged 12 and younger.

Lithgow City Council Tourism Manager Kellie Barrow is encouraging families to arrive early for the fiendish family fun. Parents are also urged to ensure their children only accepted treats from Council recognised shopkeepers along Main Street.

“While the Council is pleased to provide families with a safe Trick or Treat environment and is delighted that shops are keen to take part, we also want to take the opportunity to reinforce the `stranger danger’ message among children.’’

Official Trick or Treat sites will display a specially-designed sign including Lithgow City Council accreditation for the activity, she said.

Ms Barrow encouraged everyone to attend Lithgow Halloween `16 in costume as a fangtastic fairy, wicked werewolf, macabre mummy, a spine tingling skeleton or loveable fairytale personality, goblin or fairy.

“Costumes don’t have to be frightening and they don’t have to be expensive. In fact, one of the favourite characters with kids in the past has been a local lady who dresses as Snow White.

“Many of our shops in the CBD are stocked with affordable costume items and shops are beginning to install their window displays so there’s plenty of inspiration in town.’’

Lithgow Halloween `16 will include something for everyone, with a range of free community events in public spaces through to ticketed events at private venues.

Ms Barrow recommended visitors stay overnight in the area to fully explore the surprisingly diverse range of scenery, dining options and activities available in Lithgow and surrounds including the Back to Hartley event at Hartley Historic Site on the way to Sydney on Sunday, October 30.

Go to www.halloween.lithgow.com for more information and Jason Jackson’s Thriller tutorial video to practice the dance before the record-breaking event.

* Lithgow Tourism is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media and Headline Publicity

Lithgow Halloween `15. Photo: Ben Pearse, Headline Publicity

Lithgow Halloween `15. Photo: Ben Pearse, Headline Publicity


Lithgow, NSW: 21st century steps Back to Hartley

Lenore Davi of Katoomba Amusement Company and Vicki Hartley of Lithgow Living History

Lenore Davi of Katoomba Amusement Company and Vicki Hartley of Lithgow Living History

 

By Ellen Hill for Hartley Historic Site                    Photos: David Hill

Convict lashings and historic re-enactors will mingle with 21st century lasers at the annual Back to Hartley event at Hartley Historic Site on October 30.

To be held on All Hallows Eve, the family-friendly Back to Hartley event is an opportunity for locals and visitors to the area to explore one of the finest examples of colonial buildings at Hartley Historic Site and experience the beauty of the surrounds.

It will also wrap up a weekend of Halloween celebrations in Lithgow, which include Vivid-style lighting displays, spooky decorations, themed precincts along Main St, community Trick or Treat activity for children and a Michael Jackson Thriller dance-off on the Saturday.

Vicki Hartley of Lithgow Living History

Vicki Hartley of Lithgow Living History

The community event at Hartley is to promote heritage and raise funds for local charities, this year it will support Optimist Club Lithgow Branch, the local club of a worldwide volunteer organisation which works to support underprivileged youth in the area.

Hartley Historic Site is managed by National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) and buildings tell the story of the village from the 1837 Greek Revival Courthouse to Corneys Garage built in 1945 of timber and iron.

Wander up to see metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick at Talisman Gallery, browse the artwork at the only Aboriginal art gallery in the Central West at Kew-Y-Ahn Gallery, view the village from the highest point on the site at the magnificent granite tor and soak up the vibes of the past from inside the convict cells and courthouse.

The event will also showcase a variety of arts, crafts, regional produce and vintage cars and motorbikes. There will be refreshments for sale, sheep shearing and face painting, trike and pony rides and a petting zoo for children.

The atmosphere will be set with live music by Lithgow Folk Club and performances by Sally Anne’s Dancers, with Lithgow Living History group members roaming the site in full colonial costume and complimentary lashings of convicts heralded by the town crier.

There will be a laser tag knockout competition and an obstacle course run by the cadets from the 220 Lithgow Army Cadet Unit based at Marrangaroo and explore the new river boardwalk.

(l-r) Lenore Davi of Katoomba Amusements Company and Vicki Hartley of Lithgow Living History

(l-r) Lenore Davi of Katoomba Amusements Company and Vicki Hartley of Lithgow Living History

Check out the new premium accommodation at Hartley Historic Site on a guided tour with interior designer Marissa Starr of Old Trahlee and St Bernard’s Presbytery buildings. Enjoy an alternate fashion show organised by our own accomplished designer Elizabeth Elwell- Cook.

Hartley Historic Site manager Steve Ring said: “Events such as Back to Hartley, which was voted Lithgow’s best community event in 2015, breathe new life into this beautiful site and are a chance for the community to learn about their Australian heritage `on location’.

“Back to Hartley is also a chance for NPWS to work with the community to raise funds for a local charity or causes we both feel are important. This year we are pleased to be helping local disadvantaged young people through Lithgow Optimist Club.’’

He also encouraged visitors to explore the wider region: “If you’re coming from Sydney, travel up the Great Western Highway and see the Blue Mountains, spend the day with us at Back to Hartley, then drive into Lithgow and head home via the Bells Line of Road through the Hawkesbury to experience the World Heritage Area from a very different perspective.’’

Visitors can choose from a range of accommodation and dining options in the Lithgow area. Go to tourism.lithgow.com for more information.

Back to Hartley will be held at Hartley Historic Site, Old Bathurst Rd (just off Great Western Hwy), Hartley, from 9am to 4pm Sunday, October 30. Cost: $5 per vehicle goes to Lithgow Optimists Club. Details: (02) 6355 2117 or hartley@environment.nsw.gov.au.

* Hartley Historic Site is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media and Headline Publicity

(l-r) Lenore Davi of Katoomba Amusements Company and Vicki Hartley of Lithgow Living History

(l-r) Lenore Davi of Katoomba Amusements Company and Vicki Hartley of Lithgow Living History


Spirit of King of Pop to thrill Lithgow Halloween ‘16

 

Join Jason Jackson at the Thriller dance-off at Lithgow Halloween `16. Photo: David Hill, Headline Publicity

Join Jason Jackson at the Thriller dance-off at Lithgow Halloween `16. Photo: David Hill

 

By Ellen Hill for Lithgow Tourism        Photos: Ben Pearse and David Hill

The spirit of the late King of Pop will inject a thrilling spark into Lithgow Halloween `16 when hundreds of Michael Jackson fans take part in a dance-off in Main St on Saturday, October 29.

Jason Jackson performing at Lithgow Halloween `15. Photo: Ben Pearse

Jason Jackson performing at Lithgow Halloween `15. Photo: Ben Pearse

The national record bid for the greatest number of costumed people to dance to the song Thriller will be a highlight of the annual community festival.

Organised and hosted by Lithgow City Council, with support from local sponsors including Lithgow McDonald’s, Centennial Coal and Energy Australia, the event will again feature spectacular Vivid-style lighting displays and spooky decorations, the main shopping strip will be transformed into a fun-filled pedestrian zone with themed precincts, non-stop entertainment and a community Trick or Treat activity for children.

Lithgow City Council Tourism Manager Kellie Barrow said: “We do like to party here in Lithgow, especially when it involves themes and dressing up.

“But our parties are not exclusive: everyone is invited, everyone is welcome and everyone is catered for.’’

Lithgow Halloween is a family-friendly community event. Photo: Ben Pearse

Lithgow Halloween is a family-friendly community event. Photo: Ben Pearse

As in previous years, the family-friendly Lithgow Halloween `16 will include something for everyone, with a range of free community events in public spaces through to ticketed events at private venues.

“We’re proud of our history and what the council, local businesses and residents have achieved together in beautifying Lithgow in recent years and we want to share our town with visitors.’’

Ms Barrow encouraged locals and visitors to fully immerse themselves in the festival spirit and dress up for the occasion as a ghoulish zombie, monster, freaky vampire, fantasy character or loveable fairytale personality, goblin or fairy.

Lithgow Halloween is a family-friendly event. Photo: David Hill

Lithgow Halloween is a family-friendly event. Photo: David Hill

She also urged everyone to take part in the Australian record attempt for the largest number of costumed people to dance to the Michael Jackson song Thriller.

“The record currently stands at about 500 people. Let’s beat it!’’

She recommended visitors stay overnight in the area to fully explore the surprisingly diverse range of scenery, dining options and activities available in Lithgow and surrounds including the Back to Hartley event at Hartley Historic Site on the way to Sydney on Sunday, October 30.

  • Lithgow Tourism is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media and Headline Publicity

    Jason Jackson will lead the Thriller dance-off at Lithgow Halloween `16. Photo: David Hill

    Jason Jackson will lead the Thriller dance-off at Lithgow Halloween `16. Photo: David Hill


Lithgow, NSW: Immersive colonial experience at Hartley

St Bernard's Presbytery at Hartley Historic Site.

St Bernard’s Presbytery at Hartley Historic Site.

By Ellen Hill for Hartley Historic Site            Photos: David Hill

New upmarket accommodation at the gateway to the NSW Central West gives visitors the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in Australia’s colonial past.

Hartley Accomodation 03Surrounded by pastures, heritage orchards, cottage gardens and charming sandstone buildings, the St Bernard’s Presbytery and Old Trahlee properties at Hartley Historic Site will open for bookings from June.

Managed by the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) since 1972 under the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage, the buildings are among the collection of 17 historic structures at the site.

Hartley Historic Site manager Steve Ring said: “Visitors to the site can already catch a glimpse into colonial Australian life during the day. Now they can soak up the full experience overnight.’’

Hartley Accomodation 07St Bernard’s Presbytery and Old Trahlee both offer deluxe accommodation with carefully chosen colonial-style décor and furnishings yet with all the comforts of modern living.

“These are not just pleasant rooms in a nice but generic hotel. Like all NPWS accommodation experiences throughout the state, we have used unique antique knick-knacks and quality furnishings to complement the special character of both properties.’’

Set on the side of a hill overlooking the picturesque village, St Bernard’s Presbytery accommodates up to four people in one twin and one double bedroom. It has a full kitchen, spa bathroom, dining room and living room for guest use.

St Bernard's Presbytery at the Historic Village of Hartley.

 

The presbytery building is believed to have been built about 1860 and used as the home of the resident priest to St Bernard’s Catholic Church next door until the mid-1880s, after which it was leased by local families until coming under NPWS management in 1972 and used as a visitor centre until the mid-1980s.

“Just imagine sitting on the verandah with a glass of exceptional regional wine watching the sandstone of the buildings in the foreground and the Blue Mountains escarpment in the distance light up at sunset,’’ Mr Ring said.

 

 

Hartley Accomodation 30“In winter, what better way to end a day exploring the region than with a hot drink in front of a roaring fire?’’

While St Bernard’s Presbytery would be ideal for couples seeking a romantic retreat, the Old Trahlee property is best suited to families.

Built between 1846 and 1854 by John and Mary Finn, Old Trahlee accommodates six people in two double rooms and another with bunk beds.

 

Hartley Accomodation 11There is also a baby’s cot in a separate room and standard wheelchair access to half the property including the kitchen, ambulant bathroom and one of the double bedrooms.

While at Hartley Historic Site, guests can take a self-guided tour of the Hartley Courthouse and St Bernard’s Catholic Church, browse affordable Aboriginal art at the Kew-Y-Ahn Art Gallery, stroll along the Kew-Y-Ahn Bell Rock Heritage Trail, have refreshments at the Old Post Office Café and visit Talisman Gallery showcasing Ron Fitzpatrick’s metal art.

Old Trahlee at the Historic Village of Hartley.

Mr Ring also encouraged visitors to explore the wider region: “If you’re coming from Sydney, travel up the Great Western Highway and see the Blue Mountains, spend time with us, then drive into Lithgow and head home via the Bells Line of Road through the Hawkesbury to experience the World Heritage Area from a very different perspective.’’

St Bernard’s Presbytery ($390 per night, minimum two-night stay on weekends) and Old Trahlee ($280 per night, minimum two-night stay on weekends) are located at Hartley Historic Site, Old Bathurst Rd (just off Great Western Hwy), Hartley. Bookings: (02) 6355 2117 or www.bluemountainsgetaways.com.

Go to lithgowtourism.com, bluemountainscitytourism.com.au or visitnsw.com.au for information about dining options and activities in the region.

  • Hartley Historic Site is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media and Headline PublicityHartley Accomodation 09

Ultimate Blue Mountains Australia holiday experience on us

Echo Point 03By Ellen Hill for Blue Mountains Attractions Group           Photos: David Hill

Answer two easy questions and follow a simple directive and you could treat your family to the ultimate Blue Mountains holiday experience as guests of the premier attractions of the world-famous tourist destination.

An initiative of Blue Mountains Attractions Group (BMAG), prospective holidaymakers can enter the competition worth more than $4,400 through the online Blue Mountains Australia portal bluemts.com.au.

BMAG president Louise Clifton said: “We invite families to come and play in our grand backyard. The Greater Blue Mountains has so much to see and do and it’s all right on Sydney’s doorstep.

“Our natural adventure playground has jaw-droppingly awesome views over prehistoric landscapes stretching beyond the horizon, exhilarating activities, inspiring art and culture, unique specialty shopping, mouth-watering food and so much more.’’

The seven-day odyssey will be a whirlwind all-expenses-paid* immersion in the best attractions on offer in Australia’s first tourist destination.

The winning family of up to two adults and two children will begin their Blue Mountains adventure with close encounters with native Aussie wildlife on a private tour of Featherdale Wildlife Park on July 1.

Nana's Teddies & Toys

Nana’s Teddies & Toys

Embark on a shopping spree at Australia’s largest teddy bear specialty store, Nana’s Teddies & Toys at Blaxland, visit the home of the Magic Pudding (Norman Lindsay Gallery at Faulconbridge) and experience firsthand the dancing, song, didgeridoo, Dreamtime story and art of the oldest continuous human culture at Waradah Aboriginal Centre, Katoomba.

Discover the sites and sights of Katoomba and Leura on a Trolley Bus without the hassle of parking. Hop on and hop off at any (or all) of the 29 stops along the route including Everglades Historic House & Gardens at Leura featuring Paul Sorensen-designed gardens and an authentic art deco house, and where youngsters can learn about heritage and nature without realising through activities in the My Adventure at Everglades booklet.

Blue Mountains Botanic Garden

Blue Mountains Botanic Garden

Experience another aspect of the Blue Mountains when rambling the exquisite Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah, 1000m above sea level and home to a world-class collection of cold climate plants, dramatic blooms, the Botanists Way Discovery Centre and pristine rainforest.

Wander the boutique shops of the famed Leura Mall and head to Bygone Beautys Treasured Teapot Museum & Tearooms to view one of the world’s largest private collection of teawares including more than 5500 teapots and over 100 varieties of tea and infusions.

Blue Mountains Cultural Centre

Blue Mountains Cultural Centre

Step back in time surrounded by the pastures, orchards, cottage gardens and picturesque sandstone buildings of Hartley Historic Site, browse the Kew-Y-Ahn Aboriginal Art Gallery and even make your very own firepoker with metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick at Talisman Gallery before stocking up on fabulous metal art, sculpture or silver jewellery.

Descend into the underworld to explore the most spectacular cave system in Australia and the oldest in the world at Jenolan Caves. Subtle technology and imagination make guided tours awe-inspiring before tucking into a special Yulefest dinner. Kids will meet Santa and there might even be snow.

The Ultimate Blue Mountains Family Holiday Experience winning family will receive complementary annual family InSign membership during their visit to Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, giving free entry to the Blue Mountains City Art Gallery and World Heritage Exhibition, discounts on events and public programs and the Gallery Café and Shop and invitations to members-only events.

Old Trahlee at Hartley Historic Site

Old Trahlee at Hartley Historic Site

No trip to the Blue Mountains would be complete without experiencing the thrill of riding the world’s steepest passenger railway at Scenic World, walking on air on the skyway or taking the cable car to the valley floor to stroll through ancient rainforest.

From a la carte dining at The Rooster Restaurant and morning reposes at the most famous hotel in Australia – the sumptuously refurbished Hydro Majestic Hotel, to lunches at charming venues such as the Post Office Café at Hartley Historic Site and breakfast at private retreats, the winning family is in for a delicious week-long treat.

Accommodation will be provided at the upmarket Bygone Beautys-owned St Raphael (The Convent) at Leura, Escarpment Group-owned Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges at Blackheath, The Mountain Lodge at historic Jenolan Caves, The Jungle Lodge at Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mt Tomah and Old Trahlee at Hartley Historic Site.

Everglades Historic House & Gardens

Everglades Historic House & Gardens

For your chance to win this incredible family experience, simply go to the Blue Mountains Australia website at bluemts.com.au between April 16 and 5pm on May 1, hit the “Enter Now’’ link at the top of the page and tell us: a) How many attractions are listed on the bluemountainsattractions.com.au website?

b) What is the famous landmark featured in the Blue Mountains Attractions Group Facebook profile picture at facebook.com/bluemountainsattractions (Like the page while you’re researching your answer)?

c) Tell us in 30 words or less why you would love to win a week away in the Blue Mountains.

Be sure to include your name and contact details. The winner will be drawn in Katoomba on May 4.

Judges’ decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into with entrants. Employees of any Blue Mountains Attractions Group members associated with the promotion, and their immediate families, are ineligible to enter the competition. By claiming a prize, the winner accepts that the Blue Mountains Attractions Group may use the winner’s name and likeness for promotional and publicity purposes. Maximum size of family is two adults and two children up to the age of 16. Minimum size is two adults over the age of 18. The winner must be able to redeem their prize and make use of it from June 27 to July 3, 2016, inclusive with no alteration available. The cost of transport to and from the Blue Mountains, some meals and discretionary spending is at the expense of the winner.

  • Blue Mountains Attractions Group is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media and Headline Publicity

    Waradah Aboriginal Centre

    Waradah Aboriginal Centre


Autumnal antics in Lithgow & Blue Mountains

Autumn in the Greater Blue Mountains

Autumn at Everglades Historic House & Gardens at Leura

By Ellen Hill           Photos: David Hill

From thrilling interactive history, magical adventures, lolly stores overflowing with sweet treats, exhilarating physical activity and gourmet delights, the Greater Blue Mountains and Lithgow region has the autumn school holidays sorted for frazzled parents and bored kids.

Whether you visit for the day or stay a night or more, families can experience an activity-filled break together throughout the Blue Mountains, out to the plains of Lithgow and back again.

Make memories together from this list of affordable activities:

Everglades Kids 06

Heritage, nature and education at Everglades Historic House & Gardens

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, 37 Everglades Ave, Leura: Children can learn about heritage conservation and the natural environment at one of the most enchanting historic properties in the region through the My Adventure at Everglades program. Activities include matching, drawing, colouring, identifying component parts, labelling and drawing from their surrounds along with counting, exploring and contemplating. Entry: $13 adults, $8 concessions, $4 children, National Trust members free. The children’s activity books cost $10 and $5 per subsequent book. Bookings and information: (02) 4784 1938 or email evergladesgarden@bigpond.com.

Blue Mountains Chocolate Company, 176 Lurline St, Katoomba: Treat yourself to the ultimate sweet indulgence with a visit to this scrumptious venue. Just minutes’ walk from the world-famous Echo Point Lookout and Three Sisters rock formations, the shelves are dripping with an extensive range of luscious hand-made goodies. Sip a hot chocolate drink melted over a romantic candle and nibble on a luxuriant cake while watching the in-house chocolatier create mouth-watering decadence.

 

Thrilling tours with Blue Mountains Mystery Tours

Thrilling tours with Blue Mountains Mystery Tours

Blue Mountains Mystery Tours (throughout the region): Shiver in ghoulish delight at deliciously dark tales of the sometimes bloody history behind the ruggedly beautiful landscape of the Greater Blue Mountains as you explore haunted buildings, abandoned cemeteries and other bereft locations. The experience can be tailored to suit children during the day or conducted at night for adults for spine-tingling effect. Cost: from $75 to $200 per person, includes all fees and charges. Bookings and details: phone 0418 416 403 or (02) 4751 2622 or email mysterytours@bigpond.com.

The Lolly Shop, Great Western Hwy, Little Hartley: Stock up on confectionary from more than 2000 products available from around the world including jelly belly, rock candy, choc coated, sugar and gluten free lollies, novelty items, gourmet food items, lollipops and more. Visit during the weekend and have a go at making your own fairy floss. Details: (02) 6355 2162.

Hartley Historic Site, Old Bathurst Rd (just off Great Western Hwy), Hartley: Soak up the atmosphere of one of the best examples of colonial Australia when you picnic among the 17 historic buildings, wander the Kew-Y-Ahn sculpture walk and visit the Kew-Y-Ahn Art Gallery, the only dedicated Aboriginal art gallery in the NSW Central West. Cost: Free. Details: (02) 6355 2117 or hartley@environment.nsw.gov.au.

Stretch your legs on a bushwalk

Stretch your legs on a bushwalk

With more than 400 bushwalking tracks throughout the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, there’s a walk for everyone in the family – even some accessible by wheelchair, and be sure to check out the breathtaking views from some of the many lookouts such as Wentworth Falls Lookout and Govetts Leap at Blackheath in the Blue Mountains and Hassans Walls and Pearsons Lookout in Lithgow.

 

 

Those looking for a more urbane pastime can trawl the eclectic shopping strips for unique bargains and indulge in leisurely dining at one of the numerous cafes and restaurants.

Fill up on nourishing comfort food at Vesta Blackheath

Fill up on nourishing comfort food at Vesta Blackheath

 

Check out the painted panorama at Aitken’s Panorama in the Round at Glenbrook; grab a sweet snack at Rust & Timber Chocolate Bar at Lawson; share dishes of regional bounty or tuck into pizza at Leura Garage; graze on fine fare at Bon Ton Restaurant at Leura; dine with the locals at Victory Café at Blackheath (enjoy breakfast at any time of day); or try a takeaway food box filled with wholesome rustic mountain food from Vesta Blackheath.

 

Then, head to one of the many family-friendly accommodation options throughout the region such as Allview Escape at Blackheath or Lithgow Workies Club Motel in Lithgow.

  • Businesses mentioned above are commercial clients of Deep Hill Media and Headline Publicity

    Rest up at the new Lithgow Workies Club Motel

    Rest up at the new Lithgow Workies Club Motel


Blue Mountains: Holiday at home this summer

Holiday at home in the Greater Blue Mountains this summer

Holiday at home in the Greater Blue Mountains this summer

By Ellen Hill                Photos: David Hill

From magical adventures among history and making your own fire poker to thrilling mysteries and gourmet delights, frazzled parents and bored kids can holiday at home in the Blue Mountains these holidays.

Take your pick from this list of local activities:

TalismanTalisman Gallery, Hartley Historic Site, Hartley: make your very own fire poker in an authentic blacksmith’s forge under the tutelage of expert metal artists Ron Fitzpatrick and Steve Cunningham. Sessions will be held from 10am to 12pm and 1pm to 3pm from December 26 to 29. Cost: $15 includes materials and tuition. Participants must wear closed in shoes. Bookings essential: Ron 0407 723 722.

 

Kew Y Ahn 10

 

Hartley Historic Site, Old Bathurst Rd (just off Great Western Hwy), Hartley: Soak up the atmosphere of one of the best examples of colonial Australia when you picnic among the 17 historic buildings, wander the Kew-Y-Ahn sculpture walk and visit the Kew-Y-Ahn Art Gallery, the only dedicated Aboriginal art gallery in the NSW Central West. Cost: Free. Details: (02) 6355 2117 or hartley@environment.nsw.gov.au.

 

Everglades Kids 06

 

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, 37 Everglades Ave, Leura: Children can learn about heritage conservation and the natural environment at one of the most enchanting historic properties in the region through the My Adventure at Everglades program. Activities include matching, drawing, colouring, identifying component parts, labelling and drawing from their surrounds along with counting, exploring and contemplating. Entry: $13 adults, $8 concessions, $4 children, National Trust members free. The children’s activity books cost $10 and $5 per subsequent book. Bookings and information: (02) 4784 1938 or email evergladesgarden@bigpond.com.

 

 

Mystery Tours 01Blue Mountains Mystery Tours: Shiver in ghoulish delight at deliciously dark tales of the rich and sometimes bloody history behind the ruggedly beautiful landscape of the Greater Blue Mountains as you explore haunted buildings, abandoned cemeteries and other bereft locations. The experience can be tailored to suit children during the day or, for the more daring adults, conducted at night for spine-tingling effect. Cost: from $75 to $200 per person, includes all fees and charges. Bookings and details: phone 0418 416 403 or (02) 4751 2622, email mysterytours@bigpond.com, website bluemountainsmysterytours.com.au or Facebook.

 

ChocolateBlue Mountains Chocolate Company, 176 Lurline St, Katoomba: Treat yourself to the ultimate sweet indulgence with a visit to this scrumptious venue. Just minutes’ walk from the world-famous Echo Point Lookout and Three Sisters rock formations, the shelves are dripping with an extensive range of luscious hand-made goodies. Sip a hot chocolate drink melted over a romantic candle and nibble on a luxuriant cake while watching the in-house chocolatier create mouth-watering decadence.

Hols

 

Locals and visitors to the area can also take advantage of longer days to explore their own backyard by taking to one of more than 400 bushwalking tracks through the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area; hunt for tadpoles or dip their toes in fresh alpine waters at one of the many watering holes, waterfalls and lakes.

Those looking for a more urbane pastime can trawl the eclectic shopping strips for unique post-Christmas bargains and indulge in leisurely dining at one of the numerous cafes and restaurants, each with their own special flavour.

 

 

Leura Garage Summer Menu 09Check out the spectacular painted panorama of famous Australian destinations at Aitken’s Panorama in the Round at Glenbrook; try a takeaway food box filled with wholesome rustic mountain food from Vesta Blackheath (open Christmas Day); the new summer menu of regional delights at Leura Garage; dine where local identities gather at the legendary Victory Café at Blackheath and enjoy breakfast at any time of the day; and be sure to recharge the senses with a visit to Dry Ridge Estate Wines in the magnificent Megalong Valley to stock up on local wines and take in a gulp of pristine air and the soothing sight of rural countryside.

* All businesses mentioned are commercial clients of Deep Hill Media and Headline Publicity

Vesta Oven 08

Try a takeaway box filled with delicious rustic mountain food from Vesta Blackheath

 


Hartley, NSW: Aboriginal art gallery 40,000 years in the making

Kew Y Ahn Aboriginal Gallery, Hartley.

By Ellen Hill for Hartley Historic Site              Photos: David Hill

The only dedicated indigenous art gallery in the NSW Central West showcases the evolution of art from the ancient culture to convict Australia and then to modern Aboriginal talent.

The Kew-Y-Ahn Art Gallery was opened by then NSW Governor Professor Dame Marie Bashir AC CVO in June 2013 at Hartley Historic Site east of Lithgow.

Kew Y Ahn 08A partnership between Arts OutWest, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the OEH Heritage Division, the gallery features work by Aboriginal painters, weavers, designers, jewellers and photographers.

Hartley Historic Site manager Steve Ring said the gallery aimed to forge new relationships with the Aboriginal community of the region including the Wiradjuri people without being a strictly tribal gallery.

“Any person living in the NSW Central West who identifies as Aboriginal and is recognised by the Aboriginal community as such, may exhibit work in the gallery.

Kew Y Ahn 04“The idea of the gallery is to give Aboriginal artists the opportunity to grow into commercial artists: we deal with them on a commercial basis like any other commercial art gallery.

“It also provides us with a commercial link with the indigenous history of Hartley and the Aboriginal people who still live in this area.’’

Visitors to Hartley Historic Site can snap up affordable artworks from $3 bookmarks in Aboriginal colours; leather, bead and seed bracelets, hair wraps and leather cuffs; to artworks, paintings and photographs priced up to $650 by artists such as Scott McMillan, Peter Shillingsworth, Jaycent Davis, Tamara Leggett, Claudette Elliott, Tirikee, Tony Lonsdale and Nicole Trudgett.

The gallery is located in the old Farmers Inn building at Hartley Historic Site, one of the best examples of colonial Australia with 17 buildings of historic significance from the 1837 Greek Revival courthouse to Corneys Garage built in 1945 of timber and iron.

The village was declared an historic site under the management of NPWS in 1972.

Kew Y Ahn 07“Visitors can actually experience the evolution of art at the site from the crude convict scratchings in the cells in the old court house to the quality artworks exhibited in the Kew-Y-Ahn Art Gallery, which we like to say were 40,000 years in the making,’’ Mr Ring said.

One artwork has been part of the building for at least 120 years before the art gallery standard LED lighting and hanging wires were installed. Before the inn closed in 1895, an itinerant traveller painted a picture of a cockatoo on a wall of the inn in return for a free feed.

Kew Y Ahn 06In fact, art lovers can immerse themselves in art at the popular heritage attraction with a stroll along the Kew-Y-Ahn Bell Rock Heritage Trail and Talisman Gallery showcasing the metal art of Ron Fitzpatrick in the old woolshed behind Farmers Inn.

Arts OutWest will curate the ongoing exhibitions while NPWS manages Hartley Historic Site including the Farmers Inn building. The project forms part of Arts OutWest’s ongoing Aboriginal Arts Development program.

Kew-Y-Ahn Art Gallery in the old Farmers Inn, Hartley Historic Site, Old Bathurst Rd (just off Great Western Hwy), Hartley, is open from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4.20pm Tuesday to Sunday. Cost: Free. Details: (02) 6355 2117 or hartley@environment.nsw.gov.au.

 

Kew Y Ahn 09Mr Ring also encouraged visitors to explore the wider region.

“If you’re coming from Sydney, travel up the Great Western Highway and see the Blue Mountains, spend the day with us at Back to Hartley, then drive into Lithgow and head home via the Bells Line of Road through the Hawkesbury to experience the World Heritage Area from a very different perspective.’’

Visitors can choose from a range of accommodation and dining options in the Lithgow area.

Go to lithgowtourism.com for more information.

Kew Y Ahn Aboriginal Gallery, Hartley.


Blue Mountains Mystery Tours puts dark tourism in the spotlight

Paranormal Pete (aka Pete Clifford) shines the spotlight on dark tourism

Paranormal Pete (aka Pete Clifford) shines the spotlight on dark tourism

 

By Ellen Hill                                                            Photos: David Hill

This article was written for and published in the Blue Mountains Gazette monthly Review magazine on September 16, 2015

“Is there anybody here tonight?”

With the agony of long-gone tortured souls reaching out from the sandstone walls at your back and the sticky black of darkness all around, you nervously prepare to meet ghostly company in the dead of night.

Ghost tours take in many sites around the Blue Mountains and Lithgow areas

Ghost tours take in many sites around the Blue Mountains and Lithgow areas

Paranormal Pete’s spooky ghost hunting tools flicker into life as they sense a phantom presence.

The name of someone’s dearly departed mother is distinguishable from the Ovilus or ghost box machine that converts environmental readings into real words.

Someone stifles a shriek as they experience a cold shiver. The wooden benches creak in discomfort as the rest of us shift uneasily in our seats.

The old courthouse at Hartley Historic Site slowly awakens from its supernatural slumber.

Blue Mountains Mystery Tours dark tourism guide Paranormal Pete is comfortable in this “other world” and guides locals and visitors on spine-tingling ghost tours to discover the rich and sometimes bloody history behind the rugged Greater Blue Mountains landscape.

Ghost hunters shiver in ghoulish delight at deliciously dark tales of murder, mishap, convicts, hangings and more as they explore haunted buildings, abandoned cemeteries and other bereft locations.

“With adventures like the first European crossing of the Blue Mountains, pioneering the first inland settlements and establishing the nation’s industrial heart at Lithgow come many stories and, 200 years later, reports of paranormal activity,” Pete (aka Pete Clifford from Springwood) says.

Hartley Historic Site is a favourite haunt for Paranormal Pete

Hartley Historic Site is a favourite haunt for Paranormal Pete

The “energy worker who specialises in dark tourism” has always been interested in the paranormal. His mother and siblings talked about ghost stories and local legends and, as a child, lived in a house that was haunted by what was believed to be his protector.

Pete says his scariest experience happened after one ghost tour at a council reserve.

“I walked up the road and saw a light coming towards me. I continued to walk. By this time the light was on top of me and it’s gone through me and on to the other side. I heard a voice say: ‘Get out of here now.’

“I was the only one that experienced it. I had to sit on a log for 10 minutes to get my composure and energy back. I didn’t go back there for about six months.

“I think I might have actually been walking over the poor fella’s grave.”

However, “the spirit world is very positive — they’re there to help us and guide us and protect us”.

The Greater Blue Mountains is a hotbed of spooky activity

The Greater Blue Mountains is a hotbed of spooky activity

“I’m always into communicating with the spirit world first and if we come across a ghost we’ll do our best to help them cross over if that’s their will. If not, it will go when it’s ready.”

People on Pete’s tours may hear the names of loved ones or other words.

“We’ve had the smell of a loved one’s perfume or their aftershave or they’re rubbed somebody on the face, tickled their ear or something else special they used to do that they would remember them by.

“Our tours are fully interactive. We like people to use their senses of intuition, smell, sight, hearing, touch and then we back that up with our gear to enhance your senses on the night.”

Ghost hunting equipment such as EMF metres, an Ovilus 111, full spectrum video, night vision video and Patrick Boo Buddy Bear help discern between the quick and dead.

Tours take in sites inaccessible to the general public, such as this abandoned cemetery

Tours take in sites inaccessible to the general public, such as this abandoned cemetery

Participants travel on Buster the Ghost Bus with the only ghost tour in the Blue Mountains and take morbid glee in hair-raising access to unique, forgotten and secret locations that are off limits to the general public.

They visit historic wells, convict graves, an abandoned cemetery, a convict stockade and colonial buildings oozing tales of shadowy figures from the past. They may even meet the ghost of Victoria Pass (“the lady in black”).

The faint-hearted can lean about phantom figures of the night during the light of day on a scenic tour where they can gaze at the world-famous sites and the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area with its jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery, exhilarating attractions and elusive wildlife.

Sightseeing tours take in Scenic World, Govetts Leap at Blackheath, Coachwood Glen through ancient rainforest to the Megalong Valley for wildlife spotting, as well as historic locations around Lithgow and Hartley Historic Site.

The dark tourism business holds a limited Nature Based Recreation License and National Parks and Wildlife Service Eco Pass, giving them access to secret locations known only to select local residents and off limits to the general public.

Tours leave from the Blue Mountains City Council carpark in Katoomba or participants are collected from accommodation or other pre-arranged locations in the Blue Mountains.

Bookings and details: phone 0418 416 403 or 4751 2622, email mysterytours@bigpond.com, website bluemountainsmysterytours.com.au or facebook.com/bmmysterytours.

Ghost and mystery tours make for unique gifts

Ghost and mystery tours make for unique gifts

  • Gift a loved one a goose bump-filled experience with Blue Mountains Mystery Tours. Gift vouchers are available for all tours. Simply decide on a tour, contact 0418 416 403 or 4751 2622 or at mysterytours@bigpond.com to arrange payment and a voucher will be posted or emailed to you. Gift vouchers are valid for 12 months after purchase.

Click HERE to watch a video of Blue Mountains Mystery Tours, produced by Airpixel Multimedia Production – www.AirPixel.com.au.

Blue Mountains Mystery Tours is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media and Headline Publicity

Paranormal Pete uses an array of tools to support tour participant feelings

Paranormal Pete uses an array of tools to support tour participant feelings

 


Back to Hartley offers fresh look at Australian history

(l-r) Lithgow Living History members Robyn Burton, Vicki Hartley, Ian Rufus and Alexa Burton bring Hartley Historic Site to life.

(l-r) Lithgow Living History members Robyn Burton, Vicki Hartley, Ian Rufus and Alexa Burton bring Hartley Historic Site to life.

By Ellen Hill for Hartley Historic Site                                                  Photos: David Hill

Explore one of the best examples of colonial history afresh when Hartley Historic Site holds its annual Back to Hartley family fair on Sunday, October 25.

Be entertained with live music by Lithgow Folk Club; take a trike or pony ride; have a close encounter with a furry friend at the petting zoo; make a fire poker with metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick at Talisman Gallery; and hit a bullseye at the archery.

Lithgow Living History member Ian Rufus in front of the old Hartley Courthouse.

Lithgow Living History member Ian Rufus in front of the old Hartley Courthouse.

There will be the Galloping Gumnut travelling playgroup for pre-schoolers, face painting, sheep shearing, a reptile show, locally-made handmade arts and crafts stalls, vintage cars and dancing demonstrations. New this year will be a rock climbing wall.

This year’s Back to Hartley will also commemorate the first 100 mile motorcycle race in the Hartley Valley and motorcyclists are invited to submit their bikes for judging by Lithgow Motorcycle Club with a range of prizes and categories up for grabs.

The Hartley Vale Circuit was originally marked out on public roads in 1915 just south of Lithgow. The circuit was first used by the Sydney-based Canberra Motorcycle Club to hold its first annual 100 mile race. The circuit was 6km long and a gravel surface. Racing was conducted in a clockwise direction and later controlled by Western Suburbs Motorcycle Club. It closed in 1936.

Hartley Historic Site manager Steve Ring said funds raised from the day would go towards Paxton – MPS Journey to help pay for treatment for Lithgow one-year-old Paxton who was diagnosed with the rare and incurable MPS II disease also known as Hunters Syndrome when he was nine months old.

“Back to Hartley is a good chance for NPWS to work with the community to raise funds for a local charity or causes we both feel are important. This year we are pleased to be helping young Paxton.’’

Hartley Historic Site is managed by National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) and buildings tell the story of the village from the 1837 Greek Revival courthouse to Corneys Garage built in 1945 of timber and iron.

Set among pastures, orchards, native plants and 19th and 20th century cottage gardens, the village’s sandstone buildings preserve an important piece of history – the settlement of inland Australia.

(l-r) Lithgow Living History members Vicki Hartley and Robyn Burton bring Hartley Historic Site to life.

(l-r) Lithgow Living History members Vicki Hartley and Robyn Burton bring Hartley Historic Site to life.

The settlement began when a need for a police centre in the Hartley Valley led to the construction of Hartley Court House in 1837.

During the next 50 years a bustling village grew around the courthouse, the judicial and administrative centre surrounded by churches and accommodation, a post office and staging facilities.

The village served travellers and settlers west of the Blue Mountains until it was surpassed by the Great Western Railway in 1887 and became stagnant and fell into decline.

In 1972 the village was declared an historic site under the management of NPWS.

Today, it includes 17 buildings of historical significance, two privately owned, including Old Trahlee (1840), Post Office (1846), St Bernard’s Presbytery and St Bernard’s Church (1842) still operating as a Catholic church, Shamrock Inn Cottage (1841) and the Court House (1837).

“We have recently completed many improvements and added new attractions to the site including an Aboriginal art gallery, café, the Kew-Y-Ahn walk and modern toilet facilities, new gardens and fences,’’ Mr Ring said.

He also encouraged visitors to explore the wider region.

“If you’re coming from Sydney, travel up the Great Western Highway and see the Blue Mountains, spend the day with us at Back to Hartley, then drive into Lithgow and head home via the Bells Line of Road through the Hawkesbury to experience the World Heritage Area from a very different perspective.’’

Visitors can choose from a range of accommodation and dining options in the Lithgow area.

Go to lithgowtourism.com for more information.

Back to Hartley will be held at Hartley Historic Site, Old Bathurst Rd (just off Great Western Hwy), Hartley, from 9am to 4pm Sunday, October 25. Cost: $5 per vehicle. Details: (02) 6355 2117 or hartley@environment.nsw.gov.au.

Alexa Burton from Lithgow Living History steps back in time at Hartley Historic Site.

Alexa Burton from Lithgow Living History steps back in time at Hartley Historic Site.

 


Tor of Hartley: a magnet for artists

Metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick is inspired by the Tor of Hartley.

Metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick is inspired by the Tor of Hartley.

 

By Ellen Hill                                              Photos: David Hill

Hulking moodily over a remnant of the nation’s colonial past, a pile of rocks flung against the side of a hill just west of the Blue Mountains has been a magnet for artists for two centuries, creatively and literally.

Known as Kew-Y-Ahn, Bells Rock or just The Tor, the granite rocks are embedded in the hill rising above Hartley Historic Site, between Lithgow and the Blue Mountains.

Kew-Y-Ahn has inspired artists for more than 150 years.

Kew-Y-Ahn has inspired artists for more than 150 years.

In 1865, one of the colony’s most important landscape painters, Eugene von Guérard (1811-1901) featured them in his painting Sunset in New South Wales.

Today, across the hill a bit and down, metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick unleashes his creativity in Talisman Gallery under The Tor’s gaze, its protection, its morose acceptance.

Clang. Pause. Clang. Pause. Tap. Tap. Tap tap.

Ron beats his metal into submission, coaxing the ore into the shape he has dreamed up.

In the murky light of winter when the fog pervades every open space; under oppressive summer heat; in the milky romance of moonlight, The Tor stares out across the valley indifferently.

From the doorway of his workshop, a converted woolshed, Ron gazes back.

The Tor of Hartley is beautiful at any time.

The Tor of Hartley is beautiful at any time.

“I don’t know what it is about them – maybe it’s because they are granite and literally a bit magnetic, but I definitely draw inspiration from them,’’ Ron says.

“They represent strength and reliability like metal and they have metallic qualities. But really, they’re just really beautiful at any time of the day or year.’’

Whether it’s the configuration of how they were arranged after eons of wear from rushing water from the Cox’s River and its tributary the River Lett, how their sheer size radiates an imposing presence or how the sun’s rays tickle their faces at dawn, the wardens of the hill have long-held a magnetism for artists.

Visible from miles around, Kew-Y-Ahn appears in the von Guérard work, Sunset in New South Wales, after he assimilated on the left of the work the cabbage tree palms of American Creek in Wollongong, which he captured in an 1859 pencil sketch, with the granite rocks of Hartley on the right.

Interestingly, von Guérard did not actually entitle the work, which was assigned a title when it was shown in the 1870 Intercolonial Exhibition in Sydney, where it was on sale for 60 guineas.

The Sydney Morning Herald of the day commented “The sunset scene… is a beautiful painting but rather highly coloured’’.

The son of court painter to Emperor Franz Joseph 1 of Austria, Bernard Von Guérard, Eugene von Guérard immigrated to Australia in 1852.

Colonial landscape artist Eugene von Guerard

Colonial landscape artist Eugene von Guerard

A respected romantic landscape painter, his work celebrates the untamed, wild beauty of the Australian landscape and awe-inspiring presence, qualities most definitely displayed by the granite tor at Hartley.

He was on a quest for landscapes of a particular quality to sketch and develop into large oil paintings.

The Blue Mountains landscape, with its vast vistas, plunging gorges and towering sandstone escarpments and rock formations, was ideal.

Von Guérard discovered the rock outcrop during two visits to the Blue Mountains and Hartley in 1859, capturing the scene in sketches that June and December.

By then he was an established oil painter with works exhibited in Australia and internationally, including at the London International Exhibition, and lithographs of his sketches produced to illustrate Journals and Newspapers.

Those sketches are held by the Mitchell Library.

Although the landscape of the Vale of Hartley had been sketched since its discovery, von Guérard’s work marks the transition from drawings recording the scene like a camera does today, to works of art.

“Like me today, von Guérard lived in a very cosmopolitan era when it was acceptable and even encouraged to experiment with art and culture,’’ Talisman Gallery metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick says.

“That gave people like him freedom to create art in their own style, just like me and my art today.’’

Detail of one of Ron Fitzpatrick's metal works at Talisman Gallery.

Detail of one of Ron Fitzpatrick’s metal works at Talisman Gallery.

Ron’s own artistic journey began in the early 1980s, creating handmade knives and Tai Chi dancing swords in a small shop in Melbourne.

Since moving to Sydney in the late 1980s, Ron’s art and business has evolved from a need to provide for his family by making his own furniture from scrap metal to trendy inner west wrought iron work to finally settling in the Blue Mountains and Hartley.

These days his gallery collection includes large high-end pieces along with his signature metal art mirrors, small affordable sculptures and candleholders and an extensive collection of imported jewellery and new crystal pieces.

One of the showrooms at Talisman Gallery.

One of the showrooms at Talisman Gallery.

Taking inspiration from ancient symbols and ideas he sees in meditation, Ron believes that “being creative is a state of mind and I just don’t think people have learnt to let themselves access that part of themselves’’.

“Designs and ideas are all around us, like these rocks here. You just have to become aware of them.’’

The rocks featured in von Guérard’s work can be explored today along the Kew-Y-Ahn Bell Rock Heritage Trail walking track at Hartley Historic Site.

Visitors to the site can also wander around the historic buildings, have refreshments at the café, watch Ron at work and buy a unique piece at Talisman Gallery and even brave neck-bristling terror on an evening ghost tour.

Talisman Gallery at Hartley Historic Site, Great Western Hwy (400m before turn off to Jenolan Caves heading west) is open from 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday. Details: Ron 0407 723 722 or info@talismangallery.com.au.

* Talisman Gallery is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

Metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick at work at Talisman Gallery.

Metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick at work at Talisman Gallery.