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Posts tagged “Hartley

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

 


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.


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


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

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


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.

 


Beautiful revamp for Bygone Beautys treasured teapot collection

(l-r) Professor Dame Marie Bashir inspects the new-look Bygone Beautys with proprietor Maurice Cooper OAM

(l-r) Professor Dame Marie Bashir inspects the new-look Bygone Beautys with proprietor Maurice Cooper OAM

By Ellen Hill for Bygone Beautys               Photos: David Hill

Whether you like English or Irish breakfast, Oolong or Russian Caravan; white, green, orange or red; weak, strong or smoky, the long-awaited Bygone Beautys Treasured Teapot Museum & Tearooms revamp has been steeped to perfection and is ready to savour.

(l-r) Professor Dame Marie Bashir inspects the new-look Bygone Beautys with proprietor Maurice Cooper OAM

(l-r) Professor Dame Marie Bashir inspects the new-look Bygone Beautys with proprietor Maurice Cooper OAM

 

 

The major extensions and renovations of the popular Leura tourist attraction were officially opened by former NSW Governor Professor the Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO last Tuesday at a glittering soiree attended by a veritable who’s who of the local tourism industry and Macquarie Federal MP Louise Markus.

Local Aboriginal man Chris Tobin gave a Darug Welcome to Country. Dennis Barber, who gave an Acknowledgement to Country on behalf of the Gundungurra people, said tea drinking was a great equaliser of class and status and that many problems had been solved over a cuppa.

 

 

Gundungurra man Dennis Barber gave an Acknowledgement to Country

Gundungurra man Dennis Barber gave an Acknowledgement to Country

 

That theme was expanded on by Professor Dame Marie, who said Bygone Beautys was filling an important role in preserving the history and culture of tea, a significant part of Australian ethos and heritage.

She told the gathering about visiting the Blue Mountains, “one of the most beautiful places on the planet’’, as a child.

Professor Dame Marie also unveiled a commemorative plaque and spectacular custom-made Mad Hatter’s-inspired teapot sculpture by metal artists Ron Fitzpatrick and Steve Cunningham of Talisman Gallery at Hartley. The creation was made from a salvaged chimney stack from a steam engine, complete with a candy-like decorative steel handle, bow-tie-wearing rabbit and spout.

 

(l-r) Metal artists Steve Cunningham and Ron Fitzpatrick with their teapot sculpture

(l-r) Metal artists Steve Cunningham and Ron Fitzpatrick with their teapot sculpture

 

 

The Bygone Beautys revamp was created using local suppliers and tradespeople where possible and includes a new museum space, function room, formal tearoom and retail area specialising in all things tea-related.

Resplendent in a magnificent patterned jacket and trademark bow tie, Mr Cooper led Professor Dame Marie on a tour of the premises before more than 300 guests wandered the airy new spaces and inspected thousands of teapots, some debuting publically for the first time.

 

 

 

Bygone Beautys co-owner Maurice Cooper OAM

Bygone Beautys co-owner Maurice Cooper OAM

Mr Cooper acknowledged the efforts of owner of the original Bygone Beautys teapot collection Ron Hooper who began the collection in 1974 and with whom Mr Cooper went into business with in 1992.

“I was thinking about what I was going to do during my retirement at age 55, Ron had a teapot collection and I was a compulsive teapot buyer,’’ Mr Cooper said.

“When we took over this premises it was zoned as a tearoom so to comply we had this tiny little tearoom and a huge display of antiques.’’

Twenty-three years later, the teapot collection has grown to more than 5500 teapots and is the largest of its kind in Australia and one of the largest in the world. It spans five centuries and includes items from all over the world. It also includes 7000 teaspoons and 3000 tea towels among other artefacts.

 

Bygone Beautys co-owner Kerry McKenzie

Bygone Beautys co-owner Kerry McKenzie

 

 

The tearooms are also famous for decadent Devonshire tea and traditional high tea, served with a degree of pomp and ceremony on fine bone china from a tea trolley to the strains of Land of Hope & Glory.

Mr Cooper thanked the Bygone Beautys staff for their tolerance during the renovations and partner of 48 years Mr McKenzie, “my mentor, my partner and the person I most respect in the whole world’’.

 

 

 

Champion Aussie bush poet Gregory North

Champion Aussie bush poet Gregory North

 

The occasion was marked with a specially-penned poem by bush poetry champion Gregory North and cake made by Betty Reynolds and guests were entertained with a dance rendition of Im a Little Teapot by pint-sized dancers from Blackheath’s Dance For Life! school and an opera performance by Opera Bites.

 

 

Bygone Beautys is located on the corner of Grose and Megalong streets in Leura, a short stroll from Leura Mall. Open seven days a week between 10am and 5.30pm, last tearoom orders taken at 5pm. Traditional High Tea is available 10.30am – 4pm weekdays and 10.30am – 4.30pm on weekends. Bookings essential: (02) 4784 3117 or info@bygonebeautys.com.au.

* Bygone Beautys is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

 

Guests browsing some of the 5000 teapots on display at the renovated Bygone Beautys

Guests browsing some of the 5000 teapots on display at the renovated Bygone Beautys