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Posts tagged “Lithgow

Blue Mountains Explorer Bus: Locals Ride Free

By Ellen Hill for Blue Mountains Explorer Bus    Photos: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

What’s big, red, the only one of its kind in the world in a national park and the only one that doesn’t live in a city? The hop-on/hop-off Blue Mountains Explorer Bus.

And Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon locals can use it to explore their own backyard for free for one weekend only – September 22 to 23.

The Locals Ride Free weekend will be a chance to check out secret swimming holes, waterfalls and lush rainforest as well as cafes and restaurants offering special locals-only deals along the route of 29 stops around Katoomba and Leura.

Owned by the Katoomba-based Fantastic Aussie Tours (FAT), the buses run 15 times a day between 9.15am and 5.30pm, 365 days of the year.

FAT managing director Jason Cronshaw, whose father John started the Explorer Bus in 1986, said the free weekend would also help locals connect with community and familiarise them with facilities and attractions available to them and their visitors within their neighbourhood.

“The Blue Mountains has seen a mass migration of new residents, mainly from Sydney, and this is an opportunity for us to extend a hand of welcome and show our new neighbours around,’’ he said.

“It’s also a chance to experience what the four million tourists from around the world do each year and appreciate the fantastic blessing of living within the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area

“I recommend bagging a seat on the top deck for a truly inspiring perspective, and make sure you jump off at Echo Point to see the Three Sisters rock formation to remind yourself of the extraordinary patch of earth we all call home.’’

Environmentally conscious locals can trundle the highway and byways with a clear conscience after Blue Mountains Explorer Bus became the first tourism operator in Australia to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to a big fat zero last year.

It was the first tourism operator in the country to be certified under the Australian Government’s Carbon Neutral Program as 100 per cent carbon neutral. The company also signed the pledge to join the Climate Neutral Now initiative run by the United Nations.

Locals Ride Free will be held during the September 22 – 23 weekend. Simply show proof of residency (eg: driver’s licence, rates notice) when boarding. Register your interest on the Locals Ride Free event on the @bmexplorerbus Facebook page.

  • Blue Mountains Explorer Bus is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

    Explorer Bus promo pics. Client: BMAG.


Christmas with a difference in the Blue Mountains

Christmas with a difference with Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs

Christmas with a difference with Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs and the Hydro Majestic Hotel

 

By Ellen Hill          Photos: David Hill

Spine-tingling ghost hunts through historic sites, theatrical dining in globally recognised locations, chauffeured vintage car rides through sublime landscapes and luxe overnight escapes into colonial Australia. Christmas shopping in the Blue Mountains makes for unforgettable gifts.

Tasty dinner vouchers at Leura Garage

Tasty dinner vouchers at Leura Garage

 

 

Many businesses throughout the “city within a national park’’ offer gift vouchers, including cafes and restaurants like the uber funky Leura Garage serving upmarket casual regional fare in an overhauled car mechanic’s site.

Breathtaking views from Echoes Restaurant

Breathtaking views from Echoes Restaurant

 

 

The Escarpment Group collection of boutique hotels includes the hatted Darley’s Restaurant, five-star Lilianfels Resort & Spa and chic Echoes Boutique Hotel and Restaurant at Katoomba near Echo Point Lookout overlooking the Three Sisters rock formation, deluxe retreat Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges at trendy Blackheath and the world-famous Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath with theatrical dining in the Wintergarden Restaurant. Vouchers are available for accommodation, dining and spa treatments. Details: escarpmentgroup.com.au.

 

Take a tour to the Hydro Majestic Hotel with Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs

Take a tour to the Hydro Majestic Hotel with Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs

 

 

 

Perfect for couples, Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs (bluemountainsvintagecadillacs.com.au) recreates the romance of yesteryear with tours throughout the upper mountains in a luxury vintage car with dedicated chauffeur. Cruise into spectacular lookouts, quaint villages and whimsical art galleries and shops. Journey options include a decadent high tea at the Hydro Majestic or a gourmet picnic at Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges.

Experience by day the jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area with Blue Mountains Mystery Tours (bluemountainsmysterytours.com.au). Creep back after dark for a spine-tingling ghost tour and discover the rich and sometimes bloody history behind the rugged landscape.

Celebrate the silly season with Hillbilly Cider

Celebrate the silly season with Hillbilly Cider

Stuff stockings with regionally-sourced gourmet goodies, trinkets and homewares from boutiques such as the Hydro Majestic Pavilion and Blue Mountains Chocolate Company in Katoomba (bluemountainschocolatecompany.com.au), and celebrate the silly season with uniquely Aussie Hillbilly Cider vintage bubbles (hillbillycider.com.au).

After Christmas, treat your family to the sites and sights of the Greater Blue Mountains, experienced by visitors from around the world. Blue Mountains Attractions Group suggests itinerary inclusions from guided tours, magical heritage gardens and thrilling rides through awesome landscapes to glimpses back to our colonial past, ventures into the underground, close encounters with classic literary characters and furry friends and much more.

  • All businesses mentioned are commercial clients of Deep Hill Media

    Ghoulish gifts with Blue Mountains Mystery Tours

    Ghoulish gifts with Blue Mountains Mystery Tours


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 Halloween `16 Dance-off to beat National Record

Michael Jackson impersonator Jason Jackson will lead the Thriller dance-off

 

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

Lithgow Main St will be overrun with freaky fiends, ghouls, zombies and loveable fantasy characters when internationally renowned King of Pop impersonator Jason Jackson leads a public dance-off at Lithgow Halloween `16.

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 on October 29 and further the town’s emergence as a tourist destination.

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 community Trick or Treat activity for children.

Jason Jackson performing at Lithgow Halloween `15

The Thriller record attempt will be held at 8.30pm at the Main Stage, led by Michael Jackson impersonator Jason Jackson, who will also wow festival goers with a spectacular performance at 7.30pm featuring 10 dazzling costume changes.

With new surprises and a creepy Halloween theme, he promised fans who attended last year they “ain’t seen nothin’ yet’’.

Jackson said the crowd’s response to his performance last year was overwhelming. Despite performing as a Michael Jackson impersonator at a range of venues and events since 1990, “I had never experienced that kind of thing before where everyone was in costume’’, he said “It was amazing to feel the community spirit. I’m excited.’’

A singer/songwriter in his own right, Jason Jackson discovered the music of Michael Jackson as a gravely ill child battling cancer when the song Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough struck a chord with him and became his inspiration.

Halloween Performance 09Lithgow City Council Tourism Manager Kellie Barrow encouraged everyone to take part in the Australian record-breaking dance-off and dress in Halloween costume as a ghoulish zombie, monster, freaky vampire, fantasy character or loveable fairytale personality, goblin or fairy.

“Costumes don’t have to be expensive. In fact, 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.’’

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.

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 for the Lithgow Halloween `16 event

Jackson Halloween 01


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

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


Lithgow, NSW: Historic club sets table for changing food scene

35By Ellen Hill for Lithgow Workies Club                       Photos: David Hill

The oldest registered club in NSW is serving a modern era of upmarket dining for the home of Australia’s first industrial hub, Lithgow.

The new Esk Restaurant at Lithgow & District Workmen’s Club was part of a recent $6.5 million revamp which also included a new 36-room 4-star (self-rated) motel with two disability access rooms, a refurbished showroom, conference centre, art gallery and more.

27Established in 1887, the club (known affectionately as “the Workies’’) is located just west of the Blue Mountains at the gateway to the NSW Central West, an historic food bowl of the state and latest foodie hotspot.

Esk Restaurant was added to complement the existing successful Cino Café and club bistro, both of which will continue to serve traditional food and beverage favourites.

Armed with a diverse background ranging from mobile fast food to fine dining, club executive chef Tim Standing plans to gradually infuse the Esk Restaurant contemporary Australian cuisine menu with a growing amount of local and regional produce to tempt local tastebuds and attract visitors to the area.

Diners have already reviewed positively to the menu since Esk opened in January.

Club members and guests can expect a contemporary blend of traditional favourites with multicultural influences from Asia and Europe presented with the unique flavours of ingredients from the NSW Central West, Blue Mountains and the wider Sydney region.

“People’s expectations of club food has really risen,’’ Standing said.

26“They still expect to be able to get basic meals at a reasonable price like rissoles, sausages and mash, schnitzels, a good steak and pot pies but the quality has lifted a lot.

“Our first menu is not too intimidating but we’ll develop it into a very modern, contemporary restaurant using many local products over time.’’

Raising the culinary stakes has been the result of innovations in farming techniques and crop choices, manufacturing of boutique products and a migration of top chefs from Sydney onto the central plains.

Standing himself made the shift two and a half years ago.

“There’s loads of great chefs and restaurants out here in the west now,’’ he said.

“I want to be one of the best restaurants in town because I’d like all the restaurants in Lithgow to be good because that makes a food destination.

“If people drive up here Friday night and stay until Sunday, they’re not going to eat here every night, so we need other places in Lithgow to be good too, and they are.’’

(l-r) Head chef Aaron Engler and executive chef Tim Standing

(l-r) Head chef Aaron Engler and executive chef Tim Standing

Standing’s culinary passion began as a child. His mother was a cook and the family trawled the show circuit in fast food vans throughout Victoria.

Young Tim started his career as a hotel dish washer before an apprenticeship at the Dromana Hotel in Dromana. From there he worked at the best restaurant in the region, Moonlight Bay Resort.

When he was 24, Standing went to London and worked for agencies and hotel groups in upmarket areas as well as the large Slug and Lettuce group at the forefront of cutting edge pub food at the time.

Returning to Australia, he worked as executive chef with Captain Cook Cruises in Cairns then at the Union Hotel at North Sydney and The Watershed at Darling Harbour.

He was executive chef at the 500-seat Japanese restaurant Zenbu at Darling Harbour, Bamboo at Circular Quay, Liquidity at Rose Bay, The Zettle Room at The Exchange Hotel at Balmain and Il Baretto at Surry Hills.

25Standing opened his own pizza restaurant, Rialto Restaurant at Narrabeen, and Bar Rialto at Surry Hills before joining Lithgow Workies Club in 2013 where he is executive chef to about 35 staff at the Esk Restaurant, Cino’s Café and the club bistro.

Cooking is the one thing I was always good at,’’ he said.I cook at home. To me, going to work and cooking is not a job, its fun.’’

Most of Standing’s kitchen staff at Lithgow Workies Club are young locals. There are also four apprentice chefs and the club has two hospitality trainees.

Head chef Aaron Engler, 23, returned to his apprenticeship training ground 18 months ago after gaining experience throughout NSW and Canberra including in a 500-seat café, as a function chef, at the 5-star Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley near Lithgow and the hatted Darleys Restaurant at Katoomba.

24You go to Katoomba, Sydney and Bathurst and there’s great food everywhere,’’ he said.Esk Restaurant could be the beginning of a new contemporary Australian food scene for Lithgow.’’

Lithgow Workies Club general manager Geoff Wheeler said: “We’ve never had a dining venue at the club before where you can have table service and enjoy quality wines and food in a quality environment with lovely views and décor.’’

Esk Restaurant at Lithgow Workies Club, Tank St, Lithgow, is currently open for dinner from 6pm (last orders 8.30pm) Friday and Saturday. Bookings: esk@workies.com.au or (02) 9682 3807.

Singer Lisa Hunt. Photo: supplied

Singer Lisa Hunt. Photo: supplied

The official opening of Esk Restaurant, the new club motel and associated works will be hosted by media and sporting identity Mike Whitney in the new showroom from 7.15pm on Saturday, March 19.

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

Go to www.workies.com.au or phone (02) 6350 7777 to book and for more details.


Lithgow, NSW: Curtain raiser for state’s oldest club

Workies Showroom 05

By Ellen Hill for Lithgow Workies Club                    Photos: David Hill

The oldest registered club in NSW will take centre stage when the curtain officially goes up on the revamped showroom at Lithgow & District Workmen’s Club on March 19.

Club audi/visual manager Allan Gregory.

Club audio visual manager Allan Gregory.

The showroom is part of a $6.5 million refurbishment of the club, known affectionately as “the Workies’’, along with a new 36-room 4-star (self-rated) motel, art gallery, restaurant, conference centre and more.

The former Irish tavern space has been transformed into a new entertainment venue featuring a new stage and audio visual technology and table seating ideal for dinner shows.

The 3.12m wide dropdown screen over the stage allows for a diverse range of activities from business conference presentations to movie screenings for children down the track.

Lithgow Workies Club general manager Geoff Wheeler said: “Our showroom is one of the largest venues of its type in the area suitable for a dinner show, and we can more than double the capacity by removing the tables.

 

Club audio visual manager Allan Gregory

Club audio visual manager Allan Gregory

“It also offers flexibility to conference groups looking for venues with large presentation rooms, small breakout spaces and tabled meal areas. It even has its own full bar.’’

The showroom, which has already hosted capacity crowds for Tom Jones – the Australian Experience and other gigs, will be officially opened by media and sporting personality Mike Whitney along with the motel and other works from 7.15pm on Saturday, March 19.

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

Hunt, whose soulful style began in an African American gospel church, has had songs on numerous compilations around the globe as singer and songwriter and has sold more than a million records.

 

Singer Lisa Hunt. Photo: submitted

Singer Lisa Hunt. Photo: submitted

The Can You Feel It songstress debuted with her album A Little Piece of Magic and was on the international chart topper CD Soulsation by Lovestation.

Hunt’s American soundtrack compositions include Subway Stories and Goodnight Moon with Lauryn Hill, Natalie Cole, Pattie Labelle, Billy Crystal and Susan Sarandon, while her studio credits include sessions with famed producers Jellybean Benitez (Madonna), Toni C (Whitney Houston), Frank Farion (LaBouche, Milli Vanilli) and The Berman Brothers (Amber, Ultra Nate).

Her voice can be heard on several top 10 dance tracks all over the world including as “the voice’’ of Lovestation (UK), Club X (Germany) and D1 (USA). In Italy she has been the featured vocalist on tour and recordings of Zucchero Sugar Fornaciari for many years and has worked with a range of artist from Opera tenor Pavarotti to Ray Charles and has shared the stage with musical greats such as Eric Clapton, James Brown, Dionne Warwick, Brian May, Randy Crawford, Joe Cocker, Miles Davis and Andrea Bocelli.

In Australia Hunt has toured and recorded with Jimmy Barnes, Diesel, Radio Freedom, Midnight Oil and Johnny (B Good) Johnson as well as Ronan Keating, Macy Gray, Mouse T, Delores O’Riordan of The Cranberries, Tina Arena and Cheb Mumi.

Hunt has also appeared as an actress in Off-Broadway musicals, produced and starred in her own “bluesical’’ production The Roots Of My Soul and, for the past few years, toured the rhythm and blues retrospective Forever Soul in Australia and the Middle East and released more original music including the single Music Makes Me Free.

Workies Showroom 10The entertainment continues at Lithgow Workies Club with Jalapeno Deluxe playing the showroom on March 4 and the Lady Gaga & Katy Perry show coming up on April 15.

Mr Wheeler said the showroom entertainment line-up would be varied, with comedians to appear on the program in the future.

“We want people to come out of the city and other regions and enjoy our hospitality and see that there is so much to see and do in the area.

“Members and guests can now dine at our Esk Restaurant while watching the sunset over the mountains and Tuscan garden, watch a show, have a nightcap in the bar and then retire to their motel room just one minute’s walk down the corridor.’’

Lithgow Workies Club, Tank St, Lithgow, has regular entertainment in the showroom. Go to www.workies.com.au or phone (02) 6350 7777 for details, tickets and to book into the new motel.

  • Lithgow & District Workmen’s Club is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media and Headline PublicityWorkies Showroom 02

Lithgow Workies Club & Motel ensures access for all

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By Ellen Hill for Lithgow Workies Club                  Photos: David Hill

From the entry ramp into the club and lifts between floors to the ambulant bathrooms and wide doorways and throughout the property, Lithgow & District Workmen’s Club is accessible to all.

The new motel at the oldest registered club in NSW, affectionately known as “the Workies’’, sports stairless access to all areas of the club and motel for people who use a wheelchair and ambulant disabled users.

The two accessible motel rooms for people with a disability and their carers (one on the ground floor and one on the upper which is accessed by a lift near the two access parking spaces) are spacious including the bathrooms.

Visitors can access the motel via ramps throughout the property, and all doors are wide enough to cater for wheelchairs.

1Lithgow Workies Club general manager Geoff Wheeler said the design of the new 36-room 4-star motel and associated works including an art gallery, refurbished showroom, restaurant and conference centre, aimed to be accessible to people with a disability but also elderly people and parents with prams and small children.

“A lot of our members and guests may not use a wheelchair but they might have walking frames and walking sticks so they need as clear an entrance as they can get.

“There’s no steps here: you can come up the ramp at the front of the club, there’s lifts between floors and, in the main club itself we have accessible bathrooms.

“We’re providing first-class facilities for all ages. I don’t think there should be a difference between the facilities we provide for someone who is disabled and someone who is fully able bodied.’’

Providing a fully accessible motel and club for people of all ages was part of the club’s ethos of providing excellent community and customer service, Mr Wheeler said.

“It’s about looking after one another.

“People come here to enjoy themselves, and part of that is a relationship between the people that serve them and look after them. Our staff are aware that excellence of service is required at all times.

“If you don’t want to be pleasant and smile and be happy, hospitality is not the right industry for you.

8“But it’s not just about being happy. It’s about providing a safe and accessible environment for our members and guests.’’

Lithgow Workies Club had also implemented chemical-free cleaning wherever possible for the wellbeing of guests and staff.

“It makes sense: we don’t want our guests to be overwhelmed by odours, and we don’t want our staff working with chemicals on a daily basis that are going to be harmful to them.’’

Lithgow Workies Club will officially open its $6.5 million facelift on Saturday, March 19, with renowned media and sport identity Mike Whitney in the new showroom from 7.15pm.

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

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

* Lithgow & District Workmen’s Club is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media and Headline Publicity7


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

Lithgow Workies Club general manager Geoff Wheeler

Lithgow Workies Club general manager Geoff Wheeler

By Ellen Hill for Lithgow Workies Club                    Photos: David Hill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

“We’re more than just a club.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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


Blue Mountains artist Warwick Fuller: In search of light

Warwick4

By Ellen Hill for Lost Bear Gallery                   Photos: David Hill

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

The incessant buzz of countless cicadas pulses the air.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fuller takes a step back.

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

Encompassing it all is the light.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lithgow: Artist shines light on Royal tour

 

 

Warwick10

Lost Bear Gallery director Geoff White adjusts the lighting on a Warwick Fuller artwork

By Ellen Hill for Lost Bear Gallery               Photos: David Hill

Experience the recent Australian tour of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall through the eyes of official tour artist Warwick Fuller in Katoomba next month.

Warwick3

Plein air artist Warwick Fuller at work

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

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

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

The Prince’s 15th trip to Australia was Fuller’s second as the official tour artist for the Royal couple. His first invitation was in November 2012.

Warwick2Fuller was not fazed by the unrelenting pace of the tour and, true to his usual practice, worked at a furious pace to complete each piece onsite.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re painting a cloud, a wave or the wind in the trees, there’s always something happening fast,’’ he said.But what pushes me to paint quickly is the changing light. More importantly, I’m trying to paint while I’m still in the zone of the initial inspiration.’’

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

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

Warwick 1

Respected Australian landscape painter Warwick Fuller

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

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

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

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

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

Warwick7

Warwick Fuller and his dog Digger

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

A Fellow of the Royal Arts Society, Warwick Fuller has painted the majestic Australian landscape for more than 35 years, during which time he has built a solid reputation through more than 60 solo exhibitions and numerous awards and accolades.

His techniques are unmistakable in portraying the vibrancy and energy of nature, of tapping into his own subconsciousness and releasing his life experience onto canvass with the confidence of a mature artist who has earned his success.

Warwick Fuller’s Royal tour collection will be displayed at Lost Bear Gallery, 98 Lurline St, Katoomba, from 10am to 5pm daily from February 1 to 15. Fuller will talk about his tour experiences at 3pm on Saturday, February 6. Details: (02) 4782 1220 or lostbeargallery.com.au.

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

Warwick11

One of the artworks painted during the Royal tour


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.


Lithgow, NSW: Halloween festival a monster success

Main St shopkeepers embraced the event and had window displays

Main St shopkeepers embraced the event and had window displays

By Ellen Hill for Lithgow City Council      Photos: Ben Pearse and David Hill

More than 27,000 Draculas, skeletons, goblins, fairies and other fantasy characters converged on the town of Lithgow for its annual Halloween monster mash last Saturday (October 31).

More than 27,000 locals and visitors attended

More than 27,000 locals and visitors attended

 

 

As well as much of the local community, several thousand visitors from out of town experienced one of the largest Halloween celebrations in NSW and engaged in the daytime and night time festivities.

A flying vampire was part of the entertainment

A flying vampire was part of the entertainment

 

 

 

With spectacular acrobatics, pyrotechnics, a vampire aristocrat and a Michael Jackson impersonator, Vivid-style lighting displays and spooky decorations, the main shopping strip was transformed into a fun-filled pedestrian zone with five themed precincts packed with market stalls selling local produce, dining options for every budget and non-stop entertainment across two main stages.

 

 

Lithgow Mayor Maree Statham

Lithgow Mayor Maree Statham

 

Bedecked in a magnificent gown and towering pink wig, Lithgow City Council Mayor Councillor Maree Statham, said: “This year’s event had achieved the council’s aims of driving business to the main shopping strip, boosting community spirit and creating an awareness of Lithgow and the surround’s beauty. It was also an investment in the wellbeing of our community.

 

Zombies from Dance for Life! were unleashed at the ball

Zombies from Dance for Life! were unleashed at the ball

“Lithgow Halloween 15 was a success, absolutely. The people of Lithgow have spoken with their feet.

“The CBD businesses decorated their shop windows and premises and held themed events like Trick or Treat for the children. The people of Lithgow embraced the festival by making scarecrows, decorating skulls and going to enormous effort with their costumes on the day.’’

A Michael Jackson show was popular

A Michael Jackson show was popular

 

 

Mayor Statham said the festival was also an investment in Lithgow’s tourism future.

“We know from statistics and data that festivals and events create a reason for people to travel. We created a reason for them to come here and they did. Thousands of visitors from other areas walked our streets, spent money in our shops and booked every tourism bed in town.”

 

 

Zig Zag Brewery director Adrian Schindler at Dracula's Masquerade Ball

Zig Zag Brewery director Adrian Schindler at Dracula’s Masquerade Ball

 

 

As well as including other satellite events such as Dracula’s Masquerade Ball at the Old Zig Zag Brewery and All Hallows Picnic at Eskbank House, Lithgow Halloween 15 involved a longer stretch of Main St this year.

 

Bathurst State MP Paul Toole

Bathurst State MP Paul Toole

 

 

Officially opening the festival, Bathurst State MP Paul Toole congratulated the council for its vision and fostering community pride: “You are making this the best Halloween festival in all of this country. You are making your place a point of destination. You are making this happen for your community and for other people. It is innovation, it is being creative and …this is an event that you can actually own.’’

 

The Zig Zag Brewery became Dracula's lair for the event

The Zig Zag Brewery became Dracula’s lair for the event

 

Mayor Statham thanked the event sponsors, Centennial Coal, Treeview Estates, McDonald’s Lithgow and Energy Australia.

Developing innovative promotional activities for the enjoyment of the community which encourage an increase in business activities in the town centres is part of Councils strategy to strengthen our Economy in the Community Strategic Plan 2026.

  • Click HERE to view a full gallery of images from Dracula’s Masquerade Ball and HERE for a full collection of images from the community street festival.
  • Lithgow City Council is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media and Headline Publicity
  • Ghastly ghouls mingled with fairytale characters

    Ghastly ghouls mingled with fairytale characters


Special guests counting down to LithgowHalloween15

Countess Pamela Pire will sink her teeth into local history during LithgowHalloween15

Countess Pamela Pire will sink her teeth into local history during LithgowHalloween15

 

By Ellen Hill for Lithgow Tourism                         Photos: David Hill

Transylvania royalty and the thrilling reincarnation of a charismatic pop superstar will entertain the crowds at LithgowHalloween15 on October 31.

Oozing sass and Gothic glamour, Countess Pamela Pire

Oozing sass and Gothic glamour, Countess Pamela Pire

Heiress to what was once the great Pire Coffers of Transylvania, esteemed Doctor of the Ology of undying and 1926 Transylvanian Olympics champion high jumper Countess Pamela Pire has travelled the world sharing her knowledge of the great Transylvania evaporation and will enlighten Lithgow on the darker side of local history.

Oozing sass and Gothic glamour, the aristocrat comes from a long line of Transylvanian royalty. In fact, she could be the last remaining member of that royal bloodline.

Lithgow City Council Mayor Maree Statham said: “I very much look forward to meeting Countess Pamela, a woman after my own heart of working for the good of the community – and glamorous fashion.

“Lithgow welcomes all visitors warmly, especially those who are interested in our rich history. With ancient Aboriginal ancestors, a fascinating industrial past, bushrangers, explorers and pioneers, there is so much for the Countess to sink her teeth into.’’

Countess Pamela Pire will vamp up Halloween celebrations

Countess Pamela Pire will vamp up Halloween celebrations

After busy-bodying through history identifying the bodies of victims of the migration epidemic, the European blue blood is the notorious expert on the migration and settlement of Transylvanians and has come to Australia in search of an original Transylvanian migrant family rumoured to have settled in Lithgow.

The honorary HalloweenLithgow15 guest is an esteemed lecturer at the University of Bram Stoker and thrice winner of the Nosferatau award for shadow writing.

Countess Pamela will appear on the Energy Australia stage, while amazing dangerous dancer Jason Jackson will channel the extraordinary talents of one of the world’s most mesmerising artists and entertainers, Michael Jackson, on the McDonald’s Stage in the Funky area.

The superstar continues to live on through the MJ Forever show, a mind blowing, high energy dance spectacular starring tribute artist Jason Jackson.

Fans can relive the unforgettable costumes, charisma and moves of the King of Pop and even show off their own moonwalk talents and robotic moves at the Thriller dance-off.

Jason Jackson is the charismatic reincarnation of the King of Pop

Jason Jackson is the charismatic reincarnation of the King of Pop

Other entertainment throughout the event will include a Ronald McDonald magic show, circus acrobats and the Waratah Drum Corps.

Featuring spectacular Vivid-style lighting displays and spooky decorations, the main shopping strip will be transformed into a fun-filled pedestrian zone with five themed precincts packed with market stalls selling local produce, dining options for every budget and non-stop entertainment across two main stages.

LithgowHalloween15 is proudly sponsored by Lithgow City Council, Centennial Coal, Treeview Estates Over 55’s LivingEnergyAustralia and McDonalds Restuarant Lithgow.

Contact the Lithgow Visitor Information Centre on 6350 3230 for more information.

Developing innovative promotional activities for the enjoyment of the community which encourage an increase in business activities in the town centres is part of Councils strategy to strengthen our Economy in the Community Strategic Plan 2026.

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

Countess Pamela Pire will glam it up for Lithgow

Countess Pamela Pire will glam it up for Lithgow


Freaky family fun at Lithgow Halloween

Fun and freaky fantasy characters like these from Lithgow Living History will be at Lithgow Halloween

Fun fantasy characters like these from Lithgow Living History will mix with freaky faces at Lithgow Halloween

 

By Ellen Hill for Lithgow Tourism             Photos: David Hill

Crazy costumes, Trick or Treat fun and staying up late. Welcome to Halloween celebrations Lithgow style.

Families will have a selection of dining options to choose from

Families will have a selection of dining options to choose from

Organised and hosted by Lithgow City Council with support from local sponsors, the annual event will be particularly geared towards families on October 31.

Featuring spectacular Vivid-style lighting displays and decorations, the main shopping strip will be transformed into a fun-filled pedestrian zone with five themed precincts packed with market stalls selling local produce, dining options for every budget and non-stop entertainment across two main stages.

 

Lithgow Mayor Maree Statham will again welcome locals and visitors to the event

Lithgow Mayor Maree Statham will again welcome locals and visitors to the event

 

Lithgow Mayor Maree Statham said: “It’s wonderful to see children in past years excited and enjoying the novelty of being in town after dark, and families out together at a public event where everyone is catered for.’’

Children can take part in a Trick or Treat activity in a safe environment involving shops along the street at 4pm and everyone is encouraged to dress up.

You don’t have to dress as a scary character,’’ Mayor Statham said.Last year we had Snow White, much to the delight of little girls. We suspect we might see a few fantasy characters from the movie Frozen this year.’’

 

 

 

The whole family is encouraged to get into the spirit of the occasion and dress up

The whole family is encouraged to get into the spirit of the occasion and dress up

 

Two of the five themed precincts will be dedicated to families: the Family Friendly zone sponsored by Centennial Coal at the top of Main St will have plenty of activities for children, and McDonald’s Lithgow will sponsor a Funky Zone for youth between Cook St Plaza and the National Australia Bank building.

The Energy Australia-sponsored main entertainment stage will be opposite the Grand Central Hotel between the Family Friendly and Flavours precincts.

“There will be a Ronald McDonald magic show, circus acrobats, magic and the Waratah Drum Corps,’’ Mayor Statham said. “There will be plenty of special effects, lots of colourful lighting and a Thriller dance-off.’’

 

Lithgow Halloween will be family-friendly

Lithgow Halloween will be family-friendly

 

 

Lithgow has a range of family accommodation options available, as well as in neighbouring areas. Contact the Lithgow Visitor Information Centre on 6350 3230 for help with your accommodation needs.

Developing innovative promotional activities for the enjoyment of the community which encourage an increase in business activities in the town centres is part of Councils strategy to strengthen our Economy in the Community Strategic Plan 2026.

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

 

Children of Lithgow have been preparing for the community Halloween celebration

Children of Lithgow have been preparing for the community Halloween celebration

 


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.

 


Lithgow NSW vamps it up for Halloween 2015

Halloween at Lithgow will be freaky fun for the whole family

Halloween at Lithgow will be freaky fun for the whole family

 

By Ellen Hill for Lithgow Tourism                    Photos: David Hill

Macabre monsters, creepy clowns and scary skeletons can venture from the shadows and into the light when the town of Lithgow celebrates Halloween with a night of ghoulish glee on October 31.

Halloween dress-up fun for all ages

Halloween dress-up fun for all ages

Featuring spectacular Vivid-style lighting displays and spooky decorations, the main shopping strip will be transformed into a fun-filled pedestrian zone with five themed precincts packed with market stalls selling local produce, dining options for every budget and non-stop entertainment across two main stages.

The event will be organised and hosted by Lithgow City Council, with support from local sponsors.

Dress as your favourite fun or frightening character

Dress as your favourite fun or frightening character

 

 

Lithgow Mayor Maree Statham said: “Our Halloween event is for the people of Lithgow to celebrate their community, to support our local shops and provide a safe Trick or Treat environment for our children at 4.00pm.  We have had such a wonderful time in the past few years and want to share our community spirit with others and invite visitors to join us on October 31.”

Visitors and locals are encouraged to immerse themselves in the spirit of the occasion and dress up as a fun or frightening Halloween character such as a vampire, Dracula, a fantasy personality, goblin or fairy.

 

 

Lithgow Mayor Maree Statham welcomes visitors to the town

Lithgow Mayor Maree Statham welcomes visitors to the town

 

The top section of Main St will be dedicated a Family Friendly zone sponsored by Centennial Coal, with plenty of activities for children.

The `Flavours Long Lunch’ catered by CJ’s Good Food Restaurant will be held in the second section near the Old Exchange Hotel, which will also have a fashion parade sponsored by Treeview Estates and market stalls with local produce.

Spooks and zombies of all kinds will over-run Main St

Spooks and zombies of all kinds will over-run Main St

 

A `Dining with the Dead’ area will be set up in the Cook St Plaza, and McDonald’s Lithgow will sponsor a Funky Zone for youth between Cook St Plaza and the National Australia Bank building.

The Fangtastic outdoor dining area with a maze and presided over by a large vampire will be at the bottom of Main St.

 

 

The Energy Australia-sponsored main entertainment stage will be opposite the Grand Central Hotel between the Family Friendly and Flavours precincts, while the Funky stage will feature a fashion parade.

The John Joseph building will again be a feature

The John Joseph building will again be a feature

 

 

There will be circus acrobats, magic and the Waratah Drum Corps,’’ Mayor Statham said.There will be plenty of special effects and vampire antics, and be sure to keep an eye out for werewolf waiters and chefs on stilts lurking in the crowd.

“I am looking forward to meeting Countess Pamela Pire, esteemed Doctor of the Ology of undying at the University of Bram Stoker and champion high jumper at the 1926 Transylvanian Olympics, and learning how her history is interwoven with Lithgow.’’

 

Meet all manner of weird and wonderful characters

Meet all manner of weird and wonderful characters

 

 

 

Lithgow has a range of accommodation options available, as well as in neighbouring areas. Contact the Lithgow Visitor Information Centre on 6350 3230 for help with your accommodation needs.

“We have the best of everything in Lithgow: the majestic Greater Blue Mountains escarpments glowing in the afternoon sun, the rolling pasturelands of the central west, the industrial heritage of our nation and some of the best examples of colonial Australia to be seen anywhere,” Mayor Statham said.

 

 

Developing innovative promotional activities for the enjoyment of the community which encourage an increase in business activities in the town centres is part of the council’s strategy to strengthen our economy in the Community Strategic Plan 2026.

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

Have a fangtastic time at Lithgow Halloween

Have a fangtastic time at Lithgow Halloween


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.