Green thumbs can learn about food growing, gardening and water saving using new techniques and technology at a series of free workshops at Bullaburra on March 1.
Hosted by award-winning sustainable Now & Zen Landscapes, guest presenters will include master landscaper and educator Shannon Decker who will demonstrate new steam weeding technology.
Now & Zen Landscapes (derived from the common saying “now and then’’) has operated for 20 years and is the yardstick for the highest end bespoke garden market in the Greater Blue Mountains, Nepean and Central West where projects are limited only by imagination.
Ian Collins from WaterUps From Down Under, which is making significant inroads into combating water waste, will talk about how to save water using wicking beds.
He grew up on an orchard near Orange, where his father was one of the pioneers in organic farming in the early 1970s.
Manu Prigioni from the Farm It Forward program, which links residents who have unused garden plots with volunteer food growers, will outline the program and how property owners can get involved.
One of the co-ordinators of the Lyttleton Stores Co-operative initiative at Lawson, she has a background in permaculture, soil ecology and restorative farming.
The workshops were a chance for home gardeners to learn from experts, Mr Decker said: “Ian, Manu and I are so passionate about sustainability and reducing water waste that we are prepared to share our knowledge for free.
“We are all custodians of this earth and we must work together to look after it.’’
The free workshops will be held at the new Now & Zen Landscapes showroom, 351 Great Western Hwy, Bullaburra, from 10am to 12pm on Sunday, March 1.
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.
Be 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).
For 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.
He 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.
“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 Publicity
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.
Surrounded 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.’’
“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.
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.
“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.
There 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.
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 Publicity
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.
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.
“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.
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.
The 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 Publicity
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.
Providing 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.
Despite 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’’.
Already 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.
“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 Publicity
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.’’
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
By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group
Revel in the season of re-awakening when the original Blue Mountains party palace, the Hydro Majestic Hotel, hosts a spring Moon Festival to celebrate traditional Asian culture, family and friends, new growth, harmony and the blessings of prosperity and abundance on September 26 and 27.
Wander the harvest-themed stalls showcasing local and regional produce at the undercover market by the cheerful glow of Chinese lanterns.
Sup on noodles, dumplings, barbecue skewers, wok-fried finger food and Asian-inspired desserts; taste traditional moon cake; see the exciting dragon dance and drum performance; and learn about the long association of Chinese culture at one of the most famous grand hotels in the world, recently refurbished back to its original glory.
Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger said it was believed to be the first time a formal celebration with dragon dance had been held in the Blue Mountains.
“The Hydro Majestic actually has a very rich Asian history.
“Around the turn of the 20th century, Chinese workers disillusioned with the lack of fortune in the Bathurst goldfields, found themselves stranded in the Blue Mountains with no money to return to Sydney.
“Mark Foy, the great Sydney retailer who built the Hydro Majestic Hotel, was fascinated with all things Asian and happily employed many Chinese workers such as Louie Goh Mong, nicknamed `Charlie’, who worked as a cook at Foy’s Sydney home and managing the mayhem at the Hydro Majestic for thirty-five years.’’
The inaugural Hydro Majestic Moon Festival and Oktoberfest the following weekend will also celebrate the genuinely iconic hotel’s return to its rightful place as an alluring playground to locals of and visitors to the Greater Blue Mountains, Mr Bruegger said.
“The Hydro was Mark Foy’s `Palace in the wilderness’. It was over the top, a bit naughty and Foy himself was outrageous at times.
“Escarpment Group injected the building with that decadence during the refurbishment. Now we are filling the social calendar with fresh festivals and events to once again fill the hotel with life and laughter.
“The Hydro Majestic is once again the place to be to have fun.’’
The Moon Festival and Oktoberfest also gave travellers another reason to visit the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and Mr Bruegger encouraged visitors to stay at least one night to explore the region.
“We have plenty of beds, many different dining options and a kilometre-long world-famous hotel to explore,’’ he said.
“But we’re not greedy – roam the spectacular Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mt Tomah; wander the boutiques in the quaint mountain villages; stretch your legs on one of 400 bush tracks; ride the Scenic skyway, cablecar and train; and cuddle a koala at Featherdale Wildlife Park to or from Sydney.’’
The Hydro Majestic Moon Festival will be held at the hotel, Great Western Hwy, Medlow Bath, from 2pm to 9pm Saturday, September 26, and Sunday, September 27. The dragon dance will be staged at 4pm both days.
Go to www.escarpmentgroup.com.au to book accommodation and dining options at one of the four Escarpment Group properties in the upper Blue Mountains (the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges, Lilianfels Resort & Spa and Echoes Boutique Hotel & Restaurant).
By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group Photos: David Hill
Discerning foodies seeking to savour the flavour of crisp Blue Mountains air and earthy tones of the Central West will find it in every bite served at Escarpment Group properties.
With few exceptions, food and wine served at the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Lilianfels Resort & Spa, Echoes Boutique Hotel & Restaurant and Parklands Country Lodges & Gardens is sourced from within a 100 mile (160km) radius of the kitchen and served to a delectable standard.
A growing proportion of ingredients are even sourced from the 1000sqm edible garden at the Parklands property at Blackheath. Menus across Escarpment Group now carry a specially-designed logo printed next to items which include at least 80 per cent local and regional ingredients.
Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger, himself a career chef, compared the Blue Mountains food scene to that of northern Italy: “The food I have tasted up here is absolutely sensational.
“Our eventual aim is total fruit, vegetable and herb sustainability for all kitchens at all four Escarpment Group properties.
“It makes sense economically, it fits in with our business ethos and our guests expect it.’’
Hydro Majestic head chef Mate Herceg, whose team served 21,000 guests during May alone, said: “Things I can buy locally I will buy locally for my kitchen.
“We roughly know what type of produce is around at what time of year and we talk to suppliers about what’s coming up. We always know that artichokes are good in autumn but don’t use asparagus because it’s not in season here and comes from Peru or Mexico.’’
All items sold at the Hydro Majestic Pavilion are locally sourced from areas such as Lithgow, Orange, Bathurst, Mudgee, the Blue Mountains and Western Sydney.
Escarpment Group restaurants routinely use local and regional produce such as apples, chocolate, berries, herbs, bread, eggs, carrots, nuts, nasturtium flowers, tomatoes, quince, pears, plums, kale, broccoli, carbonero, trout and yabbies. Regional meat is served wherever possible.
Escarpment Group is committed to further developing the Parklands Kitchen garden and has also installed a state-of-the-art composting system which already takes all kitchen waste from Parklands and the Hydro Majestic.
Multi award-winning Darleys Restaurant executive chef Lee Kwiez said: “I grew up on a thirty acre farm at East Kurrajong in the Hawkesbury so I really appreciate quality fresh food.
“It’s easy for us to serve our guests food fresh from the garden. We just send through a list of ingredients we would like to use in our menus and it is grown for us. The gardener also sends us lists of what is in the garden, as do our other local and regional suppliers and we incorporate those ingredients in our menus.’’
While he creates unique fine dining dishes for five-star guests at the hatted restaurant, the underlying influence on Kwiez’s cooking is his childhood.
“Mum was cooking shepherd’s pie when I was 14 or 15 and I thought `I want to be a chef’. For me, it’s all about the flavour – it’s all about the yum. Simple.
“Freshness, seasonality and locally grown: there’s not much of a carbon footprint because you’re not hauling vegetables from here to Sydney and then back again. We’re also looking after other local businesses.’’
Mr Bruegger said Escarpment Group was committed to regional produce in its delivery of high-end tourism and hospitality on a scale rarely seen in regional NSW.
“The Blue Mountains has been renowned for its innovative cuisine and fine wines for a long time and we are proud to be a part of that reputation through our established Darley’s and Echoes restaurants at our five-star properties and now the various dining venues at the Hydro Majestic.’’
The full suite of Escarpment Group dining experiences is:
Wintergarden, Hydro Majestic: The light-filled restaurant with spectacular views over the Megalong Valley offers a premium afternoon high tea and a gourmet dinner menu in refined surrounds.
Salon du The, Hydro Majestic: The Flying Fox and Cat’s Alley have united to form the Salon du The, offering a refined Asian-inspired menu and a range of cocktails and wines with magnificent views of the Megalong Valley.
The Boiler House, Hydro Majestic: Casual all-day dining featuring traditional pizza, pasta and Australian cuisine overlooking the Megalong Valley.
Echoes Restaurant & Bar: The award-winning restaurant offers modern Australian cuisine with Asian influenced menus with specially selected local and important wines. Open daily seven days a week.
Darley’s Restaurant & Bar, Lilianfels: The multi-award winning hatted venue offers modern Australian cuisine served as a la carte or degustation menus with specially selected local and imported wines.
Go to www.escarpmentgroup.com.au for more information about individual properties, events and special offers.