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Storytelling unites. It is an immensely powerful phenomenon that inspires a sense of belonging.


Storytelling also has the capacity to capture the grand spectrum of human experience that includes Bathurst’s significant landmark — Mt. Panorama/Wahluu — a sacred site that hosts many stories.

The reigning duality of this place that was originally a Wiradyuri territory holds and withholds countless tales. Such narratives deserve to be shared across the Central West community in calling up a rich world of song, memory, landscape and belonging. While the mountain’s double name captures a sustained tension between shadow and illumination — a tension that could be identified as a divided “black and white” Australia — what is nonetheless preserved are the shades and glimmers of experience that tilt toward reconciliation. Narrative provides us with a unique means in which to move toward the goal of reconciliation by giving us the power to speak our truths — it gives us the precious opportunity to forge meaning out of chaos, darkness, despair, but also hope, light and even beauty. Light, originally as fire and now as a form of electricity, provides us with the power to illuminate the shadows of our history.

The ’Mountain Tales at Bathurst Winter Festival’ embraces the mixture of voices that have come to shape both historical and modern-day Australia and the regional township of Bathurst. Its ceremony of lanterns, drums, film, song, and poetry opens our ears and eyes to the stories of Wiradyuri elders. Anyone and everyone are also invited to tell their stories. Everyone has their own story to tell. And everyone has their own truth to tell. The event traverses and celebrates difference in giving birth to words, sounds and images that tap into our most ancient and modern desires that all revolve around the need for belonging.

The event begins with a Lantern Procession at Tremain’s Mill in which participants who have hand crafted their beacons of fire march together to illuminating the darkness of a Bathurst winter’s night. This light procession is accompanied by Fast Cars Drummers whose earthbound sounds anchor the aerial rays of light. The power of sound, and moreover the rhythm of a drum, is evocative of our heartbeats reminding us of our collective mortality. The singular sound of a drumbeat is also emboldening as it externalises the invisible realm of our communal heart.

Then there will be a screening of the film ‘Wiradyuri Ngayirr NgarambangSacred Country’  beamed upon the architectural site of Tremain’s Mill. Participants and spectators with be directed to a QR code to listen to the English translation of the Wiradyuri language featured in the artwork. A webpage with videos and your thoughts on the film — one which meditates upon the experience of Sacred Country — can be recorded. What will be evoked is the importance of silence as there is great silence around some stories …

There will then be a sharing of stories. Two speakers will narrate their experience, reminding us that storytelling was originally an acoustic practise. Alice Blackwood will recite a poem — not all stories are prose-like but are poetic forms reminding us that the origins of all languages are grounded in the world of song. Everyone is then invited to eat and drink and share their stories informally around the fire, whether it be through a song, poem, or an anecdote.

The ’Mountain Tales at Bathurst Winter Festival’ event celebrates the sound, imagery, taste, smell of collective experience and the binding powers of storytelling. In light of the rise of digital technologies, narrative often becomes a fragmented and individualised phenomenon; here we wish to honour the idea of storytelling as a binding social force. The ’Mountain Tales at Bathurst Winter Festival’ event is a reminder of the tactile and physical power of collective narrativity in which stories are shared and commemorated. It also encourages one to reflect upon the fact that we all live in a multi-cultural society and a township that has a rich history of memory and forgetting. This live event offers you with an opportunity to be both a spectator to and participant in storytelling — you are all invited to partake in the light, sound, food, and festivities.

by Dr. Suzie Gibson

Senior Lecturer in English, Charles Sturt University

Mountain Tales  Bathurst Winter Festival

Tremain’s Mill, Keppel St.

Saturday July 5-9pm

insta: katesmithyoga

 ‘Wiradyuri Nygayirr Ngurambang – Sacred Country’

A collaborative moving image artwork by Nicole Welch, Wiradyuri Elder Wirribee + Kate Smith

An immersive work exploring Wiradyuri Ngurambang Ngayirr. Wiradyuri Elder Wirribee shares part of the narrative of Custodianship of Country, collaboratively working with local Artist Nicole Welch’s work that is linked to care-taking the environment. This work explores shared understandings between First Nation and Non-First Nation women, connecting to the landscape from Tarana along the Wambuul/Macquarie River to Wahluu/Mt. Panorama offering a space for contemplation toward a healing of people, community, place, and shared stories.

The iconic Wahluu/Mt Panorama in Bathurst is famous for its car race but for many of us the view from the top has inspired many a love story to spark.

From teenage romance at the drive-in, to steamy nights parked at the lookout; tales of last goodbyes and unrequited longing abound. What is it about this special place that inspires us to love it large?

Everybody loves a love story. We would love to hear yours.

Open Casting Call

Romantic, familial or spiritual, if you have a love story about Wahluu/Mt. Panorama email a 50 word description with your name, age and mobile phone number.

Include:  Who, what when and how + a photo or send a 2-minute video.

Selected storytellers will feature in ‘The LOVERS’- a short film about love and longing on our beloved mountain.

AGE: 18 + only.

If you submit a story you need to be available for filming on Friday 22nd/ Sat 23rd April 2022 in Bathurst, NSW.

Submissions close April 8th

So the thing about lockdown is, that it really is a mixed bag. We are not by any means ‘all in this together’. I appreciate the sentiment, but sometimes I think it comes from a place of privilege and it could not be more unhelpful. But is it possible to do something that can connect you to sense of collective wellbeing, something beyond the confines of the space or place you are in emotionally or literally? Yes it is possible. You can breathe consciously. As corny as it sounds, it works. The thing about western yoga is that the hot, bendy, bodies get all the love and those of us in the “I am not that flexible, too fat, too old, too fast, too busy, too past it” you name it category think, that yoga is just not for you. Fair cop. Maybe it isn’t.

Yoga is about much more than moving into poses. Yoga moves are simply a pathway.

To stillness in the mind.

To an immediate and simple sense of calm.

Yoga really all about breathing.

Breathing slowly and deeply into the belly activates the vagus nerve.

The vagus nerve runs from the gut to the mid-brain and when switched on stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system.

Your rest and digest response.

I have been scrolling more, eating more, ‘liking’ more and moving less. It dulls and disconnects me from the beauty and magic in the space I am in right now. Even if the house is a mess and every one around is driving you nuts, take a minute to focus on something right in front of you that you love. A tree, a flower, the sky out the window.

If like me, sometimes you need tone it down about a thousand try this simple short breathing exercise.

Equal Part Ratio Breath

Breath slowly and gently in through your nose for 5 counts.

Expand the belly as you inhale.

As you breathe out for 5 counts draw your belly in to your spine.

You can do this yogic breathing anytime, anywhere.

Try it. I hope it brings you back into your body. I hope it helps you remember that no matter what we are all in some small way connected.

By one breath.

If you would like to join me for Zoom Yoga – details on my yoga page or DM on insta# katesmithyoga or facebook Kate Smith Yoga

Ever heard yourself say “I am not creative”, and secretly thought, “But I could be…” To live a rich creative life takes practice and patience. It is about managing expectations and curly questions about success and purpose. I am a deeply creative person who has had more than nine lives in what I call a cross sector creative life. Creativity takes so many forms and sadly, is easily stifled in a culture loaded with ideas about what equals creative success.

Creative careers are more often than not, non-linear, they do not progress in a logical way and like many things one has to innovate. One of the most satisfying experiences I have had was to be awarded a CreateNSW Fellowship in 2019. At a cross roads in my career as touring performer and writer I wondered what was to come next. Mid-career with a school aged child, I could no longer go on the road for long stretches of time. Nor did I want to. I love my home life, based on a small farm on the outskirts of regional city.

The fellowship saw me dive into a period of deep research and study, to leap forward into the unknown. It has opened up new horizons, oriented me toward new partnerships, cross-sector collaborations and enabled me to spotlight my expertise in new and exciting ways.

A rich creative life comes with a willingness to change, to embrace an open attitude and to take leaps of faith when imposter syndrome comes calling.

Over the past two years, I have been trialling my mentorship offerings with emerging creatives to realise their projects and established creatives desperate for a change; I have connected with grass roots community groups to create connection through a series of creative workshops and secured multiple sources of funding to write and direct a brand new show about Wahluu/Mt. Panorama- an iconic mountain in Bathurst, NSW.

I have cooked and mothered and meditated and pondered and procrastinated.  Essential ingredients to live a rich, creative life abundant and at my fingertips.

If you feel the call to live a rich , creative life; take a look at my mentorships, read the blog about my new project ‘Fast Cars & Dirty Beats’ or get in touch.

Winter Solstice Yoga@ #bathurstregionalartgallery surrounded by the works of Euan Macleod and Andrew Merry. Immerse yourself in the surrounds of the art gallery for this relaxing and centring experience.These afternoons are magic. They are rich, soulful and kind. You will feel rested, nurtured and welcomed. Please join us. Sunday June 20, 3-5pm. Be still. Call in the light on the darkest day. Sound bath with Ashley Bland. Deep and restorative. All levels. 3-5pm

 A donation to the gallery to support purchase of new artwork for the Permanent Collection is encouraged.