Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New England Australia - most popular posts 3

That time again when I look at what is popular on this blog. The most popular posts in the last 100 visits have been:

Monday, September 29, 2008

Inverell's Saphire City Festival 17-26 October 2008



Photo: On the lawns, Inverell Saphire Festival

Country music star Adam Harvey is the special guest at Inverell’s annual Telstra Countrywide Sapphire City Festival this October.

Adam will sing at the Festival Finale Show on Saturday October 25, following the street parade that winds its way through Inverell’s business district.

The 10-day Festival runs from Friday October 17 to Sunday October 26 and offers a diverse range of activities and entertainment.

Organising Committee member, Les Moulds, said the Festival represents the wealth of talent and culture in the local community.

“It’s a consistently successful event that really shows off what we have to offer in Inverell,” Mr Moulds said.

“I would recommend to people contemplating a visit here to stop in for a few days at this time because they’ll experience Inverell at its best.”

This year’s program includes: art exhibitions, a dog show, craft and gem displays, a poet’s breakfast, open gardens, music concerts, markets, a great debate, campdrafting and a bowls carnival.

One highlight will be the 10th birthday celebrations of one of Inverell’s iconic attractions, the Transport Museum.

Home to one of the largest collection of vehicles in the country, Stage One of the Transport Museum will be officially opened on Saturday October 18 at 5pm.

Transport Museum Secretary Rex Sneyd said there are long-term plans for expansion of the museum, which will see it almost double in size.

A free display of vintage vehicles will be staged at the front of the museum for the birthday.

In a long-held Festival tradition, the Inverell Toastmasters will host a debate on Friday, October 17 at the Inverell RSM Club with the contentious topic: “That the Great Wall of Australia should be constructed at the Tweed”.

Personally, I would construct it just north of Sydney!

The first Saturday of the Festival is a sporty kind of day, with a bowls carnival, Caulfield Cup Race Day, the Sapphire City Spurs Campdraft and a Dog Show.

In a new event for the young ones, the McLean Village is holding a Pre-School Trike-athon Fundraiser, for five years and under, at the Inverell Public School on Sunday October 19.

Exhibitions throughout the Festival include:

  • Inverell Art Society Exhibition at the Inverell Art Gallery
  • Inverell and District Lapidary Club Gem and Craft Show
  • Inverell Floral Art Association Spring Flower Show
  • Inverell Sapphire City Show & Shine Car Show
  • Kottage Kiya Gallery Open Gardens – antique furniture, pottery and gardens.

One major event not to be missed is the Festival Parade and Grand Finale on the final Saturday (October 25), kicking off from 4pm. The evening events includes music (featuring Adam Harvey), crowning of the Festival Queens, bush poetry, carnival rides, food stalls and the fireworks spectacular.

Further Information

The Telstra Countrywide Sapphire City Festival runs from Friday October 17 to Sunday October 26 at various locations around Inverell.

Inverell is 489km (5 hours 35 minutes) south west of Brisbane, 675km north west (just under 8 hours) north west of Sydney, 489km (6 hours 50 minutes) north west of Newcastle, 126km (one hour 48 minutes) north west of Armidale.

For a comprehensive festival program or contact details for individual events, please call Tourism Inverell on 02 6728 8161.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

New England Australia welcomes visitor 16,000

Welcome to visitor 16,000 who came from Pullen Vale in Queensland searching on fossicking gold coast. This brought them to Fossicking in New England. Not what was wanted by my visitor, but welcome

This is not an especially high traffic blog. However, at 704, visitor numbers this month measured by unique IP addresses are already at a new record.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bellingen's Commercial Emporium - a further example of North Coast architecture



This photo by Gordon Smith shows Bellingen's commercial emporium, reportedly the first commercial cement brink building in Australia.

I love the way in which Bellingen has been preserved as something of a time warp!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Northern Tablelands-North West: Big Sky events summer calendar December 2008 - February 2009



Photo: lamb and roast potatos, Guyra.

Big Sky Country is the name given to the New England tourism region covering the Northern Tablelands and Western Slopes and Plains.

Each year, various Big Sky communities host a number of events for the entertainment of local residents and those from the broader region, such as Tenterfield's Oracles of the Bush, Inverell’s Sapphire City Festival and Narrabri’s Nosh on the Namoi.

These events often provide a unique experience of country life for people who travel to the region from metropolitan centres.

The following calendar provides brief details on these events for the December - February period. I will run specific stopries on some of these events as we come closer to the time.

DECEMBER 2008

Throughout December until January 24 - Bark and Wood: Indigenous works from the NERAM Collection, Armidale.

Important works covering a broad geographical area right across Arnhem Land from Oenpelli in the west to Yirrkala in the east. Carving and painting from bold geometric painting through to the refined detail of rarrk or cross-hatching. Artists include David Malangi, Dick Nguleingulei and Mick Kubarkku.

Phone New England Regional Art Museum 02 6772 5255.

Throughout December - Gunnedah Christmas Lights

Christmas spirit is seriously alive, well and quietly competitive in the north western town of Gunnedah, where the annual Christmas lights competition sees much of the town's streets transformed into a twinkling wonderland as they compete for the title of “Santa Street”.

Phone Gunnedah Visitor's Centre on 02 6740 2230.

1 – 30 December - Moree Plains Gallery.

Moree Plains Gallery has several permanent exhibitions and host travel exhibitions every 4-6 weeks. Phone Tourism Moree 02 6757 3350.

5 – 7 December - Great Inland Fishing Festival, Copeton Dam, Inverell. Three days of serious fishing at the magnificent Copeton Dam, in a catch and release competition. Phone Inverell Tourism on 02 6728 8161.

6 December - Gypsy Willow Markets, Narrabri . Phone 02 6799 6760.

6 December - Inverell Apex Venetian Carnival. Campbell Park, Inverell. Celebrating Christmas. Santa is a special Guest. Phone 02 6722 3011.

7 December - Inverell Hobby Markets, Campbell Park, Inverell. Phone 02 6722 4693.

7 December - Jellicoe Park Markets, Moree.

There’s something for everyone at the markets with indoor & outdoor plants & seedlings, fresh fruit & vegetable produce, home baked goods, clothing, handcrafted furniture, poultry, a selection of food stalls, craft & novelty items, beading supplies, jewellery & crystals and much more. Phone Tourism Moree 02 6757 3350.

11 Dec - Moree Christmas Carnival. A great time for families and visitors to enjoy the community spirit and country atmosphere. 4pm to 8pm. Phone Tourism Moree 02 6757 3350.

11 December - Wee Waa Mardi Gras. Phone Narrabri Tourism 02 6779 6760.

13 December - Quota Monthly Markets, Quirindi, Roselea Park. Phone 02 6747 1490.

14 December - Glen Innes Market Stalls. 8.00am to midday, Grey Street, Glen Innes. Contact Jenny Hodder on 02 6732 3837.

20 December - Gunnedah Country Markets. From 8.30am at Wolseley Park, Conadilly Street, Gunnedah. Entry is Free. There will be a wonderful choice of goods to be purchased, from delicious cakes/jams, pottery and craft to second hand goods/books/clothes. All are welcome. Stall fee is $15.00. Contact 02 6742 2565.

21 December - Markets in the Mall, Beardy Street Mall, Armidale. Contact Matthew from the PCYC 02 6772 1023.

21 December - Sapphire City Markets, Campbell Park, Inverell. Contact 02 6722 2067.

TBA December - Carols by Candlelight, Gunnedah. From 6.00pm at The Rotunda in Wolseley Park. Free entry. Lots of activities for everyone to enjoy and experience. Contact Lloyd Angel on 02 6742 3943.

TBA December - Narrabri Mardi Gras. Phone Narrabri Tourism 02 6779 6760.

21 December - Summer Solstice at the Australian Standing Stones, Glen Innes
Join in this seasonal celebration at sunrise with food and entertainment. Further info phone Joanne Cause, Celtic Crone on 0423 499 163 or the Glen Innes Visitor Information Centre on 02 6730 2400.

26 December - Boxing Day Races, Quirindi Racecourse. This annual event always draws a great crowd, be sure to be part of it! Phone Chris Mathews 0427 054 869.

26 December - Dundee Bush Carnival. Campdrafting, equestrian events and a barbecue at the Dundee Sports Ground. Phone Glen Innes Visitor Information Centre on 02 6730 2400.

26 December - Inverell Jockey Club Boxing Day Race Meeting, Inverell Race Course. Phone 02 6722 1139.

30 – 31 December - Upper Horton Rodeo and Campdraft, Contact Peter Kelly 02 6782 7240.

31 December - New Years Eve Fireworks, Ron Harborne Oval, Moree. Phone Tourism Moree 02 6757 3350.

JANUARY 2009

1 January - Wallabadah New Year’s Day Races. A traditional bush racing experience, held every year since 1852. Wallabadah Racecourse. Phone Gerard Smith 0428 924 880.

1 January - Inverell Cup Race Meeting, Inverell Race Course. Phone 02 6722 1139 or 02 6722 2795 (AH).

3 January - Gypsy Willow Markets, Narrabri. Phone 02 6799 6760.

4 January - Jellicoe Park Markets, Moree. There’s something for everyone at the markets with indoor & outdoor plants & seedlings, fresh fruit & vegetable produce, home baked goods, clothing, handcrafted furniture, poultry, a selection of food stalls, craft & novelty items, beading supplies, jewellery & crystals and much more. Phone Tourism Moree 02 6757 3350.

10 January - Quota Monthly Markets, Quirindi, Roselea Park. Phone 02 6747 1490.

11 January - Glen Innes Market Stalls. 8.00am to midday, Grey Street, Glen Innes. Contact Jenny Hodder on 02 6732 3837.

11 January - National Tomato Day Festival, Gunnedah.

This annual celebration of the tomato is an institution for backyard growers, who compete for the glory of such titles as biggest, reddest, tastiest and oddest-shaped tomato.The contest, held annually since 1978, developed from an argument between two locals over who had grown the biggest tomatoes in their backyard. The Gunnedah Bowling Club, Conadilly Street. Phone John Campbell 02 67420 400.

12 January - Glen Innes Horse Races. Six race event with live band, bar and barbecue. Glen Innes Racecourse. Phone Brendan Campbell 02 6732 4503.

16 – 27 January - Lamb and Potato Festival, Guyra.

This annual festival celebrates the local produce and serves up lamb and potatoes in as many ways as you can imagine. There’s also craft and variety stalls, great food, non-stop entertainment, wine tasting, antique machinery displays, talent search and sheep shearing demos. Phone Guyra Council 02 6779 1577.

17 January - Gunnedah Country Markets. From 8.30am at Wolseley Park, Conadilly Street, Gunnedah. Entry is Free. There will be a wonderful choice of goods to be purchased, from delicious cakes/jams, pottery and craft to second hand goods/books/clothes. All are welcome. Stall fee is $15.00. Contact 02 6742 2565.

17 January - Deepwater Horse Racing. Deepwater Racecourse, New England Highway.
Contact Robert Wheatley 02 6734 6250.

18 January - Somerton Cup, Gunnedah. 11am at Riverside Racecourse, Oxley Highway. Family friendly with all you could need for a great day at the races. Contact Debbie Watson or Rod Dugan 02 6742 0093.

18 January - Sapphire City Markets, Campbell Park, Inverell. Contact 02 6722 2067.

24 – 25 January - New England Sheep Dog Trials, Tenterfield. For more information, contact Patti Ainsworth, Tourism Manager at the Tenterfield Visitors Centre on 02 6736 1082.

26 January - Australia Day Celebrations, Gunnedah. Events include annual, a raft race, pet parade, triathlon event, trivia night and Australia Day Gala. Phone Gunnedah Visitor Information 02 6740 2230.

26 January - Australia Day Celebrations, Tenterfield. Phone Karen Stewart 02 6736 1744.

26 January - Australia Day Celebrations, Gwydir Shire. Phone Gwydir Shire Council 02 6724 2000.

26 January - Australia Day Celebrations, Glen Innes. At the historic Glen Innes Showground.
Phone Lisa Reed 02 6732 5967.

26 January - Australia Day Celebrations, Moree. Family fun day held in Kirkby Park, Moree. Phone Tourism Moree 02 6757 3350.

26 January - Australia Day Celebrations, Narrabri, Wee Waa and Boggabri. Phone Narrabri Tourism 02 6799 6760.

26 January - Australia Day Celebrations, Armidale. Phone Armidale Tourism 1800 627 736.

26 January - Australia Day Celebrations, Inverell Pioneer Village. Old Time Sports, musical entertainment, bush poetry, Citizen of the Year announcements, displays, food and drink stalls. Commencing at 4pm. Phone 02 6722 1717.

26 January - Wallabadah Aussie Bush Fair. This festival began in 2006 and due to its success is now an annual event. Browse the stalls, join in the fun and games, stroll the First Fleet Memorial Gardens or simply sit back and relax to the live bands. A great day for the family! Contact Tania Hartigan 02 6746 5606.

FEBRUARY 2009

1 February - Inverell Hobby Markets. Campbell Park, Inverell. Phone 0) 6722 4693.

1 February - Jellicoe Park Markets, Moree. There’s something for everyone at the markets with indoor & outdoor plants & seedlings, fresh fruit & vegetable produce, home baked goods, clothing, handcrafted furniture, poultry, a selection of food stalls, craft & novelty items, beading supplies, jewellery & crystals and much more. Phone Tourism Moree 02 6757 3350.

6 – 8 February - Peter Allen Festival, Armidale.

Following the successful Birthday Bash, the Friends and Fans of Peter Allen are organising the inaugural Peter Allen Festival. Come to Armidale to celebrate Peter’s life, music and hear his story. Tours and displays daily. Cocktail evening and welcome at the Quality Hotel Powerhouse Feb 6; Gala Dinner at the Wicklow Hotel Feb 7; the Birthday Bash Feb 8. Phone Warren Bartik - Festival Manager: 0429 100 091 or 02 6771 5375.

6 – 8 February - Tenterfield Show and Campdraft. For more information, contact Patti Ainsworth, Tourism Manager at the Tenterfield Visitors Centre on 02 6736 1082.

7 – 8 February - Uralla Show. All the fun of a country fair including ring events, pavilion exhibitions, side shows and Uralla's local heroes in the Demolition Derby. Phone Uralla Show Society on 02 6778 5099. 7 February - Gypsy Willow Markets, Narrabri
Phone 02 6799 6760.

8 February - Quota Monthly Markets, Quirindi. Roselea Park. Phone 02 6747 1490.

13 –15 February - Glen Innes Pastoral and Agricultural Show.

Held in the tree-lined showground, a blend of the best the country has to offer, with arts and craft, fairground rides, the latest in tractors, first class showjumping, an unrivalled cattle pavilion display, chooks, sheep, even sports shearing as well as a demolition derby, mechanical pavilion and trade expo. Wind down at the popular show bar, or enjoy a steak sandwich at the barbecue.
Phone the show secretary 02 6732 1744.

15 February - Sapphire City Markets, Campbell Park, Inverell. Contact 02) 6722 2067.

21 February - Gunnedah Country Markets. From 8.30am at Wolseley Park, Conadilly Street, Gunnedah. Entry is Free. There will be a wonderful choice of goods to be purchased, from delicious cakes/jams, pottery and craft to second hand goods/books/clothes. All are welcome. Contact 02 6742 2565.

20 – 22 February - Armidale Show. A traditional country show in the heart of New England. Phone Armidale Tourism 1800 627 736.

21 February - Moree Cotton Cup Race Day. A major event of Moree’s racing and social calendar raising between $20,000 - $30,000 each year for charity and local community groups. Phone Tourism Moree 02 6757 3350.

TBA February - Narrabri Rodeo, Narrabri Showground. Phone Narrabri Visitor Information 02 6799 6761.

28 February - Quirindi Cup Race Day. Throw on your race outfit and bet up big at the Quirindi Cup. Contact Nardi Beresford 02 6746 2476.

28 February - Quirindi Rodeo. Polish your boots and put on your hat, its Rodeo time. Head to Quirindi for the thrills and spills of this action packed event. Contact Laura Cleal 0402 538 261.

24 – 25 February - 4BBB Golf Tournament, Tenterfield. For more information, contact Patti Ainsworth, Tourism Manager at the Tenterfield Visitors Centre on 02 6736 1082.

TBA Late February - National Servicemen’s Reunion, Bingara. Phone Ken Bilsborough 02 6724 1223

Saturday, September 20, 2008

How do we get New England out of the growing NSW mess?

I became very depressed just before I left for China. With the ever growing mess in NSW, I felt that there was nothing any of us could do. We just had to hope that, somehow, the current NSW administration would work itself out.

There is an alternative. We could re-launch the fight for New England self-government. If we were to do so, this would have to be non-party political. New England Labor is not to blame for the problems inflicted on us. They, too, are victims.

I will be thinking about this while I am away. If you think that now is the time, why not email me at ndarala (at)optusnet.com.au.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Round the New England blogging traps 1


North Coast Voices continues its eclectic view of the world.

In one post, it reminds us that the Grafton Jacaranda Festival will be on from 24 October to 2 November, something that I must remember myself. Then in 21 Economic Models explained with Cows - 2008 update, it provides a very funny description of different ways of thinking.

The local government elections have been much on NVC's mind, with most candidates (or some it seems) not coming up to scratch.

On LookANDsee, Gordon Smith has been applying his photographic eye to Bellingen. You will find the first post in the series here. Just work forward from here.

Still on Armidale (Gordon lives near Armidale), Keith Burgess's 18th Century Historical Trekking,1700-1760 continues to provide a wealth of information for those interested in the sometimes uncomfortable past time of living history. Or, perhaps, living in history!

Somewhat south, NSW Farmers' Association President Jock Laurie (Walcha) continues to report on NFF activities in his blog. This not a bad way of finding out about rural issues from a NF perspective.

Moving back to the coast, Byron Bay reports on Crime in Byron Bay, something of an issue at the moment for a number of New England communities.

Down in Newcastle, in City branding…why hasn’t Newcastle got a Global Brand Project like Sydney?, Gordon Whitehead calls for the NSW Government to support a Brand Newcastle approach in tourism marketing.

Gordon may be pleased that local member Jodi McKay is now Minister for Tourism and the Hunter. I am sure that she will be getting an education (ear bash?) from him.

More when I get back from China.

Still in Newcastle, Craig Wilson's Media Hunter has rather good post, Newcastle web designers must stop thinking like web designers, that captures some messages that I have been trying to get across as well.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Visit to China

Today I leave for China and will be away for ten days. I have prepared a series of advance posts to maintain posting. However, during that time I will not be able to monitor this blog in the way that I normally do, nor will I be able to check and respond to emails.

While I am away, please feel free to comment. I will respond when I get back.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The story of Harry Freame - Spy and Adventurer

Over on my personal blog in New England Story - The life and death of the mysterious Harry Freame I outlined the remarkable life of Harry Freame.

Growing up with family at Kentucky I knew who Harry Freame was, although I had no idea of the detail until I came to research this post.

There are so many New England stories. Do you have someone who should be featured in a New England Story post?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Federal Hotel Bellingen - another example of North Coast architecture



Back in June I ran a post, North Coast Architecture - a note, that was an aide memoir to myself dealing with North Coast architecture. My feeling was that there was a distinctive style that had not been recognised or analysed.

A little later in Armidale-Kempsey Road - historical snapshot I gave another example from 1905. Now Gordon Smith has kindly posted an example from Bellingen.

The Federal Hotel was built around 1900. If you look at the photo, you will again see that wood is the main construction material. There is cast iron lacework on the balcony, but above that is the decorative wood fretwork that was so often used for decoration.

I wish I knew more about Australian architecture. The material that I have read is very macro, top down, with little about variations at a regional level.

Monday, September 08, 2008

New Ministry in NSW - with an update

Note to readers: Just three days after I wrote this post, Police Minister Brown was forced to resign. My own immediate reactions can be found in New South Wales Wales itself again- Brown out strikes. I will add details of the consequent ministerial changes later once they have become clear.

The new NSW Premier Nathan Rees has announced his Ministry. The list follows in order of seniority.

Nathan Rees, Premier and Arts Minister, Member for Toongabbie (outer Sydney).

Carmel Tebbutt, Deputy Premier, Climate Change and Environment, Commerce, Member for Marrickville (Sydney's inner west).

Eric Roozendaal, Treasurer, Member Legislative Council, lives in Sydney.

John Della Bosca, Health and Central Coast minister, Vice-President of the Executive Council, Member Legislative Council, lives Central Coast.

John Hatzistergos, Attorney-General and justice minister, Member Legislative Council, lives in Sydney.

David Campbell, Transport Minister, Member for Keira (Illawarra).

Verity Firth, Education and Training, Women, Member for Balmain (Inner Sydney).

Joe Tripodi, Finance, Infrastructure, Regulatory Reform, Ports and Waterways minister, Member for Fairfield (outer Sydney).

Kristina Keneally, Minister for Planning and Redfern-Waterloo, Member for Heffron (Inner Sydney).

Matt Brown, Minister for Police and the Illawarra, Member for Kiama (Illawarra).

Ian Macdonald, Primary industries, energy, mineral resources and state development minister, Member Legislative Council, lives Central West.

Tony Kelly, Industrial Relations, Emergency Services and Lands, Member Legislative Council, lives Central West.

Linda Burney, Community Services, Member for Canterbury (Inner Sydney). Ms Burney is of Wiradjuri descent.

Barbara Perry, Local Government and Assisting Health (Mental Health) Minister, Member for Auburn (Sydney).

Kevin Greene, Gaming and Racing, and Sport and Recreation Minister, Member for Oatley (Southern Sydney).

Paul Lynch, Minister for Ageing, Disability Services and Aboriginal Affairs, Member for Liverpool (outer Sydney).

Graham West, Juvenile Justice, Volunteering and Youth Minister, Member for Campbelltown (South West Sydney).

Jodi McKay, Minister for Tourism and the Hunter, Member for Newcastle.

Michael Daley, Roads, Member for Maroubra, (Eastern Suburbs, Sydney).

Virginia Judge, Minister for Fair Trading, Citizenship, and Assisting the Premier for Arts. Member for Strathfield (Sydney inner west).

Phillip Costa, Minister for Water, Rural Affairs and Regional Development, Member for Wollondilly (southwest Sydney).

David Borger, Minister for Housing and Western Sydney, Member for Granville (outer Sydney).

Tony Stewart,- Minister for Small Business, Science and Medical Research, and Assisting Health (Cancer), Member for Bankstown (Sydney).

Thursday, September 04, 2008

New England Australia - blogs

I have been meaning for some time to put together a page on the blogs that I have discovered in my excursions across New England. I keep forgetting to do this, then lose sight of the blogs themselves. So I am starting this page just to provide a record that I can progressively update.

Latest update 12 July 2009

Art, literature, writing

Art News Blog: art blog with a global perspective authored by an artist living in the Hunter Valley.

Bronwyn Parry - Australian Romantic Suspense: blog established as part of a web site to mark the launch of Bronwyn's first book.

Dan Byrnes Blog: new blog from this Armidale poet, writer.

Sophie Masson's The Case of the Diamond Shadow: blog by this Armidale writer on her new book.

Sophie Masson's Thomas Trew and the Hidden World: blog by this Armidale writer on her Thomas Trew series.

Wilson's Blogmanac: I wasn't quite sure as to which category I should place this blog. Written by Pip Wilson, a writer living in Bellingen, the blog and supporting web pages spans issues. I put it here, I think, because Pip is a writer.

Craft

Armidale Spinners and Weavers: as the title says.

Farming

Jock's Blog: blog written by Jock Laurie (Walcha), President of the NSW Farmers' Association.

Higher Education

The University of New England's Senior Management Blog provides regular updates on developments within UNE.

The University of New England also provides a central blog service. Here you will find all sorts of blogs, officials, staff and students.

History

18th Century Historical Trekking,1700-1760. I wasn't sure whether to put this New England (Armidale) Colonial Living History Group blog under history, hobbies or life style!

New England's History. One of my own blogs reporting on my investigations into the history of New England.

Locality Blogs

Armidale: created by Hardmans, a long standing Armidale car business, this blog provides now very irregular news about local happenings.

Byron Bay: information about happenings in Byron Bay.

Byron Bay Blog: more on Byron Bay.

Hunter's Best: really an on-line newspaper in blog format, Hunter's Best seems to fill a real gap for those interested in Newcastle news.

Newcastle au: Newcastle doings and a fair bit more.

newcastleonhunter: a little while since the last post, but some good entries.

Wollombi Valley: blog from one of the most historic parts of the Hunter Valley

Media, Marketing, Web

Marketer: marketing conversations around the AMI and Hunter Valley

Media Hunter: interesting media blog with a special focus on Newcastle and the Hunter but with extending coverage of other parts of New England.

Wayde Christie.com: Freelance web design and development in Newcastle. No updates since June 2007.

Music

Newcastle Music Directory: a good site for information about music, musicians and gigs around Newcastle and the Hunter.

PhoToArt & Music: I wasn't sure whether to put this one under music or photoblogs! It's both and around Newcastle.

Nature

Hunter Valley Backyard Nature: Gaye describes this blog as "observing native fauna and flora that share our urban backyards and public spaces." Some interesting posts. The blog has been put on hold, but Gaye continues her writing in another blog, Snippets and sentiments.

Personal

Australian Observer. Paul Barret's blog on current events with a defence, public policy focus. Born in Armidale, Paul retains his New England links.

Jamie Andrei: Newcastle blog with a strong web focus.

JAMming, Armidale. An irregular personal blog. Jennifer is the alumni relations person at the University of New England.

Leannes World, Kootingal. Farm, family and local events

LYNNE SANDERS-BRAITHWAITE. Lynne lives in Bilambil on the New England Queensland border but travels widely across New England.

Mulubinba Moments. Newcastle. A blog with a strong photo component.

Personal Reflections. My own personal blog, incorporating many New England elements.

Peter Rohde's blog: personal blog with, among other things, a current affairs focus.

Poetry from Jen. Jenny Kimberley now lives in the US and has done so since 1963. I have included it because she lived in Armidale while her dad, Les Kemp, was vice principal of the Armidale Teachers' College and retains strong emotional connections with Australia and Armidale.

Photoblogs

Drew Hopper Photography: a rather good Mid North coast photo blog with a special focus on Urunga

lookANDsee: a pictorial journal of life in rural Australia: great photo blog with a special focus on the Northern Tablelands.

Tim Christie: focus on Newcastle and the lower Hunter.

Protest/Politics

A Clarence Valley Protest: A blog established by Judith M. Melville to protest the proposals to divert the waters of the Clarence River.

Michael Osborne: Irregular posted blog about Newcastle City Council doings from a Green perspective.

North Coast Voices: a collective political blog from a left of centre perspective.

Religion

Armidale Community Buddhist Centre: as the name says!

Social issues

Written by Michael Bayly from the US, The Wild Reed is subtitled "Thoughts and reflections from a progressive, gay, Catholic perspective." The blog is included here because Michael grew up in Gunnedah and the blog includes New England family related material.

Sport

Kurt Gidley: Newcastle blog with a strong focus on Rugby League.

Jenny's blog: news from the Lake Keepit Soaring Club

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

NSW's home building collapse

I was staggered to read that NSW Councils approved just 1,156 new free-standing houses in July, the lowest number since records began in 1983. In the twelve months to July just 31,000 dwellings were approved, also the lowest number on record.

Think about it, 1,156 free-standing homes. NSW really is a mess.

Monday, September 01, 2008

As Darkness Falls - a good read



In August last year in New England writer wins Golden Heart Award I reported on Armidale 's aspiring writer Bronwyn Clarke's success in winning a "Golden Heart" award. Now her first book has been published under the pen name Bronwyn Parry.

As Darkness Falls is set in the isolation of a small town on New England's western plains.

Haunted by her failures, country police officer Detective Isabelle O'Connell is recalled to duty by Detective Alec Goddard to investigate the abduction of yet another child from her old home town.

With the killer playing a game of cat and mouse and targeting Bella, they have only days in which to find the girl alive, but they have very few clues, a whole town of suspects, and a vast wilderness to search.

For Bella, this case is already personal; for Alec his best intentions to keep it purely professional soon dissolve. He starts to think of the missing child as if she were his own, and his anguish over Bella’s safety moves beyond the just his concern for a colleague. Their mutual attraction leaves them both vulnerable to their private nightmares — nightmares that the killer ruthlessly exploits.

Having read the first chapter on-line, it's quite gripping. I now have to find a book shop to buy the book!