Saturday, 24 June 2017

The turning point at an argyle affair provides a sense of place

A sunny brisk day attracted a crowd at a market day with a difference that was recently held at the historic backdrop of the Camden show hall and grounds.

Signage in Argyle Street outside the show pavilion encouraged patrons to leave a donation for the 2017 charity of choice for event organisers Brooke and Peta. The rustic notice fitted the atmospherics of the historic showground and hall which is the site of  Camden's famous annual rural festival, the Camden Show.. (1 Willis)
The scarves and beanies were out at the third year of the market day for The Argyle Affair which was held over a recent weekend. 

A great day for hipsters, grandparents, young families and friends at this great local event.

Live and local entertainment from young song writers and singers was provided in the marquee. The stage provided an opportunity for young and up-and-coming musos to do their stuff and show their wares to their adoring fans - even if they were rusted on family members.

Local up-and-coming artists and 'aspiring performers' always welcome the support and opportunity of a stage to hone their craft. You never know which one of these young hopefuls will be the next famous Australian artist on the international circuit in the entertainment industry. And you saw them here first. (I Willis)

There were ample pop-up food stalls that offered a range of hot delicacies from pulled beef to wholesome soup and others. Even the food stalls are sustainable these days with solar panels generating power-have panel will travel-anywhere.

The Argyle Affair was originally started in 2015  as the brainwave of local organisers Brooke and Peta who felt that local artisans needed a platform for their wares. Their website states:
The Argyle Affair was born from a shared passion to bring the community together to create a positive, creative event and supporting local charities. We felt that Camden needed a platform to showcase local & surrounds, makers, artists and performers. It was time that Camden had their time to SHINE!
There were around 25 stalls in the show hall and outside. By lunchtime there were lots of folk moving through the show pavilion.

Event organisers Brooke and Peta gave the historic 1890s AH&I Hall a lift with their artistic touch and appropriate greenery which took the edge off the rustic nature of the show pavilion. I wonder how many patrons really understood the importance of this room to the history of the town and it rural surrounds. (I Willis) 


The promoters state on the website that they were looking for edgy product and artisan crafts with a point of difference and a 'wow factor'.
We are looking for evidence of personal contribution in design, make or collaboration of the product. High quality products that display outstanding workmanship. We are on the hunt for unique products and services that push the design envelope.
Stallholders were certainly up to mark.

The artisan crafts and stalls were a great fit with the rural atmospherics provided by the historic show pavilion. The hall has held hundreds of community events just like The ArgyleAffair since its opening in the 1890s as a military drill hall for the Camden Rifles. The hall and these events are a central part of Camden's sense of place and identity.  (I Willis)
The Argyle Affair sponsor a local charity and this year it was 'Turning Point' who are a Camden based-comunity welfare centre in John Street. Turning Point state on their website:
We aim to provide a safe and confidential environment where we can offer assistance, providing welfare services such as emergency food relief, advocacy, document assistance, phone access, and computer availability with free Wi-Fi.
Market goers were asked for a gold coin admission or hand in an item of food that went to Turning Point.
Business with a heart in this display brightens up an otherwise drab and dark space and  usually unused part of the show hall pavilion. A great rustic and authentic touch that was framed by the show hall doors.  A simple statement of intent by event organisers about how they view The Argyle Affair. (I Willis)

Another great initiative by Camden locals who have combined business acumen with a heart.

For more information

Turning Point @ 80 John Street, Camden. 02 4655 1567
The Argyle Affair

Friday, 23 June 2017

Fresh young talent at Camden Shorts

In its third year Camden Youth Council's Camden Shorts music festival got another run recently.

Lots of fresh young talent all got a guernsey on stage at the Camden Civic Centre.

Promotional flyer for 2017 Camden Shorts 


The Camden Youth Council is an initiative of Camden Council that assists the council develop programs for young people between 15-25 years of age.

The youth council attempts to give young people of the Camden LGA a voice through projects and events.

One of these events is Camden Shorts.

On Saturday night there were a string of vocalists, supported by a dance trio and a theatresports trio of young fellows.

Each young hopeful had two performance pieces to nail for the assembled crowd.

You never know one of these young folk might get their start in the entertainment industry from this gig and then be the next superstar. And do not forget you saw them first at the CCC 2017 Camden Shorts.

List of young fresh artists at 2017 Camden Shorts performance


The artists enthusiasm was infectious as often the young are, and they received undivided adulation from adoring fans of mums and dads, aunts and uncles, nans and pops and fellow rusted on supporters.

The 2017 Camden Shorts artists had an adoring crowd of mums and dads and aunts and uncles who thought their every move and note was worth a rousing and rowdy round of applause with supporting hoots and whistle. (I Willis)

The younger the budding artists the greater the adulation.

A wayward note here and there mattered little in the great scheme of things.

Apparently it was reported that there were 200 bookings for this year's show, compared to the first year in the Ferguson Room with 90 parents and friends.

A trio of young chaps called Rising Arts Production-Room for Improvement who did  a theatresports spot to the raucous laughter of the assemble masses. They did not even get an opportunity to use the two chairs they brought on stage with them. (I Willis) 

Those who booked and did not show will be forever disappointed at not taking up their free tickets.

The evening ran on a tight schedule with a great support crew with sound and lighting although the kids could have done with a simple intro from an mc of some sort.

Hard working crew on the sound and light at the back of the Macarthur Room in the dark at the Civic Centre at the 2017 Camden Shorts (I Willis)

The food offering and bar service were up to Civic Centre standards, while prior warning for fans and patrons might have improved their sales a little on the night.

Patrons patiently waiting for their orders at the bar in the Macarthur Room at the Camden Civic Centre at the 2017 Camden Shorts music festival. (I Willis)

The enthusiastic crowd were well satisfied at the end of the night's entertainment by this band of young fresh performers.

Contact Camden Youth Council

For those who want to know more the Camden Youth Council has a Facebook page, a Twitter feed or just contact them by email.

You can also stay up to date with the Camden Youth Council by visiting the Facebook page, phone 4645 5021 or you can send an email for more information.

Attn: Community Project Officer (Youth Services)
Community Cultural Planning and Development
Camden Council
PO Box 183
CAMDEN
NSW 2570

Saturday, 17 June 2017

LIve and Local Music Festival in Camden town centre

Live and Local signage was placed around the town centre by promoters to tell locals about the gigs. Patrons moved between music stages assisted by a full and informative programme and facilitators who kept things moving.  This signage was on the front of the historic 1870s bank building on the corner of Argyle and John Streets in the middle of town. Helpful signage kept patrons and keen fans on the move around the town centre moving between the many venues. Thery were valuable in an area that is not used to being the stage for live music. The hope is that patrons will report this to organisers  so their might be a repeat(I Willis)

The Camden town centre was recently transformed into a gig-venue with a difference.

The town centre held the first live music festival of its type hosted by Camden Council.

Camden's main shopping precinct hosted a free music event in the form of the Live and Local Music Festival.

Upstairs@Freds hosted singer songwriter Helen Perris on piano. Her virtuoso performance was a delight in a delightful venue with great view of the town centre. Helen sang a range of  her own tunes that would not be out of place in a New York piano bar. Helen's poignant award wining songs tell of life's up-and downs.  (I Willis)
The entertainment ranged across 14 venues on a Saturday afternoon between 2.00 and 6.00 in the early evening.



Some of these were not your standard music venue.
Saxophone musician Will Habbal playing to passers-by and interested locals in the front of Camden retailer Shoe Talk. A music gig with a difference. Will was doing a great job on  a difficult stage competing with the traffic noise just a couple of metres away on Camden's main street.  (I Willis)


The more interesting music sites were a clothing boutique, a shoe store, an interior design store and shopping arcade.

Local boys from the band The Shang entertained the crowd at the Plough and Harrow Hotel with a mix of funk and rock. The pub was packed with an obviously strong local following for this band of young spunks.  The hot young local spunk who is the lead singer will have trouble keeping the groupies away. (I Willis)

There were also the more traditional music venues ranging from local hotels, restaurant and  local cafes.


There were a total 27 artists and musicians made up of solo acts, to quartets and bands.

Country artist Christie Lamb kept the crowd captivated at the Royal Hotel. Christie told tales of Nashville and her tours with big names artists between her own songs and covers. Our own Christie has performed at Tamworth Country Music Festival and toured and performed with the likes of Lee Kernoghan, Keith Urban, the Wolfe Bros and others. (I Willis)


Music genres covered a range of tastes and preferences including jazz, world music,  traditional, country, pop, to folk music.

A less traditional type of music heard in Camden in a less traditional music venue. The shopfront of Sarita's - A Collective Emporium was the stage for the traditional world music duo Vietbambooz. You have to travel a long way to see and listen to this type of traditional folk music. The music sort-of suited the venue with  classy gowns in the shop window providing an interesting backdrop for the crowd.  (I Willis) 

Artists ranged from the professional to up-and-coming music outfits.

The boys from classical music duo Antonio Aguilar being congratulated by a representative of the music organiser at the end of their music set. Traditional classical cellos played by some up-and-coming virtuosoes who might be famous one day on the international music circuit. You saw them first at Shoe Talk Camden. Some of their keenest fans were the Mums who carted their gear at the end of the set when they packed up. (I Willis)

Camden mayor Councillor Lara Symkowiak has said:
This unique festival will showcase the diverse musical performers of our area as well as the variety of venues and shops in the Camden town centre, This is an exciting opportunity to promote Camden as a cultural tourist destination for live music in the region. 
Cafe Michelles in Argyle Street was the stage for young country artists duo Theo and Bel who performed cover for the assembly. One keen fan was entranced by an Elvis cover song they performed and raved about it for days. Watch out for this up-and-coming duo in the future and you saw them here first. (I Willis)

A map showing the venues was located here, An event poster is located here,

The city-style coffee lounge and trendy bar Barenz was the stage for local country artist and songwriter Jemma Beech. Jemma regularly performs in the local area and started performing at 16 years of age. She recently toured with the country due the Sunny Cowgirls. Watch the gig guide for Barenz which is a regular performance space for local artists. (I Willis)


A full list of artists and venues is located here.

Upstairs@Freds is located in the old Whiteman's Building and was the stage for Peter McWhirter Band. Peter has been performing locally for many years and come along way. Upstairs@Freds was the brainchild of local identity Steve Wisbey and has taken up a space that faithfully restored by a former restaurant owner is a local music venue. (I Willis)

Live and Music facilitators were walking around all afternoon to make sure the venues worked well.



Facilitators interviewed some fans seeking feedback. One comment from one fan was that promoters need to advertise the event more widely.

Event organisers sponsors and road crew for Macarthur Events relax listening to Helen Perris at Upstairs@Freds. The guys looked after the sound and lighting at each stage venue in what looked like cramped and difficult circumstances. The road crew are always an essential element of any great music gig. (I Willis)

Talking around the area to those who attended the festival they were very impressed. I have heard comments like 'it is about time' and 'long overdue'. 'Great local talent'. 'The venues were great'. 'When is the next one'. Congratulations to the organisers and sponsors for a great all round effort.


Saturday, 10 June 2017

Menangle (Camden Park) Gate Lodge


Menangle (Camden Park) Gate Lodge c2009 (MPHM)


Menangle Gate Lodge has historical significance as one of the pair of gate lodges built by the Macarthur Onslows for the Camden Park Estate.

Today (together with the lodge at the entrance near Camden) provides evidence of the former extent of the estate (one of the most significant colonial properties in Australia) as well as demonstrating the architectural embellishments thought appropriate to large estates in the late 19th century. 

The building also has aesthetic significance as an attractive and largely intact example of a "Arts and Crafts" style estate cottage in the region and also for its associations with the architectural firm of Sulman & Power, which designed many buildings on the estate and in the adjacent Menangle Village.

The cottage's aesthetic qualities are further enhanced by its attractive rural setting and siting adjacent to the remains of the original Estate gates and driveway.

The Gate Lodge is a single storey weatherboard cottage with a hipped and gabled tiled roof and brick chimneys, one of which has a decorative patterned brick base. 

The gables have timber battening and the north gable covers a small porch with timber lattice work and frieze, while the eastern gable projects on brackets. 

Beneath the east gable is a corbelled bay window with a small panel at the top. The doors have small pane transom lights. The three panel, half-glazed front door is off a small porch at the south east corner. 

On the gables are plaques bearing (different) coats of arms and the mottos "FESTINA LENTE" (to the east) and "FIDE ET OPERA" (to the north). 

One of these plaques was moved from the gate lodge at the other entry to Camden Park. The property still retains a large part of the original picket fence but this is being renewed.
There is a fibro extension to the rear (south west), the original verandah flooring was replaced (20 November 1990) and other maintenance items include: fibro replaced on northern lattice enclosed porch, roof re-tiled and fence renewed.


From 'The Menangle News' Volume 19, No 9, December 2009.