1 February 2023

Gunning stations itself as new arts hub ... all aboard for 4 February

| Sally Hopman
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Nine people at railway station

It’s full steam ahead to make the old Gunning Railway Station a new regional arts hub thanks to (from left) Mark Bradbury from Southern Tablelands Arts (STA), Gunning local and national treasure Max Cullen, Rose Marin from STA, Susan Brindle from STA, Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman, Upper Lachlan Shire Council’s Lauren Woodbridge, Gunning artist Margarita Georgiadis, Michelle Storey from the STA and Councillor John Searl. Photo: Supplied.

Once it was the meeting place for people going to and from Gunning: the old railway station.

When patronage petered out, and its future looked grim, Southern Tablelands Arts (STA), Transport for NSW and some artistic Gunning folk got together to track a better future for it.

Developed as a new arts and culture hub for a region not always well endowed with its share of culture. the station now plays host to a variety of events, all designed to bring the arts to the people.

The first major event will be this Saturday, 4 February, with the inaugural Gunning Arts Open Day.

One of the highlights will be the SnapWrite exhibition, where works from photographers around the region, capturing the beauty of the Upper Lachlan Valley, will go on display in the station’s main waiting room and ladies’ waiting room.

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Original watercolours, gouache and ink drawings of native Australian birds by Gunning artist Margarita Georgiadis will be on display in the former parcels room from 11 am to 3 pm.

Visitors will also be treated to live music throughout the day, including from local favourites the Woodland Wanderers, a four-piece ensemble of musicians from Gunning, Dalton and Queanbeyan, performing on clarinet, drums and mandolin.

A music-makers workshop has also been organised for the day, where visitors will be encouraged to use recycled materials to create a musical instrument – and play along with the Woodland Wanderers. This workshop will run from 11:15 am to midday in the Southern Tablelands Arts marquee.

From 2 pm, the Aeolus Wind Trio will perform in the historic Gunning Courthouse in a concert organised by the Gunning Focus Group.

Three musicians

The Aeolus Wind Trio, (from left) Jodie Petrov (flute), David Whitbread (bassoon) and Lis Hoorweg (clarinet), will perform in the historic courthouse this Saturday, 4 February, at the Gunning Arts Open Day. Photo: Gunning Focus Group.

The trio will perform several pieces, all designed to take you back to the days when rail was king, at least in Gunning. Some unusual pieces will also be on the program, including a sailor’s hornpipe in the style of Bach and a baroque trio sonata by Johann Joachim Quantz.

Trio bassoonist David Whitbread said the piece would sound superb in the newly refurbished Gunning Courthouse, with its great acoustics.

“It just hangs in the space,” he said. “It will melt you.”

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Throughout the day, there’ll be a host of other activities for all the family, from turning a book into a work of art to the sale of handmade arts and crafts by Creative Gunning and artworks available at the Picture House Gallery in the main street.

Author Ned Manning will also be there, talking about his new book, Painting the Light, at the Picture House Theatre.

For those still around in the evening, a short drive to the village of Dalton will take visitors to the Festival of Small Halls, featuring Emily Lubitz and the Paul McKenna Band. Local performer Megan Baragry will open the show.

For more information about the Gunning Arts Open Day, go to the website.

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