4 March 2023

Head off the beaten track for a culturally immersive Hilltops adventure

| Edwina Mason
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Undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of the Hilltops region – the small village of Jugiong – serves as a perfect gateway to the activities planned for the March Off the Beaten Track Art and Cultural Trail. Photo: Destination NSW.

North, south, east and west – art is reaching into all corners of the NSW Hilltops region northwest of Canberra in March as part of the appropriately named Off the Beaten Track Art and Cultural Trail.

This is the event’s second year, and the expanded 2023 program includes activities and attractions in and around the region’s main towns of Young, Harden and Boorowa and extends into the outlying villages of Jugiong, Rye Park, Galong, Bendick Murrell, Koorawatha, Wombat, Murringo, Monteagle and as far west as Bribbaree.

This celebration of the arts runs from 8 March to 22 March and features the works of local creatives in many fields.

The more than 60 listed art and cultural events and attractions include exhibitions, workshops, concerts, author talks, cinema screenings, and anytime activities.

They are being held in studios, galleries, village halls, parks, schools, cinemas, some local businesses and places of interest.

And on the eve of the official opening comes the news that four of the Hilltops villages have received grants to assist their participation in the event.

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The villages of Bribbaree, Koorawatha, Monteagle and Rye Park were each granted $5000 which enables each village to activate a series of workshops in their communities.

The money will also fund four, free, scenic bus tours to bring passengers from major towns to the outlying villages.

The funding comes from the State Government’s $25 million Reconnecting Regional NSW – Community Events Program which aims to promote economic and social recovery across all 93 regional NSW Local Government areas.

The grants have been welcomed by Hilltops mayor Margaret Roles.

“It is wonderful that these villages have received funding to enable them to take part in our art and cultural trail in the beautiful Hilltops,” she said.

“The grants will help create uplifting social activities for community members and attract more people to their villages to enjoy all they have to offer.”

Among programs for the recipient villages are:

Murringo Barracks

The stately Murringo Barracks are opening during the 15-day arts festival with an exhibition entitled “Songs of the Land” featuring artists Therese Crowe, Wendy Hartley and John Sharman. Photo: Murringo Barracks.

Bribbaree: Free circus workshops with gymnastics, juggling, plate twirling; two one-hour sessions teaching the art of digital production with a green screen; a basic art class for beginners; a waste to art competition and Bribbaree Public School’s open day to celebrate art.

Koorawatha: Blind Freddy’s Bushranger Tours and a free paint a gum tree creative workshop.

Rye Park: A Rye Park Village Festival with food, music and art workshops in drawing, waste to art and cyanotype photography.

Monteagle: Wiradjuri Country Stories: Community & Cultural Practices: art activities, food and music; Indigenous talks with local elder Aunty Enid; traditional weaving workshop.

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Other trail highlights include a variety of artist workshops, the inaugural [and a national first] Silo Arts Festival in Murrumburrah, the 15th Annual Sculpture, Wood & Big Art Exhibition and a Hilltops Regional Theatre Company play.

The free scenic bus tours are being provided to help facilitate transport to the multiple activities taking place at all points of the Hilltops compass.

Each tour has a different itinerary and bookings can be secured through the Young Visitor Information Centre by calling 02 6384 2461 or emailing [email protected].

Passengers can buy food along the way and are invited to bring a water bottle as water taps are available at most stops.

For more details of the cultural and artistic offerings see the full program here.

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