17 February 2022

New Hilltops festival encourages visitors to get off the beaten track

| Edwina Mason
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Lambing Flat Chinese Tribute Gardens in Young

The Lambing Flat Chinese Tribute Gardens in Young will be one of the any-time, self-led sites visitors can visit during the Off The Beaten Track Art & Cultural Trail in the Hilltops region this March. Photo: Hilltops Tourism.

Come March, the new Off The Beaten Track (OTBT) Art & Cultural Trail will bring vibrant music and creativity to the Hilltops region.

This first-ever showcase of the flourishing art and cultural offerings across the NSW South West Slopes is expected to attract hundreds of visitors to the picturesque region.

Running from 9-23 March, the trail will entice art and culture lovers across the towns of Young, Harden-Murrumburrah and Boorowa and the smaller settlements of Jugiong and Murringo as participating creatives, galleries, gardens and home studios open to the public for the two weeks.

The Trail will feature the travelling exhibition of works Paintings from the Collection from the State Library of NSW. Other highlights will include a Bach in the Dark musical performance, a jewellery and art exhibition at the Old Brick Pub and an art exhibition at the 1880s bluestone, The Barracks at Murringo.

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It will be the perfect time for locals to venture out and mingle, providing an opportunity to meet Hilltops established and emerging artists firsthand, discover what inspires them to create and perhaps even purchase a work of art.

Visitors will be able to witness the techniques local artists deploy in an array of mediums including painting, sculpture, photography, jewellery, leather, ceramics, metal and mixed media.

Budding artists can participate in artist-run workshops to create their own pieces. Joy Cornish will host a life drawing class on 11 March and then art, craft and creativity and remake and remodel workshops on 19 March. Victoria Anderson will host classes at Springfield Art in Young from 18-20 March.

The trail may also lead visitors to discover some historic gems of the region, such as Taubman & Webb Trading Post in Murringo. The museum was established by Richard Taubman, and pays tribute to late bushman and WW1 veteran Syd Bayliss.

Taubman Webb Trading Post in Murringo

Taubman Webb Trading Post in Murringo is a tribute to the late bushman and WW1 veteran Syd Bayliss, open 12-20 March for the Off The Beaten Track Art & Cultural Trail. Photo: Hilltops Tourism.

Mr Taubman was a 13-year-old school boy who wanted to learn to make his own stock whip for cattle work on the family property at Murringo, when he first met Mr Bayliss in 1973. The meeting changed his life and today, Mr Taubman exhibits a passion for Australian bush craft and the ability to make fine plaited whips, walking sticks, belts and more.

Walking into Taubman & Webb Trading Post in Murringo – the small circa 1820s settlement east of Young – is like stepping back two centuries. Amid the smell of leather, visitors are invited on a journey through two generations – the first travelling across states in a wagonette and four-in-hand (horse-drawn carriage) as a hawker and the second who followed in his footsteps with a 1980 Landcruiser and trailer.

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Visitors will stumble on charming local shopping opportunities, like the Quirky Crow in Jugiong with its unique range of handmade offerings. Housed in a former 1950s service station on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River, the now picturesque establishment is one of the most popular spots in the Hilltops.

Community groups are also featured in the OTBT program with charming musical performance Silo Sounds by the children of Murrumburrah Public School and Trinity Catholic Primary School, a Southern Cross Cinema movie program, the Young and District Multicultural Association Harmony Day Gala Dinner and Dance, Young Regional Conservatorium’s St Patrick’s Day Celtic music performance and more.

The Rustic Maze and Country Garden at Monteagle

The Rustic Maze & Country Garden at Monteagle will be open 18-20 March as part of the Off The Beaten Track Art & Cultural Trail. Photo: Bohemian Wild Photography.

A rustic maze, a writing competition, an Autumn croquet carnival, a farmer’s market and a truck and tractor show all form part of the hive of activity set to take over the region for the Off The Beaten Track Art & Cultural Trail.

Make a day of it, or a weekend, take a round trip from Canberra either through Boorowa and Murringo and onto Young, Harden and Jugiong, or in the opposite direction, starting with breakfast at the Long Track Pantry or the Sir George.

If you want to plan a trip, a detailed itinerary and further information is available on the Southern Tablelands Arts website.

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