Condo SkyFest

Condo SkyFest 2020

The third Condo SkyFest is scheduled for the weekend of 4-5 of September, 2020.

Condo SkyFest 2019

NEW! Visit the 2019 SkyFest exhibitions: Strong Aboriginal Man by Marion Wighton-Packham, and Weaving the Night Sky by Bev Coe, Mary Dargin Wighton, Sharon Dargin, Charmain Coe and Zannette Coe.

The Wiradjuri Study Centre hosted its second CondoSkyFest at the Wiradjuri Study Centre on Saturday 19 October, 2019. The event was opened by Lachlan Shire Council‘s General Manager, Greg Tory.

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The 2019 SkyFest poster features the Seven Sisters by fibre artists of the Condo SistaShed, as exhibited at the 2018 SkyFest. Photo by SkyFest Coordinator Tennille Dunn, WCC. Poster design by Steven Cavanagh and Maryanne Jaques, Arts OutWest.

In his short speech, Greg Tory confirmed his Council’s commitment to working with the Study Centre to grow SkyFest into a major celebration of Wiradjuri culture and of the Shire’s unpolluted night sky and wide horizons.

Highlights of the 2019 SkyFest included dancing by Galari Bila Waga Dhaanys, stargazing and storytelling with Donna the Astronomer (Donna Burton) from Milroy Observatory and Wiradjuri storyteller Steve Taylor; an introduction to Three Rivers University Department of Rural Health (UDRH); two exhibitions, Weaving The Night Sky by master weaver Bev Coe and the women of the Condo SistaShed, and Strong Aboriginal Man by photographer Marion Wighton-Packham; and a Sunday brunch at Seven Sisters Ridge, a traditional knowledge site near Yarrabandai.

“Skyfest provides an opportunity for all of us to come together and share our skystories and maintain links with culture,” Marion Wighton-Packham said. “It showcases local art and talented people within remote communities [and] also keeps us connected to Country and our ancestors.”

Although the 2019 event was small and focused on the local Aboriginal community, it allowed Tennille Dunn, the Study Centre’s Tourism Officer and SkyFest coordinator, to test some new and exciting ideas for a bigger and better SkyFest in 2020.

The 2020 event is scheduled for 4-5 September. The proposed program includes a sit-down dinner with indigenous food, talks by high profile Wiradjuri speakers, exhibitions, music, dance performances, interactive projections and stargazing with indigenous and non-indigenous astronomers. Tennille will announce the full program when funding and sponsorships are confirmed.

“For us 2020 is a Make-or-Break year!” Tennille admitted. “We need SkyFest to be a very special experience for everyone involved so that it becomes a major annual event on the Inland Astro-Trail.”

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Seven Sisters Ridge, Yarrabandai, NSW, as seen from the Parkes-Condobolin Road, which follows the Transcontinental Rail route. Photo by Merrill Findlay, 2019.

Condo SkyFest 2018

Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation (WCC) hosted its first Condo SkyFest on 9-10 November 2018 with support from Big Skies Collaboration.

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Poster by Steven Cavanagh, Arts OutWest, with image by Bourke firefighter and astrophotographer Scotty Willoughby. Our thanks for your beautiful work.

Download the poster as a jpeg here and  pdf here >>

This historic event was held at the Wiradjuri Study Centre, Cnr Cunningham & McDonnell Street, Condobolin, NSW, to celebrate 60,000+ years of astronomy on southeastern Australia’s inland plains.

The Friday evening program featured traditional dancing with Galari Bila Waga Dhaanys led by Dubbo dancers Jamie Mclennan and Adam Wizeman, and a guided tour of the night sky with astronomer Trevor Leaman and members of Central West Astronomical Society. Plus two exhibition openings: Scott ‘Sauce’ Towney’s Wiradjuri Skyworld, or Wiradjuri Murriyang, and Seven Sistas Weavings by master weaver/Big Skies Collaborator Bev Coe and fibre artists from the Condo SistaShed. The Sistas’ exhibition is a creative response to Seven Sisters Ridge near Yarrabandai and the related star cluster Mulayndynang, the Pleiades or Seven Sisters, and to other Wiradjuri star constellations.

WCC’s Executive Director Ally Coe hopes the Condo SkyFest will become an annual event. He sees it as an opportunity to pass on traditional sky lore, inspire a new generation of stargazers and celebrate the wonders of Condobolin’s dark nights. “SkyFest also has the potential to attract thousands of astro-tourists to our Shire every year and benefit the town in so many ways,” he said.

Visit Big Skies Collaboration and Condo SkyFest on Facebook for updates.

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The Lachlander, 16 November 2018, p. 3.
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Condobolin Argus, 14 November 2018, p. 6.
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Condo SkyFest was initiated through our Big Skies Collaboration‘s Wiradjuri Skywriters Pilot Project with financial support from the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund and  Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation, with in-kind support from Arts OutWest and other groups. We hope, it will grow from a local celebration of 60,000+ years of astronomy in Wiradjuri Country into a major astro-event on our Inland Astro-Trail.

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Page created 4 June 2018. Last updated 6 April 2020.

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