Condo SkyFest 2019

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.

CondoSkyFest 2019 poster
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.”

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.

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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.

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

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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