Skywriters First ‘Big Gig’

Big Gig poster A4_ general poster LO-RES
See images below

The Skywriters Project‘s first ‘Big Gig’ was held in Parkes, Central Western NSW, on the weekend of 8/9 July 2017. 

Read all about it in our Skywriters Newsletter #2 here >>

POSTER DOWNLOAD: pdf version for printing and distribution [580KB] Big Gig poster A4_ general poster plus dinner dbl sided_FINAL
Become a Skywriter [pdf 348KB]  SkywritersRegistrationForm_Online_vJune2017

Exhibition catalogue and constellation guide [pdf 282KB]: Wiradjuri Murruyang,Scott Towney’s Constellation Art, SkywritersProject2017

WHERE: Parkes Shire Council’s Coventry Room, 25 Bogan Street/ Newell Highway, next to the Parkes Library; and The Dish Cafe, behind the Visitors Centre at the Parkes Observatory, 476 Telescope Road, 20 kms north of Parkes off the Newell Highway.

COST: Daytime events FREE to all registered skywriters, $5 for everyone else. Book on our FB Event or email here.
Evening events: star gazing and dinner @ The Dish Cafe — $30. See menu below. Pre-payment required to The Dish Cafe, BSB 012-800, Acc 498265769. Please email Craig at and he’ll send a tax receipt when he receives payment.

Dinner will be preceded by an inspiring tour of the night sky with three astronomers, Trevor Leaman from Orange, Donna Burton from Coonabarabran, and Les Dalrymple from Billimari near Canowindra. This promises to be an unforgettable night!

The stargazing will, of course, be outside, so rug up! (Craig has promised outdoor heaters.) More star stories indoors over dinner.

ACCOMMODATION: Check out the options in Parkes here >>

Poster: side 1
Big Gig poster A4_ general poster LO-RES

Poster: Side 2
Big Gig poster A4_ dinner LO-RES

Credits: ‘Big Gig’ Poster by Jo Dicksen, Arts OutWest, with support from Maryanne


This event is co-hosted by Big Skies Collaboration, Arts OutWest, and Parkes Shire Council.

SATURDAY, 8 July 2017
1.00 – 1.30 pm
Welcomes, acknowledgements and exhibition opening
Introductions and acknowledgements – Merrill Findlay
Welcome to Parkes – Mayor Cr Ken Keith OAM
Opening of Wiradjuri Murruyang (Wiradjuri Sky World), an exhibition by Scott Towney
(See exhibition catalogue: Wiradjuri Murruyang,Scott Towney’s Constellation Art, SkywritersProject2017)
Continual projection of Wiradjuri constellations on Stellarium
Tea/coffee available throughout the afternoon

1.30 – 2.30 pm
Astronomy, Cultural-tourism & Creative Writing
Chaired by Merrill Findlay (Forbes)
With astronomers Donna Burton (Coonabarabran), Les Dalrymple (Billimari), Peter Starr (Dubbo), and Trevor Leaman (Orange)

2.30 – 3.30 pm
Blogging, web sites, Youtube & social media
Chaired by Val Clark (Dubbo)
Maryanne Jacques (Bathurst) on the AOW strategy
Denise Mills (Millthorpe) on blogs and blogging
Deb Green (Bathurst) on Twitter and Facebook
Sine Dellit – on our Skywriters Facebook group

3.30 – 4.15 pm
Country Newspapers, Journalism & Creative Writing
Chaired by Tracy Sorensen (Bathurst)
Daniel Pickering (Gilgandra)
Yvette Aubusson-Foley (Dubbo)
Raen Fraser (Parkes)
Toby Betts (Orange)

4.15 pm – Star Stories of The Dreaming
introduced by the filmmaker, Ellie Gilbert (Canberra)

6.00 – To The Dish Cafe

6.30 pm – Stargazing and star stories
with astronomers Trevor Leaman, Donna Burton, Les Dalrymple and their telescopes

7 pm till late – Dinner @ The Dish Café with skystories, astro-banter, maybe a few Skywriters reading from their own works, and more stargazing

9.30 – 10.00 am
Skywriters reading from their own work
Calling All Skywriters: video from Skywriter Neville Jennings, who taught in a Parkes Shire school in the early 1960s (14 mins)
Sam Dean (Orange)
Sal Mackean (Parkes)
Phil Leman (Warren)
Leanne Wicks (Bathurst)
Val Clark (Dubbo)
With contributions from other Skywriters, including Annette Irving (Warren), author of ‘Across the Black Soil Plains’

10.00 – 10.15
Floor Talk by Wiradjuri artist Scott Towney about his exhibition, Wiradjuri Murriyang

10.15 – 11.00 am
Editing & Publishing
Chaired by Merrill Findlay (Forbes)
Nicole Matthews, of Nicole Matthews Writing Services, (Eumungerie)
Jane McCredie, NSW Writers Centre, Sydney, via Skype or video

11.00 am – 12.30 pm
Creative Writers & Writers Groups
Chaired by Rochelle Bright – Forbes Writers Group
Dubbo – Val Clark
Gilgandra – Liz McCutcheon
Parkes – Sal Mackean
Orange – Sine Dellit
Condobolin – Tess Kelly Bonnie Gwyn
Grenfell – David Rumps TBC
Isolated rural writers – Hilda Balag

12.30 – 1.00 pm
Open discussion about future directions for our Skywriters’ community, including collaborations with other literary organisations, such as Red Room Poetry, our next ‘Big Gig’ in Dubbo, funding sources … etc

We can continue talking over lunch in a cafe or pub before long-distance travellers take the road home. Oh, and don’t forget to put your suggestions in the Suggestion Box before you leave town!

Credits for top image: detail of a sign on the Newell Highway. Photo by Merrill Findlay 2016.

Page Created 22 June, 2017. Last updated 28 July 2017.