Art revitalising a rural Kandos community

Performance, sound, cabaret, interactive and electronic arts, video, photography, and installation will feature in a festival that celebrates the unlikely friendship between a small country town and a contemporary arts community.

When the Kandos Cement works, a major employer and backbone of the town, closed in 2012 the future of the town was uncertain. A group of artists rose to the challenge of resurrecting a rural community after the closure of a major industry, and Cementa was born. The arts organisation was founded to cultivate an art culture and raise the profile of the town to improve the visitor economy, attract new residents and contribute to rural regeneration.

Since the end of 2017 artists have been visiting Kandos on residency, getting to know the town, connecting with the people and the landscape and making work in response. A biennial festival of contemporary art has also been a feature of the group’s work.

The festival will again be held this year over 4 days and nights, from 10am Thursday, 21 November to 4pm Sunday, 24 November in venues and locations across Kandos and surrounds. Taking its regional situation as its focus, Cementa celebrates the rich diversity of voices that can be heard within the contemporary arts community.

The heart of Cementa19 is the Artists program with more than 40 artists making, exhibiting and performing work that address the identity, history and current social, environmental and economic context of the town and its region. This year there will be meteors, fireworks, melting sculptures, burning mountains, historical mobiles, industrial ice cream, musical vehicles, a thundering fort, and lots more.

In addition to the 40 artworks exhibited across the town, the festival program will feature both free and ticketed events including performances, exhibitions, workshops, music and several initiatives and larger projects engaging directly with regional communities, artists and culture.

The festival will culminate with a dinner prepared from locally foraged ingredients where the Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation will unfold their two-year journey of discovery: An Artist, a Farmer, and a Scientist Walk into a Bar. This project saw nine artists engaging with farmers, scientists, Aboriginal custodians, and other regional stakeholders who are changing the culture of agriculture, and adapting farming practices and land management in response to drought, climate change, and land degradation.

For more information and the full program visit the website:

Resilient farmers project

A number of landholders in the Capertee Valley are working together to improve drought mitigation and the hydrology of the valley, while at the same time promoting mental health and well-being through increased social activity and community connectivity.

Growing interest in restoring the natural cycling of water and improving resilience have led a number of landholders in the Valley to explore the technique of Natural Sequence Farming. Several have attended training courses at the Mulloon Institute and the community are now collaborating on sharing their knowledge and skills.

As part of the ‘Resilient Farmers’ project Capertee Valley Landcare will be hosting a screening of the ‘2040’ documentary film and a talk about Natural Sequence Farming from 5:30pm to 10pm on Saturday, 2 November at ‘Warramba’, Glen Alice. This event is also supported by Lithgow City Council, Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) and CEMENTA.

Natural Sequence Farming is an agricultural practice developed by Peter Andrews which aims to re-establish the natural function, fertility and resilience of agricultural landscapes. One of its primary aims, and main benefits, is a landscape that harvests more water, holds more water, and uses available water more effectively, resulting in increased primary production.

Capertee Valley Landcare have invited Peter Hazel from the Mulloon Institute to present a talk about rehydrating the landscape using Natural Sequence Farming methods. Peter will share their success story and discuss the possibilities of replicating this project in the Capertee Valley.

Image credit: Terrie Wallace

The event will also feature cello music by Georg Mertens and friend while the sun sets, surrounded by the spectacular sandstone cliffs in the valley, followed by an outdoor screening of the ‘2040’ documentary film. There’ll be popcorn and choc tops and simple food to buy (like hamburgers). Bring your own drinks and seats or blankets.

This event is free but numbers are strictly limited. For further information or to register please contact Julie Gibson, Capertee Valley Landcare, by email: or on 6379 7317.

Learn about our amphibians

There are around 200 frog species in Australia, many of these endemic. As amphibians frogs rely on the presence of water, they need to keep their skin moist and need water to complete their lifecycle. Not always an easy task on the driest continent on the planet.

Stoney Creek Frog (Litoria wilcoxii, male)

Some species inhabit the wettest parts of our continent, such as tropical rainforests and alpine swamps. Others have developed unique adaptations to take advantage of Australia’s intermittent rainfall patterns. Some species have even colonised the arid interior and survive prolonged dry spells by burrowing for long periods of time and only emerge after heavy rainfall.

Frogs are regarded as very good indicators of water quality and environmental health; their skin is permeable and they are very sensitive to changes in air and water quality. Frog populations in Australia, and around the world, are in decline. This is mainly thought to be a result of climate change, air and water pollution but land clearing, habitat fragmentation, changes in hydrology and disease may also be contributing factors. This is bad news as frogs play an important role in ecosystems, as both as predators and as prey they are an integral part of may food webs.

Want to learn more about these fascinating creatures?

The Mudgee Microscope Group would like to invite all interested to join them for an evening exploring frogs with our guest speaker David Coote, Senior Threatened Species Officer with the Biodiversity and Conservation Division.

We will learn about the range of frog species from the Mudgee Area as well as some interesting facts about frogs in general. David’s talk will also cover the status of frogs worldwide, in Australia and in NSW. We will also look at a case study of the Booroolong Frog and find out what we all can do for frogs.

Frog Night will be held in the Straw Bale Shed, Australian Rural Education Centre on Thursday, 31 October from 6:30-8:30pm. The cost for the evening is $10 and includes dinner (BYO drinks). All welcome but children must be accompanied by an adult.

To register please visit our website:

For further information or to RSVP please contact Agness Knapik, Watershed Landcare Coordinator, on 0435 055 493 or by email:

Birds as a barometer for nature

October 21 to 27 is Bird Week, celebrating the incredible variety of our birds, many that are not found anywhere else in the world, and inspiring Australians to take action and get involved in bird conservation efforts.

Bird Week is held in spring, the season when birds are nesting and breeding and a lot of migratory species return to feed and breed after winter. As birds are more active and visible it’s an ideal time to survey their numbers.

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
Image Credit: Mark Leary

You can contribute to developing an understanding of our local bird species and the trends in their populations by taking part in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count.

The 2019 Aussie Backyard Bird Count will be held from 21-27 October. Now in its sixth year, the citizen science project organised by BirdLife Australia gives a unique insight into bird biodiversity.

The huge data set collected, last year nearly 77,000 people participated and recorded more than 2.7 million birds, provides a snapshot of Australian birds at the same time each year, often from places not usually accessible to surveys, like people’s backyards.

The data, collected all over the country, fills a knowledge gap in understanding more about the bird species that live where people live. Common bird species can be used as an indicator of broader biodiversity trends; changes in their numbers and composition provide an insight into how our wild bird populations are faring and the health of the environment more generally. This informs ecologists and the BirdLife Australia team on where conservation efforts are best placed.

Its a great opportunity to learn more about the birds that frequent your patch and contribute to science. So register and start counting!

To participate simply find a spot to sit – whether in your back yard, local park, patch of bush, your school or even at a sidewalk cafe in town – and note down the number of each species you see in a 20 minute period. Once you have completed your count you can submit it through the online web form or via the free Aussie Bird Count app.

The app works offline and also features a handy Field Guide to help you identify birds you are not familiar with, but you will need to check your survey has been submitted once you are back online.

For more information and tips for your bird survey visit the Aussie Backyard Birdcount website: