Upper Hunter Country

Upper Hunter Country

Around five thousand people enjoyed the ‘true blue’ atmosphere of the Merriwa Rosto Festival of the Fleeces over the long weekend. 

The town was decorated in true blue fashion with Merriwa Pharmacy winning first prize in the window decorations competition, followed by Merriwa Sports Club and the newsagency News Xpress.

In its 27th year the festival continues to celebrate the importance of wool and the Upper Hunter’s rural and agricultural heritage.

The biggest event was on Saturday beginning with Kamilaroi elder Aunty Rosalind giving the Welcome to Country, with a hundreds market stalls and plenty of entertainment and displays to enjoy.

At noon two hundred Dohne Merino sheep in red socks lead the parade through town, followed by classic cars and machinery, businesses, school and community floats.

The top parade competition winners were the Merriwa Springtime Show float.

The crowd also enjoyed demonstrations of shearing, traditional blade shearing, and working sheep dog demonstrations, Roar Petting Zoo, Crocodile Adventures Reptile Show, vintage vehicle displays, entertainment by the Waste Wrappers Show and Sean Murphy, gum boot throwing and ‘sheep poo’ spitting competitions, then team penning and the a fully choreographed fireworks finale by Ka Boom at the Merriwa Showground.

The high jump competition for big dogs was won by Tatar with a leap of 2.22 metres and Milo won the smaller dog competition clearing one metre.

In the Hanging of the Quilts raffle, first prize was won by Lisa Green and second prize went to Debbie Hayden. In the viewers’ choice competition most votes went to Julie Cooper’s big earthmoving machinery quilt with Shirley Hunt coming in second for the candlewicked quilt.

The opening event on Friday night at the Merriwa RSL was a great success attracting one hundred people. It was officially opened by the Land Sydney Royal Showgirl 2017 Maisie Morrow and there were performances by vocalist Victoria Bolonino and Everyday People.

The recipient of the Festival Pam Powers Award for 2017 went to Richard Magner, a dedicated member of the Festival organising committee who with his family supports many Merriwa community events. The award is presented in memory of Pam Power, mayor of the former Merriwa Shire Council, and one of the founders of the Merriwa Festival of the Fleeces in 1990.

The major festival raffle was announced at the opening night event and won by Jane Callinan, second prize going to Chloe Leake, and third to Ross Bishop.

On Sunday morning, nearly 100 people attended the Bush Poets Breakfast compered and judged by Ellerston grazier and bush poet Tim McLoughlin. First prize for Best Original Poem went to Wendy Sedden and second prize for nest presentation of someone else’s poem to Rhonda Tallmarsh. Encouragement awards went to Alan Ryan, Caroline Maxfield, Rick Wright and Karina McLoughlan.

Chair of the Festival of the Fleeces Committee, Councillor Ron Campbell said the organising committee had done a great job bringing together a variety of family-friendly activities and entertainment.

“Monies raised from the Festival are donated to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and the Merriwa Volunteer Rescue Association who provide essential services in the region,” Cr Campbell said.

“Thanks to all the supporters and sponsors.”

Naming Rights Sponsor: Rosto Olives

Platinum Sponsors Coal and Allied and Upper Hunter Shire Council

Gold Sponsors: Paradise Country and Ka-Boom Fireworks

Silver Sponsors: Gordon Martin Bulk Hauling, Mantra Aqua, Webimble Wagyu, David and Paula Stevenson, Campbell Family of Merriwa.

Bronze Sponsors: MAM Advisory Group, Merriwa IGA, Merriwa CWA, Merriwa Home Timber and Hardware, Merriwa Royal Hotel, Merriwa RSL, Lenore’s Quilting, Jake A. McIntyre

Major media partner: NBN New England.

Media partners: New England Lifestyle Magazine, Merriwa Ringer, Hunter Valley Printing, Outback Press, Hunter Valley News.

Open Community Sponsors, Donators, and Supporters: Caroline’s Café, Di’s Clothing Patch, Elders-Pitt and Sons, Max’s Country Cuts, Merriwa Pharmacy, James Wightman, Merriwa RSL, RM Property & Livestock, Merriwa Auto Electrical, Merriwa Welcoming Centre, Merriwa Tyre & Service Centre, Merriwa Petroleum & AG Supplies, Merriwa Newsagency, John Flood Estate Agents Scone, Merrifield Farm, Regional Australia Bank, Merriwa Cross Country.

Wayne Bedggood MAYOR

For further comment:  Cr Ron Campbell on 0428 485153

For further information:  Merriwa VIC on 6521 7046

Published in News
Wednesday, 27 April 2016 00:00

Flock on up! Merriwa Festival of the Fleeces

Do not miss out on a place at some of the most popular Merriwa Festival of the Fleeces events during the long weekend festival - 10 to 12 June 2016.

The Merriwa Tyre & Service Centre ‘Fashions of the Fleeces’ First Night includes a fashion parade - supported by Australian Wool Innovation and modelled by locals, a performance by top bush poet Robyn Sykes and music from party band ‘Everyday People’. This great evening at the Merriwa RSL from 6pm, Friday 10 June is sure to sell out so book now at

Local poets are encouraged to get up and have a go at the Bush Poetry competition held on Sunday morning with a prize pool of $500 to be won. You have plenty of time to get your creative juices flowing and work up a winning entry. The competition will be compered and judged by Robyn Sykes the 2012 Australian Women’s Bush Poetry champion renowned for her energetic renditions. To register your interest to compete in this event email Upper Hunter Shire Council Tourism and Events Coordinator, Jan Sinclair at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling (02) 6540 1300.

Come and join the fun of the Bush Poets Breakfast from 9am to11am Sunday 12 June 2016, at the CWA Hall in Bettington Street, Merriwa. Entry at the door is $5. Book your place in Saturday’s Festival Parade or the window display competition for local businesses by downloading the entry form at

Don’t forget to use the 2016 Merriwa Festival of the Fleeces theme “Cast off”. Festival of the Fleeces Chairperson, Councillor Deirdre Peebles said “Cast off” was a great theme for participants to play with. “The wool industry in NSW is the core of our festival, but “Cast off” is about more than knitting. It also conjures up visions of fishing, casting nets off, caterpillars shedding their cocoons and becoming butterflies, or recycling and turning old things into new,” Cr Peebles said.

For more updates visit like the Facebook Page or follow them on Twitter @merriwafleeces

Published in Events & Festivals

Merriwa Festival of the Fleeces is on this June Long Weekend!

Festival of the Fleeces is celebrating 25 years this weekend at Merriwa with 3 days of family fun and entertainment. The Festival is Merriwa's largest event attracting over 5000 visitors from all over the state who come to experience the country event. For the 25th year, the traditional Running of the Sheep will lead the Saturday parade which is a sight not to miss, with 200 hundred sheep in red socks run down the main street in Merriwa.

All day Saturday there will be plenty to do and see with exhibitions of knitting, wool spinning, shearing, vintage vehicle display, working sheep dogs and blacksmithing, team penning challenge, live music and around 150 market stalls including home made produce, arts and craft, face painting and food and coffee! There is also loads for the kids to do with the Kids Corner on the corner of Bettington & Vennacher Street. Activities for the kids include the ROAR Petting Zoo, GJ's Laser Tag, mini Jeep rides, jumping castle, reptile show, Sparkles the Clown and lots more. Saturday will end with Kaboom Fireworks around 6pm and afterwards it is the Battle of the Sexes Cut Out Competition.

Sunday starts off with the Sheep Yard Dog Trials and the Upper Hunter Team penning. At 9am enjoy the 2 hour entertaining Bush Poets Breakfast with the world's best Bush Poet Carol Heuchan. League Tag from 11am onwards will involve the Merriwa team taking on rivals Denman.

All of the money raised from the Festival is donated to the Westpac Rescue helicopter Service and Merriwa Volunteer Rescue Association who provide essential services in the region.

The full festival program is available at the Scone and Merriwa Visitor Information Centres.

For more information contact the Merriwa Visitor Information Centre on 6521 7046.


Published in Events & Festivals