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

Rodeo royalty on show at Scone Charity Rodeo

Australian champions and reality TV stars to saddle up for the 85th annual rodeo in Scone

May 02 2017: The Ausure Scone Charity Rodeo is on this Saturday May 6 at White Park in Scone with the main event kicking off at 5pm. The event will see some of the biggest names in rodeo taking to the arena to compete in events like bull-riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc and barrel racing events.

Stacey Wilburn, one half of the ‘Twin Cowgirls’ from Channel 9’s Travel Guides, will be competing in the breakaway roping and team roping. Stacey, alongside her identical twin sister Mel, have travelled around the country and competed in rodeos and roping events. The two girls recently rose to fame when they took their first overseas trip as hosts of the new Channel 9 show Travel Guides.

Scone’s own Heath Nichols who is the current Australian champion will be competing in the rope and tie event. Heath, who won his first rope and tie title in 2011, has claimed two all-round champion Cowboy titles as well as many other accolades over the last six years.

Shane Kenny, one of the most successful cowboys in Australia with 15 all-round cowboy titles under his belt, is encouraging everyone to get to Scone Charity Rodeo this year, “Scone rodeo is a very exciting event with some of the country’s best cowboys and best bucking stock,” he said. “So, make sure you get your backside down to Scone this weekend as it’s going to be a great evening.”

In 2017 the event is celebrating its 85th year since the first rodeo was held, originally called the Scone Bushman’s Carnival. “2017 is a special year for us and we will be celebrating accordingly,” said Scone Rodeo President, Jade Smith. “This year’s event will be bigger and better than ever before with the addition of a 40sq metre ‘big screen’ that will showcase all the all the thrills and spills of the rodeo.” The screen will stream all the action from the main event and will show instant replays so the crowd will be able to see every moment in all its glory.

While promising an action packed line-up of fun, the 2017 Ausure Scone Charity Rodeo will also be raising money to support BlazeAid. BlazeAid is a volunteer-based organisation that works with families and individuals in rural Australia to help rebuild fencing and structures that have been affected by natural disaster. BlazeAid is currently assisting in Cassilis and Dunedoo areas that were devastated by the destructive Sir Ivan fire that burnt through over 50,000 hectares of land and approximately 5,700 kilometres of fencing in early 2017.

The Ausure Scone Charity Rodeo will kick off on Friday 5th May from 4pm with the Junior Jackpot Rodeo taking place. On the Saturday the event starts at 12pm with all the action from the main event commencing at 5pm. There will be plenty of food stalls as well as live entertainment after the rodeo. Ticket prices are $15 for adults, $8 for children/seniors, $35 for family passes (2 adults, 2 children).

For media enquiries, contact:

Lauren Taylor

Taylor Made Marketing

0477 566 022

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in Events & Festivals

For spectators, the ability to get close to the action provides a thrill not experienced in large arenas. You are literally just metre from all events!

Nestled at the foothills of the Liverpool Range and bounded by the Pages River, The Rosedale Horse Complex offers the perfect location for the annual King Ranges Stockman's Challenage & Bush & Festival.

The three day event highlights the horsemanship and stock handling skills of early Australian stockmen. Preliminary rounds see competitors pitted against each other in the disciplines of horse shoeing, whip cracking, riding bareback through an obstacle course, packing a packhorse as well as stock work and cross country jumping.

Finalists are then required to ride a bucking horse for 8 seconds and catch a wild horse within the specified time limit of 3 minutes, with the winner being named "King of the Ranges."

Complementing the Stockman's Challenge is the Bush Festival with a variety of stalls, display and activities including Cobb & Co Coach rides, cattle dog trials, dog high jump and billy boiling competition.

A highlight this year will be the re-enactment of the life of Archie "Bung" McInnes, a local stockman of the early 1900's who was know as the "King of the Ranges" because of his outstanding horsemanship and stock handling skills and who was the inspiration for the establishment of this event.

The thrills and spills of High Velocity Trick Riding will be front and centre at the upcoming King of the Ranges Stockman's Challenge at Murrurundi on February 24 - 26 2017. Prepare to be amazed by the skills and bravery in this unique and inspirational show which takes horse riding to a thrilling new level.

With booked caravan and camping facilities at the ground you are immersed in the ambiance of the event. If you prefer to be a little further back from the action, you can choose from a number of accommodation options listed on the website: Tickets are available online.


Published in Events & Festivals
Monday, 09 January 2017 12:00

Upper Hunter Country

Only a short 90 minute drive from Newcastle CBD and 3 hours from Sydney, the Upper Hunter Valley offers visitors a true country experience. If you are after a weekend break to escape the hustle and bustle of city life but don't want to venture too far then the Upper Hunter is the ideal location.

Most of the Upper Hunter's generous 18,000 square kilometres is devoted to national parks, nature reserves as well as rural uses like grazing, cropping, dairy farming and horse studs. Before you even leave the highway you will see cows, sheep and goats grazing and horse galloping in the fields.

We have an enticing selection of award winning and boutique epicurean food producers, wineries, cafes and restaurants. There is an annual calendar of festivals and events which includes many diverse horse activities to experience and enjoy.

The region is world famous as the horse capital of Australia and is home to many world-renowned horse studs, and the Australian Stock Horse Society National Headquarters.

The Upper Hunter is also the gateway to the wilderness of the Barrington Tops National Park where you can get lost from the outside world and embrace the rivers, forests and mountainous countryside. Lake Glenbawn also provides for fishing, water skiing and boating, with some gorgeous picnic spots to indulge in sampling the region's food and wines.

The region is one of the most diverse environments in Australia, from western grassland to alpine forests and subtropical zones. There are a wide variety of national parks ranging from comfortable family picnic grounds at Towarri National Park to wilderness areas of the Barrington Tops and Goulburn River National Parks. So whether walking, riding or four wheel driving, there's a place for you.

The Upper Hunter has a wide variety of accommodation from luxury B&Bs to award winning motels, caravan parks, cabins, farm stays and apartments.

Whether you are looking for a short break or a long stay, the region offers an enticing variety of activities. So pack the family, bikes and boats and come on up!

Published in Attractions
Monday, 24 October 2016 00:00

Read up! Scone Literary Long Weekend

The Scone Literary Long Weekend will be held on the first weekend in November, starting Friday 4th and running through to Sunday 6th at the Scone Arts and Crafts Hall.

Coined by local broadcaster and writer Phillip Adams, "Maintain the Page" is the motto for this rural writers and readers get together, emphasising the value and importance of books or reading in general.

Despite the emergence of new technologies, such as ebooks and ebook readers, the printed word remains treasured, whether it is a children's picture book, a coffee table non-fictions book, a novel or a collection of poetry.

Author Graeme Simsion featured at the Literary Long Weekend last year discussing his latest work Rosie Project. The movie of the book is coming out soon. A host of other writers, talkers, wits and raconteurs kept the discussion flowing.

A superb collection of authors will again be on hand at this year to discuss their latest works including Gold Walkley Award winner Ross Coulthart, social researcher and the author Hugh Mackay, ABC Radio National program host Phillip Adams, Australian novelist and screenwriter Courtney Collins, International Rubery Award winner Jo Riccioni, author of the highly acclaimed novel The World Beneath Cate Kennedy and loads more! Visit for the complete lineup.

The weekend is a celebration of the printed word, brought about by the support of sponsors and the hard work of local volunteers. There will be a children's workshop on the Friday with Katrina McKelvey and Kirrili Lonegran, stories recounted by local and visiting advocates and authors, orations and insights, panel discussions, long lunches, lazy Sunday book club and evening soirees.

Local book shop Hunt a Book stocks all the books from the authors win the window the week of the festival.

Only in its infancy, the Scone Literary Long weekend has already established itself as a sophisticated date on the Aussie literary calendar well worth a chapter in any book lover's diary.

Come on up to Scone and immerse yourself in "the word" - whether it be acoustic, printed or digitally enhanced.

Follow the Scone Literary Long Weekend on Facebook and Twitter &


Published in Events & Festivals

It is touted as the Hunter's best street party. So, on the first Saturday in May, tempt your taste buds at the Upper Hunter Wine and Food Affair in Denman.

Fantastic gourmet stalls from local producers and restaurants line Ogilvie Street, while the regions wineries offer tastings and great deals.

With vast variety of dishes from around the globe and some of the finest cheese, jams, chutneys, salami, jerky, vinegar and oils from internationally renowned local producers to name just a few, there is something to please even the fussiest of foodies. But it's not all about the food and wine.

Top class entertainment is a high priority on the day with the lineup including some of the country's leading artists. Street theatre, air show, bands, woodchopping and dancers ass to the overall festival atmosphere on the day. There is also an enormous kids park which includes rides, face painting and clowns.

Buses are available from Maitland, Singleton, Scone, Aberdeen, Muswellbrook and Merriwa on the day ensuring you miss none of the fun.

Entry: Adults $10, kids $5, Wine/Beer glass with three tokens $5.

For more information visit -



Published in Events & Festivals
Tuesday, 07 July 2015 00:00

2015 Aberdeen Highland Games Wrap Up

A record crowd of more than 5000 poured through the gates for the 16th Aberdeen Highland Games. Spectacular sunshine greeted those who'd travelled far and wide for the Scottish festival.

Sixteen bands travelled from across the state, winning huge applause for their performances in individual competitions and in the massed display at the opening and closing of the Games. But it wasn't just the pipe bands that won the hearts of Scot and non-Scot alike in Aberdeen on Saturday.

The Tartan Warriors entertained everyone with their heaving big lifts on the Manhood Stones, tossing the Caber and hurling the Sheaf, their camaraderie and support of each other there for all to see.

The Tug-of-War teams grunted it out on the big rope, some travelling from Glen Innes and Maitland to compete.

The Best Dressed Lassie and Laddie competitions won the hearts of mothers and grandmothers as they watched the parades of tiny tots in their tartan. The Highland Dancers from Lithgow, Armidale and Gunnedah were immaculately dressed in full Scottish garb, not a hair out of place in their tightly coiffed braids and buns, showing agility, strength and stamina as they danced to traditional Scottish songs.

In between competitions and dancing displays, thousands wandered from one stall to the next across Jefferson Park buying Scottish memorabilia, eating an icecream or basking in the sunshine and enjoying reunions with clan members they had not seen for some time.

2015 was a huge hit for the event, can't wait for next year!

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

The Devil Ark Advocates and three cute Tasmanian joeys will be appearing at the Global Village Motorfest from 9am – 2pm on Sunday 9th November 2014.

At the Global Village Motorfest and Fair, enjoy the cars, motorbikes, trucks, stationary motors and military vehicles. Trade and produce stalls, food and refreshments will also be available on site.

Devil Ark Advocates will also have a stall, selling Devil Ark merchandise and spreading the word about the great Tasmanian devil project in the NSW Barrington Tops.  

The conservation status for the Tasmanian devil is endangered, due to a transmissible cancer called Devil Facial Tumour Disease.  The disease has affected the wild population dramatically, with up to 90% of devils eradicated in some areas of Tasmania.

DFTD shows no signs of slowing down and with no vaccine or cure in sight, insurance breeding is recognised as the devil’s best chance of long term survival.  Devil Ark is the largest and most successful breeding facility in Australia, and home to almost 200 healthy, disease-free devils.  Devil Ark devils will repopulate Tasmania once Devil Facial Tumour Disease has run its destructive course.

For further information:
Kayla McLeod
Marketing Assistant, Devil Ark
P: (02) 4340 8611

or visit:

Published in Events & Festivals

The germination of an idea for a writers' festival began when I was unexpectantly invited to listen to some readings from the Warrah Writers' Group late last year. I had never attended one of these functions before and was relieved upon arrival to discover that I knew some of the others in the audience. As the afternoon progressed I was filled with wonder and admiration as people who I had known for years spoke so eloquently about the joys and hardships endured by all of us who live on the land.

The Scone Literary long Weekend is planned for 3 – 6 October this year. It will be the inaugural writers’ festival for Scone, the Horse Capital of Australia. Our mission statement is to promote books and nurture a love of literature, learning and writing. Our motto is 'Maintain the Page', a brilliant quote from Phillip Adams.

In this age of technology where the speed of communication is only restrained by the speed of light and visual images abound, the printed word has maintained significance. Printed words can define our sense of purpose, evoke forgotten memories or carry us away on fantastic journeys of escapism.

A group of like-minded individuals decided earlier this year to invite some authors to discuss their books over a series of literary lunches. Members from local writers’ groups in the Upper Hunter were invited to the discussions and the idea for a literary long weekend was put into action.

There will be a memoir writing course with Ben Taaffe on Friday afternoon at Scone Library followed by a panel debating ‘The Future of the Printed Word’ on Saturday morning.

ABC broadcaster Scott Bevan will officially open the festival on Friday night. He will also be speaking at a literary lunch at the Moonan Pub on Saturday.

Jane Rutter who enthralled the people of Scone a couple of years ago has been invited back to perform ‘An Irish Fantasy’ with flute and harp at the Gundy Hall on Saturday evening. Tickets for Jane Rutter's Concert will be on sale at the mentioned venues from this week.

Literary talks are planned at various food establishments and pubs in Scone on Sunday. Invited authors include Lisa Herbert, author of ‘The Bottom Drawer’ and Zane Hacker, author of ‘Antarctic Sundays’.

An historical walk, tracing the footsteps of Mark Twain, author of ‘Huckleberry Finn’ is planned for Sunday afternoon. Mark Twain caught the train to Scone in 1893, stayed at the Willow Tree Hotel and spoke at The School of Arts Hall. Local writers’ groups will have a reading of selected works in 'A Conversation' on Monday morning.

For more information visit:

Anne Davies is a member of the organising committee for the inaugural Scone Literary Long Weekend.

Published in Events & Festivals
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