Preparations for Gloucester’s Rural Women’s Gathering in October are moving along at a cracking pace.
More than 300 women are expected to arrive in Gloucester for the Gathering, which is running from 14 to 16 October 2011. Committee Chair, Julie Lyford, is thrilled with the progress and very grateful for the many offers of assistance made by the people of Gloucester.
The Gathering is conducted with the assistance of the Rural Women’s Network. Each year different NSW regions submit tenders to bid for for the Gathering. The Gloucester bid was tendered with the focus on sustainability and sourcing produce and resources from the local region.
The purpose of the Gathering is to bring rural and regional women together for a weekend of fun, friendship and learning. This year the theme is ‘Friendship and Dreaming under the Bucketts’. The Bucketts are the dramatic rock formation that borders Gloucester on its western side.
Cr Lyford said, “Sustainability and treading lightly on our earth is the very strong message we want to deliver at the Gathering.”
Workshops conducted during the weekend include a ‘Living Sustainably Tour’, where delegates will visit an amazing property which was designed using organic guidelines and features solar standalone, a rainforest, reed bed sewage system, orchard, vegetable and herb garden, heritage poultry and ornamental game birds. They are completely self sufficient, and it is an inspirational place to visit.
Other workshops cover topics as diverse as Climate Change, Mind Mapping, Wine Appreciation, Beekeeping and Belly Dancing! The choice is incredibly varied and has been specifically designed to offer options that cover mind, body and soul.
The Gathering will have its opening night on Friday 14 October. Featured is one of Australia’s Living Treasures, and the Mid North Coast’s own, Les Murray. To cap off a night of fun, Les is joined by local, award winning bush poets, Gaby Colquhoun and Claire Reynolds.
“Claire and Gaby are absolutely hilarious,” said Cr Lyford. “We have also invited a young, Gloucester resident, Wyatt Hall, to entertain us on Friday night.“
There are some truly inspirational speakers coming to Gloucester in October. The Gathering Committee is thrilled to have such diversity, which will inspire delegates and entice them to think.
“We are very fortunate and grateful to have Lauren Anderson of the Collaborative Consumption movement presenting to us about the rapid explosion in traditional sharing, bartering, lending etc. using technology and social networking as a key tool. Not only that, but Mahboba Rawi of Mahboba’s Promise, is an inspirational woman with an extraordinary story to share. I had one woman ring me to tell me that Mahboba is the reason she is coming to the Gathering as she heard her speak in Orange and came away with a whole new vision,” said Cr Lyford.
Father Chris Riley, of Youth off the Streets is participating in a Forum entitled ‘Rural Youth – We Can Make a Difference’. The goal of this forum is to achieve strategies that delegates can take back to their communities, addressing the issues that are affecting regional and rural youth.
Pippa Robinson, local artist and sculptor, with a team of volunteers, is building a wonderful rainforest to decorate the Recreation Centre for the Gathering’s Gala Dinner on Saturday night. Guests will enter an incredible atmosphere of the Gondwana rainforest – with a difference.
Sonia Muir of the Rural Women’s Network explains that the Gatherings are so much more than a conference.
“They are a celebration of what the host town and region has to offer and provide an opportunity to stretch your thinking, connect with decision-makers and service providers, explore new places, share stories, build friendships access information and break the everyday routine.”
The Rural Women’s Network is mindful that often rural living involves a strong partnership. In recognition of this, there is a partners program on offer where men can visit local producers and take in a fantastic tour of the Copeland Gold mine.
Registrations are filling up quickly, so get on board soon.
For further information, please go to www.gloucesterwomensgathering.com, contact the Gloucester Visitors Information Centre on Centre on 6558 1408 or www.visitgloucester.com.au. Ruth Johnson on 0418 763 041 or 02 6558 3195.