Upper Lansdowne Country Farm

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On March 12, the Upper Lansdowne community will host a Country Fair. The theme of this event is Sustainability, Past and Possible. Sharyn Munro shares details about some of the Fair’s upcoming activities.

Hi Sharyn. The Upper Lansdowne community is organising a Country Fair for March 12. Who are the hardworking committee members?

It’s a special committee offshoot of the Upper Lansdowne Memorial Hall Committee Inc., with a few ring-ins like myself. Its members are Richard Coleman, Ian and Sue Allan, Robyn and Roger Oliver, Phillip Kennedy, Julian Laing, and me. Other community members who attend meetings as needed are Sue Brook and Al and Helen Breingan.

Where will the fair be held?

In our scenic little Upper Lansdowne village, in and around the Memorial Hall, a large, beautifully preserved traditional 1925 timber building. The action will flow into the surrounding fields and over the road to the charming St Barnabas Anglican Church and grounds. The Fair is part of ongoing efforts to make the Hall more useful to and used by the community and we hope this Fair will become an annual event.

We also want to entice the wider Manning population to visit our “Valley of the Views”. Already renowned for The Upper Lansdowne Players’ shows, we are now convincing international musical acts to stop over between festivals, to perform and enjoy Valley hospitality.

Our background aim is always to raise funds for the upkeep and improvement of the Hall – currently for a new commercial kitchen! Gates open from 10am – 4pm.

What are some of the activities the fair offers that you feel will be most popular?

The past ways of rural life, some of which fairgoers can try their hand at, some they can watch: separating the cream from the milk, butter churning, ice cream making, goat milking, goats’ cheese making, corn shelling and cracking, wool processing, spinning, rope making, and old machinery in operation.

There will be stalls with repurposed fabric creations and recycled timber products, and who knows what will appear in the Upcycled Art Competition, for adults and kids, run by local artist Sue Brook. This will go on display in the church, and people have until Saturday 11th to get creative before binning – and get their entries in. Email Sue at suebrookartist@hotmail.com or call her on 6556 2966.

The Fair will also showcase local craft, from jewellery to felting, and the many great fresh foods and food products offered by the Manning, like the healthy taste treats of Upper Lansdowne’s own Warinyan Farm’s fermented foods and Comboyne Culture’s unique cheeses, and much more, from honey to herbs to wine.

There’s a strong sustainability element to this fair. Why was it important to include this element?

We didn’t want it to be just another market day, but to present rural life as it was, and as it might be. The way rural life was conducted in the past was often inherently sustainable, smaller scale, family-run, keeping a necessary eye on preserving the land and its resources for future generations.  It was a harder manual life, but technology need not mean a loss of those values, whilst easing the workload. As the Manning becomes a more popular rural lifestyle area, knowledge is needed of new ways of dealing with ex-farmland, of not increasing the large problem of introduced plants like Camphor Laurel, Privet, Setaria etc.!

For example, we’ll have advisors on and species for sale of non-invasive bamboo as a highly suitable sustainable building material. With the right information, we can care for our rural areas better, mend past mistakes and avoid or make less new ones.

We are expecting MidCoast Council to also have input. And as my three books have sustainability as the underlying theme woven through the laughs or the tears, I’ll be there to sign them and chat to fairgoers.

It’s often the case that people don’t consider “sustainability” in terms of technology, or “futuristic” principles. What topics of this nature will you embrace at the Fair?

As everyone wants to reduce power bills, we will have helpful local solar power supplier Mackies there, and Mid Coast Skylights with displays and advice on various types of skylights to let natural lighting into rooms instead of switching on electric lights. We will also have a working 3D printer, the future of so much of our manufacturing.

How will you cater for children on the day?

There’ll be puppet shows, pony rides, a baby animal petting corner, a jumping castle, butter making, trying hand churned ice cream, making bracelets, and special kids’ activities and games throughout the day. Al and Helen Breingan will run the rather naughty but fun Splat the Rat game and competition. We assure parents it’s a stuffed fabric rat, not a real one!

What refreshments will be available?

There’ll be scones with jam and cream, delicious gluten-free wraps and freshly made sandwiches, hearty bacon and egg sandwiches, steak and onion sandwiches and sausage sandwiches, drinks, ice creams and ice blocks. Janeece from Taree’s Wild Fig Café will be there making her superb coffees, sustainably and ethically sourced.

How much will entry to the Fair cost?

Nothing! It’s free to wander, look, laugh, listen, and in many cases, join in and have a go. Individual providers of activities like the pony rides and baby animal petting corner do charge.

More info?

Contact Richard Coleman, co-ordinator who is taking registrations, allotting sites, etc. Email dickc@bigpond.com or phone on 0400 237 817. Also, check out the hall website:  www.upperlansdownehall.org.au

Thanks Sharyn.

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