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C.W. Stoneking to headline 122nd Blackwood Woodchop & Easter Carnival

March 16th, 2024C.W. Stoneking to headline 122nd Blackwood Woodchop & Easter Carnival

ARIA Award winner C.W. Stoneking will headline this month's popular annual Blackwood Woodchop & Easter Carnival.

ARIA Award winner C.W. Stoneking will headline this month’s popular annual Blackwood Woodchop & Easter Carnival.

The carnival was crowned Winner of Moorabool Shire’s Community Event of the Year 2023.

Now in its 122nd year, the event offers an action-packed day out for the whole family on Saturday, March 30. It features one of the oldest woodchopping competitions in Victoria, attracting competitors from across the state.

The carnival begins with a street parade, followed by a host of activities including tug-o-war, gumboot throwing, pet show and novelty races.

This year’s live music program is absolutely top-notch. One of the fabulous headline acts is none other than ARIA Award winner C.W. Stoneking.

It’s difficult to summarise all that this genre-spanning artist has to offer – old-time bluesman, potent storyteller, songwriter, guitarist and banjo player. C.W. himself describes his style as “Hokum Blues”, a musical brew influenced by pre-war blues, ragtime, vaudevillian tunes, old hillbilly songs, jazz, and calypso.

Another incredible headline act is four-piece band Austral – hot favourites on the folk festival circuit. Austral is a high-energy, Australian tunes band combining didgeridoo, Irish pipes, high powered fiddling, journeying songs and energetic foot percussion.

Also on the bill is Scots singer Fiona Ross. She’ll be joined by fellow songstress Christine Kydd, who’ll be visiting from Scotland. There will be bluegrass from Hardrive, old-time from The Greater Glider Stringband and Celtic tunes from Is the Big Man Within?.

With market stalls, food vans, licensed bars and an abundance of fun, family-friendly activities – the Blackwood Woodchop & Easter Carnival offers something for everyone.

Tickets are on sale now with kids under 15 free of charge. Link: www.blackwood3458.com.au | www.trybooking.com/COPBM

See you in Blackwood.

Songwriters’ retreat series headed to Wombat State forest

March 12th, 2024Songwriters’ retreat series headed to Wombat State forest

Organisers of the Blackwood Collaborative 2024 Artist Series Songwriting Retreats say they’ve staged a coup by gathering the talents of some of Australia’s best songwriters and musicians for a two-day songwriting workshop series to be held in Blackwood.

Organisers of the Blackwood Collaborative 2024 Artist Series Songwriting Retreats say they’ve staged a coup by gathering the talents of some of Australia’s best songwriters and musicians for a two-day songwriting workshop series to be held in Blackwood.

An impressive roster of talented Australian writers will be offering insights into their own song writing processes and helping to guide workshop guests through the often difficult process of getting their own musical ideas realised, Ben Sims says

Among the array of professionals on offer for the weekend retreats will be solo artist Charles Jenkins (pictured above) of ‘Ice Cream Hands’ fame, kicking off the first event of the series on the 18th and 19th of May by hosting “Techniques to help your songs make a more powerful connection with the listener” and singer/songwriter, and member of the beloved indie rock band ‘Clouds’ front woman Jodi Phillis.

The workshop series will also include events focused on film and TV scoring and instrumental composition and arranging, Ben says.

Those keen to book a spot can head to Blackwood-collaborative.com to join the mailing list and check out the full roster of Artists on offer, organisers say.

Blackwood hosts festival of music and culture

November 29th, 2023Blackwood hosts festival of music and culture

The tiny town of Blackwood is getting set to host an impressive line-up of live music and dance when it stages the Blackwood Festival of Music and Culture over December 2-3.

The tiny town of Blackwood is getting set to host an impressive line-up of live music and dance when it stages the Blackwood Festival of Music and Culture over December 2-3.

The line-up preparing to play the Blackwood Hall features the Foghorn Stringband from USA, and includes:

‘Is The Big Man Within’, Greater Glider Stringband, Johnny Can’t Dance, Mick Coates and The Shallow Gravediggers, Rhiz and The Sugarplums, Fingerbone Bill, Pete Daffy Trio, Cross-Eyed Cat, Gumbo Express, The Rummagers, The Strating Sisters, The Free Wheelers, Daffy and Rhiannon and Blue Mount Stringband

There’ll also be workshops and dance including country dance and cajun zydeco dance followed by a dance featuring Foghorn Stringband, Sound Bath meditation, a singer circle trad session, traditional bluegrass, old time, and Irish sessions

Organisers say there’ll also be food trucks and other refreshment options including a cocktail bar.

Energy back-up system for Blackwood

November 20th, 2023Energy back-up system for Blackwood

The Moorabool Shire Council says it's received state government confirmation that construction has begun on an energy back-up system at Blackwood Mineral Springs Caravan Park.

The Moorabool Shire Council says it’s received state government confirmation that construction has begun on an energy back-up system at Blackwood Mineral Springs Caravan Park.

The new energy back-up system is expected to be able to be used during an emergency event, such as a fire or storms.

The system has been funded under the government’s Energy Resilience Systems program, which will fund solar panels, batteries and back-up generators to 23 community buildings located in areas at high risk of bushfire or storm activity.

Moorabool Shire Mayor Cr Ally Munari said it was pleasing Blackwood was one of the 23 areas, as the town could benefit from the energy back-up hub if an emergency situation was to arise.

“Blackwood was identified as a priority town as it was without power for seven days during the June 2021 storms,” Cr Munari said.

“This energy back-up system would have been invaluable then, and if we’re ever in the unfortunate situation that Blackwood experiences a similar event again, having a power source if power goes out will make a big difference to Blackwood residents.

“There was quite a long process to go through between the government, power companies, council, committees of management, landowners and the CFA to get to the stage of construction, so I thank everyone involved in the process for making this happen.”   

Easter @ Blackwood

April 1st, 2023Easter @ Blackwood

Easter Saturday is a special day in Blackwood. Each year, the town hosts the Blackwood Woodchop & Easter Carnival, now in its 121st year, and the second-oldest festival in Australia. The event was recently awarded the title of Moorabool Shire’s Community Event of the Year 2023.

Easter Saturday is a special day in Blackwood. Each year, the town hosts the Blackwood Woodchop & Easter Carnival, now in its 121st year, and the second-oldest festival in Australia.
The event was recently awarded the title of Moorabool Shire’s Community Event of the Year 2023.

Spokesperson Fiona Ross, on behalf of the Blackwood Progress Association, said the street parade, featuring striking costumes and floats, was a highlight of the morning’s events.
“Accompanied by a brass band, the parade makes its way from the town centre down to the Lerderderg River and the Recreation Reserve – known as ‘the prettiest sportsground in Victoria’ – where the carnival and woodchop take place.”


The Blackwood Woodchop is one of the oldest woodchopping competitions in
Victoria, with axemen and women travelling from across the state to compete for the
coveted titles and prize money.
“The carnival is action-packed, with tug-o-war, gumboot throwing and a pet
show among the many activities happening throughout the day. And to honour
Blackwood’s gold-mining history, there is the chance for everyone to try their hand at
gold-panning.
“A family-friendly event, there is loads of other fun stuff for kids too – the treasure hunt, novelty games and races, face-painting and more. With live music, market stalls, delicious eats and licenced bars, the Blackwood Woodchop & Easter Carnival offers something for everyone,” Fiona said.
The event is organised by the Blackwood Progress Association with proceeds from
ticket sales going to support numerous community groups.
Discounted earlybird tickets can be bought online in advance or buy your tickets
at the gate on the day, Easter Saturday, April 8.
Tickets: www.trybooking.com/CFPDV

Blackwood hosts Australian Gold Panning Championships

March 2nd, 2023Blackwood hosts Australian Gold Panning Championships

BASALT grandmother Verna Baker is flexing her forearms to compete in the Australian Gold Panning Championships at Blackwood this Saturday, March 4.

Words: Eve Lamb. Image: Kyle Barnes

BASALT grandmother Verna Baker is flexing her forearms to compete
in the Australian Gold Panning Championships at Blackwood this
Saturday, March 4.

Verna is a dab hand with the gold pan. She’s been honing her gold panning
prowess since the age of five.


Over the years she’s found “probably 100 specks” of gold – enough to have turned
into a lovely little gold pendant.
“I’ll be competing in the women’s skilled, the veterans’ and the teams’ categories
on Saturday,” says Verna, 68, who has plenty of other “golden” aspects to her life as
well, including farming daffodils.
Another golden facet to Verna’s life is the fact that this year marks the professional
childcare educator’s 50th anniversary of working at local kindergartens.
“I love my work,” says Verna who has worked at pre-schools across the shire and
beyond, including Daylesford, Hepburn, Franklinford, Glenlyon, Creswick, Clunes
and Wallace.
And there’s no doubt the kinder kids at Daylesford Preschool, where Verna
currently works three days a week – and at all the other little local kinders where she’s
worked over the years – return the love.
For one thing, Verna not only teaches the littlies how to gold pan, sharing her
enjoyment of the sport that gets her out into some beautiful places, she also brings
in small animals from her Basalt farm to teach them about caring for critters and to
impart her own love of nature.
Verna has won many firsts and seconds in the women’s skilled gold panning
competition and team event prizes over the years she’s been competing in the gold
panning competitions.
The mother of three and grandmother of four – who also runs a native tree
nursery and volunteers with Franklinford CFA – is keenly anticipating this Saturday’s
competition.
“It’s a really, really fun day,” she says.
Run by the Victorian Gold Panning Association, the annual Australian Gold
Panning Championships are expected to draw around 100 competitors from near and
far.
Victorian Gold Panning Association president Marcus Binks is also keenly
anticipating the event which he says offers good competition for all skill levels from
established champs to those who have never wielded a gold pan before in their lives.
“It’s a great family event and really we’re trying to preserve the history of gold
panning,” says Marcus, a geologist by profession who has a couple of national gold
panning championship titles to his name.
“I’ve been gold panning since I was a kid and I started at the first Australian
championships that were held at Sovereign Hill in 1993,” he says.
This year’s event will see gold panners racing against the clock to find a number of
tiny golden pieces that have been carefully pre-counted and hidden in sand buckets.
“We even provide pans for those who have never panned before,” Marcus says.
At the top end of the competitive spectrum the competition is keen and close and
the addition of an electronic timing system in recent times comes in handy.
“We have a heap of prizes on offer including two metal detectors,” Marcus says.
The championships are taking place at the Blackwood Cricket Ground on
Recreation Reserve Road and getting along to watch the competition as a spectator is
free.
“It’s a great way to come and learn about panning,” Marcus says.
“We’ll have catering by the Ballan First Scouts and a coffee van. We’re affiliated
with the World Gold Panning Championships and we get competitors from New
Zealand coming over. They really like our competition. We also get them from
interstate – Queensland and Western Australia.”

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