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Arts in the Western Plains

Streetscape, DubboCREDIT: Destination NSW

Dubbo is the gateway to many art and cultural experiences around the Western Plains.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Arts in the
Western Plains

Streetscape, Dubbo CREDIT: Destination NSW

Dubbo is the gateway to many art and cultural experiences around the Western Plains.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Hashtags #lovensw #newsouthwales

Sitting pretty around halfway between the New South Wales southern coastline and the outback is the Great Western Plains. It’s a region characterised by fields of wheat pocked with jagged volcanic peaks, not to mention eclectic towns and cities, including the hub of Dubbo (400km northwest of Sydney). Like the people who call this part of the state home, the arts and culture attractions are diverse and just a little bit quirky. Here are 13 ways to take the area’s creative pulse.  

Western Plains Cultural Centre 

With a gallery, museum and community arts centre, Dubbo’s Western Plains Cultural Centre is the type of place you could easily lose a day exploring. The community arts centre is dedicated to inspiring talks and workshops, while the gallery and museum highlight the region’s significant contributions to the state’s agricultural and technological development, as well as its connection to wildlife via nearby Taronga Western Plains Zoo.  

Dubbo Arts and Crafts Society 

Get familiar with a wide spectrum of creatives at Dubbo Arts and Crafts Society, where you can peruse media as diverse as patchwork, porcelain, painting, spinning, weaving and wood-turning. If, after visiting, you’re inspired to channel your own inner artist, drop by for one of the society’s classes in folk art or decoupage. 

Dubbo Heritage Walk 

Follow in the footsteps of Western Plains pioneers on the Dubbo Heritage Walk, which begins at the Dubbo Visitor Information Centre (pick up a map) and takes you on a trail revealing the city’s intriguing past of bushrangers and underworld figures. Stroll alongside historic buildings, including the Old Dubbo Gaol, the Court House and Uniting Church, then pop in to one of the former workers’ cottages converted into cafés and restaurants for refreshments.  

Garling Gallery 

A 20-minute drive northwest of Dubbo, the tiny village of Wongarbon is an unlikely setting for the magical Garling Gallery. But it’s also the perfect location, given award-winning sculptor and plein-air landscape artist Brett Mon Garling’s fascination with rural life and animal anatomy. Stroll through the sculpture garden, marvelling at the artist’s larger-than-life works, then peruse delicate paintings and bronze installations inside the century-old shophouse that contains his permanent collection.  

Gilgandra Rural Museum 

Surrounded by plains 70km north of Dubbo, Gilgandra is an important agricultural hub known for its wheat, sheep and beef farming (it also has more than 360 windmills). Delve into its pastoral history at the Gilgandra Rural Museum, which preserves a vast range of equipment and machinery including many inventions unique to the region — it’s also home to historic buildings such as the Tooraweenah Police Gaol. 

First Lesson Cultural Tours 

The Wiradjuri and Gamilaraay Aboriginal peoples have called the Western Plains home for tens of thousands of years. You’ll hear some of their stories and discover bush tucker and native plants used as medicine on an eye-opening First Lessons Cultural Tour with Traditional Owner and bushman Peter Peckham. The two-hour walk on the outskirts of Dubbo takes in significant Aboriginal sites, including scar trees and ochre pits. Those wanting to linger can add on dinner, with Peter cooking up a feast in a camp oven over an open fire.  

First Lesson Cultural Tours, Dubbo CREDIT: Destination NSW

Peter Peckham of First Lesson Cultural Tours, Dubbo sharing his knowledge of Aboriginal canoe trees.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

First Lesson Cultural Tours, Dubbo CREDIT: Destination NSW

Peter Peckham of First Lesson Cultural Tours, Dubbo sharing his knowledge of Aboriginal canoe trees.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Western Plains Cultural Centre, Dubbo CREDIT: Destination NSW

Artworks on exhibition at the Western Plains Cultural Centre, Dubbo.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Western Plains Cultural Centre, Dubbo CREDIT: Destination NSW

Artworks on exhibition at the Western Plains Cultural Centre, Dubbo.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Gulargambone Street Art 

Buildings, water towers, footpaths… there weren’t many surfaces left untouched by 2018’s Pave the Way to Gular festival. The goal was to transform the streets of Gulargambone, a tiny town 115km north of Dubbo, through colour and creativity. It had the desired effect. Eleven Australian artists painted the town pink (and red, and yellow…). Their works remain today, together forming one of the state’s most fascinating outdoor rural galleries

Dundullimal Homestead 

Thought to be the oldest surviving slab house in Australia, the heritage Dundullimal Homestead was ahead of its time when it was built back in the 1840s. Its sophisticated design — replete with multiple-pane glazed openings to the verandah and a tent-shaped plaster ceiling in the sitting room — belies its pastoral setting on more than 6,500 hectares of farmland, which you can explore on tours that also take in the station’s sandstone stables and 1870s timber church.  

Narromine Aviation Museum 

The small town of Narromine, 40km west of Dubbo, has a big history when it comes to aviation. Flying here began back in 1919, with the formation of what is now Australia’s oldest regional aero club — it’s still active to this day, and over the years has attracted aviation greats. Learn all about its heritage at the Narromine Aviation Museum, replete with a captivating display of pre- and post-World War II aircraft, photographs and artefacts.  

Trangie Wungunja Cultural Centre 

Just outside Narromine, the Trangie Wungunja Cultural Centre celebrates the long history of the region’s Aboriginal communities. The impressive collection of Aboriginal artefacts includes two sacred carved burial trees, alongside tools — axes, boomerangs, dishes, saws, scrapers, rubbing stones — and other artefacts, while the gallery reveals stories behind Aboriginal families that call the Western Plains home.  

Stuart Town Historic Walk 

Legendary late Australian bush poet, journalist and author Banjo Paterson is immortalised on the country’s $10 note. He’s also a pretty big deal in Stuart Town, 85km southeast of Dubbo, formerly known as Ironbarks and the subject of one of Paterson’s most famous musings, The Man from Ironbark. Pop in to the Rural Transaction Centre to pick up a map for the Historic Town Walk, and discover many of the attractions — the Open Air Museum, Railway Station, Bicentennial Rock, Cobbler's Cottage, Ironbark Inn — that give this one-time gold-rush town its country swagger. 

Outback Arts 

A not-for-profit organisation dedicated to building and supporting creative talents across the far west of the state — including the regions of Bourke, Brewarrina, Coonamble, Cobar, Walgett and Warren — Outback Arts has played a big role in the growth of rural NSW’s artistic and cultural scenes. You, too, can get involved at the Outback Arts Gallery in Coonamble (160km north of Dubbo), which presents works from local artists as well as touring exhibitions.  

Sunset, Gulargambone CREDIT: Destination NSW

Sunsets over a water tank and windmill in Gulargambone, home to a significant collection of street art. 

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Sunset, Gulargambone CREDIT: Destination NSW

Sunsets over a water tank and windmill in Gulargambone, home to a significant collection of street art. 

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Narromine Aviation Museum, Narromine CREDIT: Narromine Aviation Museum

The atmospheric Narromine Aviation Museum in Narromine.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Narromine Aviation Museum, Narromine CREDIT: Narromine Aviation Museum

The atmospheric Narromine Aviation Museum in Narromine.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

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