PARKES town feature
at its finest
DUNEDOO Centenary Show
A Rare Breed
A passion for the
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WINTER 2015 Volume 9
PEOPLE • HOMES • GARDENS • FOOD • AGRICULTURE • STYLE • EVENTS • TRAVEL CULTURE • BUSINESS • AND MORE FROM THE BEAUTIFUL CENTRAL WEST REGION
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trading as Central West Magazine ABN 151 6322 9418 ADDRESS PO BOX 1050 DUBBO NSW 2830 PHONE 0429 441 086 FAX 02 6867 9895 WEBSITE www.centralwestmagazine.com.au FACEBOOK www.facebook.com/CentralWestLifestyle PUBLISHERS, ACCOUNTS & ADVERTISING Elizabeth & Alex Tickle firstname.lastname@example.org EDITOR Elizabeth Tickle email@example.com CHIEF WRITER & PHOTOGRAPHER Jake Lindsay firstname.lastname@example.org ART DIRECTOR & DESIGN Kate Boshammer email@example.com
DISTRIBUTION Central West Lifestyle magazine is published quarterly (available at the beginning of each season) and distributed to selected newsagents and retail outlets within the Central West and in the bordering regions of the Far West, North West, Southern Highlands, Canberra, Goulburn, Northern and Eastern suburbs of Sydney, in addition to a selection of other rural and coastal areas of New South Wales. For more information on stockists, visit www.centralwestmagazine.com.au. Unsold magazines are distributed to cafes, health waiting rooms, quality hotels/motels, bed and breakfast establishments, hair and beauty salons and tourist outlets.
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CONTENTS WINTER 2015
12 100-PAGE TOWN FEATURE: PARKES Parkes is a thriving country centre, best known for the iconic CSIRO radio telescope and for the Elvis Festival that celebrates the life and music of the King. Explore this warm, friendly and fun-loving community, and discover there is so much more to “Remarkable Parkes”.
CONSERVING THE CRAFT
BEHOLD THE BEAST
Dubbo’s Bede and Jemima Aldridge are keeping the trade of saddlery alive, with immaculately handcrafted goods and personal service.
Steve Tolmie of Sandy Valley Bison, Dubbo, is one of only about five Australian breeders of these unique animals.
WOMEN OF SUBSTANCE
THE FLYING FARMER
SPOTLIGHT ON DUNEDOO
A small team of dedicated ladies are making their mark in the world of grain.
Lawrie Donoghue has realised his life-long dream of flying.
The small community that’s big on spirit celebrated its 100th show in March, with a strong presence from exhibitors and spectators alike.
140 GARDEN: MAGNIFICENT MENA
HOME & STYLE
Built in 1875, the Mena home and garden has experienced immaculate restoration under the custodianship of current owner Scott Gilbank.
Learn how to bring vintage charm into your home, and explore the timeless combination of blue and white. We visit the quirky, well-curated Millthorpe kitchen of Belinda Satterthwaite.
PACKING TIPS FOR CAREFREE TRAVEL
Winter’s local monochrome picks.
Seasoned traveller Pip Teys shares her top tips for breezy packing.
Find out what’s on offer in the Central West this season.
EVENTS IN THE WEST
THE LAST WORD
Social snapshots captured in Canowindra and Tomingley.
The Central West’s beautiful brides and dapper grooms say “I do”.
Ray Barber will celebrate his 100th birthday this year.
ON THE COVER
WE ENCOURAGE OUR READERS TO SUPPORT OUR ADVERTISERS. The magazine could not exist without them, and their loyalty shows their commitment to the communities of the Central West.
Parkes physiotherapist Jeff McClurg decided to build his own penny-farthing and became hooked when he won medals at a national level (page 46). Photography: Shot by Jake
From the Publishers Winter is here again with its sharp briskness and chill. What an amazing selling period we have had with the Autumn CWL featuring brilliant Bathurst! This town feature has really brought out the community spirit and the pride residents have in their historic and culturally rich city. We are very excited to bring you the Parkes town feature in this Winter edition. Business collaboration with CWL was remarkable and we enjoyed developing a strong relationship with Parkes Council. This working partnership led to a magazine launch (our seventh to date) held at The Dish Cafe and located at the amazing CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope. Stylish catering was provided by Craig Smith, owner of The Dish Cafe. We enjoyed forging friendships with Parkes advertisers (and there were many), individuals about whom stories were written and council representatives. It provided a great opportunity to celebrate what a friendly and caring community Parkes really is. We have enjoyed participating in the two open days at Iandra Castle in April. This provided a perfect opportunity to again sell back copies of the Spring 2014 edition with Iandra Castle on our cover and featuring the towns of Narromine, Trangie and Warren. We never cease to be totally captivated by Iandra Castle, an incredible building that is so much a part of our Australian history. We love receiving feedback in the form of emails, phone calls and personal conversations. Quite recently, we received a phone call from a Grenfell lady, Wendy Goodsell. She told us how the story on Iandra Castle had impacted on her and of her remarkable connection to Iandra Castle through her grandparents, Kathleen and Tom Smith. Her story is a fascinating one and is told in more detail in the â€œYour Lettersâ€? section in this edition (page 11).
Elizabeth and Alex with Kerryn and Mike Baird (NSW Premier) and Toni and Troy Grant (NSW Deputy Premier and Member for Dubbo).
We were thrilled to be able to attend the Dunedoo Centenary Show in March with Dunedoo photographer Heidi Rookyard. It was a great experience to join in the celebrations, meet the wonderful committee and view the exceptional exhibits. We have now realised why this high-calibre show has managed to reach its 100th birthday and is still going so strong. We both felt incredibly honoured recently to be asked to the National Party dinner here in Dubbo (our hometown) and sit on the table with Premier Mike Baird and wife Kerryn. This privilege conveyed to us how the magazine is now being perceived in the Central West and beyond. Our spirits are continually buoyed by the support and encouragement we are given from readers, advertisers, newsagents and the general public. Thank you for the faith you have placed in what we do. We trust you are able to find a warm and cosy spot to enjoy this magazine. Remember to share the good news about the Central West with your workmates, friends and family. Until next time, warm regards,
Elizabeth and Alex Tickle
Alex and Elizabeth at an Iandra Castle open day, pictured with Wendy Goodsell from Grenfell (left), whose visit to the castle renewed many long-held family connections.
Beating around the bush G’day trendsetters, With Parkes being our feature town it was obvious I’d have to rock up to the Elvis Festival to see what the hype was all about. All I can say is: put it on your bucket list if you haven’t attended this fabulous event, and it doesn’t matter one iota if it’s the middle of summer, you don’t know one Elvis tune and are a bit shy donning colourful jumpsuits with the obligatory black wig and sunglasses. At least that’s my view after spending a couple of days with thousands of enthusiastic Elvis fans, all out to celebrate what would have been the King’s 80th birthday. I have never seen so many cameras, friendly folk or a town pulling together like Parkes does every January. Congratulations to Council and all those wonderful volunteers who help the show run smoothly. Our Winter edition is jam-packed with stories on dozens of country characters going about their daily business. Meeting the ebullient Karen Creith, the home interior decorator, was a real eye-opener. Being a self-confessed hoarder, I felt her magnificent work may be wasted on me but no, I have seen the light! Only a few years ago my place was like an old bush museum with so much stuff packed to the rafters I thought the floor would cave in! These days I am trying to let go of nearly everything but it’s not easy. We get attached to familiar old things and often associate them with other people or events in our lives. Or we just like them! One of Karen’s main joys in life is to help others declutter their homes and create their own private sanctuaries. It’s always been said that Parkes is famous for its sporting bodies and after spending a few hours with cricket “tragic” Greg Morrissey, hockey stalwart Maureen Massey and tennis ace Helen Magill and her dedicated father Hedley Nicholson, it’s easy to see why. But there is so much more in this country town from champion cake decorator Kath Swansbra, scientist John Sarkissian (out at the Parkes telescope) and hugely talented artist Elsie Mahon.
Everyone says that Parkes is a friendly place and I have to agree. A big thanks to my gracious hosts and neighbours Bob and Bev Bokeyar and Mal and Helen Westcott. During my last evening in town we dined under the stars in the immaculately maintained Bokeyar backyard, reminiscing about the characters I’d met over the previous few weeks (and they knew them all) and the “six degrees of separation” theory (which is how I got mixed up with these two amazing couples in the first place). For the past few decades I’ve never had neighbours (in the traditional sense) but wasn’t surprised when Bob described good neighbours as a real blessing. “We are fortunate to have the Westcotts living next door,” he says. “Good people of our vintage who share similar values – Mal with his passion for farming and Helen with her devotion to family, the community and volunteering. We look out for each other without living in each others’ pockets and enjoy impromptu barbecues over a bottle of wine.” I must admit sleeping in a luxurious bed with a balcony out the front is always nice. But when you can safely sleep with the double glass doors open to experience the cool evening breeze and then wake up to see the sun rising over the distant mountains every morning . . . well, I was in seventh heaven! I’ve stayed in hundreds of rooms over the years but my experience at Kadina B&B was certainly one of the most memorable. Until next time – live a life you’ll want to remember!
Shot by Jake Above: I had a ball at the Parkes Elvis Festival (commences page 22). I’m pictured here with the Silver Man and Melbourne’s TCB Gals. Miss Priscilla 2015, Ashleigh Smith, felt like a movie star after winning the prestigious title. The 18-year-old grew up with the Elvis Festival and is undertaking equine studies at TAFE.
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MEET YOUR TEAM Winter 2015 Contributors
ELIZABETH TICKLE Publisher & Editor
ALEX TICKLE Publisher & Advertising
LISA STARR Advertising Design
CATHERINE PLAYER Writer
ELIZABETH SWANE Garden Editor
ANGUS WADDELL Photographer
JANE TICKLE Events Officer
JAKE LINDSAY Chief Writer & Photographer
ANNA TICKLE Writer
PIP TEYS Home & Style and Travel Writer
HEIDI ROOKYARD Photographer
KATE BOSHAMMER Art Director & Design, Writer
AMANDA Oâ€™SULLIVAN Home & Style Writer
GINA CRANSON Proofreader
More information on the team can be found on our website: www.centralwestmagazine.com.au 10 CWL
your letters The heritage of Australia’s first inland settlement was showcased to perfection in 94 pages of Central West Lifestyle magazine. What a cracker Autumn edition to help us celebrate our 200th birthday in 2015. It is now on coffee tables all round NSW and not to be missed. Thank you for such a big hand up in protecting, enhancing and promoting Bathurst’s rich unique heritage. Sandy Bathgate, Convenor, Bathurst 2036 Heritage Action Network
................................................................................. How absolutely delighted I was to find your Spring 2014 issue featuring Iandra Castle. Reading this article was such a nostalgic trip down memory lane for me as Iandra was the first Australian home of my late grandmother, Kathleen Kent. Born in Surrey, England, in 1889, she travelled to Australia by ship when she was around 18 years old as lady in waiting to Mrs George Greene. Her future husband, Tom Smith, was also employed by the Greenes as a stablehand/chauffeur. Postcards received from her family in England (which I still have) were addressed to the original property name “Mt Oriel”. She returned to England in 1913 and on her return to Australia, married my grandfather at St James Church of England in Sydney on the same day she arrived. After returning to Iandra they set up home above the stables and it was there my aunt and father were born. This was to be their home for the next three years, after which they left Iandra to establish several butcher shops in the Greenthorpe, Caragabal and Young districts. I well remember her reminiscing about when George Greene died and the rush to finish the front entrance of Iandra so his coffin could be carried down the front steps. She always spoke lovingly of Iandra and the years she spent there as a young girl and new bride. I often reflect on how difficult it must have been for her to leave her family and home in England at such a tender age to travel to Australia and start a new life. She had one more trip “home” as she called England, in 1947, to see her family with the promise she would return again if her father lived to 100 years. Unfortunately, he died aged 99. Just prior to my father passing away we were very fortunate to be invited to Iandra by David and Margaret Morris, where they gave us a guided tour of their beautiful old building. They have since dedicated a room to my late grandmother. At the end of a very interesting day, my dad commented: “How lovely that at the end of my life I’ve been able to come back to where it started.” Congratulations on a fantastic magazine, I look forward to each new edition and the wonderful stories that abound in the Central West. Wendy Goodsell, “Parkside”, Grenfell
................................................................................. We were very happy with the story on our garden in the Summer 2014 CWL magazine. We had a lot of positive feedback from our friends about how much they enjoyed reading it and how well written and researched the story was. We sent copies to our family in England and they were very pleased to be able to show their friends an Australian garden. The whole experience was very professional and we enjoyed the enthusiasm of Elizabeth Swane (CWL garden writer) and CWL photographer Angus Waddell. Anne and Mark Ward, Canowindra
Some time ago my wife and I were in a Wagga Wagga newsagency and she noticed a magazine featuring Wellington (CWL Summer 2013) and the Dundullimal Homestead, near Dubbo. This immediately got my attention as my father was a shearer for Paddy Palmer, the then owner of Dundullimal. On purchasing the magazine we were both enthralled with the detail and history covered in this particular article, and all the other articles as well. The quality of the journalism and photography was spectacular! So impressed are we with the magazine we are in the process of purchasing all back copies to put in our chiropractic waiting rooms and signing up for a subscription as well. The chiropractic clinic I am associated with has offices in Temora, West Wyalong and Griffith and I know a lot of patients from our area consult specialists in Orange and Dubbo. These people would be interested to find out more about the towns they visit. I congratulate the publishers on a great idea, great implementation of the idea and wish them every success in the future, and we look forward to future editions. Ross Marsh, Marsh Chiropractic Clinic, Griffith
................................................................................. Congratulations, Central West Lifestyle, on such a wonderful publication. You must have a great team of collaborators to pull together such interesting stories for every edition. Being a photographer myself, I really appreciate the high-quality images throughout the magazine. It is a real credit to your photographers, who are able to beautifully capture the essence of the towns you visit and the wonderful characters that make regional communities so special. Can’t wait to see what you have on the pages for winter. Alistair Brown, Brown Gully Photography Roma, Queensland
................................................................................. Just a quick note to thank you so much for getting copies of Central West Lifestyle magazine to us for our judges. They loved the magazine and they have taken their copy of the magazine back home with them. It will now be seen in the USA, Netherlands, France, New Zealand, Queensland and Victoria. Sue Scaysbrook, Bradgate Park, Orange Co-Event Organiser, Dressage with Altitude
................................................................................. Thank you for the great article. The photographs are amazing and you have featured us prominently in the magazine, which is wonderful. On behalf of the Show Society, please accept my sincere thanks for a job well done. Jake, it was a pleasure to have you stay – there’s always a bed if you need one. Elizabeth, it was a pleasure to meet you and Alex. It was a memorable event for everyone but you made it more so. Sue Armstrong, Publicity Officer, Tooraweenah Show Society
................................................................................. Share your feedback Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: www.facebook.com/CentralWestLifestyle CWL 11
PARKES TOWN FEATURE WORDS & IMAGES: SHOT BY JAKE
14 CWL PARKES
PARKES is a thriving country centre located on the western edge of the Great Dividing Range and within the Central West Slopes and Plains. The area, traditional Wiradjuri country, lies close to the geographical centre of NSW and boasts some of the richest and most productive agricultural and grazing land in the state. The town is best known for the iconic CSIRO radio telescope dish at Alectown (24km north), arguably one of the largest and most accurate instruments of its type in the world and the “star” of the movie The Dish. It was through this telescope that the world received the images of man’s first moon landing. A visitors centre and cafe caters for public curiosity about the radio telescope and astronomy in general. Then there is the Elvis Festival that started in earnest 23 years ago. In the second week of January each year, the town more than doubles in size as it comes alive to the sounds of hip-swivelling Elvis impersonators and tribute artists over a star-studded five-day festival celebrating the life and music of the King of Rock’n’Roll. A large collection of Elvis Presley memorabilia is on permanent display at The King’s Castle, owned by Greg Page, the former yellow skivvy entertainer with hit children’s group The Wiggles. Greg has been collecting for many years and selected Parkes, the Elvis capital of Australia, as the perfect location to share his incredible display with the public. The complex housing the Visitors Information Centre, Moat Cottage, Historical Society Museum (one of the largest in the Central West), Elvis collection, Parkes Motor Museum and the Antique Machinery Museum (with an outstanding collection of old tractors and harvesters) is known as the Henry Parkes Centre. Today the Parkes Shire, comprising Parkes, Peak Hill, Trundle, Tullamore and Bogan Gate, forms part of the catchment for two main river systems, the Bogan and the Lachlan rivers, both major tributaries of the Murray-Darling Basin System. The town is known for having a great sense of community, offering a fun and caring modern lifestyle for its almost 12,000 residents. Long regarded as the “friendly town”, Parkes has a colourful history going back to 1853 when it was briefly known as Currajong – named by early settlers due to the abundance of kurrajong trees in the area.
Like many western communities, Parkes’s rich history is intimately linked to the discovery of gold back in 1862. The small population of Currajong, just north of the current town, quickly moved south to be closer to the Bushman’s gold mine. The hastily erected “canvas” town that accommodated the thousands of gold seekers went by the same name as the mine. A year later the townsfolk petitioned to have a name change after a visit by statesman Sir Henry Parkes. Finally, in 1873, the town was renamed Parkes in honour of the “Father of the Federation” and the man who played such a pivotal role in Australia becoming a unified country. The main street was named after his wife, Clarinda, and other streets after his sons. Soon it was one of the richest gold producing sites in the colony. Today there are still plenty of precious minerals buried under the soil and modern mines, like Northparkes, utilise the best available technology in the world while employing hundreds of workers. It was a very different story about 140 years ago when mining diminished in importance, replaced by the plough and combine harvester. The golden grain that flowed from the endeavours of those hardy pioneers of agriculture underwrote the economic consolidation of the district. Parkes and the surrounding smaller towns of Peak Hill, Trundle and Tullamore have certainly come a long way from those old gold days to the agricultural “engine room”, National Logistics Hub and rich mining landscape of today. The city has developed into a major marshalling logistics centre on the Indian Pacific railway line, linking the west and east coasts of Australia. The future Melbourne to Brisbane inland rail will intersect the East-West line at Parkes. SCT, Linfox and Asciano already have operations and interests in the hub. Parkes is also renowned for the sporting prowess of its talented sons and daughters. Like the 35-metre-high Shrine of Remembrance on Memorial Hill, there is something in the water that makes this town’s residents simply stand out. PARKES CWL 15
FROM THE MAYOR In my travels around the state and the country, people always ask me about Parkes. When asked this question I am confronted with a challenge. How do I sum up the place and the community that I love and cover all the unique and interesting aspects in one short paragraph? The truth is, I can’t, so I always cater my response to my audience. When talking with holiday makers I speak of the warm, friendly and fun-loving community, of the world-class events that are held in the Parkes Shire, including the Parkes Elvis Festival, and of our strong sporting culture and the facilities and services available. Of course, I mention the Dish and the strong, proud links Parkes has with the scientific and astronomical community in Australia and internationally. On my recent trip to the National Logistics Council I spoke to industry leaders about Parkes’s unique position on the east/west, north/south freight route. I spoke of the Parkes National Logistics Hub and the immense opportunity that lies in the facility for intermodal freight. I speak with business leaders and government about our highly skilled workforce and our diverse industry and employment opportunities. I also mention the opportunities to further decentralise and take advantage of Parkes as a place to relocate government and business offices. 16 CWL PARKES
I have to say, though, my favourite part of any conversation is when I hear others talk about Parkes. I often hear “I visited and loved it”, “I came to one Elvis Festival and have been back every year since” and “I liked it so much I moved here”. New residents often speak of the “extra time” they now have to spend with their families and the “ease of life” our town offers. I am proud of the tolerant and caring nature of the Parkes Shire community. We have a friendship agreement with a village in Timor-Leste and send a team of volunteers each year to assist with their development. Parkes hosted many new Australians in a migrant camp following WWII and ever since has welcomed new residents. We have recently become a Refugee Welcome Zone, continuing this proud tradition. My fellow councillors and I love hearing feedback on Parkes, as it is what drives our work. As a council we are committed to delivering progress and value to our community. We achieve this through consultations with our community, developing strategic plans for the future and always capitalising on and creating opportunities to make our shire the best place to live, work and play. I invite you to come to Parkes and experience some of the magic our shire has to offer. Who knows, you might fall in love, like so many before you, and decide you’d rather be in Parkes, where you can have it all! Cr Ken Keith, Mayor of the Parkes Shire
PARKES Life “Living in Parkes truly means that you can have it all.” time to enjoy our young family. Parkes boasts affordable housing, good schools and a great sporting culture. Angus still occasionally plays rugby for the Parkes Boars,” Anna says. “Our eldest two daughters have started school, which has added an extra layer of complexity to our lives. But as I don’t have to deal with things like peak-hour traffic, I can do the morning drop-offs, buy a beautiful coffee and be at my desk before 9am. I can even pop home at lunch time!” PARKES is well known around the Central West as a progressive and energetic place, with residents who are not afraid to embrace the quirky side of life. This sense of fun-loving spirit coupled with the strong employment prospects offered by major employers such as Northparkes Mines and the public sector are what drew Anna Wyllie and husband Angus to relocate here eight years ago, fresh from backpacking around North America.
Anna is now the Economic and Business Development Manager for Parkes Shire Council, while Angus has also climbed the ladder at Northparkes and is a mining engineer. They have three children: Mhairi, 7, Emmeline, 5, and Eleanor, 2. “Parkes is such a welcoming community that embraces new residents. Living in Parkes means that Angus and I can both work in professional jobs that we love but also have
Anna loves promoting Parkes and the benefits of the shire to families and businesses looking to relocate. “We are so lucky in Parkes, to not only have an amazing sense of community but to also have great infrastructure, services and an ideal location that is suited to transport and logistics and other industries.” To talk with Anna about relocating your family, business or investing in Parkes call (02) 6861 2333 or 0409 739 001.
“I’d rather be in parkes -
Where YOU can have it all.” For more information about how you can have it all and balance a successful career, business and family in Parkes please visit www.parkeshaveitall.com.au or phone 02 6861 2333. PARKES CWL 17
IMAGES COURTESY OF LEX AND JUNE WEAVER
18 CWL PARKES
WHAT DO YOU do when your hobby and part-time business threatens to take over your home? The answer is obvious: you simply buy the house next door! At least that was the case with Lex and June Weaver, a hard-working local couple who have devoted much of their lives to documenting the pictorial history of Parkes. Lex was born in Parkes and held down one job nearly all his life, putting in 43 years as computer manager with Central West County Council (in Parkes), while June was born in Canowindra, the daughter of the local postmaster. In those halcyon years (around the 1950s), the humble letter and telegram were major forms of communication. “In those days telegrams were transmitted in Morse Code and I can remember my dad, using two fingers, typing telegrams as the signal came down the line. It wasn’t unusual for a couple to receive perhaps 100 telegrams at a wedding, traditionally read out by the groomsmen,” June recalls.
CAPTURING THE moments
June also worked as an accounting machine operator (long before the computer era) for Boree Shire Council at Cudal. She transferred to Parkes in 1961, where she finally got to meet Lex in the flesh, after months of discussing work issues and payments on the phone. In 1968 they were married and produced one son, Nigel, who followed in his father’s footsteps and has a doctorate in computing while based in Canberra. As a youngster, Lex became involved in black and white film processing in the family bathroom, using the bathtub to wash the prints. Always a keen amateur photographer, in later years he worked for the Champion Post newspaper, with June supplying accurate captions. “We started collecting old pictures of Parkes, either buying them at second-hand shops, book fairs or even locals donating or sharing their images. A lot of it was word of mouth,” Lex explains. “We purchased the house next door and this gave us room to expand our hobby and allowed us to acquire more equipment, like copy stands, framing and darkroom equipment (including enlargers) and processing machines.” The workshop is chock-a-block full of old images, many of them framed. Sitting neatly in stacks are folders full of literally thousands of cut-up 35mm films and meticulously labelled proof sheets. It’s almost like stepping back in time to a bygone era long before computers revolutionised the photography industry. In his day, Lex was a wizard in the darkroom, and could reproduce beautiful 16x20 inch archival prints. Nearly 600 5x4 inch copy negatives and 630 pages of 35mm capture Parkes’s street scenes and old buildings, many of them now gone. By the time you read this, the Weavers will have produced a 160-page, hardcover book, Welcome to Parkes, featuring the four visits of Sir Henry Parkes to the town that bears his name. “We had been collecting material from Sydney and Canberra for 20 years but were too busy to complete our dream,” Lex says. “Eventually, with the years creeping up on us, we knew we had to bite the bullet and share this important part of history with the rest of the locals.” The coffee table book will be available directly from the Weavers but get in quick, as the first print run is only 500 copies. Now aged 77, Lex, a proud Parkes man, realises he will have to one day part with his historically valuable collection but in the meantime there is a book launch to plan and perhaps an exhibition of his priceless prints. From top: Lex and June Weaver with their new book; Lex Weaver in his old darkroom in his house next door.
20 CWL PARKES
A Golden OPPORTUNITY “BALMORAL” IS ONE OF PARKES’S MOST SIGNIFICANT HISTORICAL HOMES, STANDING AS A LEGACY TO THE FORTUNES OF ONE LUCKY PUNTER WHO REALLY DID STRIKE GOLD! WILLIAM HAZELHURST was the most notable and successful of the many miners who sought and found fortune on the local goldfields. The spoils acquired from working the rich Phoenix Mine allowed him to build the English-style mansion only a few blocks from the main street in the 1890s. His run of good luck, however, did not continue. William died almost penniless and “Balmoral” was eventually purchased by Thomas Frecklington, a successful Goonumbla farmer and grazier in the 1950s. By this stage the property had been converted into five flats (two upstairs and three downstairs). In the 1960s Bert Frecklington (Thomas’s son) acquired the property in a very dilapidated condition and started renovations. In 1963 Bert and his family moved into an upstairs flat while renting the other four flats. By the late 1980s his renovations were complete. In 1993, Bert’s son, Ed Frecklington, a fuel distributor for Oilsplus, and his wife Chris took up the challenge of living in “Balmoral”. Like their forebears, they undertook major restorations. Under Ed’s custodianship the groundfloor has been returned to an open family home. The upstairs flats are still leased.
“It is great having tenants. The rent is handy but, more importantly, the property is being maintained,” Ed says. “Tell the truth,” Chris interjects. “The house is too inconvenient for one family to utilise fully: the heating, cooling and cleaning costs would be enormous.” Ed and Chris have two sons: Luke, 24, an agronomist in Griffith, and Jarrad, 21, studying IT and Business at CSU Bathurst. They both return home regularly. Both are fourth generation Frecklingtons to live in the grand old home. Chris sometimes wonders what her family got themselves into while Ed enjoys the family association to “Balmoral “ despite the soaring maintenance costs (an external paint job for instance would cost six figures). There is a steady stream of tourists and school groups stopping by to take photos. “Balmoral is heritage listed and Ed is currently working with Parkes Shire Council and the local heritage officer for the next stage of his work in progress,” Chris says. PARKES CWL 21
C’MON Y D O B EVERY THERE’S ALWAYS ONE LINGERING QUESTION ON ALL NEWCOMERS’ LIPS. HOW DID AN INTERNATIONAL EVENT LIKE THIS COME TO BE BASED IN A COUNTRY TOWN SO FAR FROM A MAJOR METROPOLITAN CENTRE?
LIKE MOST GOOD things, the concept was floated over a glass of wine (or two) at the Gracelands Reception Centre and Restaurant operated by Elvis enthusiasts Bob and Anne Steel, OAM. After an Elvis-themed birthday party in 1992, the Steels and a few of their guests, including longtime editor of the Parkes Champion-Post newspaper Roel ten Cate and councillor Ian Chambers, started discussing the possibilities of creating an event that other Elvis fans might enjoy.
Passionate locals from throughout the community joined forces to stage their first festival the following year, including an Elvis movie screening, a tribute concert by Eddie Youngblood, an Elvis look-a-like competition, a street parade (featuring only a handful of classic cars and just as many Elvis impersonators) and a few market stalls. About 200 die-hard Elvis fans attended the first event. During the first 10 years, more events were added until Council climbed on board in 2003. The festival then began to explode in popularity as word quickly spread about this fun and quirky event in the hottest days of summer in a small Central West country town. It’s plain to all who come that the success of this event is due to the incredible respect and enthusiasm people have for Elvis and how the Parkes Shire community gets behind and embraces the event, which now attracts an estimated 20,000 visitors each year. The iconic building where it all started now operates as “Hotel Gracelands”, offering modern accommodation and first-class restaurant facilities. The festival has slowly morphed into one of the best Elvis festivals in the world.
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ELVIS TIMELINE 1935: Elvis Aaron Presley is born on
January 8, weighing five pounds. A twin brother, delivered 35 minutes before Elvis, was stillborn.
1946: Elvis is given a guitar on his 11th birthday. 1948: The family move to Memphis. 1951: All Shook Up climbs to number one on the top 100 for eight weeks.
1952: Elvis receives rave reviews after he sings at his school’s Christmas concert.
1954: Elvis does the only commercial in his
lifetime, a radio ad for Southern Maid Donuts.
1955: Colonel Tom Parker becomes Elvis’s
manager and Mystery Train becomes the number one record on the country charts.
1956: Elvis records Hound Dog, Don’t Be Cruel and Heartbreak Hotel – all big hits. He appears in Las Vegas for the first time and is given the title of “King of Rock ‘n Roll” by Variety Magazine.
Love Me Tender, Elvis’s first movie, premiers in New York and the Ed Sullivan Show receives its highest rating with Elvis stealing the show. Elvis buys his mother a Cadillac but she is unable to drive it. It remains at Graceland until the day he dies.
1957: Graceland is purchased for $90,000;
All Shook Up, Jailhouse Rock and Teddy Bear debut on the charts. Elvis also records his first Christmas album.
1958: Elvis commences army duty in Germany (the first and only time he left the States) and meets the then 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu.
1960: Are You Lonesome Tonight is
recorded. GI Blues reaches number two in Variety’s list of top grossing movies.
1963: Elvis records Viva Las Vegas. 1965: Elvis entertains The Beatles at his home in Bel Air.
1967: Elvis marries Priscilla after a seven-year courtship.
1968: Lisa Marie Presley is born. 1969: Suspicious Minds becomes number
one on the charts and Elvis, dissatisfied with his acting career, quits making movies.
1970: Elvis and President Nixon meet at the White House.
1972: Elvis’s 33rd and final motion picture, Above: Crowds gathered to meet the NSW TrainLink Elvis Express as it pulled into Parkes, carrying 400 festival-goers, Elvis tribute artists and dignitaries.
Elvis on Tour, is released.
Right: The Elvis Festival started with this man, Bob Steel, OAM.
which he names Lisa Marie.
Information sourced from the Parkes Elvis Festival 2013 Calendar.
1973: Elvis and Priscilla divorce and Aloha
Concert Hawaii becomes the first program to be beamed around the world via satellite.
1975: Elvis purchases a Conair 800 jet, 1977: He performs his last concert at
Indianapolis. Elvis dies at his home in Graceland on August 16.
1993: The first Parkes Festival begins.
PARKES CWL 23
1. Volunteers Bob and Bev Bokeyar were among the first to celebrate the Kingâ€™s 80th birthday at the Poets Breakfast in the Parkes Bowling and Sports Club. 2. Peter Plummer, Sydney, has visited Graceland twice but this was his first visit to Parkes to learn more about the King. 3. Parkes Camera Club photographers Keith Turk, Steve Ostini and Julie Brown with photos from their exhibition. 4. Having a break from the mines are Angus Wyllie (Red Elvis) and Jacques Labuschagen. 5. Darren Armstrong, Camden, wears his 1960s GI Blues outfit for the first time. 6. Darryl and Renate Bill, Wollongong, love the relaxed atmosphere of the festival. 7. Jeff Deale, Calliope, Queensland, was in Parkes to visit family and friends. 8. There was a distinct Italian presence when Sydneysiders Anna and Ross Mancini and Antoinette Mazzitelli hit Parkes. 9. Youngsters Toby Collins and Wira Thomson donâ€™t mind playing up for the camera.
L A V I T S E AF G N I K A R FIT FO 24 CWL PARKES
15 10. Former Alectown farmer Don Littlewood has lived in Parkes all his life. 11. Wendy Gibson and Gail Goulding, Wollongong, ham it up for the cameras. 12. Local Elvis Ian Macrae having fun with Melbourneâ€™s TCB Gals. 13. Andrew Day, Peake Hill, with Sam Glover and Leanne Brookes, Caloundra, Queensland. 14. Daphne Whatley, Allora, Queensland, brings 10 guests with her every year. 15. Samantha Gray, Sydney, poses in her dance partnerâ€™s Cadillac. 16. Buskers Savannah and Nelson Mantell, Richmond, enjoying their second visit to Parkes. 17. Bob Gould, Parkes. 18. Country gent Joe Crowe enjoys a cold one with Elvis performer Brad Cartwright, Sydney. 19. Janice Cassidy hams it up in front of her hair salon. 20. Bailey Sutcliffe, 11, Albury, was going for his fourth consecutive junior busking championship. 21. Roxy Lola Woo Woo, Morisset, hit Parkes with a storm.
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