Gwydir Council’s Wings ‘n things festival a true shire-wide event

October 15, 2013

Gwydir Council’s inaugural Wings ‘n Things festival was held over the long weekend. The festival showcased a number of sites throughout the Shire and provided competitions and activities for all to participate.

The weekend’s packed program kicked off with guest entertainer Gerard Cafe and his ‘A is for Australia’ family show at The Roxy in Bingara. Warialda Ceramic Break Sculpture Park hosted a morning tea on Saturday followed by a kite and lantern exhibition at Warialda Rail.

Jack Whitfeld’s egg collection was officially ‘unveiled’ at the Bingara Museum on Saturday afternoon where Inverell U3A Eukele Ladies entertained.

Vision 20/20 presented the ‘Galah Dinner’ at The Living Classroom on Saturday evening and entertainment was provided by ABC Exhumed semi-finalists’ band ‘Oldscool’. A bush poets breakfast at Cranky Rock was well attended on Sunday morning. Speakers included Gerard Cafe, Charlie Woollett, Mason Daley, Pat Densley, Lucy McDonald and Rick Hutton.

The festival’s scarecrow competition had created lots of interest and public comment leading up to the weekend.

ABC Radio Adelaide had heard about the scarecrows and broadcast an interview, putting our Shire on the map. While individuals, schools and community groups contributed to the Scarecrow Family, Council staff and Councillors also keenly supported the competition.

There were several categories in the competition and non-local impartial judges awarded the winners in each category, with around 25 scarecrows being transported to Gravesend for the final judging on Sunday morning:

Winning scarecrowSchool Competition

  • 1st Gravesend
  • 2nd Pallamallawa
  • 3rd Croppa Creek

Judged in Place

  • 1st Virginia and Geoff Boland
  • 2nd Kerry and John Coulton
  • 3rd Rebecca and Hayden Mack


  • 1st Stuart Dick – photo right
  • 2nd Warialda Special Needs Class
  • 3rd Tracey and Will Carr

People’s Choice

  • 1st Dan Van Velthuizen family
  • 2nd Warialda Special Needs Class
  • 3rd Jen Black

Two bird photography competitions were held over the weekend and with the theme of the festival being ‘Wings n Things’ a percentage of visitors to the Shire were here to view and photograph the myriad of bird life.

The Northern Branch of Bird Life Australia brought 70 visitors from all four eastern states and the ACT. The Gwydir Shire Bird Photography competition received in excess of 130 entries and the winners were:


  • 1st: Scott Rolf (Ballina)
  • 2nd: Bob Swain (Delungra)


  • 1st: Courtney Barwick (Warialda)
  • 2nd: Kaila Gillogly (Barraba)

Border Rivers-Gwydir CMA via the Brigalow Nandewar Biolink project provided sponsorship for the second photography competition.

The aim of the competition was to promote awareness and education focusing on our unique habitat and abundance of bird species in the area.

Guided bird tours were on offer and the competition encouraged residents and visitors to photograph rare, threatened or endangered species such as the Brown Treecreeper, Hooded Robin, Speckled Warbler, Golden Whistler, Diamond Firetail, Grey-Crowned Babbler, Brush Turkey, Regent Honeyeater, Squirrel Glider, Bush stone Curlew or Eastern Yellow Robin.

This competition also provided a section for bird habitats and landscapes, drawing attention to the abundance of grassy woodlands within Gwydir Shire that few would realise are a threatened habitat in need of preserving. While entries required photographs to be taken over the Wings n Things weekend, the entries will not close until later in the month.

The weekend also saw the ‘opening’ of a new tourist attraction in the area – Cr Stuart Dick has developed a bird walk and an interesting bushwalk on his property Wadgie Farm, between Warialda Rail and Bingara. A pamphlet is available from Warialda and Bingara Visitor Information Centres and visitors are welcome by appointment only.

This walk also includes information about vegetation and rocks found in the area and is well worth a visit.

In keeping with the bird theme, Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film The Birds screened at The Roxy on Sunday evening. Overall Council’s Events Committee were pleased with the support and participation during the festival and will now consider whether to make this an annual or biannual event.