Gatakers by Night

It took a while but I finally made it to Maryborough’s monthly soirée at the gorgeous Gatakers Artspace (within the Portside Precinct) – Gatakers by Night.

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Held on the last Saturday of the month (from 5-9pm) the free event features musicians and the opportunity to partake in the Night Watchman’s tour, visit the Military museum and often incorporates the launch or opening of a new show at the art gallery. Of course, if you’re like me you’re happy to kick back with a glass of bubbly (or two!) and enjoy the intimate environment and entertainment on offer.

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Wine, beer and softdrinks are available as well as a coffee van. Stalls offering pizza and cakes (mud cake or pavlova!) were also on hand. I would have liked a bit more variety (as a coeliac) but did note that the food available can vary from event to event.

September’s Gatakers by Night (GBN to those of us in the know… actually that’s a lie. I’m just using the acronym to avoid having to type the entire phrase again and again!)  featured local Irish band, Slainte – who everyone agreed were just fabulous.

printspaceThe new printspace – a collaborative project between Gatakers Artspace and local printmakers – was also launched in a building adjacent and I look forward to seeing the printing equipment (donated by Sue Flavel) in action down the track. Watching artists doing their thing is something GBN offers which you don’t find elsewhere.

And now the equipment is in place printmaking workshops are being held on a regular basis.

September’s GBN also featured a fashion parade – supported by Bundaberg designer Julie Appo featuring some amazing textiles,  and fabrics – part of a training course for local Butchilla girls.

girlsIt was a great opportunity for those involved AND we had the opportunity to see some gorgeous designs. Incidentally, I later checked out Julie’s website (as I really liked a couple of the pieces in the parade) and discovered that she also makes / sells accessories and homewares!

It appears she’s just setting up her online store but I wondered if she’s considered distributing her fashion and goods through other places – there’s a new art gallery / store on the Esplanade at Urangan which would be a good match!

compentriesI hadn’t been to the latest shows in the gallery so wandered through and was incredibly impressed by Visual Art entries (right) in the North Coast North Exhibition – part of the Creative Generation Awards involving a number of schools in the region.

For those interested, the Fraser Coast Chronicle ran this story in relation to the show, as two pieces by Aldridge State High School students have been selected to be displayed at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Brisbane next year.

art downstairsI also loved the rest of the work at the gallery (those on the left were my fave and yes, it appears I have a penchant for the bright and colourful!). I also enjoyed watching local artists in action, including  Brett Jones who launched his drawing magazine on the night – in an Australian first.

I loved so much about the evening. And it was interesting to see an entirely different crowd of people. Quite frankly I never knew there were as many edgy older women and funky young people in the area!

I’ll most definitely be back for more!

For information about the next GBN and other Fraser Coast Events check here, or like them on Facebook.

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Relishing what’s on offer

A couple of weeks ago my blogging and real-life buddy, KangaRue and I had the good fortune to attend Relish Food and Wine Festival at Portside in Maryborough.

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Sadly I didn’t get to any of the other events: The Gourmet Cooking Classes with Villa Cavour B&B; Coast Restaurant’s Wine and Food Degustation Lunch; The Howard Park Degustation dinner at Muddy Waters; or the Banyan Bubbly Breakfast.

We both, however, lapped up everything on offer at the day-long festival itself.

KangaRue and her friends arrived earlier so had already attended some cooking demonstrations;  partaken in some wine tasting; and started the Dan Murphy Food and Wine appreciation session when I caught up with her.

My grandfather (aka Poppie) worked at the Bond Store back in the days it housed barrels of booze, so it seemed apt that James Squire Tales and Ales (beer and food matching) and port and liqueur tastings were on offer there.

A heap of local cafes and food stalls were on hand and a myriad of wineries offering tastings. I was won over by a Crane Wines Sparkling Shiraz – procuring the last two bottles! (I should note that they do deliver, as do many of the other smaller wineries participating in the event.)

I didn’t venture into the XXXX Gold Mini Retreat but it looked to be doing a good business and I loved that you could wander about with your beer or wine from stall to stall or simply sit at a table and lap up the atmosphere and entertainment.

Early rain didn’t deter crowds and I was impressed at the constant throng of people milling about. There was a $10 entry fee (for adults) which also didn’t seem to discourage locals and visitors alike.

With the Mary Ann steam train, kids activities, music and the Relish photo exhibition (and competition) at Gatakers Artspace, there was something for everyone.

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As someone who grew up in the borough (as a friend calls it) I love that these kinds of activities are now available. I only wish that – as a teenager growing up in regional Qld in the 1980s – I’d been exposed to similar stuff back then.

Congratulations to all involved. I was very impressed with the activities on offer and the quality of all of the promotional materials and publications. And I will DEFINITELY be making an effort to attend more festival activities next year.

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Gatakers Artspace & precinct

I’m embarrassed to confess that it took me six months of being back on the Fraser Coast before I ventured to Maryborough’s trendy Gatakers Artspace and precinct.

Sadly time didn’t permit an excessive amount of sightseeing so I skipped the Bond Store and the Military & Colonial Museum (which I’ve also visited previously); but as the much beleaguered Muddy Waters Cafe was reopening after repeated floodings and a new art show, by local artist Gina Davey was being launched, I figured it was a good time to pop down there.

GatakersI’d been to Gatakers Artspace years ago and decided then that I could indeed live in the venue. Its renovation / refurbishment reminds me of some high spec house which should be featuring on Lifestyle TV or the like. I must confess (though) to being a bit underwhelmed last time I visited the gallery – with mostly local knitting on display. This visit however, was much more fruitful, with Davey’s Person of Interest exhibition featuring downstairs and an array of artwork and sculptures upstairs.

In fact I was so mesmerised with a series (by a local artist whose name I’ve forgotten – in bottom right corner of pic) that I even contemplated whether my current state of poverty would permit me to buy one of the pieces.

MuddyWatersI was keen to show Muddy Waters Cafe some support after the bad luck they’ve experienced. I know that building by a river is fraught with danger, but am pretty sure they didn’t expect five floods in three years. The Cafe is now in the Customs House building (home of the former Port Residence), which offers some pleasing views.

Owners Michael and Mia Cox say they are starting small; they are yet to get their liquor licence and only open from 9 – 4 (Tuesday – Sunday) at the moment.

I’ve decided I’ll cut them some slack, as they’re still getting started, but in my case – as a coeliac – gluten-free options were very limited. In fact they were practically non-existent. The helpful waitress said that they could just remove parts of a dish, but it seemed wasteful to pay for something and only receive half of it and nothing tempted me anyway. We were also offered the breakfast menu (all day breakfast I assume) but again there was no GF bread and they were unsure about the chorizo and bacon.

It’s not cheap and I have to admit I won’t be rushing back at this stage. I’ll keep an eye out though because if their menu expands, it is a nice spot and might be worth a second chance. I know people thought well of it previously.

janetsOn the suggestion of my mother and a few locals I also visited Janet’s Art while at that end of town. And… Oh. My. God. I was super-impressed. “Atmosphere and gluten-free options galore!” I tweeted afterwards. I saw several things I was keen to buy, but only left with some cards (Mother’s Day was approaching!).

I picked up a takeaway menu and was pleasantly surprised at the array of GF options on offer. There’s a lovely space out the back which should prove nice during winter and I love that the store supports local artists and jazz.

I’m keen to return to the precinct to make it to Gatakers by Night, which is staged from 5-9pm on the last Saturday (of each full weekend of the month) and features music and artists-in-action. And it’s nice to see that the beautiful space is being put to good use.