Paterson Allyn Williams Science & Ideas Hub

What’s happening with our local Giants?
Local Forest Futures Forum

Sat 3 June, 4.45-6pm
James Theatre, Dungog

The Forum is a FREE Event
(before the screening of the film ‘The Giants’ @ 7pm, $15 adult, $10 child, $40 family = 2 adults + 2 children)

Join us for a conversation on the future of forests in the local area : short presentations + Q&A – chaired by Martin Fallding

Barrington – Hawkesbury Climate Corridors
Jo Lynch, Co-ordinator of the Hunter Community Environment Centre

History & future of Barrington Tops National Park
Ian Donovan, President National Parks Association of NSW (Hunter Branch)

Forests & tourism in the Hunter Region
Cameron Archer, Chair Dungog Tourism Board

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PAWSIH team members celebrate achievements with other NSW Science Hubs 

In April, PAWSIH chair Jane Richens and former Inspiring Australia team leader Jackie Randles joined around 250 community members and visitors who came together at the Lismore Quad on a warm rainy evening to celebrate the launch of Our Place Our Species, a new documentary film that celebrates Bundjalung, Widjabul Wia-bal caretakers as they work on Country to preserve the First Nations cultural knowledge that comes from being part of the land.

In the documentary that was shared publicly with an excited audience for the very first time under the night sky in the Quad, we joined film-maker Mitch King as he travels on Country to meet caretakers with deep knowledge of Bundjalung culture and ecology as they discuss the Northern Rivers region’s unique native plants, river systems and bush tucker.

See an article about the event and vimeo trailer of the documentary:

Documentary Filmmaker Karenza Ebejer, Inspiring Australia Jackie Randles, producer Mykaela Baillie, filmmaker & presenter Mitch King, PAWSIH Jane Richens

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Special free event: LiveStreaming conversation – In conversation with Teela Reid

Tues 4 April 2023, 6.45-8pm

James Theatre, FREE event

Later this year Australians will be asked to vote in a referendum on a Voice to Parliament.

What is the Voice to Parliament? Can the national conversation for constitutional recognition reconcile the truth of our nations’ past? Or have we embarked on a new era of reckoning with the risk that comes with a referendum? How do we embrace the discomfort of this moment and what does it mean – for us collectively and individually? What do we need to know to make an informed decision?

Proud Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman and lawyer, Teela Reid will join Dr Simon Longstaff AO in conversation to unpack the Voice to Parliament. Be part of this informal but urgent conversation through this live screen event from The Ethics Centre.

The Ethics Centre’s ‘In Conversation with…’ series is an intimate opportunity to delve into contemporary issues we are grappling with – and perhaps see things from a different perspective.

Teela Reid

Teela Reid is a proud Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman, lawyer, essayist, storyteller and co-founder of @blackfulla_bookclub, a platform that honours First Nation’s Ancestors as the original Storytellers. Currently, Teela is a Sydney-based Senior Solicitor practicing in Aboriginal Land Rights litigation and is the current Practitioner in residence at Sydney Law School. She was awarded the 2020 UNSW Young Achiever award for her contributions to the community and her advocacy as a working group leader on s51(xxvi), the Race Power, in the Constitutional dialogue process that culminated in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

This year, Teela is the contributing editor for the Griffith Review ‘Acts of Reckoning’ Edition 2022. Teela has also written opinions published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Washington Post, The Guardian, Marie Claire and The National Indigenous Times. She was awarded 2022 Indigenous Leader at the Australian Law Awards.

Dr  Simon Longstaff AO

Dr Simon Longstaff began his working life on Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory of Australia. He is proud of his kinship ties to the Anindilyakwa people. After a period studying law in Sydney and teaching in Tasmania, he pursued postgraduate studies as a Member of Magdalene College, Cambridge. In 1991, Simon commenced his work as the first Executive Director of The Ethics Centre. In 2013, he was made an officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for “distinguished service to the community through the promotion of ethical standards in governance and business, to improving corporate responsibility, and to philosophy.” Simon is an Adjunct Professor of the Australian Graduate School of Management at UNSW, a Fellow of CPA Australia, the Royal Society of NSW and the Australian Risk Policy Institute.

This Ethics Centre Live Screen event is presented in Dungog by Paterson Allyn Williams Science & Ideas Hub in collaboration with Reconciliation Dungog. This is a FREE event.

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Boletus ‘red’

Fungi Foray

Sat 2 April 2023, 9am – 3pm

Join our annual Fungi Foray at the Upper Allyn River on Sun 2 April 2023 from 9am to 3pm, in association with the National Parks Association (Hunter Branch). This is a short, easy grade walk and community survey led by experienced fungi finders, who will be glad to answer all your questions.

The Upper Allyn has been described by experts as a ‘fungi hotspot’ of great significance. It’s located within Chichester State Forest about 1 hour northwest of Dungog (2 hours from Newcastle), an area we hope to see added to Barrington Tops National Park.

The day is suitable for anyone curious about fungi. Accompanied children are welcome. You’ll need suitable outdoor clothing and footwear, and be prepared for leeches. Please register by ASAP, email Martin Fallding or tel 02 6571 1208.

Fungi pic above: Boletus sp. Thanks to National Parks Association (Hunter Branch)

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Strong Proud Women

Sun 3 March 2023, 10am-12noon

Listening to Indigenous Voices series #2

with Belinda Huntriss

James Theatre, FREE event

Strong Proud Women is the second of the Listening to Indigenous Voices Series.

An integral part of Indigenous cultural practice is education. The passing on of knowledge through ceremony and oral traditions has maintained the complexities of knowledge systems for 65,000+ years. These traditions have evolved and adapted as a result of colonisation.

Come and listen to the perspectives of Belinda Huntriss, a strong, proud, Worimi Woman. As a teacher and small business owner, passionate about Aboriginal education and reconciliation, Belinda will take us on a deep dive into contemporary Aboriginal education practices.


This FREE event is hosted collaboratively by PAW Science & Ideas Hub & Reconciliation Dungog.

More about Belinda: 

Belinda Huntriss is from Worimi country and was born and raised in Gloucester on the mid north coast of NSW.

Belinda is a teacher and small business owner who is passionate about Aboriginal education and reconciliation. She completed a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Studies) from the University of Newcastle and is currently working towards a Masters in Indigenous Education at Macquarie University. 

Belinda has been working in Aboriginal education for over fifteen years in early childhood, primary, high school and university sectors. 

For the past six years Belinda has been working as a specialised Aboriginal Education Teacher in the Newcastle region and as a consultant working with early childhood services. Her most important position remains her role as a mum to two young boys, Wilaaran and Yaarru.

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Also coming up…

Fungi Foray Walk & Talk

Fungi Foray Walk – April 2023

The annual survey of Fungi at the Upper Allyn River is coming up in April. This event is in association with the Hunter Branch of the National Parks Association. 

We will let you know soon about the 2023 foray details.

If you have the opportunity to get into a forest check out the amazing fungi life.  Here is a link to some online resources:
Fungi are at their best in Autumn. Recent rains and warm weather promise to make this an ideal time to see and learn about them.

This event be the fourth Fungi Foray in the area. These follow-up surveys are important to document variations in the ecosystem. See you in the fungi forest.

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Experimental Movement – 004 

Wed 14 Dec, 6-7, James Theatre, Dungog

Shake out that dance party in your head.

Think No Lights No Lycra but with a twist – shafts of torchlight along the floor. Bring your bedroom dancing Queen down to the James Theatre for an hour on Wednesday evening. Mixing it up each time. This is part of a series of experimental movement actions.

free form dance • intergenerational • mental wellness

Limited numbers. Booking essential via this link – Experimental Movement.

$5 per family – let us know how many are coming when you book on Eventbrite for numbers

If this event is booked out let us know if you are interested to be put on the mailing list for Experimental Movement – 

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With the evolving evidence of extreme weather events, now is the time to take stock and learn from the contemporary practices of a knowledge system 65,000 years in the making and uniquely adapted to the environments of this country.

Sun 20 Nov, 2-4pm

Land & Farming

Listening to Indigenous Voices series

James Theatre, FREE event

Land & Farming is the first of the Listening to Indigenous Voices Series.

Come and listen to the perspectives of Joshua Gilbert. An impressive young Aboriginal Land Manager sharing his approach to combining two knowledge systems in contemporary farming practices.

This Free event is hosted collaboratively by PAW Science & Ideas Hub & Reconciliation Dungog.

Book via Eventbrite (FREE): Listening to Indigenous Voices: Land & Farming

About the speaker:

Joshua Gilbert is a Worimi man, whose family ancestors are recorded as having the first recorded birth in a cave in the Gloucester mountains. His connection to the Worimi nation stems through both his parents, tracing back to the Bugg family.

Josh shares the narration of Indigenous identity through agricultural truths in light of modern contexts. He is undertaking higher degree research at Charles Sturt University, is the Indigenous Co-Chair of Reconciliation NSW and was recently recognised within the world’s top 50 young gastronomers.

Josh’s work seeks to connect traditional Aboriginal knowledge and history to current contexts, translating past wisdoms and learning to the opportunities of the future. His work brings together the old and the new, weaving them together to develop new insights and findings.

He is an entrepreneur and business advisor, working predominantly in the Aboriginal cultural, agricultural and environmental spheres. He has worked with numerous not for profits, businesses and governments to develop change and bring people on a journey of change.

Josh is a seasoned speaker having presented in front of many audiences including TEDx and now the James Theatre as part of the “Listening to Indigenous Voices Series.”

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& if you are up for some more dancing

Sat 5 November, 7pm for film ‘Moonage Daydream’, around 9pm, dancing, James Theatre Dungog

After the Bowie film ‘Moonage Daydream’ we are going to pull-up the screen and dance. Come for the just the film or just the dancing or both.

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Picnic with the Puppets

Sat 3 Sept, 4pm, Dungog Showground, FREE event

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The Best of Scinema

Another thought provoking selection of films from around the world via Scinema: the International Science Film Festival last Saturday night at the James Theatre Dungog. Thank you to PAWSIH member Michael Kelly for going above and beyond to get this screening together. Thanks also to the The Royal institution of australia for their work in connecting people with the world of science and Inspiring Australia for your support of our science & ideas activities.

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The Best of Scinema – International Science Film Festival 2022

Sat 27 August, 7pm, James Theatre Dungog, FREE event

Paterson Allyn Williams Science & Ideas Hub is proud to once again be presenting THE BEST OF SCINEMA – featuring International Award Winning films from SCINEMA International Science Film Festival 2022.  SCINEMA is the largest science film festival in the southern hemisphere, showcasing the best science feature, short, documentary, animated and experimental films from filmmakers around the world. 

SCINEMA is a celebration of the power of the moving image to inspire the young, satisfy the curious, explain the baffling and ask the impossible.

Thanks to: The Royal Institution of Australia

FREE – Bookings via Eventbrite here.

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3 science & art activities in the July holidays

July – Sat 2, Thurs 7 & Tues 12 in Dungog

Paterson Allyn Williams Science & Ideas Hub is running 3 art & science activities in the July Holidays as part of the project ‘Our Place, Our Species: Connecting with the wild places we love’ in the Dungog Region.

Join a walk in the field, a creative workshop or event guided by artists & scientists. Explore our amazing plants and animals, endangered species and vulnerable habitat. Tell your own stories of living in this place. 

Limited numbers. FREE, book via Eventbrite.

1. Soundscapes: Record your world

Sat 2 July, 10-2, Dungog Common

Record the sounds of this place – in the ground, under the water or inside a tree. Our visiting sound artist is bringing some very special microphones to use. The sounds we collect could then be used on the internet, in videos, or music. Work with musician and sound artist Harry Klein. Limited numbers. Booking essential via this link – Soundscapes: Record your world.

2. Nature Journaling

Thurs 7 July, 10-2, Dungog Common

Join us for a walk where we look, listen, tell stories and take time to connect with nature. Try out some drawing & painting techniques guided by ecologist and illustrator Henrietta Mooney. All materials will be supplied. Limited numbers. Booking essential via this link – Nature Journaling

3. Creative Play Date  

Tues 12 July, 10-2, Dungog CWA

Join in creative experiments & demonstrations that cross art & science. From sculpture to digital illustrations, and playing with sound, there is a world of fun to explore. Work with multi-disciplinary artist Jane Richens & ecologist, illustrator Henrietta Mooney. Materials will be supplied. Limited numbers. Booking essential via this link – Creative Play Date.

For more information email 

Thanks to: Inspiring Australia, Paterson Allyn Williams Science & Ideas Hub (PAWSIH), Office for Regional Youth – Holiday Break program, University of Sydney, Dungog/Clarence Town CWA, Dungog Common

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PLASTIC FREE JULY community event

Thurs 21 July, 5.30pm, James Theatre

FREE screening of THE POWER OF ACTIVI$M @5.45pm 
followed by a discussion with Council, Chamber of Commerce & community members on ‘How to reduce waste & upcycle/recycle best practice’ facilitated by Michelle Dado-Millynn. Your questions answered and suggestions most welcome. Single use plastic free kiosk will be open.  

**Prizes drawn and free handouts**

+ Boomerang Bags Dungog celebrates 7 years and 6000+ single use plastic free bags made. Choose Reusables and solutions to live lightly, responsibly and sustainably.

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Bird Language talk

Wed 4 May, 6pm, in town in Dungog

with environmental educator and wildlife naturalist Andrew Turbill
Bookings essential via this Event

Bird language illustration: Verity Keniger

We’ve been hearing about the Bird Language retreats at Wangat Lodge and asked Andrew Turbill if he would give PAWSIH and the Dungog community an evening talk about birds and bird language while he was in the area. This would be the on the night before the upcoming Retreat. Thanks Andrew and Dan Lyons from Wangat Lodge for generously agreeing to do this talk.

Bird language?… By learning to pay attention and de-code bird language you will be drawn into the interconnectedness and wonder of nature. Gradually our sensory world opens up; birds aren’t just random background noise anymore but instead reveal the movement of predators in the landscape, the whereabouts of flowering and fruiting trees, approaching weather systems and delineation of seasonal changes.

The free community event will start at 6pm on the evening of Wednesday 4 May. The venue will be in town in Dungog. So please book via this Eventbrite link.

Andrew will then be at Wangat Lodge for the Bird Language and Nature Connection – Workshop and Retreat. So if you would like to book into the retreat at Wangat (Thurs 5 – Sun 8 May) here is the link:
BIRD LANGUAGE And Nature Connection – Workshop And Retreat

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Fungi Foray Walk –

Cancelled this year

Sadly this event has been cancelled for this year.

Fungi Foray Walk – NOT Sun 10 April

The annual survey of Fungi at the Upper Allyn River has been cancelled for this year. This event was in association with the Hunter Branch of the National Parks Association. 

The area has experienced heavy rain in recent weeks, and more rain is forecast in coming days. With the wet catchment, hardly any rain is required to make the river crossings impassable, and the alternate road access the area is not available due to a landslip.

We are really disappointed with this decision, and thank you for your understanding. Apologies for any inconvenience that this may have caused. We did consider delaying the foray for two weeks, but the weather is likely to be too cold by then for many species to be visible.

We had about 25 people interested in attending this year, and are already planning the next foray on Sunday 9 April 2023. Please keep this date in mind. We will let you know early next year of the 2023 foray details.

If you have the opportunity to get into a forest check out the amazing fungi life.  Here is a link to some online resources:
Fungi are at their best in Autumn. Recent rains and warm weather promise to make this an ideal time to see and learn about them.

This event would have been the fourth Fungi Foray in the area. These follow-up surveys are important to document variations in the ecosystem. Oh well ….see you next year in the fungi forest.

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And some other news … we’ve had a name change to  

Paterson Allyn Williams Science & Ideas Hub

We have also Incorporated as a not for profit association. Stay tuned for an expanded range of activities in the coming months. An updated logo will come soon…

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Keep an eye out for our upcoming Science & Ideas events.

& visit our YouTube channel with clips from some of our events…

A few of our previous events from last year….

Interview from Science+Dance online ZOOM party
Centre for Deep Reading conversations