Recent events

See detail of each event below the annual list


2019

September

Stargazing at Trevallyn Sat 21 Sept 4-8pm Trevallyn Observatory – near Gresford

August

Paterson Allyn Williams Festival of Science
Sat 10 Aug 3.30-5pm Festival Launch + Conversation With Author Glenn Albrecht, James Theatre, Dungog
Sat 10 Aug 6.30-8.30pm Scinema film festival, James Theatre, Dungog
Wed 14 Aug 10.30-noon Junior Science on the Street, Dowling St, Dungog
Thurs 15 Aug 6-8pm Fermentation + Trivia Night, Tin Shed Brewery, Dungog
Sun 18 Aug 10am-4pm Future Paddock, Allynbrook
‘This project received grant funding from the Australian Government.’

July

Plastic Free July in Dungog

May

Opals Fri 17 May 6pm CWA Hall Dungog

Sustainability Spotlight on Dungog Shire Sun 26 May 3-6pmJames Theatre Dungog

April

Fungi Foray Sun 7 Apr 9am Upper Allyn River, in association with the National Parks Association (HunterBranch)

March

Talking DNA Sat 16 Mar 5pm James Theatre Dungog


2019 – about the events

September 2019

Stargazing at Trevallyn

Sat 21 Sept 4-8pm Trevallyn Observatory – near Gresford

Media

https://www.dungogchronicle.com.au/story/6404095/an-evening-with-the-stars/

Paterson Allyn Williams Science Hub’s Stargazing night

Ruth Dircks

As the 90 or so people were travelling along several kilometres of dirt road to a private observatory at Trevallyn for the Paterson Allyn Williams Science Hub’s Stargazing night, they must have watched the changing cloud cover with apprehension.
But they need not have been concerned because the September 21 event turned out to be a memorable evening.
People began arriving about 4pm and there was a variety of activities for the remaining daylight hours.
Those who were ready to relax could sit looking over the rolling hills, green from recent rain, and watch the changing colours as the sun set.
Others could view the fascinating and beautifully presented memorabilia that had been collected over many years by the host and observatory owner, Darren Jones.
The subjects included a wide range of sporting activities, meteorites and rocks from memorable sites around the world, fragments of timber from historic buildings and from the Royal Coach Britannia, built by an Australian coach builder to commemorate the Queen’s 80th birthday.
For those who wanted to begin their stargazing in daylight one of the four light telescopes, brought for the occasion by the Newcastle Astronomical Society, could be used to view the hydrogen spectrum of the sun or they could watch the signal picked up from the sun via the observatory’s own radio telescope.
The other important activity before dark was partaking of the excellent spit roast meal including a variety of salads generously provided by Darren.
Soon after that there was excitement when the first “star” was spotted amongst the clouds and was immediately identified as Jupiter.
From then on people took turns at the four Newcastle telescopes and the observatory’s light telescope for views of Jupiter and Saturn.
All the astronomers patiently made sure that everyone got a good view and those people watching the radio telescope signal saw the seemingly erratic spikes in the signal from Jupiter, some of which would have been caused by the passing of one or more of Jupiter’s many moons.
The clouds came and went throughout the evening. Sometimes there was little more to see than the two planets but at other times the constellation Scorpio was clear and fleetingly, the Southern Cross.
Many attendees had stargazing aps and had fun pointing at “our” stars and then pointing at the ground to see what was visible on the other side of the Earth.
Once everyone had had a turn – or three – at the various telescopes and it became clear that the cloud cover would not improve, people gradually drifted home after a very relaxing yet informative evening.
Thanks to the generosity of Darren and his friends from the Newcastle Astronomical Society.

Stargazing at Trevallyn

FREE event

Trevallyn Observatory – near Gresford
4-8pm

Join us to learn more about the stars. Enjoy a talk by members from the Newcastle Astronomical Society who will have a range of telescopes available for viewing the sun & the night sky.

It is also a unique opportunity to visit this private observatory and view an incredible collection of astronomy related memorabilia.

Limited numbers: Bookings essential through eventbrite – https://pawshstargazing.eventbrite.com.au

This event is very popular and is close to booking out. Contact us if you would like to be added to the waiting list.

Map and further details available when you book. Rug up to enjoy this outdoor event. Bring a chair or rug to sit on.


AUGUST 2019

10-18 National Science Week

Paterson Allyn Williams Festival of Science

click here for full details

‘This project received grant funding from the Australian Government.’

Sat 10 Aug 3.30-5pm Festival Launch + Conversation With Author Glenn Albrecht, James Theatre, Dungog

Sat 10 Aug 6.30-8.30pm Scinema film festival, James Theatre, Dungog

Wed 14 Aug 10.30-noon Junior Science on the Street, Dowling St, Dungog

Thurs 15 Aug 6-8pm Fermentation + Trivia Night, Tin Shed Brewery, Dungog

Sun 18 Aug 10am-4pm Future Paddock, Allynbrook

PAWSH_NatScWk_2019 A4 poster

Media

https://www.dungogchronicle.com.au/story/6311476/robots-to-feature-on-the-farm/

https://www.dungogchronicle.com.au/story/6297361/scientifically-speaking-in-dungog/

https://www.dungogchronicle.com.au/story/6236405/celebrating-all-things-science/

 


July 2019

Plastic Free July in Dungog

Plastic Free July in Dungog was launched on Sat 29 June.

Media

https://www.dungogchronicle.com.au/story/5767798/plan-to-be-first-plastic-free-town/

https://www.msn.com/en-au/video/watch/dungog-community-unites-to-phase-out-single-use-plastics/vp-AADG7ls

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-03/dungog-drops-single-use-plastics-for-good-of-the-planet/11272234

https://www.abc.net.au/radio/newcastle/programs/breakfast/plastic-free-july-movement/11369440

https://www.abc.net.au/radio/newcastle/programs/mornings/plastic-free-dungog/10554234

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-03/going-single-use-plastic-free-was-the-next-natural-step/11266392

Enter the competition and show/tell us of your plastic-free alternatives.


May 2019

Opals

Media

https://www.dungogchronicle.com.au/story/6152384/scintillating-opals-photos/

Paterson Allyn Williams Science Hub busts some opal myths

Some of the mysteries of the beautiful opal are no longer thanks to a special event organised by the Paterson Allyn Williams Science Hub

The fabulous gem was in the spotlight for a presentation by Dungog resident, psychologist turned opal miner and cutter Toby Solomon.

The May 17 event started with organisers having to put out more chairs, as people crowded into the Dungog CWA hall, and ended with a noisy buzz of conversation around Toby and her display of opals and potch.

“The audience, ranging in age from 9 to 90, was fascinated by Toby’s description of life in the Grawin Opal Fields near Lightning Ridge,” said Ruth Dirks from the Science Hub.

Toby described the composition and range of opals, dispelled myths, especially the one about opals bringing bad luck, and explained why the colours appear different from different angles.

Her talk was illustrated throughout, showing the changes in mining practices today from those in the early 1900s, the claustrophobic interiors of mineshafts and a stunning array of products of Toby’s mining experience.

“Toby used a map of the location of the seven major opal fields in Australia to explain how characteristically different are the opals from the different fields,” said Mrs Dirks.

“She showed photos of her opal-cutting equipment, which garnered many questions from the kids in the audience.

“Toby explored the difference between precious opal and common opal or potch: she explained how potch can be glued to very thin pieces of precious opal to make doublets. Opals are hard but some care needs to be taken – they are susceptible to scratching.

“The harsh reality is that in the marketing chain opal miners take the most risks and receive the least financial reward. Opals then pass through cutters, buyers and jewellery manufacturers to the retailers who have the lowest risk and highest profit. Miners work under harsh conditions too: not everyone in the audience agreed with Toby that mining looked like “fun”.”

With plenty of audience participation throughout the evening, people left feeling they had been close to the opal mining experience Mrs Dircks said.

FREE event
Friday 17 May CWA Hall Dungog
6pm

Australia’s National Gem • How is it formed? What makes a good one? • Myths & mysteries

Psychologist turned opal miner and cutter, Toby Solomon will talk about her transition from the office to Grawin Opal Field where she and her partner owned several opal mines.
Wielding a jack hammer, pick and shovel, and eventually learning how to cut and polish the elusive gemstone over 12 years, the two of them carved out a “beyond the Black Stump” life.

With slides and stories, she will briefly talk about the history, and then guide you through the different kinds of opals in the various fields of Australia, with a focus on the fields she mined in and knew best. Finally she will have several stones for you to view, talk about what makes an opal valuable and answer questions you might have.


May 2019

Sustainability Spotlight on Dungog Shire

Sun 26 May 3-6pm James Theatre Dungog

Media

https://www.dungogchronicle.com.au/story/6132912/shining-the-light-on-our-choices/

Sustainability Spotlight on Dungog Shire

FREE event in association with Sustaining the Williams Valley Inc & Single Use Plastic Free Dungog
Sunday 26 May James Theatre Dungog
3-6pm

Series of short talks showcasing sustainable practices in businesses and community groups in our shire.

A series of short, fast and punchy (‘Pecha Kucha’ style) talks from those who have sustainability as a core component of what they do.

Join us for FREE drinks and nibbles after the show!

FREE EVENT Everybody welcome.

Some of our speakers & stalls include: Tin Shed Brewery, HannanBuild, 4 Acre Farm, Wangat Lodge, Australian Sustainable Timbers, Fosterton Farm, Local Growers Market, The Magpie, Westwood Providores + others
The final list of speakers & stall will be announced soon.

Thanks to: Lovey’s Grocers, Stella Bistro, Boomerang Bags, Dungog Shire Council, Dungog Shire Community Centre


April 2019

Fungi Foray

Fungi Foray

FREE event in association with the National Parks Association (HunterBranch)
Sunday 7 April Upper Allyn River
9am to mid afternoon

Learn about fungi and participate in a community survey in the picturesque Upper Allyn and Paterson Valleys.

This is the second Fungi Foray in the area. The first survey was held last year and this follow-up survey is important to document variations.

Fungi are at their best in Autumn. Recent rains and warm weather promise to make this an ideal time to see and learn about a range of these often overlooked organisms, a vital part of our natural ecosystems.

There will be experienced and knowledgeable guides very familiar with the area. Anyone with an interest is invited to attend, and the day is suitable for people of all ages and abilities. Participants need to bring suitable clothing, footwear and food, and be prepared for some walking off tracks.

The day starts at Peach Tree Picnic Area in Chichester State Forest at 9.00 am finishing by mid afternoon.
For more information, please contact Martin Fallding on T 6571 1208
E info@calli.com.au Note please RSVP to Martin Fallding by Wednesday if possible to help with organisation on the day.

ALSO
The National Parks Association is conducting Koala surveys in this area the following weekend 13/14 April 2019. Contact John Simpson if you would like more information at hunter-activities@npansw.org.au or Mobile 0400 364 080.

 

Media

Fungi, koalas, the stars and more


March 2019

Talking DNA

Talking DNA

FREE event – 5pm Saturday 16 March James Theatre Dungog

DNA is the blueprint for building all life on earth including humans, but what is it made of and how does it work? Why do some of us look like our fathers yet different to our mothers? and how did our knowledge of unique traits form the basis of genetic engineering, leading onto things like longer lasting apples and seedless watermelons?

Laura Greco (Newcastle University) will be doing an introductory talk on genes and DNA, and how our ability to edit and reprogram genes could cure diseases, character select our own children and result in a real ‘Jurassic Park’.

And Alex Kelly (Biofoundry) is the manager of Sydney first PC-1 compliant community science lab which is making insulin affordable with a citizen science approach to medical research. He will discuss the ‘Open Science’ movement, DIY genetic engineering, biohacking, synthetic biology and CRISPR/CAS9 kits.

Media

DNA in Dungog

https://www.dungogchronicle.com.au/story/5959978/science-hub-tackles-dna/

Paterson Allyn Williams Science Hub event well attended

Around 50 people gathered in the James Theatre on the rainy Saturday afternoon of March 16 to hear a fascinating pair of talks on the structure and function of DNA.

The Paterson Allyn Williams Science Hub with the support of “Inspiring Australia” hosted Laura Greco, studying a PhD in medical genetics, and Alex Kelly from BioFoundry who works in the do-it-yourself field of science.

Laura explained how our understanding of genetics got to be where it is today and Alex picked up from there and explained the rapidly advancing area of genetic manipulation.

They were able to show how different their respective research environments are. Laura has access to academic resources and is subject to tightly controlled constraints and regulations whereas Alex has problems funding his research but has fewer controls on his work.

“After their talks enthusiastic questions from the audience took up more than the available time and Laura and Alex collaborated to give thoughtful and thought provoking answers,” said Jane Richens from the Hub.

“These two young scientists are impressive in their commitment to science, the clarity of their presentations and their awareness of future benefits and pitfalls.

“Laura made the basic principles of genetics understandable by the use of interesting analogies and left us marvelling at how amazingly small are the detailed structures that control all life forms.

“She elaborated on some well known examples of genetic manipulation and compared slow genetic manipulation by controlled breeding with the rapid changes made possible by genetic engineering.

“Alex revealed the existence of an international group of scientists, collaborating together outside of academia and operating on limited funds but with strong collaboration.

“He explained how control by the three insulin producing companies has led to the prohibitively high cost of insulin even though production costs are very low.

“The amazing rate of change in genetic engineering techniques was emphasised by his description of a kit that people can use to carry out safe and simple genetic modification of a bacterium in their homes.”


2018

November 2018

Native Bee Workshop

Native Bee Workshop

Paterson Allyn Wiliams Science Hub & Dungog Bee Rapt presents the Native Bee Workshop.

Are you interested in keeping native stingless bees for fun, honey production, conservation or pollination? Or are you curious about these wonderful, beautiful insects? This one-day workshop will give you the facts, get you started on becoming a stingless beekeeper, and open up a world that too few know about. The day will include hive and colony splitting, honey extraction … and tasting!

Entomologist Dr Tim Heard keeps over 400 hives, many rescued threatened hives, and has been running native bee workshops since 1995.
Ecologist Dr Tobias Smith has been fascinated by bees since childhood and is a director of Bee Aware Brisbane.

This was a popular workshop and was booked out. We are looking to hold another one in November 2019. Contact us if you would like to be put on a waiting list.


August 2018

National Science Week 2018 – 5 events

Media

https://www.dungogchronicle.com.au/story/5613041/science-week-starts-a-buzz/

https://www.dungogchronicle.com.au/story/5557492/national-science-week-in-dungog/

FREE event for National Science Week
Saturday 11 August, 3–5pm
James Theatre Dungog

C.O.R.E! Community Owned Renewable Energy
Expert panel discussion with Q&A

Many communities around Australia are realising the opportunities of localised power generation and distribution to benefit their communities. CORE is a way for communities to come together to initiate, develop, operate, own and benefit from their own renewable energy projects.

A panel of experts has been invited to present to the community at the event: Jarra Hicks of Community Power Agency, David Marston of Energise Gloucester and Sandi Middleton of Enova Community Energy will explain what it is, why now and could it be part of Dungog’s energy future. MC for the event will be Christopher Saunders, General Manager of Renew Newcastle.

Community Power Agency define Community Owned Renewable Energy as being developed in response to the fundamental challenges of climate change, regional economic development, energy access and affordability. CORE presents an opportunity for communities across Australia, particularly in regional areas, to create a steady income stream to fund community development projects over the next 25+ years.

The panel will use examples of existing projects to discuss the concept, the environmental, social, economic, technological and political benefits that can result. We will explore the hurdles that may need to be overcome and share information on where additional help can be sourced should communities in the Dungog region wish to undertake such a project.

Some of the community benefits that have been attributed to CORE projects include • Local ownership and decision making • Community building and empowerment • Renewable energy education and training • Renewable energy industry development • Energy self sufficiency • Regional development and income diversification • Community assets • Local jobs • Shareholder income • Community income • GHG emissions reduction • Increase in environmental values and behaviour

Presented by the Paterson Allyn Williams Science Hub and Sustaining the Williams Valley inc. This initiative is supported by Inspiring Australia and the NSW Government.

 

FREE event for National Science Week
Saturday 11 August, 7 pm
James Theatre Dungog

The BEST of SCINEMA: International Science Film Festival 2018 (M)

The film program is recommended for film and science lovers – featuring 9 International Award Winning films presented by the Science Channel and BBC Earth. Special guests at Scinema in Dungog: Meet Frank Oly and Tegan Nock who produced the Grassroots documentary, & Agronomist Guy Webb

PROGRAM
Virtual humans (Spain) 6:00 mins This film is a technically stunning example of the power and versatility of supercomputers, helping us to see our body in ways we never have before.

The Secret To Making Better Decisions – Catalyst (Australia) 1:30 mins (excerpt only) To make the most abstract of mathematical concepts and logical reasoning both accessible and informative while still remaining humorous and relatable is an extraordinary effort.

Grassroots (Australia) 19:10 mins This story of farmers turned accidental activists is one you want to share with everyone
you know.

Astroturf (UK) 1:00 min This clever film takes the old adage ‘in space no one can hear you scream’ and turns it on its head.

Timelapse (Spain) 11:00 mins The Director has crafted a compelling, yet harrowing world in this imaginative portrayal of the future of work, a discussion we need to have now as a society… before the future arrives.

KCLOC (USA) 2:30 mins With exquisite animation this film manages to take something common to all of us that we don’t stop to think about into something fun, witty and nuanced.

iRONY (Australia) 8:00 mins An incredibly confronting and powerful discussion of technology, showing how emotive a science documentary can be. This film contains adult themes.

Planet Earth II – Grasslands (UK) 1:30 mins (excerpt only) Visually stunning, with writing to aspire to, BBC Earth and the stories they tell are truly one of the jewels of documentary making in the world. This wonderful effort is no exception.

The Kingdom – How Fungi Made Our World (Australia) 52:00 mins This film takes us on a wonderfully creative journey from the beginning of time to the present, revealing the hidden world of fungi with beautiful cinematography.

Presented by the Paterson Allyn Williams Science Hub and Australia’s Science Channel. This initiative is supported by Inspiring Australia and the NSW Government.

 

FREE event for National Science Week
and Dungog Boomerang Bags 2nd Birthday
Sunday 12 August, 3 pm
James Theatre Dungog

BLUE the Film

“BLUE is a cinematic song for our oceans; beautiful, intimate and grand. Fearlessly truth-telling, yet passionately hopeful. See this film and you will want to rise up with the waves.”
Greenpeace Australia

Our ocean has been the guardian of life on earth but half of all marine life has been lost in the last 40 years. The tide has come for change. Now it is our turn to be guardians for the ocean. BLUE is a provocative journey into the ocean realm, witnessing this critical moment in time when the marine world is on a precipice.

There will be a Q&A panel with scientists/conservationists following the screening with drinks and nibblies provided. We invite all in the community to this free event as we celebrate working together for Reduce ReUse Recycle.

Presented by the Paterson Allyn Williams Science Hub and Dungog Boomerang Bags. This initiative is supported by Inspiring Australia and the NSW Government.

 

FREE event for National Science Week
Friday 10 August, 6 pm
Hotel Beatty, East Gresford

Koalas in the Pub
Find out about our local Koalas – A talk with Q+A

Local ecologist John Simpson and Martin Fallding from the National Parks Association will be at the Hotel Beatty to talk about koalas, their upcoming koala survey and to answer your koala questions. Then stay on for the Gresford Community Dinner and meet some other locals! This will be an entertaining night at the Beatty. If staying for dinner give Bernie a ring on 49389451 to make catering easier.

FREE event for National Science Week
SAT 18 & SUN 19 Aug
Upper Allyn River area

Koala Count – Surveyors needed for Community Koala survey
You don’t need to be an expert learn from professional ecologists.

The survey is being conducted by the National Parks Association of NSW. The weekend provides an opportunity to visit and learn about this beautiful area, generate important scientific data and have fun in the bush. Come for one day or the whole weekend. Free camping at the Allyn River.

To register for the survey: John Simpson 0400 364 080 or Martin Fallding 6571 1208 before Mon 13 August.

Get the participant info and map.

Presented by the Paterson Allyn Williams Science Hub and National Parks Association of NSW, Hunter Region. This initiative is supported by Inspiring Australia and the NSW Government.


Media from past events

https://www.dungogchronicle.com.au/story/4852657/science-film-festival-on-tonight/

https://www.dungogchronicle.com.au/story/5305566/weekend-engineers-tested-photos/

https://www.dungogchronicle.com.au/story/4198934/its-time-to-start-counting/

https://www.dungogchronicle.com.au/story/4642914/battery-run-car-revs-into-town/

https://www.dungogchronicle.com.au/story/4615308/power-saving-tips-from-the-experts-to-you/

https://www.dungogchronicle.com.au/story/4895682/power-saving-program-proving-to-be-a-winner/

https://www.dungogchronicle.com.au/story/4434534/happy-birthday-dcc-and-congratulations/

https://www.dungogchronicle.com.au/story/4027940/talk-about-the-nbn-what-it-means-to-you/?cs=413