Come join us in Scone for the next NSW Rural Women’s Gathering 25-27 October 2013

Upper Hunter Shire

Upper Hunter Shire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I am handing over to my guest blogger, Caroline Hayes, Vice Chair of the 2013 NSW Rural Women’s Gathering Committee.

2013 Gathering Committee drumming as part of the closing ceremony at Parkes

Well, what a fabulous weekend we have all had the 2012 Rural Women’s Gathering in Parkes.  Thanks again to the Parkes committee for hosting such an inspiring, entertaining and successful event – move over Las Vegas!


2013 brings around the 21st anniversary of Women’s Gatherings in NSW.  And we all know that 21st’s are some of the best parties aren’t they?

I am delighted to invite you next year to the fabulous town of Scone right in the heart of the beautiful Upper Hunter Shire for that 21st anniversary of the NSW Rural Women’s Gatherings.

While the event will be centred in the township of Scone, we will open the doors of the Upper Hunter to our visitors. Merriwa to the west, Murrurundi to the north, Aberdeen to the south and the Barringtons to the east will welcome women (and their partners) to the Upper Hunter.

The Scone Women’s Gathering will be held from the 25th – 27th October 2013.

Now some of you may know and some of you may not know that Scone is in fact the horse capital of Australia.  So we have chosen as our theme – Horsin’ Around – it’s appropriate we thought, if we intend to have a little fun while we are all there together.

But as well as horses, we have people. Fabulous people. Lee Watts, is our chair and we have a team of vibrant and enthusiastic women on the 2013 Committee.

We have been working together for nine months and have generated lots of great ideas for the Scone Gathering.  We have already secured some sensational speakers, some well known and some known better locally but all with inspiring stories and messages to tell.

Local women such as author Dr Judy White from Belltrees and Patrice Newell, author and biodynamic farmer growing olives and garlic are thrilled to be involved.

There will be a special message from a well-known female racing identity and unless she gets sent off overseas we will have the pleasure of ABC TV foreign correspondent Sally Sara’s company.

Sally Sara

Sally Sara (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The Hunter Valley is also renowned for beautiful wines and sensational food.   We work hard to manage the balance between agricultural, equine, wine and mine industries.  I am sure we will hear more about this at the Gathering.

In 2011 the Upper Hunter Shire celebrated inspirational women in the Upper Hunter. The unique Photographic Exhibition titled Celebrating 100 Years: Women of Influence consisted of photos of each female nominee accompanied by the words of wisdom that inspire the people who nominated them. The reason this exhibition was so important is that it clearly showed that you do not need to be famous or in a position of power to be influential.  You can play a leadership –that is, a positive influential role – from any level within your business, community and your family and we intend to build on these ideas at our Gathering in Scone

The options for workshops are overflowing.  There will be wonderful tours of local reserves, homesteads, horse studs, farming enterprises and gardens.  There will be financial workshops, many creative arts workshops, health related workshops, food and wine workshops, workshops that are just for fun and much, much more: something for everyone.

There is also a special partner’s program planned to showcase activities and the area around Murrurundi, a little north of Scone. And just because we can (or we think we can) we are working on a very special entertainment session showcasing the many and varied equestrian disciplines active in the region.

None of this of course would be possible without our sponsors.  We are incredibly grateful to the NSW Government who through NSW Department of Primary Industries support this event and thank them enormously for the announcement by Troy Grant MP that they will again sponsor the event in 2013.

English: Hunter Valley. Taken by Dudesleeper o...

English: Hunter Valley. Taken by Dudesleeper on December 14, 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thank you too to the NSW Rural Women’s Network team for all of the support that they give to the event. The Upper Hunter Shire and Scone High School have been hugely supportive of hosting this event in Scone and have representatives on the committee.

We are lucky to have a dynamic young female agribusiness manager with the CBA on our committee and she has already secured significant support from the bank for the Gathering and we thank them for this.

I myself have had a long association with rural communities.  I was a Rural Financial Counsellor for nine years  and for the last 7 years I was the Drought and Rural Support Worker for the Hunter.

Upper Hunter Shire

Upper Hunter Shire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mayor of the Upper Hunter Shire, Michael Johnsen has personally asked me to tell you that he has been fully briefed about the event and like us, he is very much looking forward to welcoming you all to Scone in October 2013. We have the capacity, the enthusiasm and now the funding to deliver to you a wonderful Gathering in Scone for 2013.

We want to do it our own special way while incorporating the many fabulous traditions that have been built into the Gatherings over the years. The Hunter is a renowned tourist area and we have accommodation available for all.   Come, celebrate with us and enjoy a little Horsin’ Around in the Hunter.


About nswrwn

NSW Rural Women’s Network is a government program working in innovative ways to promote leadership and action on rural women’s issues. The RWN team is dedicated to connecting and exchanging information with women and stakeholders in rural, regional and remote communities.
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