Two Fires Festival

Carrying the flame of Judith Wright's passions …

Two Fires Festival - Carrying the flame of Judith Wright's passions …

Event details for 2019

Two Fires Festival Art Show – “RIVER RETURN”

at Altenburg Gallery
A group exhibition by local artists who have been working together plein air on the Shoalhaven River and Braidwood surrounds for the past 12 months. Issues that the artists have considered and discussed are responses to river health, habit, local significance of sites and what the river means to our community.  
The Shoalhaven River serves the rural districts and is the main water supply for Braidwood township. 
The river also forms part of the catchment for Sydney Water. 
Water, the lifeblood for all living beings, has come sharply into focus during recent droughts, extreme weather events and changing patterns in climate.
  • Olivia Bernardoff
  • Victoria Clutterbuck
  • Marianne Courtenay
  • Natalie Densley
  • Jack Featherstone
  • Cecile Galiazzo
  • Fran Ifould
  • Harriet Searcy
  • Jenny Tozer


This workshop will invite you to reflect on your relationship to Indigenous Australia, using story writing to re-picture the landscape of your childhood and its Indigenous story – towards a new social story in Australia

The workshop structure : (pens and writing paper to be provided)                 

  • Short presentation on our settler story in Australia, and Indigenous Australia
  • Preparation towards the writing exercise. 
  • The writing exercise (This exercise is for yourself and does not need to be contributed to the group unless voluntary) 
  • Discussion and free contribution
  • Conclusion

“FOOD HEALTH and HEALING LAND – Emerging Wisdom in Landcare”

  • 2.30pm Martin Royds – Local context and landcare in the region
  • 2.50pm David Marsh – Regenerative agriculture 
  • 3.10pm David Watson – On Millpost farm and the axe quarry site (including documentary 12mins)  
  • 3.30pm Fran Bodkin – Indigenous knowledge and caring for the land
  • 3.50pm Noel Butler – Traditional lifestyle versus today – We are what we eat
  • 4.10pm John Newton – No we don’t have an Australian food culture and it doesn’t really matter. What we have is better
  • 4.30pm Bronwyn Richards and Helen Lynch –  Wynlen House Micro Urban Farm
  • 4.50pm Noel Webster – Traditional cool burning 
  • 5.10 pm Q and A session
  • 5.20pm session close 


activism: past, present, future
Environmental activism – when is it too much, too little or too late? Protecting The Places We Love takes a look at activism at the local level through the involvement of past and present members of Friends of The Mongarlowe River.
They’ll be telling their stories about how they got started protecting the river and how they  were drawn into the fight for the forest surrounding it. Some of the highs and lows will be re-lived, also the moments of unexpected hilarity and the times of wanting to give up.
There’ll even be some poetry. And students from Braidwood Central School will be on hand to give a glimpse into the future with a spirited investigation of what activism means to them.


Mountain Pepper Farm 

“Australian Mountain Pepper is a family owned business founded by us, Meraiah Foley and qualified chef Tim Wimborne. 
We practice what can be described as ‘pick & shovel’ farming on this small property nestled at the base of the region’s highest peak, Mount Budawang. This is a special place, richly soiled and bounded by National Park on three sides. Primarily wet sclerophyll forest, it is crossed by a spring fed creek and is the home of massive tree ferns and Lyre Birds, Sugar Gliders and Spotted-tail Quolls. Our farm benefits from a very localised microclimate that delivers over 1,250mm of rain annually, cool winters and mild summers. This mountain refuge has deep, rich well drained soils which support forest trees over 50 metres high and nearby creeks that contain remnant rainforest. Our farm is registered with Kosciusko To Coast as a Land For Wildlife reserve.
We have cultivated a unique mountain pepper operation that employs permaculture principles and organic techniques. There is no use of industrial chemicals or non-recyclable/non-reusable plastics and great efforts are made to maintain the farm’s minimal carbon footprint and a near zero waste output. For the few inputs that come from off-farm we deal primarily with local suppliers and people we know personally.
Our sustainable and ecologically sound practices are creating a unique Mountain Pepper orchard. We practice companion planting, holistically managed soil and create our own organic fertilisers on site. We are the newcomers to this environment and we ensure our soils, water and annual harvest are shared with the creatures and wildlife that have lived indigenously here for thousands of years.

Hazelwood Farm 

The 38 hectare Hazelwood Farm is owned and operated by Sarah and Wayne Merriman and their children. It is located 12km North East of Braidwood in a Cold Temperate climate, on the edge of a State Forest. The farm is subject to East Coast Lows (heavy rain events), with an average annual rainfall between 900 and 1200mm.
The aspect is predominantly North West facing at 670-710m above sea level. With soils of silty loam, 4.5 hectares are dedicated to income producing fruit, nut and vegetables with occasional cattle grazing on 22.5 hectares and rest left to natural bush, windbreaks, dams and gullies. When the Merriman family took over Hazelwood Farm in 2004, it was a large overgrazed paddock, extremely open to the elements, with a handful of trees in the gully and an acidic soil pH, in some places as low as 4.3.   
There was poor water retention and little grass cover as the previous owner had operated under a set grazing regime (keeping stock in each paddock throughout the year) for livestock, and it was the middle of a drought. The Merrimans have since made improvements to raise the pH, increase fencing to better manage grazing and protect the waterway allowing the land to revegetate. The next major project was development of the hazelnut orchard and windbreaks were also planted to protect the orchard, prevent soil moisture loss and encourage micro biotic growth– an additional benefit has been the increase in bird and wildlife.
A mixture of native and exotic plants have also been placed around the house site providing further habitat and shelter for birds and wildlife. The productive Market Garden and Fruit Orchard have been protected by high fences to exclude wildlife. Food production on Hazelwood Farm has been relatively successful  through a focus on soil improvement including mushroom compost, on-farm compost and worm wee, sifted ash from the fire, seaweed and a homemade “organic” fertiliser.  

The Old Cheese Factory, Reidsdale

The Watkins-Sully family relocated to Australia from Chepstow in Wales in the 1980’s. They came to Braidwood in 2001 and ran the Braidwood Deli for many years. In 2007 they purchase a disused 1920s Cheese factory in the remote rural district of Reidsdale.
A grant from Aus Industry allowed them to renovate the old factory and a new venture was born in August 2008. Passionate about reviving food heritage they have rejuvenate the old factory to, once again, be a hub of local production.

“YARNING SESSION with readings by Us Mob Writing Group.”

Us Mob Writing (UMW) group is made up of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander poets, writers and storytellers based in Canberra and the surrounding areas.  Our members past and present have written poetry, plays, songs, documentary films, short films, TV dramas, children’s story books, novels, short stories, biographies and autobiographies.  UMW group has included major national and international literary award winners, a national literary awards judge, and multiple nationally and internationally published, performed and produced writers, including winners of the David Unaipon award.
Member’s poetry and prose have been published in many journals and anthologies nationally and internationally, including in the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature.  Their work has been translated in French, Korean, Bengali, Dutch and other non-English speaking languages.
They have previously published By Close of Business a poetry anthology in 2013.  In 2017 they launched Too Deadly: Our Voice, Our Way, Our Business.  UMW members continually promote and showcase First Nations Australia poetry nationally and internationally.


An Australia-wide and world-wide performance network directed by Judy Clingan, Canberra-based composer, conductor, writer and visual artist. The Wayfarers were originally students, teachers and parents from Steiner or Waldorf schools around Australia who came together to rehearse and tour performances of choral music and music theatre.
It is now open to anyone interested – with a bias towards performing meaningful and consciousness-raising pieces. In February Canberra Wayfarers performed “Mysteries” in Carey’s Cave, Wee Jasper. For their Two Fires performance, they will present excerpts from two of Judy’s compositions which look at indigenous realities: “Kakadu” and “Nganbra.” The words of “Kakadu” were co-written by Judy and her mother Marian Clingan, a poet. They are based on the words of Big Bill Neidjie. The words of “Nganbra” are by Anthony Hill.

BRINGING the SONGLINES ALIVE: Tracking the Seven Sisters

If you missed immersing yourself in this epic saga of creation, Country and custodianship at the 2017-19 National Museum of Australia exhibition in Canberra, then this presentation is the next best thing!  It will be  a dynamic, powerful experience guaranteed to transform you just as the exhibition did for some 100,000 others.  Songlines are the foundational stories of this county – to truly take root here you need to know the stories of this continent beyond the past few hundred years. The seven sisters will tell you your stories as they travel the songlines carrying  the knowledge  of how to care for country, for people and  the future.

The Mission Songs Project

Presented by the Canberra Ukelele Group, Jessie Lloyd’s profoundly moving Mission Songs Project reveals what daily life was like for Indigenous Australians on Christian missions and state-run settlements.

Through the discovery of rare secular songs that were sung after church, audiences can gain a deeper understanding about the history of elders, families and communities, from cultural identity to love and loss.

Searching for the secular songs that were sung after church, the Mission Songs Project looks to explore the day to day life of the mission days, from cultural identity to love and loss. These unique songs consist of almost forgotten stories that can now shed light into the history of our Indigenous elders, families and communities.

The Mission Songs Project faithfully explores the musical journey of Indigenous Australian music as Jessie Lloyd connects the traditional with contemporary, revealing the continuation of cultural practice and song traditions into the 21st Century.