Clifton School of Arts

Clifton School of ArtsThe original Clifton School of Arts was established in 1880 when Andrew Stuart (owner of the local coal mine and later premier of NSW) gave the use of a room and later £30. The weatherboard building later burned down.

The area steadily grew through the exploitation of the local coal deposits and by 1888 Clifton was an important commercial centre with both coach and railway terminals.

Times soon became difficult for the Illawarra with continuing industrial unrest including lengthy and bitterly contested strikes. There were also major mining disasters in 1887 and 1902 in which several hundred men and boys were killed.

Added to this was the problem of the location of the coal and associated mining and shipping difficulties which meant that the mines were always economically marginal.
In 1910, the Coalcliff Colliery miners went out on strike for six months and it was during this time, that the second and still standing School of Arts was built. The cost of £100 was raised by public subscription, the land was donated by the mining company and the striking miners provided the labour.

The first stage consisted of four rooms on two storeys and although the School was really meant to be a much larger building, given the changed economic circumstances of the area the planned hall at the back of the building was never added. 

Although the School was built at Clifton, Scarborough (formerly South Clifton) had become the centre for growth and so Clifton’s population steadily declined as the mine closed and miners sought work elsewhere. The partially-completed building operated as a School of Arts for a number of years and later became the local general store. Later still it provided a home and studio space for local artists.

Over the years the building deteriorated badly and it looked as though it would have to be demolished however finally in 1996, a new School of Arts Committee was formed and fundraising and lobbying for the restoration began.

Grants were received from Wollongong City Council, NSW Heritage Commission and private donors but of course nothing would have happened without the efforts and enthusiasms of the local community whose energies have brought the building back to life continue to support it as a community and tourism facility.

Clifton School of Arts
338 Lawrence Hargrave Dr, Clifton NSW 2515‎
Phone: (02) 4268 0489‎

NSW Schoolhouse Museum Tour and Talk

A Museums Australia NSW event
Wednesday 5 May 2010 4pm

Kathryn Watkins will provide a glimpse of schooling from the past and conduct a tour of the NSW Schoolhouse Museum of Public Education.

The museum is housed in restored early schoolrooms and collects and preserves objects relating to the history of public education in NSW.

NSW Schoolhouse Museum of Public EducationNSW Schoolhouse Museum
Cox’s Road, North Ryde

The NSW Schoolhouse Museum is located on Cox’s Road, North Ryde in the north-eastern corner of the grounds of North Ryde Public School (almost opposite Cox’s Road Mall).A car park is located behind the Schoolhouse Museum

The following Sydney Buses stop at the front of the museum: 288 & 506.


NSW Schoolhouse Museum
RSVP:  The event is free, but bookings essential by Monday 3 May to
Paul Bentley, Executive Officer
Museums Australia NSW Branch
Phone: 02 9387 7307
Mobile: 0416 121 347

Walkabout in New South Wales

There is so much to do in New South Wales, but a week will surely persuade you to come back for more.

Day One

After breakfast head down to Circular Quay to see two Sydney icons at once the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the white-sailed Sydney Opera House.

Next, stroll across to The Rocks area to see where European Sydney started out. The compact waterside area is criss-crossed with alleyways and crammed with terraced houses, old pubs, and former maritime storehouses. Make the most of the experience by going on a guided walk with an operator such as The Rocks Walking Tours. 

Nearby are some steps that take you up to the walkway that spans the Sydney Harbour Bridge. You can walk right across the bridge and take a local commuter train back to the city centre.

Or, you could actually climb the Harbour Bridge with BridgeClimb. It’s a truly memorable experience, and the views from the top of the arch are magnificent.

Afterwards, head back to Circular Quay and take a boat trip on Sydney’s glorious harbour. There are lots of tour boats to choose from. One that gives an Aboriginal perspective on things is the Tribal Warrior Aboriginal Culture Cruise. If you are the adventurous sort you could even take zip around the Harbour at break-neck speed on a jet boat.

From here you could walk past the Opera House and into the Royal Botanic Gardens. You might then want to pop into the Art Gallery of New South Wales, before heading towards the city again.

Ahead of you is Sydney Tower, the tallest building in Sydney. The tower offers stunning 360-degree views across the city, and beyond to The Blue Mountains. Daredevils can walk around the outside of the tower on a Skywalk.

Day 2
Spend the morning in Darling Harbour, Sydney’s main entertainment precinct. There are plenty of bars and restaurants around here with outdoor seating, and lots of major attractions.

A must is to clamber over real ships and a submarine at the Australian National Maritime Museum, and discover our love of maritime and the ocean.

Day 3
Today it’s time to head to the hills.

The World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains are less than two hours from Sydney. You can get there by train and join a tour, take a tour from Sydney, or wander around alone.

On the way, you could stop off to see the kangaroos and other creatures at Featherdale Wildlife Park.

In the Blue Mountains you can ride the world’s steepest incline railway and enjoy spectacular rainforest views from a cable car at Scenic World.

There are lots of incredible bushwalks, majestic waterfalls, and the sandstone escarpments and canyons are awesome. Stay the night if you wish to extend your trip, and immerse yourself in the amazing scenery again the next day.

Day 4
Travel back to Sydney and head north to the Hunter Valley wine country.

Most of the area’s 120 wineries offer tastings at the cellar door. There are plenty of great restaurants, romantic retreats, quality eateries, galleries, and producers selling handmade cheese and olive oil.

You can roam around the beautiful farming countryside on hired bicycles, in a horse and carriage, or even in a hot air balloon.

Day 5
From the Hunter Valley make your way to Port Stephens. The pristine waters of the harbour here are home to two large pods of bottlenose dolphins. You are almost guaranteed to see them on a dolphin-watch cruise. This is a perfect place to spot whales during their annual migration too.

If you want to see koalas in the wild then Port Stephen’s Tilligerry Habitat State Reserve offers a good opportunity.

Day 6
Drive south from Sydney via the Royal National Park on the new Grand Pacific Drive. A focal point of the trip is the dramatic 665-metre (2,181-foot) Sea Cliff Bridge. 

From here, the unspoilt natural beauty of the southern coastline of New South Wales unfolds in a series of bays, harbours, beaches and small townships.

You could stop off at Jervis Bay and the Aboriginal-managed Booderee National Park.
The park is known for its kangaroos and other wildlife, fascinating bushwalks, sparkling green water, and pristine beaches.

One of these is Hyams Beach, which has some of the world’s whitest and noisiest sands – it makes a loud squeaking sound when you walk on it.

You can go on a dolphin spotting cruise here, or take an adventurous dive among underwater arches, caves and rock stacks.

At Huskisson, camp among the kangaroos overnight, or stay at Woollomia Village Retreat, an Australian Historical replica village.

Day 7
Kangaroo Valley Views NSWYou might want to keep heading south along the coastal route all the way to Melbourne or beyond – or you can slowly head back to Sydney.

This time head inland via Kangaroo Valley, and call into the Southern Highlands, then return to Sydney.

This gorgeous rural area offers quaint towns, historic pubs and hotels, orchards and wineries, antiques, Devonshire teas, and a gentrified way of existence.

Kimberley Tourism

The Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson AM MP and the Minister for Environment Protection, Peter Garrett AM MP, today (13 April 2010) announced the Kimberley region will be included in Tourism Australia’s National Landscapes Program and will feature prominently within Australia’s future international tourism marketing.

Broome WAThe Kimberley is Western Australia’s first region in the National Landscapes Program which highlights iconic destinations across Australia.

Landscapes are nominated by local communities, in this case the Kimberley National Landscapes Steering Committee.

With the support of Tourism Australia and Parks Australia, the Steering Committee will now bring together tourism industry and government stakeholders to identify commercial opportunities, environmental management priorities, infrastructure gaps and marketing plans.

Broome Camel Rides WANearly two thirds of international visitors identify an Australian nature experience as a highlight of their visit.

The National Landscapes Program aims to promote Australian landscapes which will be major drawcards for international visitors because of their natural and cultural values.

It also aims to help regional tourism operators develop quality tourism products and services that capitalise on these values, celebrating the environmental significance and importance of the unique landscapes that are part of the program.

Broome Sunset WAMinister Ferguson said: “The Kimberley’s rich Indigenous history and culture, pearling and mining history, ancient gorges, spectacular waterfalls, rugged wilderness and remote beaches make it an obvious choice for the National Landscapes Program.

“It is a vast wilderness area more than twice the size of my home State, Victoria.

“The National Landscapes Program offers great opportunities for Indigenous training, employment and business development in both tourism and conservation.

“Tourism is a major source of employment across the Kimberley with more than 1500 tourism organisations providing jobs for rangers, pilots, cruise ship crews, chefs and many other trades and professions.

Minister Garrett said: “The Kimberley is a stunning part of Australia, internationally renowned for its vibrant Indigenous culture and unique environment and of course, the world famous Cable Beach.

The Kimberley Tanami Track WA“The inclusion of the Kimberley in the National Landscapes Program recognises the extraordinary environmental importance of the Kimberley, from the beauty and incredible diversity of the marine environment to the ecological diversity of this huge north-western landscape.

“The Kimberley region now joins destinations such as Australia’s Red Centre, Kakadu and the Australian Alps as part of a program which sees tourism and conservation working in partnership to promote some of the extraordinary natural landscapes that make our country both so unique and such an international tourism drawcard.”

The Kimberley Western AustraliaThe Ministers made the announcement on a visit to Broome before travelling to Kununurra for the first Kimberley Land Council Ranger Forum, celebrating the important role Indigenous Rangers play in the management and environmental protection of the region.

Through the Government’s Working on Country Program, supported by the Kimberley Land Council, 65 Indigenous Ranger positions at eight communities across the Kimberley, including the Miriuwung Gajerrong Rangers in Kununurra, have been supported, creating employment opportunities for Indigenous people working on country and protecting the unique natural values of the region.

The Kimberley Fitzroy CrossingThe Ministers congratulated Parks Australia, Tourism Australia, the Kimberley National Landscapes Steering Committee (chaired by Marilynne Paspaley AM), tourism operators and conservation groups for all the hard work they have put in to get the Kimberley ready for inclusion in the Program.

Tourism is a $40 billion industry employing nearly 500,000 Australians and contributing nearly 4 per cent to annual GDP. In Western Australia, tourism directly employs more than 45,000 people and contributes $3 billion to the Western Australian economy each year.

Photos Credit: Tourism Australia

Bureaucracy and Tourism Like Chalk And Cheese

A contributory article by Joanna Gash MP (Mrs)
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism

One of the basic rules about retailing is not to impose obstacles to customers to spend their cash.

Obviously a prudent and sensible rule but one, it seems, that has not dawned on government bureaucracy.

In the area of tourism, it is the government’s role to introduce strategies to grow the industry.

Government is a stake holder in tourism, not only supplying the infrastructure but also as a custodian of natural resources upon which a lot of domestic tourism relies.

Take Kakadu Park as an example or Uluru or the Great Barrier Reef. Natural wonders – come and have a look.

Of course some wear and tear can be expected so it is fair enough to defray some of the operational costs. But it needs to be done in such a way as not to be a put off to the customer.

I was perturbed to read recently in an article by Ross Bennett on the website, that the NSW Government, or more specifically, the National Parks and Wildlife Service can charge people for taking photographs within a reserve or nature park.

It seems that under a very broad definition, photographers can be fined $3,300 for taking a snap. Although they talk about a ‘commercial photograph’, no one has bothered to define exactly what that means.

Can you imagine what sort of publicity that would generate and what sort of signal that would send to overseas or interstate tourists.

And there are similar policies in other jurisdictions which leads me to believe that perhaps with policies like these who needs a global financial down turn when you have a short sighted government?

The whole idea of taking photos is to capture special moments during your holiday.

I know when I see a parking ticket being issued to a car with out of state plates, I think of the sour taste that visitor will have when he tells his friends about his ‘special’ visit.

Talk about poor advertising and word of mouth constitutes a powerful communication medium.

In the 70’s, the Gold Coast Council had bikini-ed meter maids put coins into meters where visitors had outstayed their permit.

That is positive marketing, acknowledging the fact that you have to spend a buck to make a buck.

Not so some of our bureaucracies whose obsession with regulation and control can sometimes be a turn off.

Fining a visitor for some petty infringement is a liability not an asset. It shows that any sense of entrepreneurship, which is needed in tourism, is absent.

The key to successful tourism is the same as successful marketing; make them want more. To my mind, applying a $3,300 fine or even a small portion of the fine, represents a false economy.

Tourism has been in decline for the last ten years and in NSW, the State Labor Government actually cut the tourism budget before it dawned on them to have a look at the real world.

Ask yourself this; would you ever go back to a shop that charged you an entry fee?

No matter how you describe it, any levy, tax, fine, charge, toll or fee, without something to show for it, is not an inducement to try more.

Especially when it is done by an over bearing and zealous government agency. There are other, less intrusive ways of making a dollar and if the government wants to play in the business world, it should adopt the behaviour of the merchant. 

A note on hospitality for the government – Don’t put potential customers off before they even get there. I’m sure if they encouraged business, and business made money, they would get their share through increased tax revenues.

It’s called ‘profit sharing – Hello!  But you have to make the profit first before you can share it and that should be left to business.

Published: 8 April 2010


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If you have a valid passport from one of the 32 eligible countries, are outside of Australia, of good health and no criminal convictions you can apply online from this site for your Visa (also known as an eVisa/s).

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Website feedback winner

Port Macquarie Hasting HeritageHeritage Tourism thanks everyone for their website feedback and comments, and all will be considered in future development of the site.

1  April 2010: winner of the copy of Masters and Convicts: Murramarang and Ulladulla was Mitch McKay from Port Macquarie Hasting Heritage.

  • What a fantastic, easy to navigate and well presented site.
    To all those involved in developing and maintaining this site CONGRATULATIONS. A much needed site and long overdue.