Paterson Allyn Williams Science Hub

Science & Engineering Challenge – for adults!

The Science and Engineering Challenge is a nationwide program usually aimed at schools. Teams of students face a series of challenges with a time limit. Dungog schools were among the first to be involved – and now we’re holding our own challenge – for adults!

Get your team of 6-8 together now. You’ll face 3 great challenges (will it be Bridges, Catapults, Stringways, Grasping at Straws, Electricity?) and compete against the other teams.

Dungog High students will be there, not competing but acting as helpers, marshals, mobile phone cheater-catchers, mentors and judges.

How to enter. Get your 6-8 team member names, nominate one easy-to-contact captain, pick a name and send it to, with contact details. Spectators welcome but no helping!

When: 9.30 arrival for a 10am start, Saturday 17 March 2018. The event will finish by 2pm.

Where: Multipurpose Centre at Dungog High School. Entry via Chichester Dam Rd.

Cost: free.

Lunch: you can purchase a sausage sizzle. Dungog Lions Club will be running the barbecue.

Limited places – get in early.

The schools’ Science and Engineering Challenge is a STEM* outreach program presented by the University of Newcastle in partnership with communities, Rotary clubs, universities and sponsors. Big thank you to John Walton, event organiser.

Toxic Consequences. FREE science event

Fri 23 February 2018 6.30pm, James Theatre, Dungog

The science behind … contamination and risks from illegal drug labs – and firefighting foams!

Drug labs get shut down (or move on) but the residual contamination can remain, and presents serious risks. Solids, liquids and vapours can be absorbed by floorings, walls, drains, ducting, furnishings and fixtures. Even the residues from ice smoking can persist for years and the risks to children can be severe. In this fascinating talk, Dr Jackie Wright from EnRiskS brings 25 years experience in human health and environmental risk assessment to health and other consequences posed by illicit drug labs.

Fire fighting foams include chemicals called PFCs and PFAs. These problematic chemicals have been found around airports and defence bases lately – including RAAF Bases Williamtown and Tindal and Army Aviation Base Oakey. Media stories are not always based on a great understanding of science so in this talk Therese Manning from EnRiskS will explore some of the basics for the chemicals – what makes them so widespread, what evidence for health and environmental effects, what we can do about them.

When: Friday 23 February 2018, from 6.30pm.

Where: James Theatre, Brown St Dungog.

Cost: Gold Coin Donation appreciated. No need to book. Just turn up on the night.

Who this is for: citizen scientists, everybody, science lovers, real estate agents and law enforcement agents, councillors and council workers.

From the Paterson Allyn Williams Science Hub and Environmental Risk Sciences Pty Ltd, bringing science-based approaches to risk assessment.

This initiative is supported by Inspiring Australia and the NSW Government.

… tick, tick, BOOM!

… from Fizzics Education

A fun science show performance where we blow stuff up!
In the name of science of course 🙂

What better way to get folk into science than to do the stuff they want to see!

Originally designed to be run at the Powerhouse Museum, this large stage performance gets noisy as the Fizzics Team explores the science behind explosions and explains why chemical safety is so important. This is not just a series of tricks though, their experienced presenter will cover a multitude of concepts:

  • air pressure differentials.
  • exothermic vs endothermic chemical reactions.
  • the effect of surface area on reaction rates
  • combustion requirements.
  • properties of liquid nitrogen
  • applications of controlled explosions and more…

Designed to get all sorts of citizens excited by science or simply end the year with a BANG!

The Fizzics Education team brought us a fantastic show at last year’s Dungog Festival. Don’t miss this one.

When: Saturday 18 November, at 12 noon.

Where: Dungog High School MPC (Multi-Purpose Centre). Entry via Chichester Dam Rd – some parking in the school back carpark, more in the bus stop and on the street.

Cost: gold coin donation.

Who will this suit? Kids! Adults! You!

How long is the show? nearly an hour. Go out for lunch in town afterwards!

Be Bird Alert 2017 – talk & event


BE BIRD ALERT is a multi-part event to make it easy to participate in Australia’s biggest Citizen Science event – The Aussie Backyard Bird Count. Whether you’re a novice or a committed twitcher, you’ll enjoy this free event.

COME ALONG at 3pm on Saturday 21 October to the James Theatre for a talk from Robert Griffin about the various sorts of birds, their habits and habitats, recognition tips, info on endangered birds and recent research programs. Plus some handy hints on what to do if you find an injured bird. Robert is a member of Birds Australia.

There will also be an introduction to the bird count app so you can join in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count on 23-29 October.

EARLY ON SUNDAY MORNING, 22 October, visit a local bird haven  with a group to spot birds under the guidance of a bird mentor (limited numbers – book in at the Saturday talk).

ON SUNDAY MORNING, 22 October, finish off at a BIRD BRUNCH at the Dungog Community Garden to compare notes and experiences.

OVER THE NEXT WEEK, 23-29 October, join in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count and record the birds you see on the phone app or on the Aussie Bird Count website.

Who it’s for: Both novice and experienced bird observers.

Introduction and talk – Saturday 21 October, 3.00pm at the James Theatre,
6 Brown St, Dungog.
Mentored bird spotting – Sunday 22 October, AM –
time and locations around Dungog will be announced at the Saturday arvo talk (limited numbers – book in at the Saturday talk). NB it will be a pretty early rise as “the early spotter gets the bird”. 
Bird Breakfast –
Sunday 22 October, AM, after the bird spotting (gold coin donation).
Aussie Backyard Bird Count Monday 23–Sunday 29 October 2017.

Booking: No booking is required, however it’s best to attend the Saturday talk if you want to book a place on the bird mentor activity on Sunday morning.

Bird Count Registration: You can register as a counter for the 2017 bird count at the Aussie Backyard Bird Count website. The website also has information about downloading the phone app and field guides and other resources. Click here to check it out.

Cost: Saturday talk is free. Sunday bird spotting is free (limited places). Sunday brunch is gold coin donation.

About our speaker. Robert Griffin has been a birdwatcher for 40 years. He first became interested in birds while living in the Blue Mountains. Initially his interest was in ‘bush birds’, but it now extends to all types of birds including waders and seabirds. An active member and supporter of organisations such as Birds Australia and Birding NSW, Robert is involved in monitoring programs such as those for the Powerful Owl and for the Australian Wader Studies Group. He also leads birding tours in Sydney and in regional New South Wales.

Best of SCINEMA 2017 – science cinema (M)

Paterson Allyn Williams Science Hub is proud to present


2 hours of the best films from the 2017 International Science Film Festival showcasing some wonderful short films from across the planet.

When: 7pm, Friday 18 August 2017.

Where: James Theatre, Brown St, Dungog.

Rated M. Contains subtitles, some coarse language, scenes of animal surgery and themes of animal cruelty.



A visually stunning film illuminating the minute battles of nature from the micro to macro scale as a rhinoceros beetle, attacked by a fungus, struggles between life and death. Even the tiniest things can have a huge impact. Award for Technical Merit.

Einstein-Rosen from Spain
It’s the summer of 1982. Teo claims he has found a wormhole. His brother Oscar does not believe him… at least not for now. “A quirkily charming and entertaining film.” Best Short Film.

Pangolins in Peril – A story of rare scales
The rare secretive Pangolin plays a vital ecological role but is on the verge of extinction. Two brave and passionate wildlife watchers fight against the odds to save the endangered Pangolin. “Simply and beautifully produced film that shows conservation biology in a political and social setting” Award for Scientific Merit.

The Purple Plain
How different would things have been if it had been one small step for a woman, and one giant leap for mankind? Inspired by the true story of Mercury 13; the first women who tested for space flight. Best Director.

Think Like a Scientist: Natural Selection in an Outbreak
Computational geneticist Pardis Sabeti and disease ecologist Lina Moses bring us to the front line of the 2013-15 Ebola epidemic and explain the science behind how this event became the largest Ebola outbreak in history. Best Experimental/Animation.

Fix And Release
An amazing team at a turtle trauma centre in Ontario, Canada is determined to battle to even the odds for freshwater turtle survival in the modern world. “An important story, well told and beautifully shot”. Best Documentary.

Test Tube Babes
Two sisters that are the outcome of IVF, explain the amazing science of reproductive biology with wit and charm. “You’ll never look at a paw-paw the same way again!” Special Jury Award.

OWSIA (Darkened Water) from Iran
The aqueduct in the central Iranian city of Yazd has supplied water to the city for 2,500 years, now rots away due to bureaucracy and corruption. A 30 minute “fascinating well-made film about this living UNESCO heritage site, social politics and the complex issue of water rights”. Best Film.

Our River and Rainforest Workshop

Our River and Rainforest

Free Workshop

Saturday 24 June, 10am–3.30pm

Come along to a free workshop to hear: 

• Glenn Albrecht:  Renowned environmental speaker and local bird enthusiast who will be inspiring us about our local flora & fauna

• Skye Moore, environmentalist, will talk about the Williams River past and present and river corridor projects in the upper catchment.

• Then come with us to visit a local resident’s unique rainforest planting along the Williams River to look at 15 years of riverbank restoration work and listen to:

• Alex King, rainforest specialist, will talk about rainforest restoration and its importance as habitat.

Where: Dungog Festival Lounge, 224 Dowling St, Dungog,
followed by site visit near Frank Robinson Park,
Stroud Hill Rd, Dungog.

Cost: Free (and lunch provided) Bookings essential for catering. Register at EventBrite:

or contact Judy: 0411 258257

Power Choices

Power Choices day - tips, tricks & scince

Come and discover some simple household tips to save money on your power bills. Find out how to put solar in. And learn the latest in renewable technology available locally.

The day includes:

– speakers on a range of power-saving topics, from energy efficient techniques for the busy householder, to the latest pathways and costs to “getting the solar on”, to some new developments in the science and tech. Speakers:

– the chance to join up to the Take Two Project, where your household can join with others in the shire to try out the ideas you’ve learnt on the day

– break-out sessions: choose the one that suits your situation or interests, get your questions answered

– activities and stalls – and morning tea

– a fun TV doco over lunch, or a tour of an eco-home (limited numbers)

Saturday 29 April 2017 at the CWA Hall, 199 Dowling St Dungog.

9.30am Georgina Clark on simple ways to save $$ and reduce your household energy use.

10.15 Dave Watson on how to get the solar on, costs, metering and maximising sun consumption.

10.45 Tom Chen on passive solar building.

11.00 Julio Braslavsky from CSIRO on new developments in energy including batteries and how they interact with the grid.

11.45 Choose your breakout group and ask questions of the experts.

12.15pm Join the Take Two project with Helen Rubeli.

12.30 Watch a free fun BBC doco on the bicycle-powered home.

1.30 Tour a solar passive house ($10, booking essential).

Cost: Tour $10, everything else FREE.

This is aimed at anyone who’d like to lower their electricity bills! But it’s also great for someone who’d like to get connected to renewable technologies too. And there’s a splash of science thrown in for good measure.

There will also be stalls, activities and displays to peruse.

Book A Tour Of An Eco-Friendly House

Passive solar building means: good positioning of the house site, smart use of materials, eaves, thermal mass, windows, and understanding how a place will be used. The result is warm in winter, cool in summer and much lower bills. Discover how it can work in a lovely local home. Limited places, $10 per person, 1.30-2.30pm Sat 29 April 2017. To book a place on the tour, please click here.

Talking critters

Talking Critters - mozzies & ticks!Talking Critters is a couple of talks about mozzies and ticks.

First up Dr Cameron Webb of the University of Sydney and Westmead Hospital will look at “Beating the bite of mosquitoes that spread Ross River virus”. What sort of mozzies spread the virus? What are the links between local wetlands, wildlife and climate change for future outbreaks? Webb, who’s written much on mosquitoes including an excellent guide to mozzie repellents, will give tips for their safe and effective use and tricks to stop the critters breeding in our backyards.

Ticks will be covered by local vet Digby Rayward. He’ll focus on a new strain of Theileria affecting cattle but he’ll also be answering some of the questions he hears every day in his job about these rascals.

Bring a critter story. We’d love to hear a short (2-3 minute) yarn about a creepy-crawly, especially if it has some scientific interest. Like the one about waking up with a tick behind your eye. Or the time you saw a python trying to eat a bat twice its size and decided to investigate how large a prey a python can swallow.

Cost: FREE!! (There will be a gold coin donation box though.)

When: Wednesday 12 April 2017, 7.00-8.30pm.

Where: Dungog CWA hall, Dowling St (next to Chillbillies), Dungog.

Enquiries: try Contact Us above.

Traditional Bread Baking Sunday 11 September 2016
Barista accredited course
This is now required for any accredited course in Australia.

This is now required for any accredited course in Australia.

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