We’ve been pounding, strumming, frogging, first aiding…

Scroll down to check out what we have been doing around Dungog so far in our first year.

May 2012


Since our workshop at the James you can hear strumming all through these hills…

April 2012

We pounded we cooked we feasted.

Our Night Of Indian Feasting was led by Gresford and Pushkar’s own Fiona Wright in the lovely Twin Rivers Cafe in East Gresford. Despite the odd hiccough and slow oven, some fabulous foods were cooked, some customs learnt and a great atmosphere prevailed. The general feeling was, ‘Bring on the next night of feasting!’

If you’re interested in food, feasting or foreign parts, drop an email to us  to get on the mailing list.


Fiona Wright teaches Brian Doherty a thing or two. 

One step on the complex journey from mung beans to mung bean balls. 

Scrumptious dips were hard to resist. 

Three focused chefs: Pam, Dotti and Paul. 

The meal coming together, fresh and aromatic.

Pounding green chilli and garlic.

February 2012

Then someone croaked: “There’s a frog!”

Suddenly someone croaked "There's one!"

Crawling through the dam water, about a metre from the edge, Ken peered down at the rushes and, like a fussy hairdresser, carefully pulled small bunches aside. He was trying to catch a hard-to-find spotted marsh frog – and if he didn’t find it, he was hoping to herd it closer to where we squatted, still, silent, watchful and meditative on the bank.

The rain was holding off. We had triangulated the frog’s position in the dark by its occasional single “bop” sound. Every so often, Ken would get us to turn our torches off and sit in the dark to encourage the next croak.

The evening had started well. As the light was just starting to fail, we had gathered at the entrance to Dungog Common, learnt the technique of “triangulation” (two or more people can locate a frog by pointing in the direction its croak has come from, then closing in and waiting for another croak), and discovered some facts about these amphibians. It seemed as if there was as much not known about them as there was known.

Then we organised our torches and trooped into the Dungog Common, practising our triangulation on the way. Our first hunting ground was a creek and some small frogs making a knicker knicker knicker sound. We found some almost immediately. The kids turned out to be some of the best frog-spotters and frog-catchers (even the slippery ones). A few minutes later it was an adult who spotted a pair “amplexing”. Amplexing is more or less a male cuddling a female while she lays her eggs and he fertilises them. Not sure what the frog word for it is.

We crossed to a dam, now hunting for the spotted frog. When there’s a few in a dam, it sounds like a tennis match! Pock. Pock. Pock pock pock. Pock. Alas the spotty would elude us, though the hunt was always fun. On our way back to the cars, we found half our group had stopped at a water-filled hole in the ground. This time it was a striped marsh frog or brown striped frog we had located (they sound like a polite burst of machine-gun fire). It took us a few minutes before “There it is!” One of the kids got to hold it by its slippery back legs and we looked at its markings. Then – time to go.

When we checked our watches two and a half hours had passed. It had felt like about an hour! We thanked our fabulous guide Ken Rubeli for his knowledge, his keenness to get down and mucky in the water and his ability to keep kids and adults entertained and fascinated for so long, on a glorious late-summer evening.

If you want to go frogging next time, contact us and we’ll put you on the waiting list. It probably won’t be till next summer, but it’s worth it!

“Get Friendly With Frogs” ran from 6 till 9.30ish in the Dungog Common. It cost $20 adults, $15 concessions and $10 for kids, and is specially recommended for herpetology nuts, bush lovers and families.

February 2012

First off – first aid!

23 first-aid students became the first customers of the new Dungog Community College. We opened Tuesday’s session with a ritual champagne popping finger-in-mouth style (using fingers in mouth).

Teacher Sonja Medcalf, a Clarence Town trainer with plenty of war stories, got straight down to the basics of CPR.  They were soon pumping away saving the lives of some plastic dummies.

Other topics covered included choking, bleeding, bites and stings (which ones do you use vinegar on, which ones hot water? What’s the latest for bluebottles?).

And plenty more, from tying a sling to using an epi-pen, to nosebleeds, fainting and heatstroke. It meant peace of mind and a small rise in the safety of our community, and we’re offering it again soon. Congratulations, students.

This is now required for any accredited course in Australia.

This is now required for any accredited course in Australia.

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