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Community invited to celebrations to mark special opening

24 February 2020

An exciting opening event is being planned for the community to celebrate the completion of the $1.2 million Tweed Heads Civic and Cultural Centre redevelopment.

Murwillumbah hosts international Craft Film Festival

21 February 2020

Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre is proud to present a selection of short films exploring the human relationship with making and materials.

The Gallery is hosting Real to Reel: The Craft Film Festival, which celebrates craft and makers from around the world.

Held at the Regent Cinema, Murwillumbah on Saturday 21 March, the film festival will present 28 short films screened across two separate 90-minute sessions with an interval in between. This is a family-friendly event with the first screening beginning at 11.30am and the second screening at 2.30pm.

Be prepared to extend your idea of what craft is. The short film festival celebrates making in all its facets. From traditional to contemporary, from heart-warming to subversive, the program is an eclectic mix and sometimes delivered in unexpected ways, including music videos and hand-crafted animations.

At the heart of the short film festival is the celebration of what it is to be human and to make, and to consider our relationship with materials. The festival is also taking place on the same day as the Makers & Finders Market in the nearby M|Arts Precinct.

“It was the passion of local artists that brought the festival to our attention in the first place, so it’s fantastic to be hosting the festival’s tour in Australia here in the Tweed,” Acting Curator Public Programs Meredith Cusack said.

Real to Reel: The Craft Film Festival is the first festival from the United Kingdom dedicated to craft and moving image, showcasing a wealth of short films that explore themes of making, makers, materials and process. The 28 films selected range from 30 seconds to 14 minutes in duration, and feature three films from Australia.

“This craft film festival is a perfect accompaniment to the exhibition JamFactory ICON Clare Belfrage: A Measure of Time currently on display at the Gallery,” Gallery Director Susi Muddiman OAM said.

“Clare is a consummate craftsperson with an international reputation who has made an extraordinary contribution to contemporary glass art. We’d love to see artists from the region being inspired by these films, and perhaps we will see an artist from this area in the next selection,” she said.        

Real to Reel: The Craft Film Festival is produced by the Crafts Council UK. Its tour to Australia is courtesy of Maker&Smith. This screening is in partnership with the Australian Design Centre and Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre.

To purchase tickets to one or both screenings, visit  Tickets prices are $20 for each session, or $30/35 for both sessions.  Children under 12 years are free but must be accompanied by an adult.

For more information on the Real to Reel Screening Program, visit

Traffic alert as Banora Point sinkhole repairs on this Saturday

20 February 2020

Council is repairing a major sinkhole at the roundabout on the corner of Darlington and Leisure drives, near the Banora Shopping Village, on Saturday (22 February), weather permitting.

Artist inspires appreciation of native flora in new exhibition

19 February 2020

A new solo exhibition by Murwillumbah-based artist Judy Oakenfull titled ‘Floral Appreciation’ opens at Tweed Regional Gallery on Friday 21 February.

It was the Coast Banksia (banksia integrifolia), a distinctive native tree that grows along the east coast of Australia, that first stood out to the artist as a subject deserving the detailed attention of painting.

Oakenfull wanted to depict their misshapen wabi-sabi cones, yellow bushy flowers and tough silvery leaves. She then became interested in other varieties of banksias and wild flowers, all which form the basis of this new exhibition.

“I have been reflecting on why I have chosen to paint these scruffy bush-type flowers and not more traditional flowers like roses or carnations,” said Oakenfull.

Historically, flowers have been considered feminine symbols and Oakenfull considers what the current popularity of natives might suggest about contemporary femininity.

“Personally, I don’t want to be soft, pretty and fragile like a rose or a carnation. I would rather be tough, earthy and full of character like a banksia. Neither do I want to be cultivated and kept in a vase. I would rather be in the bush and connected with nature,” she said.

Oakenfull cites Australian artist Margaret Preston (1875-1963) as an influence. Preston painted banksias in the 1930s and 1940s – a time when women were gaining freedom and strength. Through her striking modernist artworks, Preston helped Australians to change their view of their local environment and helped spark a local appreciation for our unique flora.

“While Australian flora can appear to be tough and hardy, in reality it is just as vulnerable as everything else in a changing climate, and will require our appreciation and care to survive,” Oakenfull said.

Born in Wangaratta, Victoria in 1972, Judy Oakenfull completed a Bachelor of Fine Art (Painting) from the Victorian College of Arts in 2001. In 2007 she relocated to Northern NSW where she has exhibited widely in a range of solo and group exhibitions and prizes.

On Friday 21 February from 6pm to 8pm DST, join the Gallery for the official opening celebrations in conjunction with the exhibitions JamFactory Icon Clare Belfrage: A Measure of Time and Anne Smerdon & Corinne Lewis: Captive Companions.

The exhibition continues until Sunday 3 May 2020.

Support programs offer great opportunities for Tweed residents

19 February 2020

Council is running eight programs offering skills and connection - both face-to-face and online - to ensure independence while supporting people to stay living in their own home safely and for longer.

Consultants look further into water supply and water savings options

18 February 2020

Council has engaged two consultants to further the work of a community-based Water Review Strategies Project Reference Group (PRG).

Bad smell not sewage

17 February 2020

Residents of Banora Point are advised that the sewage-like smell in the area is not sewage but a natural smell occurring as a result of the sudden rise in the groundwater table following the extended dry period.

Council has investigated reports of the smell in low-lying areas of Banora Point and confirmed that it is not sewage.

“The most likely cause is the saturated ground and the ponding of surface water in the low-lying areas,” Senior Program Leader Waterways Tom Alletson said.

“A whole lot of organic material has washed into the canals and surface ponds with the heavy rains. That material is now decomposing and this process removes the oxygen from the water and gives off a very bad odour similar to sewage.

“The hot days over the weekend would have increased the rate of decomposition as well as the smell.”

Council’s environmental health unit has confirmed there is no risk to human health or the environment as a result of this natural phenomena.

It may take some time for the smell to dissipate.

Council can confirm there was an overflow from the holding lagoons at Banora Point Wastewater Treatment Plant into the nearby wetland last week during the heavy rain. This overflow was largely stormwater combined with some wastewater.

The lagoon holdings are now being pumped back through the wastewater treatment plant to be retreated for release again. Residents are reminded not to access the affected wetland area.

Ponding of floodwaters in low-lying areas has also led to a fish kill in Cudgera Creek.

Blackwater event kills thousands of juvenile fish and prawns

17 February 2020

A blackwater event has killed thousands of juvenile fish and prawns in the Cudgera Creek Estuary at Hastings Point.

Council has confirmed that the cause of the fish kill is a total absence of dissolved oxygen within the waters of the creek.

“This is called a blackwater event,” Waterways Program Leader Tom Alletson said.

“The floodplain of Cudgera Creek, like that of Cudgen (Kingscliff) and Mooball (Pottsville) creeks, has been inundated by stagnant floodwaters for more than a week.  Beneath this shallow water, thousands of tonnes of vegetation is decaying and consuming oxygen.

The colourful personality of birds sing out in new exhibition

14 February 2020

Artists and friends Anne Smerdon and Corinne Lewis have brought together more than 30 highly-trained, free-flight birds of different species to document their personality and plumage for their new exhibition Captive Companions, opening at Tweed Regional Gallery on Friday 21 February 2020.

Gold Coast-based artist Anne Smerdon, a self-confessed ‘bird-nerd’ since childhood, is passionate about highlighting the need to meet the intellectual and emotional needs of birds in captivity, something that is often misunderstood and overlooked.

Her own pet birds, Vonnegut and Schiele are adored by over 170,000 fans across social media. For her work in this exhibition, Smerdon took reference from live birds that were free to fly and express themselves, which offered the rare opportunity to closely encounter and document the true personalities of each bird.

Meanwhile, Tweed artist Corrine Lewis focuses on the intimate bonds formed between highly-trained bird and dedicated human. Rejecting traditional portraiture, the females in Lewis’s paintings are anonymous. Sumptuous garments emulate the vivid plumage of the birds they hold. Beyond the rich colours and elaborate decorative features akin to both, there exists a symbolic undertone. The exotic bird denotes the feminine, the intuitive and the multi-hued resonance that is nature itself. The women and their fellow feathered captives share much in common.

Ahead of the exhibition, both artists said that the intelligence of birds has been greatly underestimated and they have been thought of as ‘easy pets’.

“Recent ornithological studies have shed light on just how intelligent birds actually are. In fact, some species of birds rival humans in certain aspects of their intelligence and social skills,” Smerdon said.

“These findings challenge the way we as humans have been keeping pet birds in captivity and provides insight into how we can become more supportive and more ethical bird owners in the future,” Lewis said

Minor flooding tests 2017 flood repairs

14 February 2020

Council crews are out and about today inspecting the damage from minor overnight flooding in the Tweed, which is testing some major repairs undertaken on our roads and bridges network after the March 2017 major flood in the wake of Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie.