The Shire of Perenjori in mid-west Western Australia will join with Bush Heritage on October 4th to present the second annual Blues for the Bush celebration. This will combine an open day at Charles Darwin Reserve with a fabulous evening concert.
Bush Heritage is one of my favourite conservation organisations. In fact I dedicated my last book, Billabong Bend, to them. Established in 1991, they now have thirty-five conservation reserves protecting over one million hectares. Their vision is, by 2025, to protect more than seven million hectares of Australia’s high conservation value land, water and wildlife. What’s not to love?
Blues for the Bush was conceived last year to celebrate the ten year anniversary of Bush Heritage purchasing the 68,000 hectare Charles Darwin Reserve. This purchase was made possible, in part, by a generous donation from the great-great-grandson of the famous naturalist after whom the property is now named. Formerly known as White Wells Station, the reserve is located at the junction of major landforms, ecosystems and climates known as the Mulga‑Eucalypt line, where desert meets the south‑west. As a result, it’s a melting pot of plant species with eucalypts and mulga scrub intermixed.
Ancient woodlands of York gum, salmon, gimlet and pine are interspersed with wildflower-studded sand plains. Of course spring is the perfect time to see this colourful display. Dense thickets of wattle, casuarina and melaleuca shrub surround natural salt lake systems. Bush Heritage has destocked the property and controlled weeds and feral animals. The reserve is fast returning to its original, natural beauty.
It is in these stunning surrounds that Blues for the Bush happens. The Open Day is free from 10am – 4.00pm. There will be something for everyone to enjoy. Children’s entertainment with painting, art and stories. Guided ecology tours of the property will run throughout the day. Bush poetry. Song-writing and bush music workshops, slow food demonstrations and much, much more. There will even be a free Bush Tea, the local’s answer to the traditional high tea – lamingtons, Anzac biscuits and a fresh brewed cuppa.
The highlight will be a blues concert. Local Ngoongar musician, Craig Pickett, will open this year’s event. Craig is an incredible guitarist and has played for many years around Western Australia. Following Craig will be some of the absolute best in independent Australian blues and roots music, including Hat Fitz, Cara Robinson and Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk. Tickets on sale here. They include a spit roast and salad meal. There will also be a cash bar and camping facilities available. What a night it will be!
On a personal writing note, I am rushing to get Turtle Reef ready for submission to Penguin on the first of October. Won’t see the manuscript again until the first round of edits roll around. I’m getting my mares, Sheba and Star, shod on the second of October. My reward for finishing. Bunyip State Forest, here we come!