Westies at Play Archives - The Westies

Mark Geyer

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One of the most overused and damaging  narratives about Western Sydney is the “You’ve come a long way, you’ve do well to get yourself out of there”. Success often means leaving the West and dropping any association with it as quickly as your ex-boyfriend. The most effective way to prove our worth is to get out, move away and join in the finger-pointing at those people who live “out there.” None of us chose where we were born, some of us just make the best of it and it’s actually pretty bloody good. Footy legend, breakfast radio host and all round great guy Mark Geyer is one man who proves that success can come because of growing up in Western Sydney, not in spite of it.   Continue Reading

Paul James – Nepean Men’s Shed

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To say The Nepean’s Men Shed is saving lives is not exaggerating. Retired men in their 60’s is not exactly an age group that is spoilt for choice with activities to do; and with grown families, no job, a lifetime of bottled-up emotions and bad health creeping in, things can start to go downhill pretty quickly.

The Nepean Men’s Shed started life as the Lower Mountains Men’s Shed in 2010 in a 12 meter square space in Mount Riverview. After several years of looking for a more suitable location and then a few more years making that location suitable to council regulations, they officially opened earlier this year in Orchard Hills in a giant 900 square meter shed – making it the largest Men’s Shed out of over 1000 in Australia.  

The Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA) started in 2007 as a way to address the issues men face such a loneliness, depression and other preventable diseases that can arise from isolation. The Men’s Shed movement has now become one of the most powerful tools in addressing health and wellbeing and helping men to once again become valued and productive members of our community.

This interview is pretty personal as the guy I chatted to is my Dad and I’ve witnessed first hand the power of The Men’s Shed and the importance of connection and belonging after having given your whole life to working and supporting your family (who are now grown but still act like spoilt brats and tell you to make your own cup of tea). 
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Locale Festival – Cumberland Council

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Western Sydney has long been a catch-all phrase for anything outside the Inner West, reaching all the way south to Sutherland and as far west as the mountains. And by encompassing such a huge area, that means that no matter where in the West you are living, there is always something happening, somewhere new to explore and new influences to make your taste buds tingle. It’s also super difficult to keep track of all that’s going on, we almost missed out on Locale Festival and we don’t want you to either so here’s your heads up!  Continue Reading

Amna Karra-Hussan – Auburn Giants

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When Amna Karra-Hussan decided she wanted to play AFL there was one issue that would stop most people in their tracks – no women’s AFL team existed in Western Sydney. Not seeing it as an issue, Aman decided to start her own and is now President of the Auburn Giants who have just entered their seventh season with all signs pointing towards a premiership for the club in the not too distant future. On a chilly autumn evening The Westies stopped by a training session to chat with one of the most warm, endearing and motivated people you are likely to meet. We chatted about how Amna started the club, the importance of women playing sport (far more than exercise) and the doors that open for you once you start knocking.  Continue Reading

Stories of Strength – Abdullah Sankari

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The Westies love a good story and believe that it is our individual story that makes us human – each of us have one that is as unique as our finger print. It is in sharing the story that we come to empathise with each other and start to see that the commonalities are far greater than our differences.

‘Stories of Strength’ is a project run by Bankstown Youth Development Services, which is about showcasing local Bankstown stories, focusing on experiences of strength and resilience. These stories are generated through a series of interviews conducted by local young people, who interview selected community members. Through inter-generational sharing of cross-cultural stories, the project aims to highlight the strength that individual experiences bring to create a strong and resilient community.

We had the pleasure of meeting a wise young man named Abdullah Sankari who interviewed Ilona Abou Zalouf, his best friend’s Grandmother who grew up in Germany during the Cold War for the ‘Stories of Strength’ project. We chatted about his experience with the project and what he learnt about strength and the power of sharing stories. Continue Reading

4Elements All Ages HipHop Festival 2017 – Review

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Last Saturday The Westies headed down to the Bankstown Arts Centre to check out 4Elements – all ages HipHop festival, hosted in Western Sydney with a real focus on local talent.  Continue Reading

LIFE’S SWEET ON EAT STREET!

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Parramatta’s Eat Street is always a hub of activity over the weekend, with people spilling across crossings and out of restaurants onto streets, revelling in the weekend, the incredible mix of restaurants and the beautiful weather that we have been having lately. But you know what isn’t so great and picturesque? Car parks.

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Kiri Morcombe – WeAve

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I first stumbled across WeAve a few years ago when Liam Benson was running a beading workshop. The instant I walked into the room I felt welcomed and though the skill level of many of the group were well above my own, I never for a moment felt intimidated. WeAve is an initiative of Parramatta Artist Studios, it is a group of women who get together monthly to share textile skills and produce stunning works of art but the real beauty is what is woven into the group, a strong sense of inclusion, openness and support. Textile skills are not the only things shared; language, cultural traditions and mutual respect make up the strong fabric that is WeAve. I chatted with group co-ordinator and the thread that holds everything together, Kiri Morcombe to find out more about WeAve.  Continue Reading

Australia Day in Parramatta 2017

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Australia Day, however you recognise it, is a day off from work and a chance to get out in the gorgeous weather we have been having here in Sydney. It’s a chance to have a big old barbecue and listen to the Triple J Hottest 100 and celebrate all the amazing opportunities we have here in Western Sydney and in Australia. The City of Parramatta has a great reputation for hosting one of the hottest parties in Sydney, with their annual Australia Day celebration being touted as one of the best ways to listen to some of the best local music that Western Sydney has to offer.  Continue Reading

Miranda Wheen – Champions

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Contemporary Dance and Soccer not two things you would usually read about in the same sentence. On the surface they seem miles apart but it doesn’t take much scratching to start to see the similarities between the two. Both take hours of training, dedication and determination. Both face issues of gender inequality and neither escape the expectation of a great performance.

‘Champions’ is the latest production from FORM Dance Projects, an organisation based in – and advocating for – dance in Western Sydney. ‘Champions’ celebrates the talents of elite sporting performers colliding with contemporary dance to producing surprising parallels between the two.    

The Westies spoke with associate artist Miranda Wheen who grew up in Richmond and attended Penrith High School before going onto University of Western Sydney, at their Werrington campus when they still had beautiful dance studios, and the amazing School of Contemporary Art.  Continue Reading