Bee Cruse
Taste Tour of Lakemba
Sara Mansour - Bankstown Poetry Slam

Uncle Kurts Parramatta – Review


Uncle Kurts

Uncle Kurt’s might just be the hottest place in Parramatta right now. After the desperate cries from Westies across this great region, small bars are finally happening here, and we could NOT be more excited about it.

The Westies recently visited (on mass, on Christmas Cheer) Uncle Kurt’s and discovered a little of why this is considered just the hottest spot in town.

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Bank of Queensland – Penrith


Why is it that the most important things in life are almost always seen as the most boring? Like banking – none of us get together over a drink to discuss home loans and interest rates (well some of us might but only to whinge about it). Banking is important, it’s part of our everyday lives yet it’s something most of us would rather not speak of. Checking your balance can cause more anxiety than that well overdue trip to the dentist.

 So we decided to rip the bandaid off and have a chat with Drew Clegg who has been with Bank of Queensland Penrith for 10 years now which is just about as long as they have been open.

 Drew is a lovely guy, generous with his time and has a great way of making you feel comfortable instantly; however when he suggested that the best way to know about the banking experience with BOQ Penrith is to speak to a customer – that is exactly what we did. The customer, Robert, has also been with BOQ Penrith for 10 years. Robert runs his own business and has purchased two houses at actions with the support of BOQ, here is what he told us about his experience. Continue Reading

Bradley Eastman – BEASTMAN


Back in August the students at Nepean Creative and Performing Arts High in Emu Plains played host to a pretty special artist in residence, Bradley Eastman better know as Beastman. Over the course of a week and though sunshine and rain Brad turned a once boring concrete wall into a huge piece of artwork in the unmistakable style Beastman is know for. Brad grew up in the north west of Sydney and now travels all over the world working on commercial projects, transforming public spaces and infusing the world with colour and geometric shapes you can stare out for hours, taking a new meaning out of each time the piece is viewed. We managed to track Brad down in between projects and were lucky enough to have him answer a few questions for The Westies.  Continue Reading


plot parramatta

Walking through Parramatta on Saturday, there was an absolute buzz of excitement. A vibe, a feeling, a prickling sensation around the earlobes, whatever you want to call it, everyone was a little bit excited, including us – for finally, The Plot 2016 was here.

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Bankstown Poetry Slam – Sara Mansour

Poetry Slam

A visit to Bankstown Poetry Slam had been on the radar for quite some time, last month I finally made it there. It was my first experience of watching people perform poetry and I very quickly figured out why it’s called a slam. The words being spat out by the brave performers hit you with force and an energy that embeds them deep in your conscience. Poems about lost grandparents, lives yet to be lived, isolation, love – topics so common no one in the room would struggle to understand them, yet the room was full of people who were less then common. It was a room full of diversity, every age group was represented, the gender split was even. There were hijabs and hair braids, beards and bare skin. It was a united nations of people whose common goal was expression. There was no bar, no drinks were served yet the energy was intoxicating. It was thick with joy, with acceptance and support. I left the place on a total high waiting for my next hit.

Before the night started I managed to catch the beautiful Sara Mansour, one of the co-founders of Bankstown Poetry Slam for a quick chat about how BPS came to be and the unexpected rewards it has brought.     Continue Reading

What are you doing for your local environment?

Lake Parramatta - Parramatta Rowboats Hire - Photo Katrina James

I don’t know about you, but I don’t consider myself a greenie. I could do more to help the planet (as my enviro-loving friends are often telling me!) but I do like to do the simple little things, because I do believe we have to look after the earth (the only earth) that we live on.

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Pitch for Good in Parramatta

Social Enterprise


What happens when you put 5 people with 5  great ideas and a whole lot of passion on a stage in front of a crowd of people who want to change their community?

You start some good.

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Kate Worsley- Suburbist

Kate Worsley

It’s not difficult to find some who has had the same experience as me growing up. Great childhood in a tight knit community, then teenage years come and your world grows a little wider and you realise that the rest of the world views you differently just because you grew up in a suburb that is west of Sydney. Peer pressure gets to you along with the constant “where is that?” and “oh wow, you’ve come along way” and my personal favourite “There is no culture out there”. And so you buy into the “less than” myth and think you have to move to the city to prove your worth, especially if you work in the arts – you must immediately evacuate the barren, cultureless, urban sprawl that is Western Sydney. Searching for the very thing that you always had but were to scared to embrace, a strong diverse community steeped in culture, just without the fancy trimmings and pretty lights of the big city. If you are one of the lucky ones, your story comes full circle and you find yourself back in Western Sydney, realising everything you needed was there all along.  Continue Reading

Parramatta Day 2016


One of the more interesting facts I learnt about Parramatta when I moved here nearly 5 years ago is that the land was settled by colonists at around the same time as Botany Bay. An excellent tactical position, access to fresh water and lush land around it, Parramatta was seen as the perfect place to start a new city in a new world.

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Who Speaks for Me? – William Yang

William Yang

William Yang has been telling his own stories for over twenty years and now he along with producer Annette Shun Wah is helping other people to tell theirs. His latest production, Who Speaks for Me tells the stories of three different families and their experience of being refugees. The show uses personal narratives and photographs to take the audience into the heart of a migrants journey, the stories – at times humorous, at times harrowing – are ones of determination and resilience. Katrina sat down with William to have a chat about the production.  Continue Reading