Westies at Play Archives - The Westies

Priyanka – Kohpi & Co

When I heard about Priyanka’s idea of creating a space where people could come to learn a new skill, connect with others and stretch their creativity, I was immediately in support of it. Learning from community has always been part of human behaviour, and it seems so strange that this is no longer the way we are discovering new skills. Kohpi & Co are bringing collaborative, community-based workshops to Western Sydney, creating a space where we can express the creative part of us that we ALL have. Priyanka and I had a great conversation about what taking and idea to an actual project and what creativity means to us, read on friends. 

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Penrith Men’s Walk and Talk

Being a man in 2019 requires you to be both tough and in touch with your emotions. Pretty much diametrical opposites of the spectrum. A couple of months ago a few mates recognised that some of them were struggling and they could all benefit from more regular contact and getting a few things off their chests, rather than constantly talking about what they needed, they sprang into action to address some big issues amongst men these days including connection and belonging. So we where do you start with something that can feel so big? You start small, one foot in front of the other. You walk and you talk.

The Westies sat down for a chat with some of the founding members of Penrith Men’s Walk and Talk to find out how things got started and how a simple activity is making such a big difference.

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Matt, Alicia, Jarrid – T-1 Commons

T-1 Commons

Design is one of those totally hipsterised fields where you have to be on the cutting edge, else you’re on the cutting room floor, add to that you anything west of Surry Hills is smeared in a stigma of being a creative wasteland.

So where does that leave the designers who are choosing to study, live and work outside the city centre where the bulk of events and networking take place?  

A group of Western Sydney University Design students have decided to tackle the issue head on by creating T-1 Commons, a networking website for visual communicators from Western Sydney. They’ve created an accessible space for designers to network and creating a community of cool kids who just want to make great shit where they are.

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Refugee Camp in My Neighbourhood

I just spent the afternoon in a refugee camp.

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Joyce Fu – People Just Like Us

People Just Like Us

I normally avoid people trying to talk to me on the street usually they are trying to sell something; or make me feel guilty enough about something that I sign up to a have an amount deducted from my bank account each month to make that guilt disappear.

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in Parramatta’s Centenary Square with a little bit of time to kill, so thought I would have a chat with the woman standing in front of a sign reading Welcome Asylum Seekers, People Just Like Us. I steadied myself for the conversation which I was sure was going to end with me leaving my (accidentally misspelt) email address and making up an appointment that I really had to get to, however things went a little differently than I had expected. The woman I chatted to was Joyce Fu who was very inviting with a lovely smile. She didn’t have a well scripted story to tell me, just a warm invitation to learn more about her advocacy group People Just Like Us, who try to address the crisis of cruelty faced by people seeking asylum in Australia. The group, along with wanting the government to take action on its refugee policy, aims for Australians to see that asylum seekers and refugees are people. Just like us.  Continue Reading

Peter Curnovic – Beatdisc Records


Surviving as a small business is tough. Surviving as an independent record store is close to impossible. Running that business for over twenty three years is nothing short of a miracle.

Peter Curnovic has been working at Beatdisc Records for over twenty three years and has just celebrated 10 years as owner. When you consider more than 60% of small businesses shut their doors within three years of opening and 80% in the first five, then add into the mix that Beatdisc Records is located in an area with no dedicated live music venues in an arcade that you are likely to never stumble across without some good directions, as far a statistics go you have a bit of a problem on your hands .

Chatting with Pete, it became clear that his passion for music and community are the well laid foundations that have kept him in a business that not only survives but thrives. Beatdisc is an institution that deserves to be celebrated at every turn. First, read the interview, then pay yourself a visit to the shop in Parramatta – directions are below. This is one well kept secret that we need to start shouting from the rooftops.  

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Africultures Festival 2018

March 10th 2018 marked the 10th year of Africultures Festival, a celebration of African culture in Australia. The festival was established to celebrate all things Africa, from sport (the Africultures cup was taken out by Ghana this year), to fashion, food and music. This huge one day event brings the best of Africa to Western Sydney, served up with a side of Australian flavour.  Continue Reading

Rachael Belle Myers and Matt Vella – The Western Sydney Filmmakers Hangout

Western Sydney Filmmakers

Rachael Belle Myers and Matt Vella have a few things in common, they are both award winning filmmakers, they both live in Western Sydney and their other commonality – loneliness and isolation in their chosen profession of filmmaking. After meeting at an awards ceremony they decided it was time to do something about it and so The Western Sydney Filmmakers Hangout was founded. We chatted about how it got started, their shared passion for storytelling and staying in Western Sydney.   Continue Reading

Steve Hodgson – The Dad’s Cooperative Project

Men. They get a bit of a bad wrap –  we expect the world from them, be tough, know it all and most importantly show as little emotion as possible. Thankfully times are changing and Dads are no longer seen as sidekicks in the parenting game, but equals.

Thankfully, most men are wonderful human beings who are trying to work out this world and want to be part of their kids lives in a meaningful way, navigating the role of being a Dad as best they can with very little resources, a lack of information and few places to turn to.

After becoming a Dad for the second time, Steve Hodgson decided to start The Dad’s Cooperative Project and create a place for Dad’s to get together with their kids and spend some time swapping experiences, trade stories and support each other to thrive as role models and fathers. The Dad’s Cooperative Project is a wonderful initiative with Parramatta Council supporting this vital group, we were super happy to see this group starting in the West and would love to see it spread across the country.

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Top five interviews of 2017

Top 5 2017



Happy 2018! We hope your New Year has got off to a great start. The Westies had a wonderful 2017 interviewing 26 talented, diverse, wonderful Westies. In July we launched The Westies Markets – Emu Plains which grew from 53 to 66 stall holders and saw an average of 1500 people through the gates. 2018 will bring more interviews, the markets will be back in March and we will be launching a couple of new events. For now we thought it would be great to take a look back at the 5 most read interviews of 2017, taking a quick glance back before we spring into 2018!



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