14 March 2024

Nine things to do in the Illawarra this week (15 - 21 March)

| Dione David
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Musicians from Mingus Amongst Us in action on stage

Mingus Amongst Us is part of a luscious live music line-up in the Illawarra this week. Photo: Perce Woodbury.

The Illawarra hits the ground running this week with a classic race day at Kembla Grange Racecourse to raise funds for Healthier Illawarra Men.

There are multiple ways to get your groove on with live music at The Music Lounge, Dapto Square and Wollongong Art Gallery.

And whether you prefer to watch the silver screen or craft what’s displayed on it, there’s plenty on for the region’s film buffs.

In between, our seniors will have many opportunities to expand their horizons as part of the NSW Seniors Festival.

Here are our nine top picks for the week.


Banner for Classic Race Day at Kembla Grange Racecourse featuring horse racing

Don’t miss this classic race day for a good cause. Photo: Kembla Grange Racecourse Facebook.

Healthier Illawarra Men’s Kembla Grange Classic Day

When: Friday 15 March, noon to 6 pm
Where: Kembla Grange Racecourse, Princes Highway, Kembla Grange
Cost: From $10 for general admission to $150 for Members’ Dining Room Luncheon and Beverage Package, book here.

Healthier Illawarra Men presents one of the biggest days on the calendar at Kembla Grange Racecourse. Expect a fun-filled day of fellowship and frivolity at the Bert Lillye Lounge. Your ticket gets you gate entry and entry to the function, which includes a buffet lunch and a five-hour drinks package. Better yet, all profits from the event go directly to delivering services locally that ensure Illawarra men contribute to and are part of a happier, healthier community.


Grab yourself a free popcorn and settle in. Photo: Wollongong City Council.

Cinema in the Square

When: Friday 15 March, 8:30 to 10:30 pm
Where: Dapto Square, Princes Hwy, Dapto
Cost: Free.

The third out of four free movie nights at Dapto Square as part of the Safer Cities: Her Way Project brings a screening of Bran Nue Dae. It follows the story of Willie, an Aboriginal student on the west coast of Australia in the late 60s, who runs away from a Catholic boarding school with his cruel headmaster in hot pursuit, meeting eccentric characters along the journey back to his hometown. Grab the family, a comfy chair or cushion and some free popcorn and settle in.

Note: This event is weather-dependent, so please check the event on the council’s Facebook page for updates.

Detail of woman strumming guitar at sunset

Join the community in an evening of free food and music. Photo: Wollongong City Council.

Sounds in the Square

When: Friday 15 March, from 5 pm
Where: Dapto Square, Princes Highway, Dapto
Cost: Free.

Grab your friends and family and share in free food while you listen to talented local performers. As part of the Safer Cities: Her Way Project, this is one of a series of live music performances held at Dapto Square every Friday evening from 12 January to 19 April (excluding public holidays). Please note: The show is weather-dependent, so please check the event on the council’s Facebook page for updates.


Mingus Amongst Us

When: Saturday 16 March, 8 pm
Where: The Music Lounge, Wollongong Town Hall, Crown and Kembla streets, Wollongong
Cost: Premium $45, standard $40, standing $30, book here.

You don’t need to be a fan of avant-garde music to enjoy this show. This nine-piece powerhouse ensemble performs arrangements by Sydney musician Steve Fitzmaurice, based on the fiery and energetic compositions of legendary American jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus. With a 15-year history of performing nationwide, the band is excited to present its most recent recording – a beautiful double vinyl album recorded live at Sydney’s Foundry 616 – in Wollongong.


Blue washed photo of a woman's face gazing upwards

This music show explores concepts that are all part of the human condition. Photo: Wollongong City Council.

Glass Heart

When: Sunday 17 March, 2 to 3:30 pm
Where: BlueScope Gallery, Wollongong Art Gallery, 46 Burelli Street, Wollongong
Cost: Adult $45, concession $40, under 35s $35, under 18s $20, book here.

From Monteverdi’s monumental Sestina and Marenzio’s sensuous Baci Soavi e Cari, to music by David Lang, Eric Whitacre, Drew Crawford and more, don’t miss this spectacular performance by the Luminescence Chamber Singers as they delve into 500 years of love songs and break-up anthems. Glass Heart explores the fragility of life and love and the shattering pain of heartbreak.


Close-up of hand filming video of ocean on iPhone

Are you interested in making a short film? Maybe for the Creative Wollongong Short Film Competition? Photo: Wollongong City Council.

Filming 101 workshop for ages 12-24

When: 19 March, 5 to 6 pm
Where: Blackbutt Youth Centre, Lot 201 Cygnet Avenue, Shellharbour City Centre
Cost: Free, book here.

Get great tips and ideas on how to start making your own film at this free, four-week mini course for young people in the Wollongong or Shellharbour council areas aged 12 – 24 years. There’s no need for any special equipment – although you can bring any cameras or filming gear you have, all you need is a smartphone. Please note, by joining in, you need to commit to coming to all four workshops:

  • Tuesday 19 March, 5 to 6 pm
  • Tuesday 26 March, 5 to 6:30 pm
  • Tuesday 2 April, 5 to 6:30 pm
  • Tuesday 9 April, 5 to 6:30 pm


Banner for Illawarra Aged Care Expo

Learn how older people can maintain their lifestyle at home. Image: Scope Home Access.

Illawarra Aged Care Expo

When: Wednesday 20 March, 10 am to 3 pm
Where: Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club, Jason Avenue, Barrack Heights
Cost: Free, book here.

Presented by Scope Home Access, the Illawarra Aged Care Expo (IACE) brings together service providers, seniors and the greater community to showcase how older people can maintain their lifestyle and independence at home. With more than 30 of the best local and national providers exhibiting their innovative products and services, it’s the ideal opportunity to discover leading services, engage with experts and find inspiration for a fulfilling life at home and in the community.

Made From Scratch banner showing stylised illustration of woman playing a stringed instrument in jungle.

Expect a bit of everything from a line-up of diverse creative talents. Image: Karla Hayes.

Made From Scratch

When: Wednesday 20 March, 7 pm
Where: The Music Lounge, Town Hall, corner Crown and Kembla streets, Wollongong
Cost: Pay what you feel, book here.

This multi-artform performance night offers artists space and support to test new ideas in front of a live audience. Expect a showcase of new works from local artists across performance, film, stand-up comedy, poetry, music, cabaret, circus, and anything in between. The night features a pre-show performance by The Golden Gaytimes from 7 pm in the Wollongong Town Hall foyer before the show, with a bit of everything kicking off at The Music Lounge at 7:30 pm.


Pickleball Gala Day

When: Thursday 21 March, 9:30 am to 3 pm
Where: Shellharbour City Stadium, 110 Croome Road, Croom
Cost: Free, book here.

Discover the fun, active and social sport of pickleball at this gala day. The paddle sport’s mashup of tennis, badminton and table tennis is super easy for beginners to learn, but more importantly, is a fun gateway to getting to know the local community. This day includes a lunch break between noon and 1 pm with a barbecue lunch available to purchase. While it can evolve into a fast-paced competitive sport, this is a low-impact, slow-paced event welcoming beginners and experienced players alike.

Note: Please wear closed-in shoes and activewear and bring a drink bottle.

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