15 June 2023

Nine things to do in the Illawarra this week (16 - 22 June)

| Dione David
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The soulful sounds of folk and blues, markets and family-friendly activities hit The Waterfront, Shell Cove for Shellharbour Rocks the Marina. Photo: Shellharbour City Council/Facebook.

A busy week of culture, craft, food and learning lies ahead. This weekend the city’s galleries unite to officially launch the Wander Wollongong art trail with swagger, Pride Month wraps up at Project Contemporary Artspace and Spiegeltent delivers its usual smorgasbord of glitz and glam.

Throughout the region institutions and organisations mark Refugee Week with a diverse array of talks, workshops and other enlightening events, and the Shellharbour Rocks concert series unplugs Shellharbour Marina for a day of intimate blues and family fun.

In between there are learning opportunities for business owners, wine lovers, creative writers and more. Here are our top nine picks for the week.

All weekend

Darryl Lo at 130 Art Studios

Artist Darryl Lo has signed 130 Art Studios up for the trail, alongside 16 other studios, galleries and creative spaces, and a selection of public art. Photo: Katelyn Slyer.

Wander Wollongong launch

When: Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 June, noon to 4 pm
Where: Various Wollongong locations, view full program here
Cost: Free, book here

Wollongong City Council’s Wander Wollongong art trail connects the CBD’s diverse galleries, studios, creative spaces and public art to showcase local talent. The journey through the city’s cultural landscape invites you to immerse yourself in captivating artworks and engage with local artists.

The official launch kicks off this weekend with exhibitions, artists’ talks, free workshops and more. Make sure you check out the full program and plan ahead.

Pop art postcards

Pick yourself up something cool courtesy of queer artists and their allies at the Pride Market Day. Photo: Project Contemporary Artspace/Facebook.

Pride Market Day and Closing Gala

When: Saturday 17 June, noon to 2 pm and Sunday 18 June, 2 pm to 4 pm
Where: Project Contemporary Artspace, 255 Keira Street, Wollongong
Cost: Free

Project Art Space has been celebrating Pride Month with local LGBTQIA+ art and culture, but that’s all set to wrap up this weekend. Pride Market Day features retail therapy courtesy of queer artists and their allies. If you miss the market day, there’s the Community Art Drawing Workshop on the Saturday from noon to 4 pm.

On the Sunday (18 June) from noon to 2 pm there’s a drag workshop hosted by Drag King Law of Aus and Drag Queen The Fancyy, inviting all ages to learn tips and tricks to owning the stage. And finally, the Closing Gala takes place from 2 pm to 4 pm with performances and artists’ talks.


People walk the boardwalk at Shellharbour marina

Shellharbour Rocks The Marina – Unplugged will include music, markets, food and family activities. Photo: Kellie O’Brien.

Shellharbour Rocks The Marina

When: Saturday 17 June, from 11 am
Where: Various locations at The Waterfront Shell Cove, 100 Cove Blvd, Shell Cove see program here
Cost: Free, book here

Under the banner of Shellharbour’s popular music and arts festival series comes Shellharbour Rocks The Marina, where you’re invited to experience Shellharbour Marina unplugged and intimate. Expect the soulful sounds of folk and blues, accompanied by markets, food and family-friendly activities including face painting, a “circus zone” by Cirque Um Navigate and the ever-popular Matilda’s Farmyard Nursery.

From 11 am, patrons will be able to hear duo JOCEAN and the Busy BBB, Kiama singer-guitarist Mark Dabin, blues artist JJ Spence, blues and roots duo 500 Pounds of Joy, and Wollongong-raised indie-folk singer-songwriter Kay Proudlove, to name a
few. Activities will centre around The Sailors Deck, Georgia Rose and The Waterfront Tavern, see the full program here.


Food on a trestle table with flowers

A sacred food that reminds you of your loved one doesn’t need to be handmade. Photo: Tender Funerals/Facebook.

Tender Funerals – Annual Our Community Remembers Picnic

When: Sunday 18 June, noon to 3 pm
Where: Girl Guide Camp, 333 Mount Keira Road, Mount Keira
Cost: Free, book here

For anyone looking to honour a loved one they’ve lost in the company of kindred spirits, Tender Funerals welcomes all to its annual memorial picnic. Bring a plate of food that represents your loved one – whether a favourite meal or a special recipe they were remembered for, to share.

The venue provides a tranquil setting, surrounded by the beautiful bushland of the Illawarra Escarpment where you will have the opportunity to be a part of a smoking ceremony and art making activities such as the creation of a mandala of remembrance and see a performance by the Tender Community Choir.

As it is expected to be a cold day, there will be fires, hot soup, tea and coffee. Simply register (for catering purposes), rug up and bring your plate.

Flyer for Caboriginal cabaret show at Spiegeltent Wollongong

Caboriginal is a glittery, glamorous and sometimes salacious celebration of black excellence. Image: First Nations Talent Agency.


When: Sunday 18 June, from 3 pm
Where: The Spiegeltent Wollongong, 2 Burelli Street, Wollongong
Cost: Adult $35, student or concession $30, book here

The Spiegeltent has plenty to offer, but this show is deadly. A cabaret-style variety show featuring some of the best First Nations talent in dance, comedy, drag, spoken word, music and more, it’s a glittery, glamorous and sometimes salacious celebration of black excellence across the performing arts spectrum. Hosted by crowd favourite Jay Wymarra, this one is not to be missed.


Flyer for Persian craft workshop at Wollongong City Libraries

Learn how to create stunning pieces of wearable art in the special Persian jewellery making workshop. Image: Wollongong City Libraries.

Persian Craft: Refugee Week Workshop – Warrawong Library

When: Monday 19 June, 10 am to noon
Where: Warrawong Library, 67-71 King Street, Warrawong
Cost: Free, book here

As part of our Refugee Week celebrations, you’re invited to experience a beautiful slice of Persian culture firsthand, learn a new skill and score a new favourite piece of jewellery fashioned with your own hands. This Persian jewellery workshop will show you how to shape and transform polymer clay into stunning wearable art. No prior experience is necessary, but spots are limited, so book ahead to avoid disappointment.


Magnifying glass with a fingerprint on it

This year’s ‘Final Draft’ event will focus on the mastery of crime and mystery legend Agatha Christie. Photo: Envato/Shots Studio.

The Drama Studio – Final Draft

When: Tuesday 20 June, from 7 pm
Where: Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, Merrigong Theatre Company, 32 Burelli Street, Wollongong
Cost: Adult $39, student/senior/pensioner $25, child (under 13) $20, book here

This event enables emerging writers to create conditions in which they can actively engage in developing and producing their work. This year six new works will be created under the theme Agatha Christie: Master of Mysteries. Arguably the master of mysteries, Agatha perfected what we now recognise as the “classic mystery novel structure” in her character-driven detective books.

Learn from the master, guided by experts and surrounded by fellow creatives.


Flyer for ChatGPT business course

Can you afford not to get your business ahead of the latest AI developments? Image: Kiama Shoalhaven Community Colleges.

Power Up Your Business with CHATGPT

When: Wednesday 21 June, 6 pm to 8 pm
Where: The Pavilion, 2 Bong Bong Street, Kiama
Cost: Free, book here

Fully funded by the NSW Government’s Tech Savvy Business Program for eligible businesses, this free session explores ChatGPT for savvy companies. Glenn Haworth of Resolve Business Coaching and Haworth Guitars will break down and demystify the new and popular artificial intelligence (AI) tool and teach us how to harness its powers for business growth.

ChatGPT’s ability to produce human-like, accurate responses to a vast array of questions made it the fastest growing app of all time late last year, reaching 100 million users in only two months. Find out how it can help your business improve sales and marketing, content creation, customer service and internal systems.


Flyer for Serere Wines event at Little Betty's in Kiama

Enjoy a three-course meal paired with five magnificent wines in this intimate gastronomic event. Photo: Little Betty’s/Facebook.

Little Betty’s presents “An Evening With Serere Wines”

When: Thursday 22 June, from 6:30 pm
Where: Little Betty’s, 1/55 Collins Street, Kiama
Cost: $100, book here

Book your spot now for this intimate dinner with winemaker Joe Warren. You’ll pair three courses with five wines to showcase the brilliant 2021 and 2022 vintages of Serere’s Beechworth and Whitlands releases. The delicious menu is designed to showcase our region’s incredible local farmers, fishermen and producers.

Vegetarian options will be available but due to the nature of the event, no other dietary requirements can be accommodated.

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