An Annual Seven Valleys Arts & Culture Festival

The Greater Blue Mountains Creative Arts Network (GBMCAN), which hosts the Regenesis Collective, has joined forces with Gang Gang Gallery, Lithgow City Council and Seven Valleys Tourism to plan for an annual signature arts and culture festival that will embed the decision by Lithgow Chamber of Commerce and Lithgow City Council to rebrand the Lithgow region, famous for coal mining and power stations, to become the Seven Valleys—a gateway to the Central West of NSW, a region that butts up agains the soaring red cliffs of the Blue Mountains, extending across its seven valleys of rolling hills and lakes: Megalong, Kanimbla, Hartley, Lithgow, Tarana, Capertee and Wolgan.

This is a region rich in eco-cultural tourism potential and fast becoming a vibrant centre of the creative industries.  Plans are afoot to also make it a home for innovative circular economy businesses—the new generation of businesses which will transform our agriculture and industrial production systems to eliminate waste and pollution through the application of new materials sciences and the redesign of products and production processes.

Provocations—Seven Valley Festival of BIG Ideas

The Provocations event, which forms part of the soft launch of the inaugural Seven Valleys Arts and Culture Festival, will be held in the main lecture theatre at the Malhan Ngurr Ngurra Lithgow Transformation Hub, 154 Mort Street Lithgow on Sunday 7 May, 1.30 – 4.40pm.


  • My Truth to Power About Our Future—Poetry Slam – Spoken Word Performance by Lithgow High School
  • The Three Pillars of Regenesis—Keynote talk by Barbara Lepani, author of The Regenesis Journey and President GBMCAN
  • My Truth to Power About Our Future—Poetry Slam – Spoken Word Performance by La Salle Academy
  • Baran Nalgarra: A Radical Approach to Senior School Curriculum by Lynn Daniel, Principal, Kindlehill School Blue Mountains
  • My Truth to Power About Our Future—Poetry Slam – Spoken Word Performance by Kindlehill School
  • Shaping the Future of the Seven Valleys—Panel Discussion
    • Creative Industries—Tracey Callinan, CEO Regional Arts NSW
    • Eco-Tourism—Tevor Jones, Director Secret Creek Sanctuary, Lithgow
    • Circular Economy—Michell Zeibotts, UTS and Hartley farm, The Refinery.
  • Q&A with audience
  • Book launch, ‘The Regenesis Journey’ with author signing. The book is published on the amazon platform:

The Regenesis Journey


Drawing from posts on the Regenesis Collective blog over the last few years, the Regenesis Journey promotes a discussion about a new story to shape the future of Australia in the age of radical climate change, the increasing pace of technological change impacting society, and major geo-political shifts in the global economy.

Drawing on the work of Kombumerri Elder, Dr Mary Graham, the Regenesis Journey asks us to move from a society based on the extractivist logic of global capitalism, in both its liberal and autocratic forms, to one based on a relationist logic that acknowledges we live in a thoroughly animated world wherein we humans are but one member.  Where we can learn the magic of hearing its many voices and songs to enrich and nurture our lives.

Under three core principles, Caring for Country; Multiculturalism; and transitioning to a Circular Wellbeing Economy, it envisions Australia as:

A successful multicultural society that cares for Country in the tradition of Australia’s ancient cultural heritage of more than 65,000 years, working together with the insights of modern ecological sciences, and which runs its zero-waste circular economy for the equal wellbeing of all its peoples and their communities, and our planetary home, the Earth.

This vision for Australia builds on the insights of the Indigenous ‘warrior scholars’ of post colonial thought, and the contributions of many civil society organisations around the world who are looking for ways to combine the ancient ecological thinking of pre-industrial cultures, like Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with the modern sciences of ecology and complex systems.

This sits in contrast to the continuing dreams of ‘Growth and Productivity’ as expressed in the slogan of Australia as a ‘renewable energy superpower’ so that the destructive consumer economy of global capitalism can continue on apace, only with a different energy source.  Instead of more and more material wealth to be extracted from the Earth’s resources and human labour (mental, emotional, physical) we turn our minds to other forms of wealth—social and spiritual, of communities vibrant in their artistic creativity and connectedness who have turned away from the dark destructive forces of division and hatred that now pollute the cybersphere as the new domain of nation state, criminal and individual warfare and hatred. And where new technologies are so often at the mercy of the dark forces of private profit maximisation and defensive nationalism, rather than governed by the needs and wellbeing of community and planet.

Other Events in the 2023 Arts & Culture Festival

Saturday 6 May to Sunday 14 May


  • 6 May, Exhibition of Giant Dragonfly from 29 April community workshop—at Gang Gang Gallery
  • 6 May, Exhibition opening, HART of Women—Natasha Daniloff, Annie Joseph, Aliki Yiorkas and Janetha Lyon —3pm – 5pm, at Gang Gang Gallery
  • 6-7 May—Sculpture in the Garden, at Gallery H, Monkey Creek Cafe, Sculpture Garden, 227 Chifley Rd, Dargan
  • 7 May, Provocations—Seven Valleys Festival of BIG Ideas, 1.30 – 4.30 pm at Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra Lithgow Transformation Hub, 154 Mort Street, Lithgow


  • A Moment in Time Exhibition, 10am –; 1.30-4pm at Hartley Corney’s Garage, historic site
  • Shared Stories – Textiles of Lithgow: Handmade to Factory Industries, Eskbank House Museum
  • Seven Valleys Flavour Trail—exploring great eats, drinks and accommodation across the Seven Valleys


  • 12 May—Twilight live music, Cook Street Plaza and Open Mike, 7 Valleys Hotel
  • 13 May—LITHGLOW, Cook Street Plaza
  • 13-14 May—Sculpture in the Garden, at Gallery H, Monkey Creek Cafe, Sculpture Garden, 227 Chifley Rd, Dargan
  • 14 May—Canto Latino Quartet, Live at Gang Gang Gallery, 4,30-6.30pm

Gardens of Stones—Voices of the Earth

Inspired by the work of Marrugeku’s Cut the Sky, I have been working with fellow creatives to conceive of a signature performing arts work that can tell the story of Regenesis through the history of the spectacular stone pagoda formations of the Garden of Stones. On the edge of the Wollemi National Park and recently given extra environmental protection, the Garden of Stones is part of the UNESCO protected Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

The Garden of Stones lies near the main commercial centre of Lithgow, which is part of The Seven Valleys Local Government Area. Bounded on the east by the soaring escarpments of the Blue Mountains, the Seven Valleys is the gateway to the rolling plains and gentler valleys of the Central West of regional NSW.

This is Wiradjuri Country. One of the largest Indigenous language groups, the Wiradjuri people, who occupy the vast western plains of NSW, were displaced and dispossessed as white settlers moved west over the Blue Mountains to claim land for their cattle and sheep, and to farm their wheat crops and then to dig for the black gold (coal) for the whitefella dreams of industry and city lights.

The 2023 National Referendum on Recognition and the Voice

Garden of Stone—Voices of the Earth is framed in the context of a national Referendum on the recognition of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our Constitution, and enshrining their right for a Voice to Parliament and Executive Government about matters that directly affect them. It is another step in a process of reconciliation that began when in 1975 Gough Whitlam recognised the rights of the Gurindji people to their traditional lands with the first Aboriginal Land Rights Act of 1976 in the Northern Territory.

This was followed by Paul Keating’s historic speech of Apology at Redfern Park in 1992. The decision of the High Court of Australia in Mabo v Queensland, that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had never legally ceded their sovereignty to the British colonial administration, led to the establishment of the Native Titles Act of 1993, to be followed in 2017 by the historic Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The Uluru Statement calls for three things:

  • Truth telling about our shared history of colonial settlement
  • Recognition and a Voice to Parliament, and
  • A Makarrata Commission to establish a treaty-making process that deals with questions of First Nations sovereignty.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart declares:

[Our] sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors.

Truth Telling Through The Arts

Bringing all these ideas together, the Garden of Stones—Voices of the Earth is conceptualised in five acts:

  • Act 1, pre-human ancient times—spoken through the voice of the Giant Dragonfly
  • Act 2, the time of Wiradjuri custodianship back into the last ice age
  • Act 3, the arrival of the white colonialists with their ‘dreams’ of civilisation and industry that led to the digging for the black gold (coal) to produce electricity.
  • Act 4, the new protectors, tells the story of the environmentalists who have fought to protect this extraordinary pagoda landscape from mining’s consequences: water pollution, the drying out of the hanging swamps, home to the iconic giant dragonfly, and deep cracks fracturing the rock pagodas.
  • Act 5, all protagonists in this story come together to celebrate the story of Regenesis in the new age of the Symbiocene where we have found a way to work together to care for Country and care for people.

It is proposed that the Giant Dragonfly (petalura gigantean) with its wingspan of up to 13cm will act as the voice of the Earth itself, represented in various art forms such as lanterns, sculpture and imagery. The Garden of Stones—Voices of the Earth is conceived as a combination of music, dance, storytelling and visual design that will enable the protagonists to each tell their own story, and come together in a final conciliation.

By mapping our Regenesis journey through the arts in this way, we can begin to discover how to move from the destructive forces of the Anthropocene to a new era, the Symbiocene, where we can directly experience a sense of ‘Interbeing’ with the world around us—a recovery of the sense of the sacred. It is also a form of truth telling that includes truth telling about our colonial history as called for in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, but also truth telling from other viewpoints: the earth itself, the Wiradjuri Aboriginal people, the miners of Lithgow, and the environmental activists.