Perpetually keeping things interesting, Awesome Newcastle went off last night at the Happy Wombat. A gregarious group gathered in their funky side room with the violet hues. We all enjoyed bevvies and got to know April’s Awesome Crew.
Along with our fabulous permanent board members, we welcomed our regular guest board members Amber Moncrieff from Hunter Plastic Surgery and Amir Antebi from Sitest. Thanks to Amber for bringing along the lovely Jessica Laing, also from Hunter Plastic Surgery. We were pleased to have Anne Kempton from Timeless Textiles on our board last night. Anne’s story is unique, as last year she was an Awesome Newcastle winner, and last night she was a voter! In more exciting board member news, Adam Novak from NIB has now officially joined the board for Awesome Newcastle as a permanent member!
The new faces from the board were complemented well with our three finalists of the evening, Rachel Davis from Lifesaving Cosmetics, Bobbie Bayley and Owen Kelly from Girthy With Slim Edges Exhibition and Jo McGregor from Newcastle Unity In Diversity Festival.
Rachel was our first finalist for the evening. She told us about her work as a makeup artist and hair stylist, her journey as a single mum and her family’s personal struggle with cancer. Rachel sells cruelty free, natural, mineral cosmetics with no carcinogenic ingredients and is currently working on a “no nasties” nail polish. She also created and branded two types of lipstick which she sells to raise money for Love Your Sister cancer fighting organisation. A portion of the proceeds from her makeup sales support several different charities. If she won she would use the money to purchase stock, packaging & labels.
Next up architecture students Owen and Bobbie told us an incredible story of the year they spent cycling across the middle of Australia, staying in different towns across the way. The purpose of this expedition was to better understand their own country, slowly. Now the pair are turning the “The Grand Section” journey into a national touring exhibition; “Girthy with Slim Edges”. The exhibition starts in Newcastle and will roam across the country from June-October. They are excited to show an alternative to “learning architecture” and instead share aspirational architecture of country towns, farmer’s ingenuity and communities spirit. They believe rather than looking to America and Europe, Australian architects should look at their own country to learn how to design and build. The two would use the money to help fund their June 3rd launch in Newcastle. Then our final finalist presented! Jo is a community development worker for the refugee service Startts. She shared with us her story of organising the 4th annual Newcastle Unity In Diversity Festival, happening on June 23rd in Hamilton. Coinciding with National Refugee week, the inclusive and welcoming festival celebrates the cultural diversity of Newcastle and involves community member performances, food stalls, entertainment, unity activities, and cultural exchange. Jo would use the money for park hire fees, sound and lighting technicians, staging, equipment hire and community fees to pay for welcome to country and community cultural performances.Our judges went on to do the judging, and our finalists went over to the bar to enjoy some of the Happy Wombat’s live music. Like most Awesome Newcastles, last night’s decision was incredibly close and hard, but at the end a decision must be made, so guest board member Anne gave Jo from Unity In Diversity $1,000 cold hard cash to make her festival as amazing as possible. We can’t wait to check out the Unity In Diversity Festival and also the Girthy Slim Edges Exhibition. Of course we hope to keep up with Rachel and her compassionate beauty line. We remind guests that applications never expire, so there’s a chance we could get you back again. Thanks to everyone involved, and stay tuned for May’s Awesome Newcastle next month!