Every year over the Easter long weekend, the tiny village of Nundle (population around 300) situated about 70 kilometres east of Tamworth, welcomes visitors from around the world to the Go For Gold Chinese Easter Festival.
A celebration of the town’s gold mining history and the part played by Chinese immigrants who came to make their fortunes, the festival draws families to taste the region’s cornucopia of food, fun and music.
Although major gold strikes are just a memory, there is still gold to be found in the rivers and creeks around the area, but during the festival visitors are guaranteed a strike at the Mt Misery Gold Mine and Café when they pan for the flecks of gold that have been ‘salted’ in beds of sand and water just for the children and mums and dads to try their hands at panning – and two real nuggets are also up for grabs during the festival.
The Chinese connection is highlighted by a group of Chinese dancers from Sydney who bring traditional dance, along with colourful dragons and lions, to entertain the thousands that roam the streets and partake of food, drink and wares from the district.
2015 saw traditional Chinese instruments being played and local musicians also entertained with music from country to blasts of saxophones in the main street and a wonderful tribute dance to the memory of Michael Jackson.
The street stalls featured crafts, woodturning exhibitions, a working steam engine, mouth-watering ginger beer, an amazing creation based on the old pluto pup that we all remember from our childhoods – but this time around the sav is surrounded by a series of scallops and presents a challenge to eat.
The village’s many historic buildings provide a backdrop for this marvellous event and no one goes away without a feeling for the heritage and the history of Nundle and ‘the hills of gold’.
And what Go For Gold Chinese Easter Festival would be complete without showbags, facepainting, bargains of all kinds, a veritable overload of food, from hot chips to pub food from the town’s famous Peel Inn and the welcome smiles of Nundle’s residents.