Rylstone is a gorgeous little heritage town about three and a half hours North-West of Sydney and on the second Saturday of every month it now plays host to an Artisan and Produce market. A gaggle of us popped in the other week to check it out and bumped into the tres talented Brett Nutting hawking his wares outside the Memorial Hall. For several years now he’s been making elegant furniture from lovely pieces of re-cycled timber under the banner of AdHoc Furniture which has its base in the twin town of Kandos 5kms down the road. The pieces are all polished with orange oil and have a beautiful patina, some with attractive traces of past paint jobs and hints of their previous lives – most desirable indeed!
Near the front door of the Hall Kirsty Stegwazi was displaying her irresistible range of handmade caps and stockings featuring crazy prints of dancing skeletons and around the corner was a mad potter from the tiny town of Clandulla who was showcasing her kooky jugs and pots made out of clay from her own backyard.
Once over the threshold we were greeted by a tribe of spinners and knitters pumping out all sorts of wondrous items like wacky scarves and beanies and mittens. The temperature plummets to sub freezing in these here parts so we poured over each and every item with much interest. While deciding which of the brightly colored pieces to purchase, the Hall erupted with squeals of delight from children and adults alike. A possum was galumphing through the aisles, trying to find a safe place to hide. It finally clawed it’s way up the red velvet curtain beside the stage and took cover in the rafters providing an extra touch of country charm.
With our arms full of treasures we headed off for lunch at 29Nine99 where we had one of the best wonton soups ever invented. Tired of the local western fare, artist and chef Na Lan has established what has to be one of the very best rural eateries in the Mid-Western Region. Located in the heritage Bridge View Inn (built cira 1870), the kitchen serves up steaming plates of home made yum-cha delights with a peking duck wrap option.
Na Lan is one of many wonderful locals helping to transform Rylstone from a sleepy little backwater to a must visit tourist stop. Also leading the charge are the folks at Number 47, a cafe and gallery where you can get delicious coffee and assorted treats while checking out the latest local art exhibition.
It’s a real thrill to find such a thriving scene in a place like this but, like many other towns across New South Wales, Rylstone is currently being besieged by coal mining companies eager to rip the guts out of not only the surrounding landscape but the community as well. The rise of these sorts of creative industries in the face of this onslaught gives us a real demonstration of how an alternative and much more sustainable path can be trod for the benefit of current and future generations. All power to them!