This year was the 8th anniversary of the Wundowie Iron Festival celebrated with an excellent turnout of both stallholders and visitors.

The festival and art competition held on May 18, is unique in that both general entry and activities for children are free. The costs are covered by a number of generous sponsors and a small fee from stallholders. It also provides an opportunity for local voluntary groups to run stalls and raise funds towards their running costs for the year.

Since its inception, the event has been held on the local oval and in the community hall in the picturesque surroundings of the local forest.

At the opening, president of the Wundowie Progress Association which organizes the festival, Trish Hamilton, thanked the volunteers involved in setting up and running it and the sponsors: Shire of Northam, Bradken, Linley Valley Fresh, BGC, Afkos Industries, Komcat Electro Pty Ltd, Olive Road Art Studio and Binthere Bins.

The level of interest in the festival was highlighted by the more than 250,000 hits on the event's website. "It is known the world over. "This is the last year I am heading up the organizing committee. "Kaye Towle and I have been involved in co-ordinating and organizing the festival since 2004. "We have decided to retire. "It is time for some new blood and fresh ideas and we hope some younger volunteers will come forward to run the event next year,"  Ms Hamilton said.

Northam Shire councillor, Cr Terry Little, who officially opened the festival paid tribute to Ms Hamilton and the members of the committee for the work they had put into the event since it started.

The town was established in 1948 to house workers from the newly opened Wundowie charcoal iron and steel mill.  Bradken currently operates a foundry on the original site keeping the town's connection with the iron and steel industry alive. Guided tours of the Bradken foundry are a major attraction of the festival. Other activities included the displays by the Northam Irish Dancers, demonstrations by the Circle of the Sword group and the Iron Beast competition.

Lindsay McNeill


TOP: As always the alpacas were popular with children and their families. CENTRE: Mortised plastic inflatables were a popular new attraction for children at this year's festival. BELOW: There were stalls selling just about everything and plenty of people wanting to buy.