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The Mid Mountains Festival

Updated on August 11, 2014

A Very Local Community Festival

The Lawson Festival or Love Lawson Festival started as an annual event held in November. Now The Mid Mountains Festival It celebrates the sometimes overlooked smaller villages which are located between the higher profile and more touristy Upper Mountains and the more populous and retail oriented Lower Mountains. In past years the festival has done this with events ranging from Billy Cart building workshops which culminate in an opportunity to race the resulting creations, to moustache and beard competitions. This year's program is still to be finalised and published so we don't yet know what exciting activities will be available in 2014.

The area known as the Mid Mountains comprises the villages of Woodford, Hazelbrook, Lawson and Bullaburra and is situated in the middle of The Blue Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia. Every weekend, droves of visitors pass right through the area to reach other, higher profile sites without realising the some of the secrets known to locals.

Lawson Festival 2012 Program


By any other name...

Christmas Swamp

24 Mile Hollow

Blue Mountain

these were all early names

for what is now Lawson

Birth Of A Town

A locality referred to as either The Swamp or Christmas Swamp first appeared in the records in 1817. This was a reference to the large "hanging swamp" in the area, an easily accessible source of fresh water. The name "24 Mile Hollow" was used in the 1830's. This referred to the distance from Emu Ford on the Nepean River which marks the point where the plains of Sydney give way to the start of the Great Dividing Range. The town officially changed its name to Lawson in 1879 in honour of the early explorer, William Lawson.

If you would like to know more about the history of Lawson a great site to visit is Mid Mountains History

Photo used under a Creative commons licence from Australian Dictionary Of Biography

The Mid Mountains Festival - A Mid Mountains Celebration

November 15, 2014

Ancient History

The geography of the Mid-Mountains made it an ideal location for the peoples of Australia's original inhabitants, the Aborigines, to camp as they migrated across the range. The area is rich in evidence of use by these people in the form of rock carving, cave painting and grind marks on stone where tools were hewn and sharpened.

A detailed account of the Aboriginal history of the Mid-Mountains can be found at Mid Mountains History

This rock carving of a kangaroo known as Kangaroo rock is situated in an otherwise residential area, surrounded by houses. Photo used under a Creative commons licence from Sydney Aboriginal Rock Engravings

The Mid Mountains Festival - A Mid Mountains Celebration

November 15, 2014

A Community Divided

Although the festival is still a relatively young event, it could be said that it has its roots in early Australian history. The towns and villages of the Blue Mountains stretch in a line across the range from Lapstone & Glenbrook in the east to Lithgow in the west following the top of the ridge as it rises from the plains of Sydney to its highest point at Blackheath then begins its descent to the plains west of the range. The dots are joined by The Great Western Highway which was first constructed as a single lane road despite its being the only viable route for major traffic flow from Sydney to all points west. The upgrade of the highway to dual carriageway has been a gradual affair, in planning for decades, construction being undertaken in a piecemeal fashion as each community fights to retain what they hold dear. When planning for the widening of the highway nudged at Lawson's front door, the authorities were met with a enormous resistence. While some of the townsfolk were glad for progress and heartily wished for action to proceed, the greater majority were passionate to preserve what little history survived in the village. This is mainly in the form of a small strip of shops and some cottages. One of the most endearing features of the township is and always has been its sense of community. Another is its charming architecture. The coming of the highway threatened to divide the community, not only in the physical sense but in spirit as well.

Image used under a Creative Commons licence from Sydney Tourist Guide

The Mid Mountains Festival - A Mid Mountains Celebration

November 15, 2014

How The Festival Came About

Back in 2005, some of Lawson's most devoted residents came up with the idea of holding a festival. The festival would celebrate everything that was loved about Lawson. It would be a festival by and for the people of Lawson as a symbol of cohesiveness and acknowledgement that although opinions differ on the best outcome for the village, the residents are united in their love of the town. The first "Love Lawson" festival was held in November 2006 and is now firmly entrenched as an annual event.

Lawson lies not only at the centre of The Blue Mountains but also at the centre of the smaller area known as The Mid-Mountains which boasts an active Neighbourhood and Community Centre. The Mid- mountains encompasses the villages of Woodford, Hazelbrook, Lawson and Bullaburra. It is the Mid-Mountains Neighbourhood Centre which pulls together the festival each year with the help of a small group of volunteers. In recognition of the wider community it represents, the MMNC has broadened the focus of the "Love Lawson" festival to embrace the Mid Mountains and therefore have changed the name of the festival to "Lawson Festival".

This photo of one of the shops destined for demolition is used under a Creative Commons licence from This used to be one of four Real Estate businesses in Lawson. When the businesses vacated the doomed premises some were taken up on nominal leases until their eventual fate befalls them. This building is currently occupied by one of Lawson's personalities known to many simply as Bob the artist.

**UPDATE: The old shops have now been demolished and some new shops have risen from their ashes to take their place. The Lawson community is anxiously awaiting the rebuilding of the entire retail strip so that commercial life can return to the once busy village

The Mid Mountains Festival - A Mid Mountains Celebration

November 15, 2014

Past Festivals

Here in the Mid-Mountains we are proud of our locality, our community rich in artistic talent and our sometimes quirkiness. All of these elements and more are celebrated at the Lawson Festival. With activities for all ages and interests, from the pet and owner look alike contest to kids busking, from music workshops to the Made In The Mid Mountains Marquee there is always something wonderful for everyone to enjoy.

The 2008 Art Competition took the form of the "Lawthong Art Competition" where participants were encouraged to submit artworks based on thongs (flipflops). Here are some of the entries.

Thong Art

Images courtesy of (site no longer exists)

The Mid Mountains Festival - A Mid Mountains Celebration

November 15, 2014

Blue Mountain Hotel c.1915

Blue Mountain Hotel c.1915
Blue Mountain Hotel c.1915

Image sourced from Mid Mountains History A detailed history of the Blue Mountain Hotel can be found here.

Sketch - Original Blue Mountain Hotel

Sketch - Original Blue Mountain Hotel
Sketch - Original Blue Mountain Hotel

Image used under a Creative Commons licence from Gary Bell

An Ugly Makeover - The Blue Mountain Hotel - post 1936

An Ugly Makeover - The Blue Mountain Hotel - post 1936
An Ugly Makeover - The Blue Mountain Hotel - post 1936

Image sourced from Mid Mountains History A detailed history of the Blue Mountain Hotel can be found here.

Demolition Of The Front Of The Hotel In Progress 2008

Demolition Of The Front Of The Hotel In Progress 2008
Demolition Of The Front Of The Hotel In Progress 2008


The restoration of The Blue Mountain Hotel is almost complete and it is looking fabulous! Photos coming soon.

The Mid Mountains Festival - A Mid Mountains Celebration

November 15, 2014

Lawson Festival Infant T-ShirtCHECK PRICE

Lawson Festival Kids TeeCHECK PRICE

Lawson Festival Ladies TeeCHECK PRICE

Lawson Festival Cap Trucker HatCHECK PRICE

Lawson Festival Travel MugCHECK PRICE

Lawson Festival Pet ClothingCHECK PRICE

Lawson Festival Mens Destroyed TeeCHECK PRICE

Lawson Festival Tote Tote BagsCHECK PRICE

Lawson Festival ApronCHECK PRICE

Lawson Festival Store

See the complete range of

Lawson Festival Products

Made In The Mid Mountains Marquee

Central to the Lawson Festival is the Made In The Mid Mountains Marquee where local artists and crafters will showcase their wares. With Christmas just around the corner, this is an ideal time to pick up something beautiful and unusual for friends and family.

Lawson Festival - Promoting Sustainability

The Lawson Festival supports and actively promotes sustainability. There will be stalls and stands aligned to this theme. One of the groups represented at the festival is The Blue Mountains FreecycleTM Network. Freecycle describes themselves as "The Blue Mountains FreecycleTM Network is open to all who want to "recycle" that special something rather than throw it away. Whether it's a chair, a fax machine, piano or an old door, feel free to post it. Or maybe you're looking to acquire something yourself! Nonprofit groups are also welcome to participate too! One constraint: everything posted must be free. This network is brought to you by The FreecycleTM Network, a nonprofit organization and a movement of people interested in keeping good stuff out of landfills. Check out for other cities and info on the movement."

Drop something off for Freecycling at the Freecycle stall at the Lawson Festival. There will be items for offer at the stall as well. You never know what you might find there!

Find out more about Blue Mountains FreecycleTM

There's nothing like a local festival to bring a community together. Please add your name to the guestbook and tell others about your local festival. If you've been to the Lawson Festival shout it out.

© 2009 Lynne Schroeder

Uniting Communities

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    • thelesleyshow profile image

      TheLesleyShow 3 years ago from US

      I would love the Lawson Festival, sounds like my kind of place. Beautiful photos you have here.

    • Elle-Dee-Esse profile image

      Lynne Schroeder 3 years ago from Blue Mountains Australia

      It's looking great! Will add some pics of it soon

    • Elle-Dee-Esse profile image

      Lynne Schroeder 3 years ago from Blue Mountains Australia

      it's fun because it's such a small festival with quirky little home-grown activities

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 3 years ago

      The Lawson Festival sounds like fun. I can't wait to see the renovated Blue Mountain Hotel.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 3 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      looks like a lot of fun!

    • Bill Armstrong profile image

      Bill Armstrong 5 years ago from Valencia, California

      Would love to visit, thanks for sharing

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 5 years ago

      Wish I could visit!

    • profile image

      poutine 5 years ago

      Sounds like fun for the locals.

    • profile image

      seegreen 5 years ago

      I have family from the Blue Mountains. They owned a hotel there too. I should find out the name of it.

    • FestivalGirl profile image

      FestivalGirl 5 years ago

      Too far from my country :(

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 6 years ago

      Nice lens

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 6 years ago from New Zealand

      Looks like I missed the Lawson Festival by a few weeks. Maybe next year :)

      Blessed :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      We love the Love Lawson Festival. For the past two years King Parrot Samba (mid-mountains Brazilian Percussion band) have held free drum workshops for all festival goers. We hope to have another workshop this year and look forward to all the yummy food and entertainment there. Kind Regards, Siobhan and Javier from King Parrot Samba

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 7 years ago

      The Lawson Festival looks like fun. The old Blue Mountain Hotel was beautiful! What a shame about the make over.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 7 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I love local festivals and this one looks wonderful. We're looking forward to our town's fall festival, coming up next month. w

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 7 years ago from West Virginia

      Looks like a cool place. I love all the colorful art.

    • northamerica profile image

      northamerica 7 years ago

      This is a wonderfully done lens. Hopefully at some point you can create more festival lenses as many of us are very interested in Australian culture. Here in the USA, festivals are also extremely popular. It has been my experience that lenses and articles on festivals by region or subject tend to get a lot of traffic. Keep up the outstanding work!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Awesome lens Lynne. Great celebration of what I know is the best fetival under the sun! Counting the minutes....

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      Looks like a fun festival! Wish I could go. :)

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 8 years ago

      Sounds like a fun thing. Lovely lens!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 8 years ago from United States

      Sounds like it would be a lot of fun! I love all of those bright colors in your pictures

    • amy1980 profile image

      amy1980 8 years ago

      Wish I could go to the festival!

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 8 years ago from Washington KS

      Loved the info and the photos. Good job!!

      5 to you.

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 8 years ago

      Very Nice!

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 8 years ago from Cheshire UK

      Great lens about your festival and thanks for letting us share a little of it

    • profile image

      Joan4 8 years ago

      I enjoyed your festival!

    • strayspay profile image

      strayspay 8 years ago

      I would love to come to your country and see the beautiful countryside and the kangaroos. Thanks for sharing The Lawson Festival.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I would like to come to the Lawson Festival but guess I will have to settle for enjoying it through your lens. My hometown is about the size of Lawson and we think it is rich in history but it doesn't have near the history that yours does. We have 3 major festivals each year: Spring Jubilee, Freedom Fest and the Fall Harvest Festival.