WOW! What an amazing year we have had at THE Hungry Spirit in 2022!

Between growing enormous delicious vegetables and hosting incredible performances we also gave away CASH prizes, shared a wedding on site, watched lovely new baby animals grow, enjoyed our weekly fix of Thai Sensations and welcomed more than 500 people to our special events – almost 30% of whom traveled vast distances to be here!

We are deeply passionate about sharing the land at THE Hungry Spirit and making it available for regenerative experiences of all kinds, so it brings great joy to us to see it being used with such diversity and enthusiasm.


Great Southern Nights

We were successful in being selected as a Great Southern Nights host venue – the only one in the Outback Arts region – and only one of the 2 in the entire western footprint of NSW – very exciting!

We had a fabulous evening with performances from:

  • Andrew Hull & the Front Verandah
  • Well Primed
  • Rebel Black

Open Mic Nights

We hosted several Open Mic Nights and thanks to THE Edge Fest and Outback Arts we were able to offer cash prizes of $250 for the people’s choice winner. Our fabulous winners are below – each brought an incredible talent and enthusiasm for their chosen musical pathway!

Congratulations to them and we are looking forward to another season of Open Mic’s in 2023

  • Alan Percy
  • Logan Lohse
  • Parker Bevan
  • Garth Boulton

We also welcomed several special guests to our last 3 Open Mic Nights of the season

  • Warren Mason, Tin Camp Studios
  • Castlereagh Connection
  • Baraygal Choir, Sydney Conservatorium of Music Students & Stiff Gins

Each gave amazing performances and we were so grateful for them!
We were able to share these great nights with thanks to funding from THE Edge Fest & Outback Arts!

And we also say THANK you to the Busy Bee team who always supplied delicious food from the Buumble Truck on these nights too!

Syntropic Farming Workshops

We hosted 2 fabulous Syntropic Farming Workshops with our teacher Thiago Giminez Barboasa this year – both of which had a small number of students (largely due to flooding issues) but everyone learned so much and the demonstration site at THE Hungry Spirit has expanded and improved. We now have several different syntropic gardens in action – our retrofitted food forest and garden, the two irrigated systems we originally planted and now a non irrigated system. You can book in for workshops in 2023 and take advantage of the generous early bird discount!

Full Moon Dreaming Retreats

Rebel hosted 2 Full Moon Dreaming retreats and hosted the fabulous Seven Sisters for a very special private retreat.

We also hosted Louise Kanjee for a retreat onsite as well – Louise comes each year with a group of women and makes the most of the spaces at THE Hungry Spirit. This year the Tin Camp studios was perfect for ritual, ceremony and healing conversations – exactly what it was intended for.


We hosted a gorgeous wedding of our friends Penny & Pete who decided Lightning Ridge and THE Hungry Spirit was where they wanted to get hitched! All local providers were exceptional in their service including Busy Bee who did the catering and Tina Phipps who did the photographic!

Thai Sensations

We enjoyed another DELICIOUS year of Thurs-Sat thai food with a new fresh menu each week prepared by Top, Nuch and Pia and delivered by Roger! They do such an awesome job keeping us all well fed with traditional thai food.


We were excited to host a mid-year graduation ceremony for the students (including Rebel) who had completed their TAFE Certificate 1 Aboriginal Languages. It was a VERY special occasion and included delicious johnny cakes, kangaroo curry and crocodile skewers. Thanks to the wonderful teacher Jacqui Frai!

What Grew

We had an AMAZING mulberry season from our beautiful original tree + all her babes (grown from prunings in our Syntropic System #1)… many mulberries were shared, eaten, frozen and the birds and bugs got plenty too!

Rebel has been saying to people we should grow mulberries EVERYWHERE in Lightning Ridge and in Oct each year host a new mulberry picking event called Festival of the Purple Finger…

What do you think?

The bananas we grew were the highlight of 2023 and even though we didn’t eat them because they stunted… we were excited that we could and are improving our systems so one day we will be both growing AND eating outback bananas!

We grew BIG veg again, our 8kg Christmas beetroot from 2021 was given a run for its money by some impressive carrots!

We had a large number of mushroom compost bags delivered from a mushroom farm in NSW and Michael nurtured them so we were able to enjoy eating and sharing a lot of mushrooms for a while, before putting the compost into the garden – it was a win, win!

We harvested lots of delicious cactus fruit and shared and froze them for a tasty summer treat!
AND we tried Nopal (the mexican name for Prickly Pear) for the first time with thanks to a Mexican visitor in early 2022… it was delicious and we tried it many ways – our favourite was Nopal Schnitzel…. It could catch on!

We feel very proud that all the events we host onsite are largely catered from our garden – most of the time at least 70% of what is eaten by our guests is grown on site or from our region and that’s something we feel really passionate about continuing and improving!

We have our first non-irrigated Syntropic system happening after a workshop in May and it’s growing REALLY well and we’re excited to see it’s progression.

Our resident ducks had another set of babies. Unfortunately this time they’ve wandered a lot more and are currently down to only 2 remaining after hatching 9…. It’s the nature of the system but it’s sad!

We’ve had some lovely rain this year – a few big deluges and lots of soaking rain and we are so, so appreciative of it! It’s been wonderful to have a full dam + water views at the Coocoran lake!

Other Events

We had a super fun day with Tina from Gravel Ridge Collective when she hosted a Paint and Pop in the Shed at THE Hungry Spirit and we hosted the teachers from Walgett College for a cultural immersion evening.


We were excited to know that THE Edge Fest secured funding from the NSW Government via Walgett Shire Council for an event in March called a Feast at THE Edge.

Put 10 March in your diary NOW and this, along with funding through Outback Arts, has also enabled us to recruit a Local Coordinator for THE Edge Fest and they will be responsible for coordinating and running the events, including many which are hosted at THE Hungry Spirit and Tin Camp Studios!

AND we’ll be retrofitting the Tin Camp Studios to include a RECORDING STUDIO which will be launched at hte evnet on 10th March, it’s very exciting and this will be the only Recording Studio in our region – with the next nearest in Dubbo!

We submitted 3 grants for major event and activity funding for 2023 ($225,000 in total), we’ve had news 1 was unsuccessful so await the outcomes for the other two.
Fingers crossed for us all!


We took a break from hosting lots of people onsite this year, but Charlies Camp got an upgrade and it allowed Rebel the time to focus on The Ridge Castle Kingdom.

We hosted more than 380 bed nights on Airbnb with a 70% star rating. People absolutely love staying at the Castle Kingdom and as offgrid, on the opalfield accommodation, it offers a uniquely Lightning Ridge experience that visitors truly appreciate.

Stats Snapshot

THE Hungry Spirit is operated as a Social Enterprise and we are proud of the direct contribution we make to the thriving of the Lightning Ridge cultural, social and economic life a snapshot of our contribution:

  • 13 Events hosted
  • Audience Approx – 350 people
  • Approx 130 guests traveling specifically for events to LR – approx $76,000 injected into the local community.
  • More than 300 guests accommodated injecting approx $73,000 into the local economy.
  • Provided casual jobs for 6 people and distributed funds through performer fees etc to 15 people, provide cash prizes to the value of $1000
  • Thousands of meals sold from our kitchen + food van
  • More than $5000 worth of food shared from our garden/forrest
  • 35 people traveled up to 8 hours to enjoy the setting sun and rising full moon from our special location

Thank you for sharing our space with us, we give a nod to the awesome people we frequently collaborate with – Warren & Donna, Jamie-Lea, Alana, Stevan & Emily, Top, Nuch, Pia & Roger, Peter & Roy, Liz, Carol, Stevie, Joe, Lucas and those who have come as audience, supporters, contributors, performers and guests!

Thank you!

If you haven’t come yet, you are welcome in 2023 and, may you bloom where you are,
Rebel & Michael